|Pix: Mohammed Shafiq
In keeping with the changing tastes of our nation and the fact that people want to own something that sets them apart from the rest, Japanese bike manufacturer Yamaha has hooked up the FZ-16 to the cosmetic upgrade bandwagon. Surprisingly, this upgraded version, the FZ-S, comes barely six months post the launch of the original, already highly successful FZ-16. With no engine modifications, the FZ-S is just a more stylish avatar of the popular FZ-16.
The bike-maker has refrained from tinkering with the FZ-16s jaw-dropping basics, building on the same to good effect. Both bikes share similar design features, except for the addition of a new little visor sitting above the instrument fascia. The cosmetic changes that give the FZ-S a sporty appearance are clearly noticeable.
In the FZ-S, the conical halogen bulb-equipped headlight is housed by a slightly larger, more aggressive swept-back headlight casing. The racy stripes lend a sporty touch, running the length of the Ss front fender and wheel circumferences, and complement the smart new two-tone paint job.
Similar to the FZ-16s, the Ss front forks, side panels, neatly packaged engine, stylish slim-spoke alloys and swingarm all follow a black theme. Though the switch-gear on the wide and low-set handlebar looks solid and the digital carbon-fibre-like instruments look great, the rev counter loses out on practicality, as it can prove tough to decipher at high speeds.
The beautifully crafted fuel tank comes with large knee recesses providing ample thigh support to the rider. On a lower note, the brushed-finish alloy tank cap is in desperate need of a hinge. However, attention to detail on this Yam is superb, easily noticeable in its alloy footrests and drilled foot protectors. The meaty 140/60 x 17-inch MRF rear tyre, flanked by a stubby, sheared silencer adds muscle mass to the FZs beefy design.
A lightly stepped seat leads to the body-coloured tail, which sports a smart split grab-rail. Completing the new bike is a small tail-light housed in its rear mudguard. The new FZ is a confirmed head-turner, drawing attention wherever we stopped on the photo shoot.
With the FZ-S lodging Yamahas refined four-stroke, single-cylinder and CV-carburetted 153cc engine, its mechanically indistinguishable from the FZ-16. Adding to this refinement is the smooth five-speed gearbox. The bikes good low- and mid-range power is completely exploitable by the perfectly spaced gear-ratios. And the fact that few uphill ascents required hasty downshifting was appreciable.
The FZ-Ss able handling munched up twisty hilly sections and spat out a smooth and confident ride. It uses a conventional, single-downtube frame with the engine slotting in as a stressed member, exuding outstanding handling capabilities on all kinds of roads and allowing the attacking of corners with confidence.
Even while cruising at close to triple-digit speeds on long, flat straights, the engine feels unstressed. The Ss 41mm forks up front work in tandem with an adjustable single rear shock absorber, negotiating well over small ruts. And the combination of the FZ-Ss comfortable upright riding posture, well-padded seat and wide handlebar worked superbly in coalition.
To sum it up, the FZ-S is extremely comfortable to ride whether on twisted roads or straights. At Rs 67,000 (ex-showroom, India), the FZ-S commands a Rs 2,000 premium over the FZ-16. It offers the same unadulterated and brilliant riding experience as the FZ-16. Compared to the FZ-16, the minor difference with the S is that it provides a bit more flash for a little more cash.
Low-end grunt from torquey engine is a boon in the city.
Chunky rear MRF radial tyre looks good, aids handling.
Digital rev counter is difficult to read on the fly.
Hingeless fuel tank cap is irritating at the filling station.
SPec check Yamaha FZ-s
Price: Rs 67,000 (ex-showroom, India)
Ground clearance: 160mm
Fuel tank capacity: 12 litres
Kerb weight: 137kg
Engine layout: Single-cylinder, air-cooled, four-stroke
Power: 14bhp at 7500rpm
Torque: 1.42kgm at 6000rpm
Specific output: 91.5bhp per litre
Power to weight: 102.1bhp per tonne
Gearbox: 5-speed, 1-down, 4-up
Suspension (F/R): Telescopic forks/
Single shock, rectangular swing arm
Brakes (F/R): 267mm disc/ 130mm drum
Tyres (F/R): 100/80 x 17; 140/60 x 17 inches