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Old 5th October 2013, 18:07   #1
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Default Reason over rep : 2013 Yamaha SZ-RR

Many auto-loving people I know, stop talking about motorbikes after they buy their first cars ( or an Enfield ) (or both!). Not me; I can put up with the monsoon for a carefree riding experience even in traffic. So, I thought I should write a little on my recent change of motorbike, to make the equation with the car world less uneven.
[ After writing for some time, I realized it wasn't little! ]

My preference is functional machines good for the daily commute (a.k.a grind); driveability on the highway is also useful, because it translates to comfort on a long commute. Translation: I am no petrol-head!

My first few years of biking were on our family workhorse, CD 100 SS. After my commute grew from 3 kilometres to 12 & then to 20, I moved to an LML Freedom. It was pretty good commuting (& the odd Bangalore-Mysore trip) for 10 years & 68K kilometres, in spite of LML leaving me in the hands of local mechanics. I had to go for a new motorbike.

Around this time, I saw that team-bhp wasn't entirely about cars. As somebody I know put it, even bikes have BHP! I started following some topics of interest. I posted some of my bike preferences on a related thread:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motorb...ml#post3183327 (Which bike for super back comfort?)

The 100cc-125cc category had become uninteresting because of their excessive focus on F.E. Any torquey engine can give good F.E in the hands of somebody willing to use the torque instead of wringing the throttle. The LML Freedom, a 110cc bike, used to give me 58-62kmpl for 6-7 years, after which it dropped a little to 56kmpl+ due to insufficient servicing care. On the other hand, any super-F.E bike will give less F.E if the rider wrings the throttle.

F.I bikes were out due to maintainence concerns; most F.I bikes are new even to A.S.C mechanics, & local mechanics or owners have almost no hope of doing proper maintainence.

The higher-cc carburetted category was intriguing; while a Bullet would have been too old-school & too bulky, I fancied the Karizma-R; it can put a smile on anyone's face! I only gave it up because it isn't too friendly to saree-clad pillion riders, has a half-peg gear shifter & its bulk is just about perceptible, making manoeuvring it in traffic a little bit of work.

It was all down to the 150cc carburetted bikes.

I got castigated for this by literally everybody I know, but I dropped the Unicorn from the reckoning! It had nothing to do with the bike itself. The Honda salesperson made it sound like a bank deposit - "Unicorn? 79,xxx on-road." (no mention that saree guard, etc. were additional cost bringing it up to 81K). Worst of all, the dealership I went to had no test ride vehicle! I was asked to go to another one in the heart of the city.

I wasn't going to pay that much money for a dated design (although one which most people, including me, like for its aesthetics) & this sort of attitude (it would have been convenient to go to that dealer for service too), just for the Honda brand (which doesn't involve quality beyond the bike itself). If my LML experience (and my car experience with Fiat) taught me anything, it is that a bad/non-existent A.S.C can spoil the best of machines.

Last edited by GTO : 7th October 2013 at 13:50. Reason: Please use the EDIT or MULTI-QUOTE buttons instead of typing one post after another!
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Old 5th October 2013, 18:40   #2
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Default re: Reason over rep : 2013 Yamaha SZ-RR

Fascinating. Bring it on!

Quote:
it isn't too friendly to saree-clad pillion riders
Err.... How???
I mean to say it isn't all that bad. It probably has one of the best pillion seats in the country. And if you think of ZMA this way, I winder what will you make of the R15.
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Old 5th October 2013, 18:45   #3
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I won't dwell much on the other candidates.

The GS150R was recommended by a colleague, but Suzuki has the Honda attitude, without the sales ...

The Hero bikes with derivatives of the Unicorn engine weren't considered; none apart from the Extreme appealed to me, & none justified being priced more than the Unicorn. I actually didn't test-drive any of them after seeing the Karizma ...

I didn't even bother with Bajaj; the experience people I know have had with Bajaj has been machines that might be good to ride, but aren't long-lived (almost on purpose so that another Bajaj can be sold); I know of exceptions too with longer-lived Pulsars, but it wasn't common ...

If its height isn't an issue, the Apache RTR 160 is a sweet deal of a mean machine. But I felt it was too short for me & only half-heartedly enquired about it ...

I had never ever thought of considering a Yamaha. I had alteast 1 eye on F.E !

I was just looking to avoid the almost-150kg bikes. Leaving out Bajaj & TVS, there was only Yamaha. People I know vouched for Yamaha bike quality & decent service. Hopefully they are right.

I felt the FZ wasn't that pillion-friendly & were very petrol-pump-friendly, so I had to let it go out of the picture. Ditto the Fazer (I was just about OK with the looks, not a fan anyway). The R15 was anyway too expensive & F.I to boot, the maintainence of which I wasn't comfortable with.

