An acknowledged pioneer of performance biking in India, it's been a while since Yamaha brought exciting new bikes to the Indian two-wheeler market. Apart from large capacity superbikes, and upgrades like the V2.0 variant of the YZF-R15, it's been years since Yamaha got our pulse racing. The 150cc FZ's, the Fazer and R15 were its last big splash, back in 2008, before their momentum slowed in the fast paced market of KTM Dukes, Pulsars, RTR's and even Karizmas.
Now beating out a stronger biker beat, Yamaha is offering new FZ variants, the V2.0 FZ and FZ-S. The latest FZ remains a macho, rugged looking and muscular naked bike. Minimal body panels clad the latest gen FZ's. The new Yamaha rides on elegant black, slim-spoke alloy rims, with racy stripes running their circumference. The instruments are new, broad, as well as easier to see, all digital and including a fuel gauge. The V2.0 comes with top drawer switches, a comfortable set of control levers and supple, good quality palm grips. Its mirrors are likewise functional and easily adjusted.
The new bikes come with broad tanks, with recesses that offer snug knee and thigh grip. The new FZ exudes a nice, powerful profile, thanks to its massive tyres, and there's a sporty looking O’ring sealed drive-chain.
As is common across all Yamaha bikes in India, this next gen FZ shows off excellent build quality, fine attention to detail and good fit-finish. The Yamaha V2.0 FZ relies on the original bike’s proven four-stroke, air-cooled Yamaha engine, now making 149cc, down from an earlier 153cc, albeit with the addition of fuel-injection.
The latest FZ comes with a light action clutch, and slick shifting, one-down, four-up shifted gearbox that operates via a toe-shift lever. Feel from both is identical to the older bikes. Well spaced ratios are part of the package, with the exhaust emitting a soft, still grunt-y enough note that sounds identical to the earlier models. Power is sadly down a full bhp from the original bike, 12.9bhp at 8000rpm now, which puts the new Yamaha below the segment par. Max torque is 1.3kgm at 6000rpm. Still, on the go the new FZ-S V2.0 succeeds to offer slightly improved smoothness, with noticeably crisper and quicker throttle response.
The bike revs faster than the earlier variants, with no taper in power even when pushing past its good bottom and mid range power spread. Acceleration feels about at par with the older bikes, and makes you wish Yamaha hadn't waited so long to bring the fuel injected bikes to India.
Few Indian bikes have provided as comfortable and a well balanced riding posture as the FZ, with its wide handlebar providing good leverage and allowing for quick, controlled turn in.
Flickable, the new FZ-S V2.0 does well to feel light, kerb weight now done a couple of kilos to 132kg. The V2.0's now split riding saddle feels broad and comfy. Fat diameter front forks are carried forward to the new bike, supported at rear by a single rear monoshock, adjustable and mated to a box section swingarm. Ride quality is good, neither too soft, nor overly firm. The FZ V2.0 does well to remain at the top of its class in terms of handling, cornering, stability and braking. New compound tyres from MRF work like a treat, the rear a radial, offering solid traction at all times. Confidence inspiring brakes are the norm on the V2.0, the front a single disc, while there's a drum brake at rear, both working together with progressive, powerful feel. This was always amongst the very best handling 150cc bikes in India, and nothing has changed on that front.
What's lacking though is that the latest Yamaha's doesn’t deliver in terms of higher displacement, or improved performance, and loyal Yamaha fans will come away disappointed for not having a quicker bike to take on today's Dukes or Pulsars yet.
Look beyond that though, and the V2.0 FZ and FZ-S do deliver in terms of good value, unmatched handling and almost certainly with improved fuel economy as was earlier missing.
Pricing remains competitive, Rs 76,250 for the FZ, and Rs 78,250 for the FZ-S, both ex-showroom, Delhi.