August 10th, 2009. I rode my hero Honda pleasure (as for the past 3 years) in roads of Trichur, always feeling struck with envy when watching the other guys zooming by on their Pulsars, Apaches, CBZs and Unicorns. I came across a parking slot and next to me was parked a muscular bike. I knew this was the most talked about Yamaha FZ 16 and I was having a close up view for the first time, having only seen the bike in showrooms and the net. As I didn’t know how to ride a geared bike, I dared not go into the showroom and ask for a test ride.

yamaha-fz16-street-bike-india

September 10th, 2009. I was riding a new blazing black FZ 16 on the same street watching other people (guys and gals) who use to ignore me, giving a slight look at the bike. And for someone who is used to being ignored by others for the past 3 years, on road; getting noticed was great. I took a deep breath and sat erect and rode the bike (like riding an elephant).

Enough of dramatics, I have been a proud owner of this bike for the past 1 month. It took me 2.5 years to convince my parents to buy me a bike and finally when it was the right time, I knew I had to buy the best bike in the category. I am a student and have to travel around 24km daily (that too in 10-15minutes) , so a 150cc bike was essential. I had zeroed on the Honda unicorn, Hero Honda hunk and the Suzuki GS150R. I first went to Honda. They simply seemed bored and replied to my inquiry that the bike would take 50 days in booking, no discount (It was onam season). Their cold attitude had just lost them one potential customer.

Next, went to Hero Honda. They offered the limited edition Hunk (wine red) for rs.62,300 on road. Since this was the cheapest and Hunk seemed to be a good bike (I then decided to book it.) I had canceled the Suzuki GS150R, not because it was bad but because it didn’t have anything new. No striking looks, but a good bike all the same. But on the day, I was to buy the hunk; I went by impulse to the Yamaha showroom. There the FZ 16 and FZ-S stood there receiving me. I was told that there was a discount of Rs.3000 for students. So the on-road price came to Rs.69,300. (My budget was 70,000 ). After hearing the advantages and disadvantages and its comparison to other bikes, I decided that this would be my first bike. I got the bike on the same day of cash payment.

Now the problem was to learn bike riding. I am an expert driver in cars and keeping that in mind I sat on the FZ and started the bike. My first start and ride on my first bike! It took me just 2km to be a pro in riding the FZ. That is the bike. It gives confidence even to starters. Now, after the first service, I have completed 700km. So initially, here were some of the “assumptions” I had on the bike.

  • No kick start. If the starter fails, you have to push and drag and start (like cars.)
  • The bike looks like a toy.
  • Lesser weight, hence lesser control.
  • The digital instruments is dull
  • The back seat is just a virtual thing. A pillion cannot ride for long.

Based on these and my personal experience, I shall write. My review won’t be technical. I shall use my knowledge and explain my views.

Engine and Performance: When the pulsar was introduced first in 2001, it was applauded as a technically brilliant and an advanced-bike-for-its-class. That was one of the reasons it became an instant hit. In 2008, Yamaha has repeated the same. The FZ is just one step ahead of its competitors and we have obtained a true performance bike in the 150cc group. The bike uses a SOHC , air-cooled 153cc engine. The maximum power is 14bhp and torque is 13.6Nm (Even if these were not the characteristics, I would have bought it anyway). When you sit on the bike and start it, the sporty riding position instills in you a feeling of pride. The position is excellent, just like the Unicorn and GS150R. You can ride straight for one hour, without any strain. Hence backpain is absolutely nil. The handlebars are wide which offer a comfortable position.

engine-fz16

The bike starts just 2 seconds on pressing the starter. On mornings, I use the choke, as it is recommended for long engine life. Speaking on the absence of a kick start. Suppose you bought a new car. Are you worried that the car won’t start. There will be no starting problem atleast for the first 2 years. Since cars don’t have kickstart, the same thing applies to bikes. A well maintained battery lasts upto 1.5-2 years. Sports bikes like R1 , Hayabusa and the new P180 & P220 also come with self-starters only. You must sense that since the bike starts with self, the companies shall place an extra emphasis on the battery.

The bike starts with a pleasant sound, not silent like the Unicorn and not loud like the Apache and Pulsar. The sound is like something is waiting in the engine for you to unleash. The gear is one down, 4 up. There is no chance for false neutral and for neutral; you have to shift down to 1st and then shift up. The gear is of toe type, which looks sporty and all the same, may cause discomfort to those wearing sandals. The bike handles like a cruiser bike and is not rough like its brother the R15.

