As I get older, I feel a certain joy in seeing motorcycles or scooters that were around when I was a little younger. Somehow, it reminds me of a time that felt a little simpler, maybe because there were fewer choices. Nevertheless, one of the bikes I loved seeing from that time was Yamaha’s FZ series. For over a decade, it’s been the choice for those wanting to buy a good looking, lightweight and nippy motorcycle. But now, as is the case with most things, we’re spoilt for choice.
There are quite a few 250cc-powered bikes out there now, of all shapes and sizes. So, to give the FZ series a shot in the arm, Yamaha recently updated their line-up and I picked up the top-of-line FZS 25, to see what’s what. The first thing that struck me was how much bigger it looks, thanks to subtle design changes like the knuckle guards, visor and golden wheels. Other elements like the LED headlamp and DRLs, cowling at the bottom and the paint job do a pretty excellent job at making the FZS 25 look a lot more youthful.
There’s no doubt about it, the FZS 25 does look quite sharp. But, is it just about the looks? Well, I’ve ridden it around for quite a significant amount of time and here’s the lowdown. The 249cc, air-cooled, SOHC engine is a smooth operator and the refinement is pretty good too. But it does not like to be pushed to higher points in the rev range. The FZS 25 loves to cruise between 80 – 100 km/hr, but beyond that, it feels a little out of its comfort zone. What compliments that relaxed demeanour is the comfortable seat height, lightweight body (154 kilograms) and decent handling.
One other thing that was a bit of a bother for me is the placement of the foot-pegs, which seem a little too biased towards light touring. I constantly found myself trying to get my toe-up from under the brake lever in the city, which can be slightly annoying. However, I must say that the FZS 25 still feels quite nimble. The wide handlebar is also a boon, making for riding in the city and out on the highway, quite a breeze. However, that five-speed gearbox can feel clunky to use, especially once you’ve come to halt and try to find neutral.
So, does it still have the charm? Well, yes. It’s still a handsome and pretty well-sorted motorcycle. It can shift between commuting and touring pretty well too, but it does miss out on some features. That negative LCD screen is clear enough but Bluetooth-enabled features would’ve been a welcome addition. But, as I said before, I have a bit of a soft corner for bikes from my youth. Especially Yamaha, since it was the first motorcycle I ever rode in my life. Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks? Maybe not all of them, but more than enough to keep you coming back for more.