Yamaha SZ-R Ownership Review by Sayan

Hi, this is Sayan Chakraborty, an M.Tech student of Jadavpur University. I am from Howrah, West Bengal and started my biking with a TVS Fiero-FX model. After taking admission to M.Tech program, I decided to buy a new bike for me. The change was required because there was a tickle in my heart pushing me towards a new bike. The Fiero was in perfect condition; still I decided to go for a change.

The Search Begins

Being an engineer, understand bikes and other factors is easy now, So this time I was pretty more confident and logical. I first of all select a segment for me which was 150cc. This is because in Howrah/Kolkata you need a blend of performance and economy. I am not a peed freak, So I knew 150cc is good for me.

Now, the list making time, I strike off Pulsar – 150 and Discover – 150 first because they were too common and reliability was not top class, Suzuki GS 150R was next to go due to poor after sale service. Then TVS RTR 160 follows the list because it has that small bike feeling. Honda Dazzler, Hero Honda CBZ Xtreme was off because I do not like them. R15 was out of my reach. I then sorted out bikes as-

  • Honda CB Unicorn
  • Hero Honda Hunk
  • Yamaha FZ-S

I choose Honda unicorn because it was the most reliable all-rounder of the lot.

Twist in the story

I knew about Yamaha SZ (didn’t choose because it was lacking disc brakes, tachometer etc.) But all of a sudden came to know about the upgraded SZ that is Yamaha SZ-R. Went to Yamaha dealer the very next day and it was love at first sight.

The Battle Begins

It was a duel between SZ-R and the Unicorn. Unicorn had the reputation of good mileage and performance and SZ-R had the looks and the promise of much more determined Yamaha Motors India.

Yamaha was one of my favorite and the quality of Honda was nothing but “Honda-class”, the only word that came into my mind describing the quality of Honda. It was a tough choice and I was in great confusion because I want this bike for really long term use. I started search the web where BikeAdvice.in helped me a lot but there was good reviews for both the bikes which keeps me in dilemma.

The Deciding Factor

SZ-R costs 8000 INR less than Unicorn though it lacks power as much as 1.3 Bhp but as I told earlier I do not need that extra power, and also, the carefully designed torque curve of SZ-R having peak torque of 12.8 Nm @ 4500 rpm was the thing I needed. I assumed maintenance of the two bikes to be same, even if the Unicorn returns 3km/l more mileage than SZ-R, think how much time it will take to cover the amount of 8000INR.

This was the perfect strategy Yamaha needed to increase their share in the market. I checked the bike and find no quality issues. Yamaha was a brand that can always be trusted, still I made the checks. I finalize Yamaha SZ-R. Went for the Quality-Red color and booked it.

The Day

3rd August 2011, I sat on the bike, twist the keys, the green (N) light goes on, touched the starter switch and the sleeping beauty wakes up. Pulled the cutch, rolled into the 1st gear and off we go.

Review Time

The honeymoon ended and real marriage begins for a bike owner from that very moment when he is handed over with the keys and gets off to his baby but for the lover/bikers, it never ends.

The Engine – Heart of the bike

  • The Engine is 153cc SOHC 2valve producing peak power of 12.1PS@ 7500 RPM and peak torque of 12.8Nm @4500rpm.
  • It’s the same engine that serves in FZ series but has been detuned for better fuel economy.
  • The engine is butter smooth though it’s not as quick as the other competitors. But it is carefully designed torque curve having peak @ only 4500rpm makes life easy in heavy traffic.
  • You will not feel vibration though have not pushed it far than 6500 rpm and that too is done after first 500km because the engine is new and the good thing is that you will not feel the engine heat on your leg due to its well designed sitting posture. It’s best if you don’t cross 4500 rpm for first 500 km and avoid more than 6000 rpm till you clock 1000 km on the odometer.
  • The gearbox is just perfect. No more words. There was a bit notch till first 50km but then it becomes butter smooth.
  • This is not the one to jump from a signal to another and zoom past the traffic but if you want comfort and ease of driving, this one is for you.

Design and looks

  • I personally feel it looks better than many other 150cc bikes and definitely better than the bikes of 125-135 cc segment.
  • The look is sporty though it has been mated with very conventional and comfortable upright sitting posture. It’s very well suited for tall men.
  • It has a very good ground clearance of 165mm and wheelbase of 1320mm.
  • The front mudguard, rear tail light is unique and adds a distinct look. The side cowls are aerodynamically designed and add a special appearance to the bike.
  • It has an analogue cockpit and I love to see the needle oscillating. I don’t like digital meters.
  • The rpm meter is unique and gives a very special look. There is also a engine malfunction light.
  • The fuel tank is very large (14L) and adds extra miles at a single refueling. It’s really an eye candy color quality.


  • This is where every Yamaha is good at and enjoys being on top and this one is also not an exception. Its handling is top class. Disc Brake is not as sharp as pulsars but still very good, do not have that sudden bite but it’s quite effective.
  • Suspension system handles the potholes very well. It’s presently in the middle of Hard-Soft settings i.e. the factory settings.
  • I found the confidence of curve in my very first ride with this baby, but it will still be better if the tyres were made of MRF.
  • SZ-R is equipped with tube tires. Tubeless tire such as in FZ series is not implemented here.

Overall Performance

If you are looking for a race breed don’t choose this one. But if you are in search of a (150/135) cc bike that has good mileage, awesome handling, very good comfort, good looks and low investment cost than this one is for you. It takes time to reach high on the Speedo but it’s really smooth through the rev range.

Its high torque characteristics reduces need of shifting gears frequently and it is very comfortable for long drives as it’s posture is very comfortable for your back and you will never feel back pain. People complains about it for being low on power but remember that it costs same as 125/135cc bikes and returns similar mileage figure and the advantage is it can breathe easy being an 150 cc so I found out the disadvantage to be an advantage.


I am presently getting 44km/l before my first service. This is good for a 150cc machine. I will advice not to choose a bike only for the reason of better mileage because there might be other expenses that might rip your pocket after 3-4 years. Better to have a little low but consistent economy.


It also has some demerits such as

  • Kick starter has been excluded (But you can fix it later).
  • There is no pass switch, engine kill switch, trip meter.
  • Has rigid footrest for the driver like old bikes (Though I feel it’s not a problem at all).
  • No digital console for digital-fans. And it consist tube tires.
  • And lastly the battery MINDA make and I am not very sure about its long term performance.

Final Verdict

It will be good if you consider all the factors before choosing your machine. All that I can say that SZ-R is a quality product and complete value for money. It is priced similar to 135/125 cc machines and gives similar performance and economy. Think twice before buying a 135/125 cc overlooking this baby.

And lastly, before I finish, all I must say is love your bike, take care of it. Always wear a helmet, obey traffic rules and fly safe. I thank Mr. Deepak for giving me the opportunity to express my views; readers please let me know what you think by your comments.

Note – The photos were taken at that very moment I decided to write this review and that was while coming back from university. It was raining that day and I thought to wash my bike before I take the pictures but then I thought we saw enough of Barbie dolls in the showrooms, our bikes rule the streets and that is how they look in rainy season, so welcome to ground reality, welcome to the beauty that stands in the mud. Hope you enjoyed the review. Right?

Sayan Chakraborty

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