Monsoon is coming. The moment you pass your SLC, you lose all urge to travel on public transport. Even the idea of stepping into a micro bus repulses you. And you come to realize that the only mode of transport that will get you anywhere will run on two wheels and NOT one that you’re going to have to pedal. That’s when you courageously ask your father to buy you the motorcycle you’ve been obsessing over, probably the RC 390 or the CBR 250R. Then, your father will laugh at the proposition. Let’s face it, the chances of him agreeing to get you anything that’s expensive, looks good, and is fast is a long shot. Your proposition will be repealed and a new one will be put in front of you: to find something that’s under 200cc and won’t rip a searing hole in your father’s wallet.
Then you begin to look for something you both agree on. Something that’s under 200ccs but not too underpowered, something that isn’t too aggressively designed but still stylish, something that will get you around town without guzzling too much fuel, and something that will impress both you and your father.
That was what Yamaha had in mind when they designed and launched the FZ16 in 2008. It helped revolutionize the commuter motorcycle segment from something only your dad could enjoy to something young people could appreciate. With its aggressive street naked styling, fat rear tire and a fatter fuel tank, the bike raised the bar for other manufacturers.
The Fz16 styling was inspired from the global FZ series and a decent amount of grunt to go with the mean, naked streetfighter looks. But it also had a balance of features that appealed to the mature crowd.
It boasted of a high torque engine that was good for aggressive city riding but a monocross suspension also ensured it handled well and provided a stable and decent experience for the pillion. It could get you around town safely, but it could also do well on the highways. Because of these, and many other factors, the Yamaha FZ gained massive popularity. And it still remains one of the best products in the Yamaha roster.
Which brings us to the third generation of the macho streetfighter, the Yamaha FZ-S FI V3. Does it still have what it takes to call itself the Lord of the Streets?
It maintains what the first FZ started out with. The designs are still macho and rugged. Very streetfighter. The muscular tank is sculpted like the Greek gods and they carry out the design language throughout the body. You can see that plenty of inspiration has been taken from the FZ 250, from the headlights to the switchgears.
We like the stubby exhaust. However, the chrome finish on the air intakes is a little tacky for our taste.
While it does not get split seats, it is designed to be comfortable. The pillion seat has a 16 percent larger seating surface area with an added 5mm of thickness for more comfort. There is a new LCD cluster which has a black background with white lettering for better visibility in daylight and at night.
Visually, it looks great and it does have the street fighter appeal. It’s wider, taller, and more muscular.
But does it live up to expectations when you turn on the ignition?
It does not disappoint. Although there is an increase in weight, you don’t really feel it affects performance. In fact, it is light and spirited with plenty of low end grunt and a lively midrange. You might not be breaking any speed limits, but you’re definitely not going to be bored with it as well.
The 150cc engine churns out a healthy 13bhp at 800rpm and the torque peaks at 600RPM with an output of 12.8NM. This is more than decent for city riding and supplements overtaking duties sufficiently. On the highways, the power is sufficient. However, you will have to premeditate your overtaking maneuver.
The suspension is supple and soaks up the tattered roads in Nepal with ease. The 5mm increase in ground clearance is a welcome addition too. But what really takes the cake in terms of upgrades is the single channel ABS and the rear disc brake that comes as standard. It takes your stopping abilities to the next level and that is what really inspires the confidence to make it feel like you’re not just riding a commuter motorcycle.
But JUST a commuter bike?
Not by a long shot. While it is perfectly fit for city riding and can take you around town the entire day, it is also very capable of navigating out of the city limits. It is comfortable to ride, has decent power delivery, and the ABS gives you the ability to tackle the highways and city jaunts more confidently.
In terms of competition, the FZ takes on the likes of the Honda CB Hornet 160R, TVS Apache RTR 160 4V, Suzuki Gixxer, and Bajaj Pulsar NS160. And it does put up a good fight.
The FZ is one of Yamaha’s most successful motorcycles and the update makes it fresher and safer as well. We feel like the tank is a little too large and bulky, and the chrome intakes could have been skipper. Yet it is still a great motorcycle and one which should reinvigorate the segment. Overall, the Yamaha FZS-FI V3 is an above average commuter motorcycle for the average guy.