Hello guys, I am Subhajit, a final year engineering student of ECE stream. This is the first time, I am writing a review of my bike. Wait, ‘a review’! ummm… better to call it a story, a story about my passion, my love and affection, a story about how I met my ‘Black Beauty’.

First of all, I like to thank Mr. Deepak Raj for giving me such an opportunity to write a review. I was planning abot it for a few months, as there is not much ownership reviews on Yamaha SZ-R, so, I guess, it will help the readers to some extent to have a brief idea about the bike.

The need of a Bike

My college is 9.5 kms. away from my home and I had to board 2 buses. All was going fine, until my 3rd year. Suddenly bus services began to become pathetic for students. From main bahaus stand, it was hard to get any bus if someone failed to board the bus at 9 am. sharp. After that bus conductors didn’t allow any engineering student to board on it, as they would pay the student fare (i.e. Rs. 2.5) instead of general fare (i.e. Rs. 5). As a result, bus services became limited for us.

The same drama was repeated by bus conductors also at the time of coming back to home. There were two consicutive days, when I walk back to my home from the main bus stand which is nearly 4.5 kms. Away from my home, 5 days, I went to college even by my cycle. My bus journey started becoming disgusting for me.

Everyday I boarded buses, I used to look at the bikes outside on the road and they used to allure me each and every time. And my inner soul always whispered, “You are missing something bro, get urself a bike and screw the bus conductors.” That was the time, I felt the need of a bike just next to “food, fire and rest”(well, literally).

The Story Behind the Choice

I learned to ride a two wheeler when I was in 8th standard and don’t laugh at me guys, it was my private tutor’s Bajaj M80 which was a moped. My biking era starts with my dad’s Hero Honda CD100 SS. That was a legebdary bike (still is) and I am really proud to say that it is still well maintained after covering 63k+ kms. and my dad is never gonna sell it.

But, as I didn’t have a licenses and not much experience of bike driving on road, I was not allowed to take my dad’s bike out alone. Even I get scolded many times while asking for that. Anyways, back to my story again. I started to convince my parents for a bike, I even asked my father for a second hand bike, as, I really hated the bus journey due to bad behaviours of conductors.

When I started to buy my own bike, I didn’t have any idea about which factors, I have to focus upon to find a right machine for me. I forced my dad to go to our nearest Yamaha showroom to see a FZ-S, having no planning to buy a bike for the next 5 or 6 months, yes friends, I was literally became mad for a bike, it was like ‘no bike, no college’ condition for me.

As my mom was dead against buying a bike for me, I had to face some hot environment in my home very often. At last I challenged my dad that, “I will buy it with my own money, I need not to depend on you”. Well, that was harsh. I told sorry to him later though. I did a 9 months survey over internet to find a machine that suites my need. During that period, even my friends got bored of me.

They used to run away whenever they saw me, as they knew that, I would again ask tham “which bike you think is good for me” probably for the 5th, 7th or 10th time. My choices kept on changing everyday as I read more and more reviews of different bikes of various bike makers. I collected templates of FZ-S, SZ-X, Apache, CBZ-xtreme and believe it or not even Mahindra Stallio. I took test drives of Yamaha SS-125, Apache 180, Unicorn (2008 model), CB-Twister, Pulsar 135LS, and how can I forget, ofcourse, Mahindra Stallio(that is because, I am a Aamir Khan fan…ha ha).

I finally ended up with the following list

  • Yamaha SS-125
  • TVS Apache RTR 160 Hyper Edge (pheewww, quiet a mouthfull name)
  • Bajaj Pulsar 135LS
  • Honda Stunner
  • Honda CB Unicorn/ Unicorn Dazzler
  • Hero Honda CBZ X-treme

CBZ X-trme and CB Unicorn Cancellation

However I didn’t find myself comfortable with CBS X-treme or CB Unicorn, due to their hiegher kerb weights, so I had to cancell them, as I find it hard to control them. Naturally, I was accustomed with the thin tank of CD100 SS, so they look to me as some big bikes to handle. But, I really fallen for X-treme and decided to give it a shot once, well that was not in my fate.

