Resurrecting an iconic brand in these modern, competitive times is no less than a herculean task. Especially when we are talking about an evocative brand like Yezdi, you expect it to rise from the ashes like a phoenix. Armed by the forces supplied by Classic Legends, Yezdi announced an all-out blitzkrieg on its rivals with its three primal missiles: The Adventure, Scrambler and the Roadster. A pronounced pat-on-the-back for the thought that went behind these nomenclatures!
The Scrambler might grab the most attention but it is the Adventure that screams function. The Yezdi Adventure has the Royal Enfield Himalayan in its crosshair and on paper, the Adventure might take a clean hit. But what happens when things get real? When it comes to getting down and dirty? We clocked some serious miles on the Yezdi Adventure to perceive whether it is actually a phoenix or just plain smoke.
Yezdi received quite some flak when the first shots of the Adventure emerged in the spy circles. The uncanny resemblance to the Royal Enfield Himalayan was hard to miss.
Although the Yezdi does have certain aesthetic elements to make it differ from its arch-rival, the overall silhouette and design inspiration reveal that Yezdi’s designers were a bit conservative to play around with the lines. A radical design infused with Yezdi’s signature elements could have gone a long way. Thankfully, there are some neat touches that put forth the fact that it is indeed a Yezdi. A modern one at that.
Take the boxy fuel tank for instance or the rectangular crankcase, both of which make sure that the Adventure doesn’t look like a Chinese rip-off of the Himalayan.
Prominent visual differences are reserved for the rear end which is rather minimalistic. The tail lamp unit and the indicators protrude from the rear fender. Even the exhaust is more rounded off as compared to the Himalayan but like the whole motorcycle, the imitation is prominent. The overall build quality and finish are a nod to Yezdi’s valiant but a little too vigilant effort at getting back at the Himalayan because they could have been a lot better. Some more time into the development phase could have resulted in better build quality. There are panel gaps and the “optional” fuel-tank cage is poorly finished as well. The media unit that we tested has a lot more road presence as compared to the stock motorcycle, all thanks to the optional accessories it came donned with. It even managed to grab the eyeballs of a sexagenarian at a red light. The Yezdi badging proudly sitting on the fuel tank made the Adventure an intriguing proposition to the aged enthusiast.
The headlamp grille, rear luggage rack and handguards are optional fitments. A little more individuality in terms of appearance and better finish levels would have made the Yezdi Adventure a better overall package.
The Yezdi and the RE Himalayan might look like distant doppelgangers but they are poles apart when it comes to the hearts of the matter. The Yezdi Adventure is powered by the same 334cc single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine that has been borrowed from the Jawa Perak and also powers the Scrambler and the Roadster. However, the engine tune is a bit different in Adventure as it puts down 30.2Hp and 29.9Nm. The engine has oodles of character and that is the pièce de résistance of the whole package. It is peaky in nature and has enough performance reserved for the top-end.
This powertrain is mated to a 6-speed slick-shifting gearbox with slip and assist clutch. The gain of an extra cog over the Himalayan has made the Adventure a bit more playful. The moment you dump the clutch and set off, the Yezdi Adventure makes it clear as day that it doesn’t like to be ridden in the lower revs. Give it a handful of throttle and the engine lets out a loud bark, overshadowing the raspy exhaust note.
Post 4000 rpm is where the Adventure starts pulling, with some vibrations creeping in as well. Refinement is this powertrain’s arch-nemesis as the vibrations keep getting more and more prominent as you streak towards the 8000 rpm redline. The Adventure has a strong top-end too as there’s a pronounced shove and a spiked variation in decibels after crossing 6000 rpm. You need to rev the motorcycle closer to the redline to extract the maximum performance this powertrain has on offer.
Since it is a rev-happy motor with short-gearing, you need to work your way through the 6-speed gearbox to keep the Adventure singing. Breezing past the 100kmph mark would require the assistance of the fourth cog. We found that the Adventure can comfortably cruise at 110kmph with the engine purring at 6000 rpm in the sixth gear. However, for quick overtakes, you will need to shift down a gear or two even on the highway. So basically, the sixth-gear works like an overdrive for long-distance mile-munching. Being a liquid-cooled motor, you would expect it to handle the infamous Indian heat well and it does. But on the right side, the engine case protrudes out a little too much, roasting the rider’s shin when the sun is already beating down on you. Although we can pass off the vibrations and lack of refinement as Adventure’s “character”, a bit more smoothness would have made it an even more capable and comfortable ADV-tourer.
