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YAMAHA FZ-S: THE GREEN HORNET

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One look at the newly face-lifted FZ-S in the black and green combo and the first thing that comes to my mind is the Hollywood movie, ‘The Green Hornet’. As I got aboard the bike, I could not help but let my imagination run wild. If a Bollywood remake of the movie was ever to be made, this bike could definitely be the perfect vehicle of choice for the protagonist to chase the local goons clad in Dhotis and Lungis around the narrow street and gullies. The FZ-S is one bike which looks perfect from all angles, something which not many Indian two-wheeler manufacturers have indigenously managed to achieve so far. To say that the Yamaha FZ series is one of those few Indian products that could be mistaken for a European standard motorcycle wouldn’t be an understatement and there is a reason behind that. The Indian FZ heavily borrows design cues from its stunning looking big brother, the FZ-1 and is hence equally dazzling to look at. The FZ has been a looker and instantly called for attention ever since it was launched back in 2008. The FZ series along with the R15 was also the life savers for Yamaha India and brought it back to its RX glory days when they were experiencing a rapid market slump.

Yamaha claims that the latest FZ-S is powered by an improved and newly designed 153cc air-cooled, 4-stroke, SOHC, single-cylinder, 2-valve engine. Though the max power output of 14bhp and a max torque of 13.6Nm are still the same on paper, we did notice some improved tweaks in the engine over the three days of extensive riding that was offered to us by Morang Auto Works. The initial pick-up has been improved with an improved carburettor and there is minimum vibration even in the higher RPM’s. This engine does its job coupled with a smoother five-speed gearbox. Flawlessly spaced gear ratios with a well-weighted clutch that leave little room for enhancement allows the rider to ably utilize the bike’s good low and mid-range power nature. Another thing that uphill ascents now hardly require quick downshifting was significant. Performance is nimble enough for a 150cc engine and it has a very user-friendly wide power band.

Today, it’s still not possible to lose focus when you’re looking at the newly coloured Yamaha FZ-S. It is both shapely and eye-catching. With its emphasis on consistently delivering innovation and novelty to its valued customers, India Yamaha Motor has introduced new colour variants on the FZ-S. Vibrant colours adorn these muscular machines along with new logos and graphics to match the changing tastes of the discerning customers. After much research on colours and customer preferences, Yamaha has introduced four new colours for FZ-S – Golden Streak, Competition White, Black Cyber Green and Yellow Streak. The overall idea is to have freshness in the product category which is in line with the company’s promise to give newness to its customers. So what you get apart from the new colour combinations are a blackened exhaust cover and a kick starter. When other manufacturers are dropping the kick lever from their bikes, Yamaha has surprising gone “backwards” and put the odd looking kick lever catering to the demand of the customers. The placement is a bit ugly on the refreshing design but that should do the trick for most of those FZ riders who compromise on their regular battery and electric check-up. The same wide and conical front headlight with a small city light at the bottom stare forward from below the FZ’s LCD instrument bay. The instruments include an impressive rev counter, speedometer, fuel gauge and dual tripmeter. The engine starting signal and digital RPM gauge adds to the spirit of innovation. It has a splendidly sculpted 12litre fuel tank but the fuel-filler cap sadly still lacks a pivot point. The FZ-S comes with a stylish engine cowl, constructed with vents to direct and scoop air-flow straight to the engine and spark plug. Other impressive details comprise alloy footrests for the rider and pillion, neatly executed rear grab-bar, mid-ship exhaust, mud guard integrated rear lights and a clever rear tyre hugger. The bike deploys a city-friendly, broad and a relatively low-set handlebar and the switchgears on the handlebar have a solid, built-to-last feel. A useful engine-kill switch is part of the package, as is a handlebar-mounted choke lever on the left.

The wide handlebar makes this Yamaha perfectly suited for stress-free city cruising as well as faster highway riding. But the hand grips are on the harder side and it is recommended to switch to better and comfortable aftermarket ones. The Yamaha uses a usual diamond-type, single downtube tubular frame that houses the engine. A clear plus over its rivals is the FZ’s firm 41mm front forks, that are able to condense 130mm. A Monocross rear suspension unit provides 120 mm of wheel travel at the rear and inhibits bottoming while riding with a tandem passenger as well. The FZ comes with a 267mm front disc-brake and rear drum unit that works in tandem to pull the bike along carefully from speeds. Its chunky, tailor-made radial, tubeless and unique compound 100/80 and 140/60 section MRF tyres work wonderfully to provide massive traction and a steady and planted feel. The FZ offers ideal straight line steadiness and excellent high-speed cornering manners at all times. The FZ-S’s competent handling dismisses twisty hilly sections with ease. During our test runs it surprisingly rained in the middle of nowhere in winter and compared to the other Indian bikes it felt more confident and planted in the wet surface. The FZ-S feels just as comfortable and inspirational off road as it does on the twisty roads and straights. The amalgamation of the FZ-S’s comfy upright riding stance, well-padded seat, wide handlebar and beefy radial tyres works beautifully. During our three day run all around the valley, the FZ-S returned a mileage of 40km to a litre, which is very much appreciable for the power that impressively drives the massive radial tires.

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To sum it up, the FZ-S does make sense for riders looking for a bit more attention for the money they pay. The FZ-S is also a good learners motorcycle, especially for college students who are looking for both power and styling at an affordable price. This freshening up of the FZ line-up should keep the FZ fans happy and the new colour scheme sure turn’s heads on the streets. But it’s time Yamaha India gave the FZ a major overhaul with the 250cc market catching up fast in India. The next time the FZ is given an upgrade I hope it’s much more than cosmetic changes. A 250cc engine with rear disks, projector headlights and upside down forks on the same styling provided with a practical Yamaha pricing would easily seal the deal for enthusiasts like me. With such powerful features and more green colours, the bike could actually serve as a good city bike for Seth Rogen in the Hollywood sequel of ‘The Green Hornet’, which is of course if both are ever going to be made. But you never know. Regardless, we love the new look!!

 

Engine type

Air-cooled, 4-stroke, SOHC

Displacement

153.0cc

Bore & Stroke

58.0 × 57.9mm

Compression ratio

9.5:1

Maximum output

14PS @ 7500 rpm

Maximum torque

13.6 N.m @ 6000 rpm

Starting method

Electric & Kick

Lubrication type

Wet Sump

Fuel Supply

Carburetor

Clutch type

Wet, multiple-disc

Primary/secondary reduction ratio

3.409 / 2.857

Transmission type

Constant mesh 5-speed

Gear ratio

1st=2.714 2nd=1.789 3rd=1.318 4th=1.045 5th=0.875

Cylinder layout

Single Cylinder

Battery

12 V, 5.0 Ah

 

Frame type

Diamond

Suspension (front/rear)

Telescopic/ Swingarm

Wheelbase

1,334mm

Brake type(front/rear)

Disc/Drum

Tire size (front/rear)

100/80-17 / 140/60-R17

Headlight

12 V, 35/35W

Caster / trail

25 degree/ 101 mm

 

Overall Length × Width × Height

1,973 mm × 770 mm × 1,090 mm

Seat height

790 mm

Wheelbase

1,334 mm

Minimum ground clearance

160 mm

Kerb weight

135 kg

Fuel tank volume

12 liters

Engine oil volume

1.2 liters

 

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