Yamaha Revamps its Stable: A Closer Look

In yet another surprising news, Yamaha informed that production of their entry level Alba and Libero G5 along with the 125cc premium offering Gladiator has been stopped since April this year due to lesser demand for these models. According to Yamaha, these bikes were decided to get un-upgraded to Bharat Stage III norms till their stocks last. Though Alba did not seem to click anytime for Yamaha, Libero G5 was a decent performer at the sales chart.

The biggest surprise was the inclusion of Gladiator to this list. Though, after the launch of SS125 we were informed by Yamaha dealers that Gladiator would no longer be available, we remained skeptical. Gladiator was a good seller for the company in this segment but after the launch of Stunner, Pulsar 135, Flame and other strong competitors, its sales were just not picking up.

So how does the stable look like now?

100cc Corner…

CRUX: Towards the bottom of the spectrum is placed the versatile Crux which has been a long surviving decent performer for the company which has sold over 4 lakh bikes in India since its launch many years back. Crux, which churns out 7.6PS is a torquey 106cc bike which is placed at the entry level segment and is price attractively at around Rs.39,000. It directly competes with the Star series from TVS, Platina series from Bajaj and the best selling CD series from Hero Honda. However, with notorious fuel efficiency figures reported for this bike, it remains a laggard currently.

YBR 110: The recently launched YBR 110 is the youngest of the 100ccs in offer from Yamaha. And with the sudden demise of Libero G5, YBR has a lot to do for the company.

Similar in engine tune with Crux, this bike is placed as a premium offering in the segment which competes directly with some of the hugely popular, large selling models like the Splendor Plus and Splendor NXG from Hero Honda, Discover DTS-Si from Bajaj and Star City from TVS. Priced at Rs 46,000 on road, it sure has a competent value attached, however, it remains to be seen how Yamaha proceed with this brand.

125cc Corner:

YBR 125: Is the latest entrant in the 125cc folio for Yamaha. Lookwise, it resembles the smaller YBR 110 and technically it shares the same Gladiator’s 123.7cc engine. At 55,000 this bike doesn’t seem to offer anything to a buyer to get lured to; neither an enticing price tag nor any out of the world gizmos nor some nerve wrecking performance figures. It remains to be seen how Yamaha pursues with this model and how people receive this one.

SS125: Now after the axing of Gladiator, Yamaha is banking upon SS125 as the warhorse to compete against the paramount performers like the Pulsar 135LS from Bajaj, Glamour from Hero Honda, Shine from Honda and Flame from TVS.

With similar engine traits and specifications SS125 doesn’t seem to be an outperformer all the way but we, at BikeAdvice, always feel that Gladiator was a bigger and better brand and this bike could have been named as another Gladiator to mark a dent on any rival’s playgrounds.

150cc Corner:

With the ever burgeoning 150cc segment, we can safely classify it into three sub segments – the entry level, the mid level and Premium level. Yamaha has also pitched in two new models to snatch a pie from the market.

SZ: After the launch of Discover 150 from Bajaj at shattering prices, it marked an entry of a new sub segment, the entry level 150cc for those who want to own a 150cc bike at the price of 125cc ones. Yamaha has followed it up with SZ, which is offered in two variants- SZ X and SZ 150.

SZ is basically the same 153cc engine borrowed from FZ albeit under a lowered state of tune. The drop from 14PS to 12.1PS and 12.8Nm from 14Nm might seem huge but so does the price difference, from Rs 73,000 to Rs 55,000. SZ has been made as more of a city centric, low cost, point A to point B carrier. With this bike Yamahas dependency on FZ would also reduce. The biggest USP of this bike is the price point it is put at and we do expect Yamaha to garner a good market share from this offering posing a direct threat to Bajaj, the largest seller in this segment.

FZ: The trend setting swashbuckling FZ series has been the mainstay brand for the company for the past many months clocking more than 8000 units per month for the bygone financial year. FZ series starts with the FZ 16 at around Rs 73000, has FZ S placed at Rs 75,000 and then comes the semi faired Fazer at Rs 80,000 all equipped with the same engine, same tune, similar goodies and same attraction value. Yamaha also keeps on upgrading with new stickerworks and paint jobs to keep the freshness feeling alive in the product.

YZF R15: R15, when it was launched, marked the beginning of the Yamahas resurrection in India, the same Yamaha which were remembered as the makers of RX and RD series of super powered, insane performance oriented two strokers. R15 remains untouched by any rival company in India in terms of the sheer technical prowess it boasts of even after more than couple of years of its launch in India.

Though a price tag of 1.1 lakh, for an eventually 150cc machine, automatically ring red bells in majority of the Indian crowd, R15 has been a huge success considering everything stated just now! Technically and segmentwise it doesn’t have a single competition in the market yet but alas, in India price is the major segmentation factor. Anyways, R15 competes with Pulsar 220 DTSi from Bajaj and Karizma ZMR from Hero Honda for the stake of ‘who sells more’ quotient!

Superbikes Corner:

Then comes the insanely potent, furiously fast and marvelously gorgeous superbikes from Yamaha. The Indian lineup has the liter class Supersports YZF R1, the naked monsters MT01 and the powerhouse VMax at the top of the spectrum.

Though these make it out of the showrooms only to the lucky few, these are meant more to display the technical prowess of the Yamaha brand.

Some Would, Could and Might be’s:

Yamaha’s 100cc cadre, with the absence of Libero G5 doesn’t look very sparkling. Neither does the 125cc segment speak volumes with the axing of Gladiator. But it’s the 150cc ‘package’ which looks beautifully crafted for success. Yamaha’s 150cc arsenal always held it for the company but started at very high price tags which meant relatively lesser volumes. But now with a volume seller SZ added, Yamaha looks all set to rock the sales charts.

As we have described earlier, Yamaha has a bike at the entry level (SZ) and a bike at the premium level (FZ) , but there is definitely huge void between these – the mid layer which comprises of the max sellers. One more bike placed right at the throat of the largest selling 150cc in the country, Pulsar 150 would definitely help Yamaha bring in a lot more fanbase, though we do not expect this to be happening anytime soon.

How about a 250cc? Speculations are ripe about a single cylinder 250cc bike from Yamaha, which, if priced well, might give the sole performance sports Kawasaki Ninja 250R a company here in India, and Yamaha a much needed respect especially from the performance seeking biking aficionados of the country. Whatever be it, Yamaha has made it loud and clear to everyone that they are not going to sit and enjoy the success of FZ and R15. Yamaha is becoming aggressive with each launch and it might be very early to say, but has the potential to become a prominent top three manufacturer in the country.

– Saad Khan