The Yamaha Ray was first seen at the Indian Auto Expo this January, and then showcased to the media again in Mumbai a few months later. It’s fresh out of the oven now, launched at a glitzy event in Hyderabad with suitable brand ambassador Deepika Padukone in tow, and we’ve just completed a brief first ride around a parking lot on this snazzy little scooter that has done all it can to become the next best thing that happened to women.
The Ray is a petite scooter with a low saddle height of 760mm and Yamaha has built it to woo young ladies with its sporty, youthful styling and angular form. The latest Yamaha uses dual colour panels to good effect. The Ray’s fascia faintly resembles the Honda Dio, a large and flush set headlight dominating the raked front apron, just above a space-age front mudguard.
This is a light, 104kg when ready-to-go scooter that is well-suited to urban Indian commuting duties. The new scooter has a smart, readable instrument bay with the speedometer and fuel gauge taking up prime real estate space. The switches and mirrors feel and work like the typical scooter fare offered with most rival Indian scooters, and the Ray provides good palm grips and comfortable brake levers. The safety of a rear brake locking clamp is sadly lacking, being such crucial kit on gearless scooters such as this and we sorely missed it during our stint astride the Ray. What did however impress us was the provision of ample storage cubbies and a secure bag-hook near the ignition switch pod and pull-operated choke knob, this in addition to the large underseat stowage bay that locked and opened with positive clicks. The fuel tank is filled from here, housing 5 liters of fuel when fully tanked-up.
While average to medium built individuals shall face no issues on the Ray, taller, well-built males with large feet could find its narrow floorboard a shade cramped for comfort. The Ray seat comes with a smartly textured fabric, and its pillion footrests tuck away into thoughtful recesses. Tail-end styling is just as smart as in front, the scooter’s silencer encased by a tasteful shroud, its tail-light including a set of clear lens turn signal indicators and there also being a broad alloy grab bar.
As with all Yamaha bikes in India, the Ray enjoys a really high level of all-round quality, and all its rubber and plastic components feel built-to-last.
Watch video review here
The Ray uses an Indian scooter-typical, 113cc, single-cylinder, 4-stroke and air-cooled engine. It’s a button or kick-started, twin-valve, carbureted, long stroke (50 x 57.8mm) dimension powerplant with an automatic, CVT transmission system. Peak power on tap is 7bhp at 7500rpm, and maximum torque made is 0.82kgm at 5000rpm. The Ray isn’t one to be left behind on engine hardware, providing friction cutting technology including a set of roller rocker arms, and TPS (throttle position sensor) riding piggyback on the carb to control ignition timing and assist the engine’s 3D mapping system to attain maximum efficiency.
Seat of the pants, and as best as we could judge in a parking lot where riding the scooter at over 40kph was a stretch, the Ray engine feels smooth and completely vibe free. You’d be disappointed if you absorbed all the marketing hype surrounding this launch, and honestly believed in Yamaha’s “we’re going to stick by our performance DNA” promise, for all that rings hollow and is clearly forgotten on this scooter. This isn’t a performance scooter, or one that’s going to win any traffic signal getaway prizes, but in truth will delight a commuter, with its refined, easy acceleration, adequate throttle-response and convenient in urban India factor. More on how the Ray performs on road after we get to grips with one on regular roads.
The Ray comes with a scooter standard, underbone type steel chassis, but goes one up on many rivals including the Activa and Dio for using top-drawer, telescopic fork suspension in front. At rear, it uses a single monoshock with the engine a stressed member. This is a comfortable scooter and one that has its rider quickly feeling at home thanks to low seat height and a lightweight feel.
The riding position is comfortable and upright, the floorboard feeling slightly inclined, but set at the perfect height, as is its handlebar. Our small ‘parking-lot’ ride wasn’t enough to bring you a thorough assessment of the Ray’s ride and handling, but ride quality is surely good, and handling was nice too, with a light steering, secure stability and adequate braking offered by the 300mm drum brakes. Our test Ray came with its 10inch wheels shod with grippy, 90/100 section MRF tyres. It would have been nice to see Yamaha offering alloy rims with the Ray.
We’d expect mileage to be in the region of 40kpl.
The Ray is certain to have the Dio breaking into a cold sweat, this Honda having long filled this same trendy scooter space without any real competition to fight down, and Yamaha are offering their smart new Ray competently priced at Rs 46,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi), in Pink, Purple, Blue, Burgundy, Grey and Black.
The Ray isn’t going to get Yamaha fans cheering, who rightly expected a performance scooter from this capable company, but it is sure to win several hearts with its modern styling, high quality mix of sound engineering, a reliable engine and high on convenience and comfort factors.