After having owned and ridden literally almost all models from the Japanese offerings Honda & Suzuki, I felt it was time to try out the much sought after brand Yamaha., a brand that bowled me over right from the days of the RD-350 & the RX-100. The last I rode & owned was the YZF-R15 when it was launched, a technologically superior motorcycle that won the hearts of many passionate Yamaha fans all over the country.
Trust me - Owning a Yamaha bike is like being in love. You literally get emotionally connected to it and make it your partner for life ! That's the kind of bond Yamaha Motor Corp creates, just something more than mechanical machinery trade. Any Yamaha fan would endorse my point of view here. Yamaha India forayed into the scooter market really late in India for reasons best known to them.
The Japanese giant played it really slow as if it was a game of chess, making cautious but well planned moves. The older generation Ray launched by the company could not simply make the numbers in a market dominated by the japanese major 'Honda'. Buyers preferred to make the bookings & wait for unreasonable periods to lay hands on the phenomenal Activa then.
While Honda enjoyed this kind of insane patronage in India, other makers eyed on the immense potential for gearless scooters in India and eventually decided to take the battle head on with Honda. It did not take long for the competition to catch up & bite in to the sales chart of Honda. At an on the road price of Rs. 63, 000= 00 Bangalore, the Yamaha Ray Z is surely a tempting buy. Yamaha India has other offerings for the current market like Alpha, Fascino & Ray ZR. All these models come equipped with the same 113cc 4 stroke motor that develops 7.1 bhp and boasts of Blue Core Technology.
The models only vary in dimensions & color. Ray Z is the most affordable of them all & is targeted at both the sexes (More so the fairer sex). Let me now highlight the pros and cons of buying this dream machine point wise. The PRO's of Yamaha Ray Z first:
1) Gem of an engine! Absolute delight to ride this. Rock solid performance with a very strong mid range and linear power delivery. The refinement of the engine is simply light years ahead of the competition (IMHO though) and this has proved to be a major point for the brands success. Its a luggard when it starts from a stand still but pulls all the way to hit the 80kmph mark with relative ease. 10/10 for this marvel of engineering from Yamaha.
2) Riding ergonomics & seating position are spot on. The scooter appears to be deceptively small but can ride two adults comfortably. Maneuverability is superb within city limits. One can tirelessly & effortlessly ride the Ray Z all day long without complaints. The big foldable footrests are a boon to the pillion rider. The telescopic front shocks combined with coil springs & hydraulic rear damper is excellent and far better than what most other scooters offer. At about just 760mm seat height reaching the ground is not much of an issue even for short riders. The scooter is extremely nimble to ride with a light handle bar & a very good tight turning radius.
3) Quality levels & overall fit and finish is superb. The Ray Z lives up to its brand image here. The quality of plastics, the switch gear, the body panels & the rubber feels top notch. The brake levers are inspired from motorbikes. The unique wing shaped aluminium rear grab rail gives the scooter a distinct razor edge shape. The paint job is awesome too. Body graphics seem to dominate the entire body of the scooter and make it look sportier. The acrylic visor mounted on the handle bar adds character to the front.
4) Technically Speaking: - The brilliance of Yamaha's Blue Core Technology: Increasing/Improved Combustion Efficiency (Tumble Flow Effect). Reducing power/Mechanical Loss (Offset Cylinder). Precise Control of Fuel Supply and ignition Timing. Improved Cooling Efficiency (DiASil Cylinder, oil jet Piston Cooler, Compact High Efficiency Cooling Fan). Improved Drive Force Efficiency.
5) Exquisite brand Image and the pride of Owning a Yamaha - Just cannot express it but one has to experience it! Now for the CON's of the Yamaha Ray Z:
1) Below average sales/after sales & service at Yamaha dealerships. The dealers totally lack interest in promoting their two wheeler's unless you really push them to. Disappointing really! The interiors & cleanliness at most dealerships are poor and somewhat deter promising customers from entering into one. Yamaha needs to first look into this on a priority basis!
2) Low Ground Clearance at just 128mm. The Honda Dio offers 154mm! I have so far not scraped the belly though. Insufficient under seat storage - cannot even fit a helmet. (The Alpha & Fascino have huge under seat storage - Wonder why?)
3) Extremely poor headlamp beam at night due to curvaceous design limitations. One has to be extra cautious on pot hole filled roads. The scooter also misses a city lamp / parking bulb. Speedometer needles have known to fade prematurely.
4) Missing rear brake lever lock is really a bother while parking on inclines in side stand mode as the scooter tends to roll back. It is even more painful at traffic signals as one of the brake needs to be engaged manually. Scrolling your smart phones isn't very easy. No provision for a mobile charger too. My Final Verdict:
The Yamaha Ray Z is probably the best handling scooter in India. It combines the expected good handling from a Yamaha while keeping things simple and sticking to the basics, a good engine, robust build quality, good value for money and overall a good looking design. Am sure those contemplating to buy one can do so without much thought. There are no hi-tech gizmos (like in the N-Torq). Have now crossed the 10,000 kms mark on the odo & the service bills so far have been very minimal & affordable. The Ray Z is sure to set your heart revving! Cheers.