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I’d been spending way too much time on motorcycles with clip-on ‘bars on my 40 km commute. It was a refreshing change, but not the most pleasant. Let’s face it – regardless of how well-setup a sports motorcycle is, on a commute, there can be no replacement for an upright motorcycle that offers good ride quality and excellent leverage.I didn’t mention ‘low on power’ anywhere, which means anything between a Honda Dream Neo to a KTM 390 Duke works better than a faired equivalent in these conditions. The Yamaha FZ-S happens to fall exactly in between the aforementioned motorcycles and so, I’m glad it was issued as our (okay, my) new long-termer.
How zippy is it?
If you immediately ride one after, say, a Suzuki Gixxer or even a Bajaj Pulsar, you might notice that it’s a bit short on power. And that’s true, thanks to Yamaha’s new BlueCore tech that made way for a slightly smaller engine and slightly lesser power to enhance efficiency. But 15 minutes on-board the FZ-S V2.0 and you adjust (like all good Indians…) to its mannerisms. On my 40 km (one way) commute with too many straights, I prefer settling down around the 85-90 kph mark because anything above that means entering its stress zone. The mid range is lovely and the gearbox is well suited to moderate-to-fast speeds. Want something manic? Look elsewhere.
Ride quality and more on page 2

How’s the ride quality?
Pretty good. I usually ride solo with a bit of luggage strapped on to the back and so, with roughly 100 kg on-board, it feels absolutely planted. The front forks absorb most bumps well (there were a few loose ends which were prompty attended to on the first service) and the monoshock does its job beautifully. I like the ride quality since it not only comes in handy over most bad roads but is also fun enough around the twisties for a weekend ride. The seat, too, is spacious and allows for movement but the pillion seat (from what I hear) isn’t the best out there in terms of comfort.
Handles well?
If there’s one thing the FZ-S does faultlessly, it’s handle. The FZ was always endowed with excellent handling characteristics and the new one is no different. I love the wide handlebar that offers great leverage (superb for carving through bottlenecks) and the grip from the tubeless Zappers is excellent, perhaps thanks to the wide contact patch as well. The FZ-S is fun to throw around since, by virtue of being so planted, it rarely ever puts you in a sticky situation. Full points for confidence.
Practicality and efficiency on page 3

How practical is it?
Quite, I’d say. The riding position works well on a commute, the suspension is good and while my occasional pillion isn’t most pleased while perched atop its throne, my luggage surely is. I use the metal bracing for the tail-lamp assembly to hook my bungee cords and so far, nothing has really come off loose (though I’m still not convinced). Lastly, where there isn’t too much power to play with, whatever is available is user-friendly, stress-free. Overall, it’s good (if a bit pricey) for a stylish commuter.
How efficient is it?
Now that you know my riding cycle (mostly mid- to top-end, 80 km round trip), you’ll be quite pleased to hear the figures. Thank BlueCore or simply downsizing, but 44 kpl on that kind of cycle is not bad at all. I’m sure I can better it, but I’m not going any slower, so 44 kpl (overall) works for me just fine.
Full specifications on page 4

THE ESSENTIALS Displacement: 149cc, single-cylinder Power: 12.9 bhp@8000 rpm Torque: 1.3 kgm@6000 rpm Transmission: 5-speed manual Kerb weight: 132 kg Fuel tank capacity: 12 litres Acquired at: 20 km Last mileage: 1601 km Fuel efficiency: 44 kpl (overall) Expenses: None Price as tested: Rs 91,840 (on-road, Mumbai)