Pulsar 135LS Cancellation

I removed Pulsar 135LS from my list, as, bajaj lacks in durability and in each and every review, I found that 135LS is not comfortable for long drives and results in back ache also due to the hard seat. Honestly speaking, I once opted for that also just due to the 4 valve engine, super pick-up, price tag, and sporty look. But, that was not the bike for me, as, I wanted a bike which is durable and comfortable at the same time. As my primary needs was not accomplished, I had to remove that from my list also.

Honda Stunner Cancellation

When I was almost sure, that I would buy this bike, I asked some Stunner owners about it and they told that it vibrates at the speed of 60 kmph. Again, in some reviews, I found complains about it’s faulty mileage. It was written in one review that, “sometimes, it gives 60 kmpl, but sometimes consumes a litre of petrol for just 35 kms.” So, I had to cancell that also.

TVS Apache Cancellation

Apache is a machine, which can be called a ‘Wild Beast’, killer loks, the grunt, the raw power, the acceleration, totally a package full of power and performance and very hard to resist. But then came the saddest part of it, ‘Vibrations’. I didn’t find any single review not complaining about it’s vibration problems. Again, it is a bike of very high power and my dad was very much afraid of it, as, I was only used to a 100 cc engine (i.e. dad’s CD100 SS). So, had to cancel that with tons of pain in my heart.

Dazzler Cancellation

It was the machine with good power, great stability at higher speeds, good pick up, decent mileage, good breaking, nice weight balanced bike. But, had to cancel it due to one reason looks. Sorry to say, but, I just failed to understand why HONDA bike designers has given that look, no sharpness, no allurance, nothing. The bike looks neither sporty nor conservative, rather funky. But it is a good machine after all. Unfortunately I was not to compromise with looks atleast.

Finally SS-125

After so much cancellations, the only choice left to me was Yamaha SS-125. The reasons behind choosing this were:- Sporty looks, decent mileage (55-57 kmpl, as stated by one of my friend), less vibrations (vibrations creep at 90+ kmph), good pick up, excellent durability (I still see many gladiators on the roads running totally fine and having the paintjob intact on them), comfortability.

Then my dad asked me the million dollar question:- “You have decided that is good, but where from you will have the money to book that.” I kept silent, started waiting for my scholarship’s money to hit my bank account. 14th April, 2011, I went to nearest ATM counter to take out some money, I needed and, after withdrawl, when I see the balence, I was on cloud 9.

My scholarship was already reached. I called my dad and said, “get ready, we have to go to somewhere.” My father was totally in dark, untill I reached home. Then I went to that Yamaha showroom again. I was very happy that I will book my chosen machine. Then came the twist. There were two black SZ-R available at that time. The bike was a newly launched one and I havn’t seen a single piece of that on road till then.

One of my friend who is studying automobiles engineering in Bangalore once advised me for SZ-X. I thought a little and then asked the showroom people for a test drive. Just a single kilometer almost, it forced me to think about it. Finally I booked a SS-125 or SZ-R (blue) and paid them Rs.5k from my scholarship. And the wait began.

I was still dual minded, what should I go for? SZ-R was totally a new launch, without kick start (now they are coming with kick starters though) and the battery is not even of dry cell, moreover, there was not much reviews about that bike. I started reading reviews about SZ and SZ-X, as all of them possess the same engine. After 2 weeks or so, the showroom people called to confirm my booking, I told them to book one SZ-R of blue colour.

I told that because, I reminded that, when I test drove SZ-R, it seemed that it was just made for me. It perfectly suited my physique and requierments. 11th may, 2011, I got my black beauty home, as blue colour was not available then. I was on heaven, well, literally, I guess all bike enthusiasts will agree with me about how it feels to have your dream machine home.

