Yamaha has been known for building no nonsense performance oriented motorcycles, that also made a mark in terms of reliability. The Japanese pay stern attention to R&D and the end product usually describes the effort. The all new FZ25 too turned out to be one such story. Launched in January 2017, the power figures on paper made it sound like it would be a tall order for the FZ25 to be able to compete against KTM 200 Duke or even the TVS Apache RTR200 which is a notch cheaper. However, having ridden the motorcycle through some scenic roads in Goa, we're convinced the FZ25 has reasons to appeal to buyers of this segment.
The FZ25 is a 250cc motorcycle and it does look the part. An aggressive street-fighter in essence. The sculpting on the fuel tank clubbed with additional bodywork on either sides make for most of its looks. It has an angry appeal, but that is where the catch is. The motorcycle appears as aggressive as it should and along with that has the capabilities of providing comfort for everyday usage.
In terms of power, the FZ25's 249cc air-cooled, four-stroke engine makes 20.6 bhp and 20 Nm of torque, which at first didn't sound like it's enough. However, since the motorcycle isn't all that heavy at 148 kg of kerb weight, it is capable enough to beat the Kawasaki Ninja 250 off the line. And since it is light, it is quite a charm to handle too.
It did a 135kmph on a short straight stretch on a street in Goa, and it could bring up that figure to 140kmph. Braking was covered by a sizable disc in the front and one at the back, and the calipers had enough bite. However, not fitting it with a ABS wasn't a great idea. Although it should've been a standard equipment, to say the least it could be given as an option for those who do not want to deal with 'raw power'.
Having proven itself as a performance machine, the FZ25 was very much on point in keeping the rider comfortable. The seat is wide and the riding stance encourages longer rides. The suspension set up is soft enough for providing comfort and hard enough for delivering performance. The 5-speed gearbox is smooth and the motorcycle does not have many unnecessary vibrations.
The FZ25 remained at peace at lower speeds too and ensured easy maneuverability through city traffic. The bike knows how to get out of its performance shoes and into a practical real world, where it can very well be ridden everyday with utmost comfort. The pillion remains happy too, as the back seat is also quite large. It has racing foot pegs at the rear, which is hardly a necessity, but they sure do look good.
Talking about the competition, the KTM 200 Duke is downright quicker and faster than the FZ25. But the 250cc Yamaha has some aspects on its side that should help it gain traction in the market. Prolonged riding on the Duke could end up giving some riders a bad back, but then it is solely a performance machine. It wasn't designed to do well on school runs. The rider has enough grunt in his hands on the FZ25 without having to suffer.
However, Yamaha has been a little late in bringing out a 250cc motorcycle, which is the result of prolonged R&D. But development of a motorcycle from scratch, attention to each and every part of it brings in a sense of reliability.
Brands like KTM, TVS, Bajaj have already been playing the game in this segment. The 200 Duke created itself a stable market, the Apache RTR200 too has been high on the list of consumer favourites and the Pulsar saw many models - 220F, 200 NS, RS 200 and the Pulsar AS 200. With launch of the new 250 Duke, 390 Duke and Dominar 400, KTM and Bajaj have higher segments covered too. Yamaha did launch the R3, but it didn't do much for the brand's sales figures. It was only appreciated by men clad in leathers from top to bottom and wanting to go fast on corners. A price tag of about Rs 4 lakh hurt its sales. With the FZ25 though, Yamaha has got pricing on point.
We've come to look at this motorcycle as a perfect blend of two kinds of bikes. You're looking for a quick motorcycle, this is one. You want comfort on your daily commute, this one has it.
There has been a shift of interest in the overall scenario of motorcycle sales in India. More and more of consumers now look for a capable bike. Interest in travel has gone up too. Stories of people riding to Ladakh or Kanyakumari are more common than they used to be. These requirements can very well be handled by this motorcycle.