There are only a handful of bikes in India that can be termed as real 'Tourers', like the Royal Enfields, Karizmas and the Pulsars.
The transformation of a naked hooligan machine to a more relaxed and sophisticated tourer has been done quite smartly on the Fazer. The most striking feature is the beautifully sculpted and aerodynamically designed fairing upfront that holds the twin headlights in place. It's quite interesting to see how adding a well-designed, purpose-built fairing can change the character of the FZ16, externally. Apart from the new fairing upfront, there are the new decals complete with a simpler seat design, visually the rest of the bike remains unchanged from the FZ16.
The most striking change in the new Fazer is the ergonomics and the big-bike feel, courtesy the fairing and the matte-black dash housing the digital console. The handlebars have been raised by a few millimetres letting the rider sit with a much more relaxed and upright posture as compared to the FZ16. The view you get from the saddle is that of a contemporary sport-tourer. The quality of plastics used is world-class and there are no shoddy gaps or ill-fitting fibre panels anywhere on the bike. Yamaha is known for its build quality as well as reliability and the new Fazer once again substantiates this fact.
And then there is the ultra-refined 153cc air-cooled motor serving the FZ range, which feels great on the FZ16 and the FZ-S, but feels out of sync on the Fazer as it remains untouched. A gruntier and taller geared pro-touring setup would have done wonders for the bike. The shorter gearing drastically dampens the Fazer's touring spirit and what you get is a more relaxed FZ, ideal for weekend getaways.
The Fazer is built entirely around the FZ16 chassis and under the skin it retains cycle parts unchanged from the FZ. So handling too remains unchanged, albeit the revised laidback riding posture that puts less stress on the arms making for a more comfortable and less demanding riding experience.
It comes with oodles of feel good factor and draws attention from passers-by just like bears to honey. However, the underpowered motor along with short gearing mess up the touring aspect and the Fazer remains nothing more than an able motorcycle for those pleasurable weekend rides and comfortable city-commuting.
With an on-road price tag of Rs. 80,830 (Pune) The Fazer falls in the price bracket of the Bajaj Pulsar 220 DTSi and the Hero Honda Karizma, Both of which are tried and tested performers. The only place where the Fazer really scores over Pulsar & Karizma is in fuel efficiency department.
Looks of a hardcore tourer coupled with comfortable ergonomics and decent tank range make the Fazer a decent buy for bikers looking for a stylish, manageable and frugal motorcycle to explore the outskirts of their respective cities, but if you are looking for long distance touring, this one isn’t for you (=