First Ride

I took my black beauty on one of the most congested roads of my town, with my best friend as a pillon rider, whose weight is 90+ kgs. and belive me guys, there was not a single moment, when I felt of loosing the control. Each twists and turns it managed easily with a slightest effort. The nimbleness and handling amazed me. I felt, like, I was used to that bike for years. From that very first day, till now, I am equally amazed by its performance.

Crushing the Road at My Top Speed Till Now

On the day of the last examination of the last sem, I drove my bike at a top speed of 105 kmph with a pillion rider weighing 65kgs., almost. The performance? well, it was rock steady, no slightest vibrations, no slightest feel of loosing control, nothing. After I crossed 80 kmph mark, the engine sound as well as the feeling of the throttle response changes and becomes so smooth, that you will feel like floating in the sky.

Well, enough emotional stories, I guess, let me now focus on the main parts. That is, how much points, I’m gonna give my bike in different aspects.

Handling

I’ve already talked about it in above captions, so definitely, I will give-> 9/10.

Engine and Transmission

The smoothness is just next to Honda, you will be thinking like cutting a bar of butter with a hot knife, it is the best, I can tell to describe the transmission. Engine is basically the same engine that serves the FZ series, but slightly downtuned to provide better mileage, i.e. 12.1 PS @ 7500 rpm, instead of 14 PS @ 7500 rpm(FZ series).

And further, it produces a torque of 12.8 Nm @ 4500 rpm, that helps a lot to prevent frequent gear shifts in traffic. In 5th gear, I drove at 28 kmph single and at 32 kmph with a pillion without knocking. Hence, it is pretty much clear that it helps a lot in city commuting. So, I will give-> 9/10.

Looks

It’s look is sporty and at the same time, classic also. In one word, it’s a sober looking bike. It suites the teenagers, as well as the professionals even the middle aged people also. And it’s looks is totally unique. Even, now also, I recieve many staring glances at the traffic signals. Moreover, in my college, my SZ-R stands out in the crowd of Pulsars, Passions, and other bikes. The extended visors and plastic tank protectors give it a really mascular look. So, a 9/10 again for looks.

Performance

Upto 60 kmph, the bike takes time, but post 60 kmph, it crushes upto 90 kmph in no time, but again, it swallows a good amount of time to cross 100 kmph mark. This bike is also not for instant pick-up, like apaches or Pulsars, you have to twist the throttle gently, letting the machine to grab speed at it’s own frequency.

It behaves in a conservative manner, it will meet your needs, but in it’s own ways. You have to give its throttle a gentle twist. So, it’s definitely not an option or choice for speedo fans or racing type of people. My ratings-> 8/10, because, however, I am not a speedo fan and like to enjoy my journey with my black beauty.

Suspensions

Telescopic fork type front suspension and Swing arm type rear suspensions work just fine. The pillion rider also feels as comfortable as the driver. My ratings-> 7.5/10

Tyres

Front is 2.75-17 41P 4PR size and rear one is of 100/90-17 55p size, with tubes and a little disappointment here, tyres are TVS eurogrip ones. It is done so basically to cut the cost of the bike. So, during rainy seasons, you have to drive cautiosly. But, again, the grip is sufficient enough, to drive in normal road conditions. I have not met with any skidding incident till now. So, a 7.5/10 will do good, I guess.

Brakes

They are just too good. Even, if you apply the disc brakes hard, the bike won’t skid. One of my friend owns a pulsar, he test drove my SZ-R inside a playground where there were less grasses. He applied the disc brakes hard each and every time. At the end, the words came from his were, “This disc is excellent, my pulsar always skids on applying hard discs, but, it takes them at ease, really mindblowing yaar” (don’t mind Pulsar lovers, please, that was not my comment). Again, 9/10.

Electricals

Now comes the disappointing parts. The horns are a little bit poor, it should be made louder. The 12 volt, 35 watt headlamp sometimes lok poor at night, specially, in highways. So, a 6.5/10.