The bike is designed to provide low-end torque, meaning performance in low speeds. The power flow is smooth and takes just 5.5 seconds for 0-50km. I shift the gears at 4000rpm. The gears were initially a bit hard, but after the 1st service, this has become smooth. The power, though not the best, is ideal especially for riding the cities. In my opinion, this is the best bike to have when you ride mostly in a busy city. Till 0-70kmph, the ride is smooth and refined (not super refined like unicorn). Well, 150cc bikes should be a bit rough. (When a bike is extra smooth, it’s meant for ladies). You should have some feeling of control over the bike. The bike can be used to overtake extensively, with confidence, as the delta frame and lesser weight results in more stability and control. The gear ratios are excellent, and meant for city. You can ride in 5th gear at 20kmph without engine knocking. This means lesser shifting of gears. I ride mostly in the 50-55 speed, and it is the ideal speed for the bike.

Braking is good. The disc brake makes you feel really safer but the back brake could have been disc. The drum brakes are a bit loose. Anyway I use the front and back brake together, it is the best braking mode, for any bike and makes you stop right where you want to. The exhaust is trendy and the bike is somewhere between silent, and rugged. I have gone till 80kmphr. But after 75kmph, the vibrations start kicking in (At higher speeds, you won’t even know.) The maximum speed is touted to be at 115-120km/hr. It takes the highways for proper testing. Anyway the optimum speed is 3500rpm at 45-50kmphr.

Looks, Stability,Weight and Suspension: You are all familiar with the FZ 1000. The FZ 16 is just a miniature FZ 1 with the headlight and instrument and engine looking similar. Fat tyre at the rear, beefy tank, beefy front fork compliments the FZ16’s muscular character, which has become a huge hit among the young crowd in India.

fz16-suspension

In looks, the bike may look like a toy but on close contact, it is surely great. I think it’s the best looking bike in the 150cc segment. The bike has a diamond frame which is designed for good ergonomics (says Yamaha). The bike comes without an engine and crash guard. The only way to fix a crash guard is to remove the side fairing and weld any other crash guard. It takes away the looks are gone. The engine tank is of metal, coated by plastic resin. The huge size of the tank is due to the resins. The actual tank is inside and carries 12litre with 1.4 reserves. So if you have a fall, you get scratches on the tank. The engine is protected (Yamaha service personnel have claimed that the side resin extensions cost “just” 300 each and can be replaced). So be prepared to shell out rs.600 every time you fall.

The bike has a midship muffler, and the silencer is concentrated toward the centre. This means good centre of gravity. The bike weights just 125kg. The pulsar, hunk, unicorn and apache and gs 150 are above 140kg. This is one of the main advantages of the fz. You get absolute control and accidents by means of losing control may be avoided. The bike is very stable and this accounts for city riding, where the bike can be taken through any gaps, and overtaking can be taken with confidence. The rear tire is a massive 140/60 MRF, 5 spoke alloyed tubeless and offers the best grip on the road. The wheel base is 1335mm. The ground clearance is a bit low at 126mm, meaning that riding with a pillion may cause the centre stand to touch the road on bumpy roads.

fz16-midship

The suspension is the same as of sports and cruiser bikes. The monoshock is the best of the suspensions for our roads. The bike comes with the widest telescopic forks in the front, and a 7-step adjustable monoshock in the rear, it offers the smooth ride like unicorn, both for the front and back rider. Even on roughest of roads, the bike didn’t stumble and was smooth. The monoshock is tuned more toward rough, as it helps in better control.

The seat is cushioned and is a breeze to sit. Sadly Yamaha seems to have forgotten about the pillion rider. The back seat is not just a virtual, but it is larger than the apache’s and is of the same size as the hunks. But the position is higher than the other two. A pillion may be carried without strain upto 20km. (You can reposition the foot pegs for better seating position, with an external mechanic).

Mileage: For the bike that takes 5.5 seconds from 0-60. And is designed for low end torque and focuses more on acceleration and performance, it would be unjust to expect plus 60 mileage. Yamaha makes performance oriented and not mileage oriented. The company claims 40-50 range of mileage. I have obtained 44kmpl for the very first liter of petrol (ordinary). Before the 1st service, having mostly ridden in the 45-50kmph speed, I had obtained 50-51kmpl 3 times. After the 1st service, I had mostly started riding in 60-65 speed and the mileage obtained was 43kmpl (mixed). I have seen in a user review that the maximum mileage ever obtained by fz 16 is 58kmpl on the Mumbai pune highway. So with comfortable ride, you could get 40-55 range. The extra premium petrol is not recommended.

Highway and City Ride: The bike can be rode like a cruiser on the highways, No strain and no back problem. The power at 4000rpm is smooth. But the bike causes a bit over confidence and you might want to overtake any possible bike. So riding at 50kmphr is hard. The mileage obtained by me in highway like conditions was something between 51-54kmpl. On cities, you have to use minimum of gear shifts and can be rode effortlessly. The mileage obtained in city was 42-44kmpl. I would recommend this to anyone to ride in the busy cities.