Not just the overall aesthetics but the Yezdi Adventure has benchmarked the Himalayan in other aspects too. It has a Himalayan-equalling ground clearance of 220mm and the same wheel dimensions as well. To take every rut and undulation under its stride, the Adventure has a 21-inch front and a 17-inch rear wheel. Even when it comes to suspension travel, both the motorcycles are neck-to-neck with the same 200mm of travel at the front and 180mm at the rear. If you fill the 15.5-litre fuel tank to the brim, it will probably weigh the same as the Himalayan at around 199kg.
Despite the true-blue ADV credentials, the Yezdi Adventure can hold its own around the bends. Sure, you do feel the weight and the laziness that is associated with ADVs but it will still entice you to give it the beans on serpentine roads. The suspension setup is tuned to be a little stiffer as compared to the Himalayan. The Yezdi Adventure is pliant, not plush but as the speeds build up, the damping improves as well. However, our monolith-shaped speedbreakers and deep potholes do reveal the slightly firm traits of the suspension setup. The rider’s triangle is comfortable enough for those long highway miles and the seat’s cushioning also plays a definitive role in this department.
If you aren’t impressed with the Yezdi Adventure yet, all you would need is to get off the beaten path and kick some dirt which is exactly what we did. The 21-inch front wheel, 220mm of ground clearance and long-travel suspension, all join forces together to make the Adventure a formidable ADV-tourer in its segment. The engine’s peaky power delivery will peg you to keep the throttle pinned and if you stay in the right gear in the right revs, the Adventure delivers in spades. Carry enough speed and it will see you gliding on the trails but even through technical sections, the Adventure impresses with its dynamics. Blame it on the character of the engine but the Adventure is prone to stalling in the lower revs if you aren’t giving it enough gas.
Its seat height of 815mm won’t bother shorter riders but it might take some time for them to get used to it. Braking has always been Himalayan’s tender spot where it doesn’t want to be touched and we are happy to report that the ‘wooden’ feel of Himalayan’s brakes is all but gone on the Adventure. It has a bigger front disc rotor that measures 320mm while the rear wheel gets a 240mm disc to drop the anchors.
The feedback and bite could have been a little better to trade in more confidence under panic breaking but it is still an improvement over the Himalayan’s anchorage setup.
The competition in the ADV segment is fierce as everyone is out there with a scalpel in their hand, trying to slit each other’s throat at the very first chance they get. The Yezdi Adventure comes loaded with a lot of weapons in its tech-armoury. Just like the Scrambler, the Adventure has three modes for ABS too – Road, Rain and Off-road.
The rectangular instrument console takes up most of the cockpit view and shows a tonne of information. However, the real estate of the instrument cluster could have been utilized in a better way as there are bezels that are very pronounced. Perhaps a bigger LCD layout with bigger fonts could have proved to be the ultimate solution. The tilt-adjustable instrument console comprises two circular LCD screens with the bigger one showing necessary readouts like the rev counter, speedometer, odometer and trip meters, as well as a clock and ABS settings. It also shows a distance-to-empty readout but since we are living in troubling modern times, blindly trusting the range could lead to you getting stranded in the middle of nowhere.
The smaller LCD screen is basically Yezdi’s take on RE’s tripper pod but thankfully, it is integrated in a more aesthetic manner. It offers turn-by-turn navigation with Bluetooth connectivity via the Yezdi mobile app. To one-up the Himalayan, Yezdi is also offering two ports to charge your electronics on the go and LED lighting as well.
The Yezdi Adventure has already gone berserk on the hype scale but does it deliver in this real, nasty world? It sure does! We rode it for a good 500km spanned over three days of riding in different terrains and as the days and miles passed by, we grew fonder of the Adventure. It is more mechanical as compared to most of its rivals and a little more refinement could have appealed to a wider set of audience. But spend some time with it and its edgy, raw and gruff appeal will start growing on you. Since it is meant for long-distance touring and all-out off-roading, better build quality would have added some much-needed finesse to the motorcycle. The Adventure packs oodles of character and this helps it mask the rough edges. Sometimes being overly critical doesn’t let you enjoy the true bliss of motorcycling and when it comes to a modern Yezdi, would it have been any good if it didn’t evoke any emotions?