I take Yamaha India's latest sporty commuter the 153 cc SZ, for a spin..
+ Attractive pricing
+ Good low end performance
+ Comfortable ergonomics
- Omission of features like Pass Switch, Tripmeter, Engine kill switch
- Doesn't do justice to the Yamaha DNA
"Yamaha = Excitement/Performance/Faster Heart Beats"
That’s what Brand Yamaha stands for me and I am sure to the majority of Indian bikers as well. Lets recollect the models which have built Yamaha its image/presence in India
- 1. RD350
3. YZF R15
I don’t think anyone with an interest in Indian motorcycles would disagree that no other Yamaha model can find its place in the above list. Each of the above mentioned four models stays true and honest to the brand identity of Yamaha.
i.e. "Yamaha = Excitement/Thrill/Faster Heart Beats"
According to me, any product that Yamaha manages to conjure up for India by following the above formula, will be a successful. Well then, what about the recently launched Yamaha SZ/SZ-X/SZ-R?
I take it's test ride to find out..
Foreword: I got to test ride the SZ-X variant, the one with the self start feature but without the Front Disc Brake. The SZ-R (the one with the front disc) variant was there in the showroom too but there wasn't any SZ-R test vehicle. To add to my frustration, the showroom guys did not allow me to take photos of the SZ-R variant, saying that they could be held responsible by the Yamaha top management guys if any issue arises because of the photos..!!
Hello.. haven’t you heard anything about "Free Publicity"..??
Looks: "Contemporary good looks, but nothing like we haven't seen"
Good looks can do wonders. Sexy good looks can guarantee admiring second glances, make ones heart skip a beat and might even lead you to think irrationally. Ask any male who has crossed puberty.
The styling of the SZ is definitely draws inspiration from the FZ. The shape of the tank and side panels especially has traces of the FZ in it. But somehow the SZ finally appears more closer to the current 150 cc models in India. It is a decent looking bike, pleasing and modern. But in the end it’s not something which we have not seen before, and that fails to generate the thrill and excitement in 2010-11.
Riding Posture and Ergonomics: "Comfortable, slightly sporty"
The riding posture on the SZ is quite comfortable and slightly sporty too. The seat is comfortable and well padded; the seat height is slightly tall for shorter guys. Conservative commuters might not take the absence of a kick lever on the SZ-X and SZ-R kindly.
Other omissions (cost cutting?) are the absense of an engine kill switch, a high beam - pass flasher, a tripmeter (come on Yamaha, even the 125 cc Gladiator had those features).
Ride, Handling & Braking: "The suspension is tuned for a comfortable ride rather than for sporty handling"
Unlike the FZ the SZ has been given conventional suspension in the form of dual rear suspension. The suspension has also been set up more to provide a supple ride which somewhat compromises on the handling. Both the front and rear tyres are of TVS make, a tyre brand which is exactly not the favorite among bikers. Nevertheless during the test ride the tyres did not give any nervous moments and provided decent grip.
The braking provided by the front drum brake of the SZ-X is not confidence inspiring. Its highly recommended to opt for the Disc Brake (SZ-R variant instead).
Clutch & Gear Box: "Light weight clutch and precise gearbox"
The clutch is delightfully light which makes short work of riding in traffic. The slick shifting gearbox slots the cogs perfectly in place in the universal one down- four up pattern. There are absolutely no issues with the clutch and gearbox.
Engine & performance: "Smooth engine tuned for low and mid range performance"
The looks, ergonomics and the ride on the SZ has been set up for effortless and comfortable commuting. Likewise even the 153 cc, FZ derived engine has been tuned to perform like a commuter. The detuned FZ engine makes 12.1 Ps of power and 12.8 Nm of torque, lower than that of the FZ and it shows in the slower throttle response as well.
Unlike the FZ the SZ doesn’t provide the thrill of a quick 0-60 kmph. Also compared to the SZ, the Pulsar 135LS is way more potent in terms of top end performance.
What the SZ does best is let you potter around in traffic without having to change too many gears. Also worth mentioning is that the engine remains reasonably smooth in its performance.
Fuel Efficiency: I couldn’t check the fuel efficiency of the SZ for obvious reasons but with a detuned FZ engine and a slimmer rear tyre the fuel efficiency will be at least around 45-50 kmpl (I am speculating here). According to me, the fuel efficiency of the FZ is its only ‘Achilles Heel’ and hopefully the SZ should better the FZ in this aspect.
Price: The best aspect of the SZ is definitely its price tag.
Rs. 49,000 (Ex-Showroom Delhi) for the SZ (no self start model),
Rs. 52,000 (Ex-Showroom Delhi) for the SZ-X (self start and tank extension) and
Rs. 55,500 (Ex-Showroom Delhi) for the SZ-R model (with Front disc + Self start + Tachometer + different tank extensions)
The SZ-R is still a good around Rs. 8,000 cheaper than the Pulsar 150, the segment leader for the last nearly 10 years. The SZ-R also has almost the same price tag as the Hero Honda Achiever (with Front Disc Brake + Self Start).
But at the same time the SZ-R is a good Rs. 8,000 costlier than the Bajaj Discover 150.
What’s the USP of the Yamaha SZ?
To me the USP of the Yamaha SZ is that it’s a value for money, affordable product. Anyone who is short of cash for a 150 cc and isn’t too kicked about the looks of the Hero Honda Achiever or the Discover 150 has a good option in the Yamaha SZ.
Verdict: The Yamaha SZ definitely is a good package of decent looks, decent performance for commuting in traffic and a comfortable vibe free ride. All this comes at a decent price too. But does the SZ have the Yamaha DNA (Thrill/Excitement/Faster Heart Beat) to set it apart from other bikes/brands?
Hmm.. well.. the SZ is too docile and well mannered for a Yamaha..!!
Yamaha SZ Technical Specifications
Engine type: Air-cooled, 4-stroke, SOHC
Displacement: 153 cc
Bore & Stroke: 58.0 × 57.9 mm
Compression ratio: 9.5:1
Maximum power: 12.1PS / 7,500 rpm
Maximum torque: 12.8N.m / 4500 rpm
Starting system: Kick start (SZ) / Electric Start (SZ-X/R)
Lubrication: wet sump
Clutch type: wet, multiple disc
Ignition system: C.D.I
Fuel supply: Carburettor
Battery: 12 V, 5 AH (10 AH)
Headlight: Halogen bulb (12 V, 35/35 W)
Primary/Secondary reduction ratios: 3.409/3.000
Tranmission type: 5 gear constant mesh
Caster/Trail: 26 degree/99 mm
Frame type: Diamond
Front suspension: Telescopic
Front brake: Drum(150 mm) / Disc (SZ-R)
Rear brake: Drum (130 mm)
Front tyre: 2.75-17 41P
Rear tyre: 100/90-17 55P
Overall length x width x height: 2,050mm x 730mm × 1,100mm
Kerb Weight: 132 kg
Minimum ground clearance: 165mm
Engine oil volume: 1.0 litres
Fuel tank capacity: 14 liters
Seat Height: 802 mm
This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.