The SZ was a very different proposition altogether. At almost 10K lesser on-road price than the FZ, it wasn't that expensive. At 153cc, it quoted a very modest 12.8 bhp when others quote 14+bhp. Internet opinion of its top-speed was just over 100kmph. Is it a Yamaha ?

Thankfully there were other un-Yahama points too. With max.torque kicking in at 4500rpm, low-gearing just like the LML Freedom & the rear tyre being a modest but sane 100/90, it looked better prepared & less petrol-pump-friendly on a commute than the FZ (losing out a little on highway kicks). And at 134 kgs, it wasn't that heavy.

It looked quite convincing.

The whole feel you get when you step into a Yamaha showroom is that its all about motorbikes! Not about F.E, cost of ownership, resale value, number of service centres ... about motorbikes. That actually might have had more of an impact on my decision than anything else.

The salesperson was cordial & filled me in a few details on the bikes. I went for the SZ straight-away & took a test-ride. The test bike was decently maintained. The test-ride was very short, maybe a couple of hundred metres. I couldn't find a comfortable posture until a second test-ride.

The first thing I realized was that the torque numbers & gearing translated into terrific in-gear response! I later read about it elsewhere on the Internet too; it was great to be able to ride at 2500rpm+ in any gear without knocking. Engine response is very linear & all the revs I could build up made their presense felt. Acceleration was smooth, convincing but not thrilling. The bike was very agile & hassle-free to maneuovre. The seat was great, well-cushioned and resulting in a good posture - not entirely upright but leaning forward just a little bit. Pillion comfort was good too. The suspension did a very good job to taking the edge off road imperfections.

The main drawbacks I felt were a slightly "loose" feel to the engine (I was used to the "tightness" of Hero Honda engines, which was matched by LML) & the switchgear which was good quality but lacking for someone used to LML's complete switchgear - the SZ has no engine-kill switch, no pass-light flasher. Colour options were meagre & I went for the only non-black, non-red colour - a dark blue officially called 'Deep Purple'.

The purchase & delivery experience was good but not great. While they had somebody to buy my LML & handled the transactions smoothly, they were a bit opportunistic with the timing of the delivery. All along they had agreed to delivering the bike on Ganesh Chaturthi, but the day my cheque amount landed in their account, Ganesh Chaturthi was "suddenly declared a holiday"! I compromised, but just wrangled the delivery out of them immediately.

Next up - some pics & a not-so-great-but-improving ownership experience.

The only servicable pic I have ... am no great shakes as a photographer anyway.
Attached Thumbnails
Reason over rep : 2013 Yamaha SZ-RR-szrr.jpg  


Last edited by GTO : 7th October 2013 at 13:53. Reason: Please use the EDIT or MULTI-QUOTE buttons instead of typing one post after another!
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Old 5th October 2013, 18:51   #4
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Default re: Reason over rep : 2013 Yamaha SZ-RR

Quote:
Originally Posted by E63 View Post
Fascinating. Bring it on!



Err.... How???
I mean to say it isn't all that bad. It probably has one of the best pillion seats in the country. And if you think of ZMA this way, I winder what will you make of the R15.
I agree if it is a regular pillion rider straddling the seat. It is quite supportive (& is good on the highway too, going by some accounts here on team-bhp). But saree-clad pillion riders don't feel that comfortable, IMHO. The seat is a bit of a stepped seat.

Anyway, I think it was more the half-peg gear shifter that threw me off. For all its purported advantages in enthusiastic riding, in the city I would want the luxury of not making a tappet of my foot!
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Old 5th October 2013, 21:59   #5
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I have forgotten how the LML felt when it was brand-new, but this Yamaha made me feel quite jittery. The engine sound contained a little extra metallic "clink", as though the piston was slightly loose (not likely). The easy-if-not-eager revvability of the test bike just wasn't there. The gear shifts were a bit clunky & I still can't breeze though the gears after a month of riding it. The linearity of the engine response & the feel of the clutch & brakes were all fine though.

Now the bad parts! On day 5, I was riding back from the office; it was after 10 PM & raining moderately. A few kilometres out, the engine started dying away with throttle input. It re-started but kept dying on revving beyond idling speeds; then, it even refused to start. I put in more petrol just in case somebody had stolen petrol out of the reserve, I used the choke, I tried starting it a few times with the ignition off, then with the petrol valve off .... I had to abandon a brand-new bike on the road-side & walk a few kilometres in the rain to get transportation. The next day, I got back to the bike & it started & ran like a charm ! I took it to a reputed Yamaha A.S.C on the way & they suggested it must have been airlock in the engine. I wasn't convinced & just moved on in hope. I don't yet know if it was related to the rain, as I haven't yet run it in similar conditions again.