Instrumentation & Digital Consoles: Like the FZ 1, the instrument cluster is small so that the headlight is accentuated to give it a performer look. The instrument is fully digital and carries the speedometer,tachometer, odometer, and fuel guage. An indicator for engine trouble has been provided ( of course, you can see that the engine is troubled when you experience, no need for an indicator). The display is small and is a bit over colored, so that it looks bright and toy ful. I would have been satisfied with an analog tachometer but since it goes well with the looks, it would do. And for a bike that works on battery, a battery level indicator and a warning indicator should have been essential. This seems forgotten. The headlamps are bright enough to stop the cars and bikes at night. This has got a single pilot lamp. But the lamps have to be used optimum as they drain on the battery.

My Verdict: If you are…

  • Looking for the best looking 150cc bike.
  • Mostly ride alone.
  • Want a safer, smooth, comfortable ride.
  • And looking for the ideal bike for city driving

Then the Yamaha FZ 16 is the bike for you. At Rs.72,300 on road, it is a bit expensive, but you won’t be dissatisfied.

The Cons: I hate to write, but there is no such thing as a 100% perfect bike…

  • The bike is overpriced for 72300, for this amount, you would expect a fuel injected bike. For the same amount you can get the apache RTR180, which is more of a performance bike.
  • The lack of crash guard. (Anyway makes you to ride safe and avoid accidents).
  • The back seat. Yamaha could have made it smooth and accommodating.
  • For a performance bike, the vibrations start to kick in as early as 75 kmph. This could have been avoided.
  • The display could have been simpler, with analog tachometer.
  • The service of Yamaha really needs to improve a lot. Yamaha gave us a true street bike, but they should also have improved upon the services.

Finally, about the competitors, for the same amount of Rs.73,000 on road, you can get the Pulsar 180, Apache RTR 160 and RTR 180. Well the thing that is better with these 3 bikes are, for the price of FZ 16 are:

  • Much more power. Apache 180 and pulsar 180 has 17Ps of power.
  • Torque and power distribution are more advanced than FZ 16.
  • Service of Bajaj and TVS are better than Yamaha.

So to all prospective buyers, if a bit more budget doesn’t bother you, be ready to shell out Rs.73000and you can have the bike which suits best for our busy roads as well as occasional highway trips. The comfort and stability is much better than its competitors. Buy one and join the league of the ‘Lord of the streets’. 🙂

– Vineeth

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33 COMMENTS

  1. Wooooow Vineeth, that is one of the most detailed articles on the FZ16. You have found your perfect bike and I am sure many would find their perfect bike reading your article. Super stuff.

  2. a very very honest and accurate review..yu hv learned about yo bike reasonably wel till now dude…gud going..its a gud byk but a bit over priced 4 its segment as u said..

  3. New bike owners usually are blinded by the love for their new bike which makes them hide the -ve points subconsciously. You have got maturity. Great article. Best review I ever I got from a reader 🙂

  4. Excellent review dude. And you are right, this bike is over priced compared to other 160+cc bikes available in India.
    The bike is made for the one’s who are not concerned about pricing.
    Ride hard and ride safe.

    Cheers!

  5. Buddy you have told in the article that you have rode a pleasure.so how was the transition from non gear to gear bike.Since i too am making the transition and will buy a GS 150R soon.

  6. This is undoubtedly the best review i read so far. I hope somebody writes a detailed review like this about the Fazer,coz I’m planning to buy a Fazer this December as I’m turning 18 only then..

  7. OMG.. what a long post.
    to be honest, i didnt even bother reading this review as I think it was solely written for the R1 contest =P

  8. Thanks for your comments. It sure is a compliment on my review.
    I have written this review based on my passion and my experience. And regarding the mileage, I have read in a post on another site that the new fazer has got 60 mileage. It is claimed to be obtained by riding the bike at 4000rpm at 50-55km/hr on a straight (?) highway. If its true then, it is the best fz series

  9. Hey, nice review.. About the vibrations, it s not true. I too own a fz and have driven more than 100 kmph and i dint experience any vibrations..