Mileage

“Kitna deti hai?” Well, quiet satisfactory. Upto 3rd service, I recorded a mileage of 40-44 kmpl. After that, the oil pipe was bound and mileage was improved. After 3rd servicing, I got 47 kmpl minimum and 52.25 kmpl maximum mileage. Generally I get 48-50 kmpl constant mileage in mixed driving conditions. I am sincerely looking forward to get a 55 kmpl, claimed by the company. A 153 cc angine, the manufacture named ‘Yamaha’, which deals with a little less practicality and a mileage of 48-50 kmpl, I think, is pretty justified and decent also. I will give a 8.5/10.

Overall rating: 8.5/10

Bike specifications at a Glance

Overall Length, Width, Height: 2050 mm., 730 mm., 1100 mm.
Seat height: 802 mm.
Wheelbase: 1320 mm.
Minimum Ground Clearance: 165 mm.
Kerb Weight: 132 kgs.
Engine Type: Air cooled, 4 stroke, SOHC
Cylinder Layout: Single Cylinder
Displacement: 153 cc
Bore * Stroke: 58 * 57.9
Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
Maximum Power Output: 12.1 PS @ 7500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 12.8 Nm @ 4500 rpm
Starting Method: Electric Start
Engine Oil Volume: 1000 ml.
Lubrication Type: Wet Sump
Fuel Tank Volume: 13.8 litre
Fuel Supply: Carburator
Ignition Type: CDI
Battery: 12V, 5 AH(10H)
Head Light: Halogen Bulb (12V, 35/35W)
Primary / Secondary reduction ratio: 3.409 / 3.000
Clutch Type: Wet, Multiple-disc
Transmission Type: 5 Gear Constant Mesh
Gear Ratios: 1st = 2.714 , 2nd = 1.789 , 3rd = 1.318 , 4rth = 1.045 , 5th = 0.917
Frame Type: Diamond
Caster / Trail: 26 degree / 99 mm.
Tyre Size (Front / Rear): (2.75-17 41P) / (100/90-17 55P)
Brake Type (Front / Rear): Disc(160 mm.) / Drum(130 mm.)
Suspension (Front / Rear): Telescopic / Swingarm

Pros

  • Comfortability
  • Engine durability
  • Great handling
  • Decent mileage
  • Sober, matured and unique looks
  • Full chain cover
  • The price is justified(previously 62.5k OTR, now 2k extra for kick start.)

Cons

  • No engine kill switch
  • No pass indicator
  • No instant pick-up
  • No digital meters(I’m happy with my anlog meters, but, surly a dissappointment for digifans)
  • Little weak horns and headlight
  • MRF zapper tyres would be better
  • No kick start(If the engine is not in use for more than 3 days, you have to keep the choke on for a few minutes, i.e. it takes time, but never disappoints you.)
  • Ground clearance is a little less (I got my bike’s lower most portion hit 6 times by little bit higher bumps on double load).

Special Attractions, According to me

  • I must say, the machine gun type muffler covering the silencer gives a different benchmark to the bike, it looks even matured and sexier than R15’s silencer.
  • Introducing for the first time, horizontally placed dual LED tail lamp.
  • The engine sound is totally unique, it’s like a sweet melodious tune. And you will love more to hear the sound after 80+ kmph.

So, to sum up all the points, the moral of my story is- Choose this bike, if you want a decent performance, if you are not a die hard speedo fan, if you want a comfortable ride, with a durable, reliable engine and good handling and above all a unique look. I feel very proud to say YES!Yamaha.

Some Tips

  • Coming back from a long drive, never put your bike on side stand, as the engine oil will be stored in a particular place inside the engine.
  • Always make a habit of taking out the small pieces of stones, stuck within the tyres, it will not only save the tyres, but also, will prevent skidding on a large extent.
  • Take utmost care of your bike during the run-in period.
  • To increase mileage, use the torque well and drive at less than the rpm, specified for the maximum torque figure.
  • Take care of your bike like your sweet heart, and believe me, it will never let you down, though it’s a machine, it has a heart also.
  • Wear helmet, obey traffic rules and ride safely.

Comments are welcome.

Regards,
Subhajit

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