After that, there was continuous squealing from the wheels. I had to go to the dealer's A.S.C a couple of times before it went away (they greased, & re-greased, the front wheel axle rod). Nowadays, there is a slight creak from the handlebar when it is turned from one side to the other, which I have to get attended to at the 1st service.

As if the bike itself being more trouble than reasonable wasn't enough, the local dealer's A.S.C isn't any great shakes either. It was a very Tata like feel, to be told there is no problem after a minute of off-hand inspection. Thankfully, another A.S.C on my daily commute is reputed & was fairly responsive when I took the bike there for some queries.

Over the weeks till now, leading upto the the 1-month mark, things have got better. The engine revs build up better now, although it almost hits a wall near the 4500rpm limit prescribed during the 1st month. It is quite comfortable to ride, if you remember to keep changing from the leaning-forward position at traffic lights or if you find a more upright riding posture (until I started doing so, I was getting a bit of wrist pain).

It is a joy to be able to shift gears so quickly in traffic; comfortable 40kmph at 3000rpm in 5th gear. If the engine becomes more rev-friendly after a few services, this bike is going to be terrific to drive. The TVS tyres on it that have been put down by many people, do seem less firm in terms of feel than, say MRF, but they are more than adequate in terms of grip. The headlight is quite bright; atleast in the city, I cannot complain. I also have to hope that the A.S.C can get it to stop squeaking!

Last edited by GTO : 7th October 2013 at 13:52. Reason: Please use the EDIT or MULTI-QUOTE buttons instead of typing one post after another!
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Old 7th October 2013, 18:48   #6
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Default Re: Reason over rep : 2013 Yamaha SZ-RR

Firstly, we would like some more pictures of the bike
The blue, silver & black combo looks good.

I find the SZ a more sensible commuter option over the FZ series. Given that the FE numbers are superior and the rubber section on the rear won't ask for attention in 10-15k kms like on the FZ
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Old 8th October 2013, 14:08   #7
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Default Re: Reason over rep : 2013 Yamaha SZ-RR

@parrys: Sure, more pics are possible as I will get a cleaned bike today after the 1st service. Better pics? Not sure!

I don't know if the FZ is the same, but the paint on the SZ is like baby skin; I transported a grocery bag on the fuel tank for maybe 1 km, & the paint on the tank visibly "dimmed" into a permanent dull gray smudge.

F.E won't be great, I think (just not bad, I hope). As a rough indicator, the F.E was 40+kmpl before the 1st service. If the bike starts revving more easily, I don't see the number going up!

BTW, the team-bhp automated system helped by merging my 7 or 8 consecutive posts into fewer manageable posts . I was on mobile data at the time & typing drectly into the box, so I tried to avoid losing my effort by consecutively posting fragments; I am just happy it hasn't earn me an infraction!
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Old 9th October 2013, 03:37   #8
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Default Re: Reason over rep : 2013 Yamaha SZ-RR

Congratulations on a nice purchase.

My friend, who is in the army, purchased this bike about a year back from CSD. There were 2 other contenders, Suzuki GS150R & Honda Unicorn, but both of these didn't have any tie-up with the CSD. The bike is good, has a good pickup, but somehow, it isn't giving him the fuel efficiency of a 150 cc. His mileage figure is always hovering around 35-45 kmpl. Heck, even my CBR250R consistently gives me 35 kmpl unless I start revving it hard.

The only problem which he gets with his bike is that when he returns home from army, say after 2-3 months, it doesn't starts by pressing the electric start button. There is no kick-start in the bike, so we have to start it by old jugaad of pushing it and then releasing the clutch. For a 150 cc mass-market, commuter oriented bike, a kick-start lever should've been there.
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Old 9th October 2013, 05:57   #9
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Default Re: Reason over rep : 2013 Yamaha SZ-RR

Awesome stuff, the way you zeroed in on the bike for your needs. Yamaha have been making a lot of sensible bikes, the problem I see with them is - no fire, they do not want to be No.1, they are happy where they are, improving in small increments, sales-wise I meant

The bike is also a very sensible buy, can call it the Activa of motorbikes! an all-rounder for sure
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Old 16th October 2013, 18:54   #10
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Default Re: Reason over rep : 2013 Yamaha SZ-RR

Quote:
Originally Posted by 0xTKB View Post

The only problem which he gets with his bike is that when he returns home from army, say after 2-3 months, it doesn't starts by pressing the electric start button. There is no kick-start in the bike, so we have to start it by old jugaad of pushing it and then releasing the clutch. For a 150 cc mass-market, commuter oriented bike, a kick-start lever should've been there.
Wait a minute! I do see a kick-start lever in the posted pic. I hope its not an optional accessory
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