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Review: Yamaha Ray Z
Driven August 2013
Nine months after it launched its first scooter for India, Yamaha has fired the next salvo. It’s not an all-new model but a variant of its debut scooter. Called the Ray Z, Yamaha now wants to aim this at male buyers, after toying around with female riders (no pun intended).
This is no surprise given our burgeoning automatic scooter market. Yamaha, not a big player yet in the Indian two-wheeler market, still sold a massive 70,000 units. Clearly, the Ray has been received well, which is understandable since it’s a sorted and fun city runabout (having won Scooter of the Year at the TopGear Magazine Awards 2012).
The Ray Z is being touted as a masculine version of the original. Visual differences include a smoked-finish visor at the front on the handlebar, an oversized metal grab handle unit at the rear, heavy doses of carbon-fibre-type pattern on seat fabric and instrument cluster plastic and, of course, new stickers. Most of the other parts remain the same, like the power and torque figures. Yamaha has slightly tuned the automatic transmission for smoother and better pick-up but this has also been carried throughout the range.
On the road, the Ray Z feels as eager as its older twin. The engine is the same 113cc 4-stroke unit delivering around 7bhp of top-end power and 8.1Nm of torque. The scooter is quick off the mark, and has a sporty exhaust note to go with its looks. The lightweight body is easy to flick around in traffic or narrow, twisty roads. With a single rider, it’s a spirited ride, but with a pillion, you can feel the tiny but efficient engine’s limitations. Plus, the brakes have a very soft feel, which is the only chink in the Ray Z’s otherwise invincible armour.
Yamaha is pegging this as its second scooter for India. Take that with a pinch of salt because this rides, and nearly looks, like the ‘first’ scooter. But then, that’s not a bad thing because the Ray is one of the best of its kind in India today. In India, Yamaha doesn’t yet have the acceptance of a Honda when it comes to scooters, but the Ray Z just tries to capitalise on the original strengths of the Ray without the company having to change a lot of things.
Notably, the scooter still does not come with tubeless tyres and only has the option of drum brakes. However, it feels robust and well put-together and will last you a lifetime. Plus, it still goes as if it likes to have fun. Which is what Yamaha is all about – doesn’t matter what sex the potential buyer is.
1-cyl, 4-stroke, 113cc, 7bhp, 8.1Nm, 104kg, fuel tank: 5 litres, Rs 48,555 (ex-showroom, Delhi)
Doesn’t exactly reek of masculinity but still remains a sturdy and capable scooter like the original.