Yamaha’s FZ-S has been a part of our long-term fleet for a few months now. Many staffers have taken a liking to the capable streetbike, so it’s proven tough to hop onto the saddle of this bike. However, I somehow managed to exchange keys with a colleague one night, and found myself heading out for a ride to Lonavala the very next day.
The FZ-S has been in production for quite a while, scripting a success story for Yamaha ever since. Yamaha has refreshed this motorcycle with cosmetic upgrades in time, but without losing any of its muscular design philosophy. Under the FZ-S’s minute, blacked-out wind deflector sits a dinky, hard-to-read digital console. Close by sits the front number-plate, making for an eyesore on what is otherwise such a well-styled motorcycle. Our long-term bike came in black and orange, with fiery tank decals that help this Yamaha look good at night. The FZ-S has a knack of grabbing attention, and seldom fails to do so.
Back to my early morning ride as I hurtled out of Pune beating traffic and enjoying the capable FZ-S. Before getting any more adventurous, I tanked up the bike to ensure I was now all primed and ready for uninterrupted fun. The pit stop had me wondering why Yamaha did not design a hinge for the fuel filler cap, a simple convenience which should not have been missed. After thumbing the FZ-S back to life,I was on my way once again.
The route to Lonavala consists of long, fast straights, tight bends and long, sweeping corners – just the varied sort of tarmac you want to encounter when riding a motorcycle like the FZ-S. The Yamaha was soon confirming why it appeals strongly to one and all. The 153cc engine feels refined and runs buzz-free anywhere in its powerband, and comes backed by a slick-shifting gearbox. The FZ-S cruises easily in top gear at 90kph, never feeling out of its comfort zone, but it does require the occasional downshift in order to make a snappy overtake.
The FZ-S’s chassis proves its mettle when you push the bike hard, easily accommodating the 14bhp generated by the engine. The FZ-S tackled the tight as well as high-speed corners with gusto, making my early morning ride enjoyable. And its upright riding position ensured that I rode
in ample comfort, without ever requiring a break.
On my way home, I hit a few rough patches, which the bike took in its stride without feeling unsettled, thanks to its fat 41mm telescopic forks and rear monoshock. This time, I could push harder, now more accustomed to the bike and the grip provided by its wide tyres. The powerful front disc brake gave me the confidence to brake later going into corners and maintain strong pace throughout. Soon, the scarcely populated highway gave way to building traffic. Here again, the FZ-S felt game, wriggling me through traffic snares with good balance and handling.
The FZ-S is a motorcycle for both budding motorcyclists and weathered veterans. It can be a heap of fun, yet is usable and easy to live with on a daily basis. I do hope to see a slightly larger capacity FZ bike from Yamaha in India soon, which will be certain to make waves and inject even more fun into such rides.