India’s appetite for higher displacement motorcycles is growing, and manufacturers are responding to that briskly. The latest to go down that path is Yamaha, with its new naked streetfighter, the FZ25. The FZ25 plays big brother to the nearly-decade-old FZ16, and as such, retains the latter’s core characteristics but presents them in a bigger form. Yamaha intends it to be an upgrade model for existing FZ16 owners more than anything and claims that the bike has been tailored for urban conditions. We’re in Goa, and we have just run it up and down sunny Goan roads to see how well this claim pans out.
Even a quick glance at the FZ25 will confirm that it belongs to the FZ family. It has that same muscular, hunkered-down ready-to-pounce design that won the FZ16 so much favour, though there is a definite maturity to it. It looks beefier than its younger sibling and its sharp, low-positioned headlight (with daytime running lights) will strike an impression on viewers. However, it doesn’t command spectacular road presence.
Under the sculpted fuel tank sits a 249cc, single-cylinder, air-cooled four-stroke engine with SOHC and two valves, which pushes out 20.9hp at 8,000rpm and 20Nm of peak torque at 6,000rpm. On paper, we found the power figure to be slightly low. However, the FZ25’s power is delivered smoothly, predictably and in a linear manner. The engine’s character instantly reminds you of the smaller FZ16’s engine characteristics. The torque delivery is quite satisfactory, ensuring good performance in the urban crawl. What we particularly liked was the throttle response – a slight twist of the wrist and there is an almost immediate response from the engine. This unit is mated to a five-speed gearbox that shifts crisply and precisely. Engine refinement levels are up to Yamaha’s mark and claimed fuel efficiency, at 43kpl, is good.
The suspension setup consists of 41mm telescopic forks up front and a monoshock at the rear. It is a slightly stiff setup, so bumps and lumps at higher speeds aren’t particularly absorbed well, but on the flipside, the lolloping on undulating surfaces is lesser too.
The FZ25 gets a diamond chassis that, unfortunately, does not provide it with the structural agility of some of its rivals. That isn’t to say that it’s sluggish, but directional changes happen in a more relaxed manner. Braking is provided by a 282mm disc in the front and a 220mm disc at the rear and is quite effective.
The seating position is great – the seat is low, which is good news for shorter riders, and the spacing of foot pegs and pedals is comfortable. This should definitely be a bonus during longer stints in the saddle. The riding position has been made a tad more aggressive than in the FZ16, but it is still comfortable and quite neutral. Vibrations are well-contained too, perceptible only slightly in the handlebars beyond 7,000rpm.
Where the FZ25 really drops the ball, though, is in equipment. There really isn’t much besides the LED headlamp and the digital instrument cluster; the absence of ABS is quite a letdown.
The FZ25 is a good motorcycle, especially for the city. It is stylish, torquey and comfortable. It, however, misses the mark slightly and feels a bit dated. Present owners of the FZ16 will find it a good upgrade as long as they want to stay in the FZ family. But, aside from fulfilling its city duties, the FZ25, with its overall relaxed nature, should make for a nice highway companion as well.