  10. guys i hav a doubt. does this bike hav a delta frame ? i guess not. but the writer has written. nd does lesser weight mean more stability??? plz comment on this

  11. Hi Vineeth,

    In one of the cons you have written that the vibrations kick in after 75kmph,but i have taken the bike to 120kmph and still havent felt any vibration, the bike almost feels the same as it does at 60kmph

  12. Sorry, the Fz doesn’t have a delta frame. The R15 has. I think I overlooked the fact.
    About vibrations, I still haven’t tested the bike on a long highway. I always feel something under the seat and on the handles after crossing 75km. Maybe it differs for bikes

  13. Hi
    i own fz past 6months it never vibrates like bajaj brands…i tested a 117 Km/hr it can beet even 180 cc pulsar..i have done that handling there is nothing front of this machine

  14. Hi Guys,
    I own FZ for past 5 months…before buying it my total on road experience on a two-wheeler was just around 4-5 hours rather about 200 kms. I always used to have nightmares about skidding and losing control on a bike and hence was resistant to buy one….then i met FZ……and trust me it got me rid of all those nightmares….now i have this habit of going fast usually since i got such an awesome bike underneath (partially due to the new passion and enthu of riding) and so many times encountered pits and bad conditioned roads out of nowhere…and the way my fz handles them is like it says to me…”don’t u worry…i’ll take care of them”….the only thing i am scared of this bike is that i am getting used to it and the kind of confidence it gives me while driving…and if someday i have to drive a pulsar or an apache god only knows how many accidents i will meet….

  15. Deepankar
    thats true my friend has pulsar 180 we both had a drag on a main road suddenly a auto riksha came in front of both the bikes the pulsar lost the control and ketp the leg and manged to stop and skids but i did a 60 degree stoppy with out any tension..it was the most coolest stoppie had done my mistake..but bad luck for that pulsar you have to be read to jump from your bike or leave on the road..

  16. I agree with B.Karthik tiwari . I have experienced the same thing with the bike.
    I dont think now any other bike could satisfy me in terms of control, stability and efficiency as FZ’s got !
    Great job yanaha

  17. Vineet bro that’s an absolutely straight from the heart review I’ve ever read.5 * rating to you.
    If not for the RTR Fi it would definitely have been an FZ for me.Some thing about this bike hypnotizes me and I can’t stop ogling at it.

    Ride safe.Merry Christmas & Happy Newyear.
    Fi-Nite

  18. Wow Man what a deatiled analysis. Never have i been more enlightened. The sweet thing is you have done away with all the tech and even a novice can understand. way to go bro.

    BYE

  19. There is a puncture kit that comes with necessary tools….u can just fix the puncture yourself without even taking it to any shop….the kit comes with 5 cold mending rubber strips which need to be inserted at the place of puncture with the help of the provided tools….the rubber strip gets glued with tyre and jams the puncture….

  20. Hi, is it true that FZ-16 engine gets over heated by long drive compared to other 150cc bike. I rode the bike for 1.5 hr continuously and it was heated like nothing else….Please reply.. is there something to do to address this problem.

  21. I am riding my FZ from past 1 year & completed 12000kms.
    It is a very good bike ment for everything like city ride, Highway crusing. This bike does not lag in anything. I have raced with RTR160, P150, P180 & P200 even P220 once. This thing can fire off the road like a bullet from a gun. Yamaha have tuned the engine for particular Street bike style. It doesn’t mean that it only can do this. The problem is it does not have proper airfilter capability at high speeds. On long runs it does not get overheated but actually the air supply is not sufficient. While travelling at high speeds engine requires right amount of air & fuel to burn. Yamaha have set the mixture high for Low end torque, thats why it lags at top end & also the gear ratio, both front & back sprockets also do help in good performance. FZ is really good for the price it is offering. There is no other bikes you can freely modify than the YAMAHA.

  22. All right, Harish I have owned the fz for over 5 months and 4000km, later my opinion is that it surely is worth its 72000 price tag. I suggest go for the iridium spark plug and k & n filter which would cost you Rs.550 and Rs.1600. I have heard that the performance is good and you also get an increase fuel efficiency of 5-6 kmpl.
    This is the best bike for those looking for a 150cc bike for use in heavy traffic in busy cities.

    • Hi vineeth,
      What you are suggesting is not good for the life and mileage of the bike.
      A K&N air filter introduces more air into the carb. which means you also need to introduce more fuel to burn by upjetting thus reducing your mileage by 4-5km. Also an iridium spark plug doesnt make much difference when compared to stock except that on very cold morning start it gets done quickly i.e it takes less voltage and reaches higher temperatures. Also introducing an k&N means more combustion, so more stress on pistons

  23. If ordinary tyre gets punctured, we can spend Rs.30 and repair it. Fz16 has tubeless tyre. If fz16 tubeless tyre gets punctured, it cannot be repaired. You have to throw away your punctured tubeless tyre and buy new tubeless tyre by spending Rs.3000. Is there any solution for this?

  24. @Antony, if the tubeless tyre of FZ-16 gets punctured, you can get it repaired easily. The puncture repair of tubeless tyre costs around Rs 50 and its done in 30 seconds. A special material is inserted directly in the tyre to repair it. I have got it done many times 🙂

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