Review: Yamaha Ray
Yamaha says its latest scooter is targeted solely at female buyers. TopGear investigates
Finally! Yamaha has joined the scooter party. Sadly, for true-blue – or should we say racing-blue Yamaha fans – the Japanese bike maker decided to crash this party with the Ray. Yamaha insists this scooter is more for the skirts-and-tea-party crowd than for the spanner-and-denim types. But if it’s got two wheels and an engine, then us motorheads can’t be too far behind.
So, leaving all the marketing jargon behind us, we decided to give the Ray a proper road test. At first glance, you don’t think there’s anything particularly girlie about the Ray – unless you insist on booking it in pink or purple. In the flesh, the Ray looks small but the spec sheet has a very different story to tell.
Compared to the competition, it has a larger wheelbase and length. The headlight placement is quite like the Honda Dio’s. The seat is a tad lower than it is on the Dio or Suzuki Swish (the Ray’s primary competition), so shorter riders can place their feet flat on the ground but that low seating comes at the cost of bootspace. Overall, the angular design looks fresh but the instrument panel disappoints. It looks like the panel on pretty much every other scooter. We’d have preferred an analogue-digital instrument with trip options.
The plastics look and feel nice, and fit and finish is what you’d expect from a Yamaha – those rear-view mirrors being the only thing looking out of place on the otherwise angular design.
Of course, there are some things that are very signature Yamaha here, like the seating position. Of all the scooters we’ve tested over the last few months, the Ray has the sportiest seating stance – it’s not upright, you lean into the handlebar a bit. This gives you the confidence to push the Ray into corners much more easily than you would on other scooters.
This light handling coupled with the Ray’s low weight makes it a breeze in the city. For most of our time on the Ray, we went weaving through traffic, squeezing it through the tightest spots and emerging victorious on the first row right below the red light. The only problem is, the Ray has no parking brake, so when you’re waiting for the light to turn green, you need to constantly keep one hand on the brake. This can be especially annoying if you’re on an incline or down slope.
Moving from standstill is not much of a problem since the motor copes well with the 104kg mass. It’s adequate for most city runs, and on those short highway bursts that the Ray has done, it felt composed even at 70kph. It soaked up most of the bumps that the roads had to offer, and felt composed on uneven surfaces even at 40-50kph, thanks to the telescopic suspension upfront.
We would’ve preferred Yamaha had extracted some more juice out of that 113cc motor. The Ray churns out 7bhp and 8.1Nm, which is a whole 1.5bhp and 1.2Nm less that the Suzuki Swish's output. On our test run, the Ray went though different kinds of traffic conditions and was pushed to its maximum speed of 85kph. After all that, it returned 32kpl.
After you ride the Yamaha Ray for a while, you appreciate what a fun scooter it is. Apart from all the basic commuting that it’s good for, the Ray also offers the pleasure of some spirited riding. Now, we just need Yamaha to give the Ray some extra power and racing livery, and dump the ‘ladies-only’ tag.
113cc single-cylinder, 7bhp, 8.1Nm, CVT, top speed: 85kph, 104kg, 32kpl, Rs 54,540 (on-road, Mumbai)
Go for any colour other than Plush Pink and no one will suspect you’re riding a ladies scooter.