It has been a whirlwind month with all the motorcycle tests, launches and reviews that have been happening. From scoot-shoots to litre-class monsters, I have been changing rides faster than a model changes clothes at a fashion shoot! In the middle of this madness came Yamaha’s FZ25 for a road test. My first thought was, not another one! But by the end of the day, I knew this was a completely different machine. Not just in form and manners but also in approach towards the premium motorcycle space in India.

Sedate, sober and sweet natured, the FZ25 is no speed demon intending to cash in on the ‘ready-to-go-racing’ fountain of youth. Instead the Yamaha FZ25 goes around doing its job with the dignity and humility of an experienced mentor, who knows the fact that comfort and calm take precedence in an environment where there is no place for speed and aggression - like navigating our clogged city streets. From the curvaceous design lines on the 14-litre tank to the tail panels with dummy air-scoops, the FZ flaunts a confident stance. Throw a leg over the motorcycle and you instantly notice the spacious saddle with its neatly contoured flat lines providing the rider oodles of space to move around. The wide, flat handlebar makes for a street friendly riding posture, which means spending long hours in the saddle, or riding through stop-and-go traffic is less demanding on the body, and mind. Developed and designed at Yamaha’s headquarters in Japan, the objective was clear about building a comfortable large capacity commuter for India and that clarity shows through in the FZ25’s design language and the underpinnings.

Thumb the starter button and the single cylinder 2-valve 249cc SOHC engine breathes to life with a light murmur and occasional whizz as you feather the throttle. Smooth and refined, there are no vibes at low revs and response from the engine is crisp. A lot of this refinement is due to Yamaha’s Blue Core engine-tech that sees generous use of high-end materials and components like a lightweight forged aluminium piston, thinner piston rings that help reduce power losses and improve efficiency inside the hemispherical combustion chamber as well as a counter balancer shaft to reduce vibrations emitted by the motor. What this heavy-duty equipment translates into is a smooth, refined and comfortable riding experience as well as seamless power delivery and improved all around engine performance in varied conditions. Honestly though, with 20.9PS of power and 20Nm of torque, the FZ25 is no scorcher in the performance brigade - but the truth is, it was never meant to be. What it was meant to be was a comfortable commuter with a manageable power curve with focus on ride-ability and agility around city traffic while providing adequate grunt and solid comfort for occasional highway bouts. And it sure does all that is expected from it in the most humble and unassuming manner, thanks to an efficient motor and a sorted chassis configuration.

The motor is packaged inside a tubular diamond frame, similar to the smaller FZ-series, and the chassis is where the FZ25 really shines bright. Helped by 41mm thick telescopic front suspension with 130mm of travel and a monoshock with 120mm of travel at the rear, the chassis does a splendid job at keeping the FZ25 planted and balanced, be it at crawling speeds or when belting down an open highway.

Remember how the FZ16’s chassis (and the R15’s for that matter) felt like it could use more power? Well, the FZ25 feels exactly like that. Those 20-odd horses are not enough to give a full workout to that rigid chassis.

But if the rider can muster some enthusiasm overcoming the relaxed nature of the motorcycle, then the FZ25 is quick on its toes around corners. With a short stroke motor doing the duties, initial acceleration is on par with its competition but peters out as the revs climb and it takes about 9 seconds to hit 100kmph from standstill. Keep the throttle pinned and it will go on to record a top whack of over 130kmph.

Above 100kmph the bike sure feels like it could have used a sixth gear for improved highway touring capabilities. The 5-speed ’box works smooth and fine but at speeds beyond 100, vibrations creep in through the bars and pegs, which isn’t a very comfortable experience.

But lack of grunt is something that can still be forgiven. What we really missed on the FZ25 is ABS. There is no argument that the bike should have been launched with that critical bit of kit. At least as an option for those of us who have better survival instincts than others and therefore know that safety is priceless. However, to Yamaha’s credit, the anchors on the FZ25 are rather efficient at their duties. The 282mm disc brake upfront and the 220mm disc on the rear are enough to bring the FZ25 to a quick halt. Mostly without drama.

To summarise, there is no doubt that the Yamaha FZ25 is an accomplished machine. It made its entry into a pack that is known to cater to the needs of a feral lot of bikers and introduced sobriety to the game. Where others offered delight, the Yamaha offered dignity and as a result stood out of the pack.

Has it worked? The numbers aren’t quite out yet but from what we’ve seen on the roads in Pune, there seem to be a fair few takers for it. As to a verdict, the Yamaha is a well-rounded product that serves its purpose beyond expectations. If only, it was a little bit more exciting. These are just a few things that could be incorporated by Yamaha to make an already well-made product, the FZ25, that much better and more appealing for bikers upgrading from the smaller capacity FZ-series to the bigger FZ. Take care of those and you’re sorted.

Type 249cc, air-cooled, 1-cyl, SOHC
Bore X Stroke 74.0 x 58.0mm
Compression 9.8:1
Fuelling EFI
Claimed Power 20.9PS @ 8,000rpm
Claimed Torque 20Nm @ 6,000rpm
RBW/Riding Modes No
Traction Control No
Quickshifter No
Wheelie Control No
Launch Control No
Frame Diamond type
Front Suspension Telescopic fork
Rear Suspension Monoshock
Front Brakes 4-piston calliper 282mm discs
Rear Brakes 1-piston calliper, 220mm disc
Wheelbase 1,360mm
Seat Height 795mm
Kerb weight 148kg
Fuel Capacity 14 litres