2023 Yamaha FZ-X Review: Notable updates but where is the oomph?
Yamaha Motor India introduced the FZ-X in 2021 as a modern-retro offering. Based on the tried and tested FZ platform, the bike seemed to be just the right kind of product capitalising on the popularity of the modern-classic body style. While volumes have been decent, Yamaha is now introduced the updated FZ-X in the market in just a little under two years.
The 2023 Yamaha FZ-X primarily gets the OBD2 compliance update, in keeping with the latest government regulations but the two-wheeler giant has used this opportunity to bring more features too. So what exactly are these features and how much of a difference do they make to your riding experience? We headed to Jaipur in Rajasthan to find out.
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Watch: 2023 Yamaha FZ X: First ride review
2023 Yamaha FZ-X - What's new
Visually, there are two subtle upgrades on the updated Yamaha FZ-X. The first one is the new dark matte blue paint scheme with golden alloy wheels and the second is the LED indicators. That’s pretty much it. Everything else about the motorcycle stays the same including the LED DRLs, projector lens round headlamp, bulbous fuel tank, tuck and roll seat, and rectangular LED taillight. The utilitarian grab rail is functional but looks too basic and thankfully can be removed. If you liked the design earlier, you’ll still like it and if you didn’t, there’s not much you can do about it. Yamaha should've taken this opportunity to correct the rear three-quarter which still looks awkward on the FZ-X.
2023 Yamaha FZ-X - New Traction Control System (TCS)
The other big update on the FZ-X is the addition of a TCS. This is now standard across the 150 cc Yamaha motorcycles and brings another layer of safety. We did test out the system and did not find it intrusive on the tarmac. In off-road conditions, the traction control unit works. The unit is rather basic and for a 12 bhp motorcycle, it does feel overkill at times. That said, the real test will be on wet surfaces because that’s where you’ll need traction control more, especially if you are a new rider. Yamaha should've considered offering dual-channel ABS instead but TCS is welcome, nevertheless.
2023 Yamaha FZ-X - What's missing
The LCD screen on the updated FZ-X remains the same but there is the addition of a TCS indicator and the option to turn off the system altogether. But Yamaha missed the opportunity to add a gear position indicator on the FZ-X. That is now nearly a segment-standard feature and it would’ve been nice to have it on the FZ-X too, considering its largely city-oriented positioning. The bike also misses out on a hinged fuel cap which should’ve been there in the first place. That said, you do get a 12-volt charging socket.
Ergonomically too, the FZ-X remains with a relaxed riding posture. The front-set footpegs and wide handlebar keep you comfortable. But the wide fuel tank does not give you sufficient space to grip your thighs.
2023 Yamaha FZ-X - Performance
The FZ-X continues to use the 149 cc single-cylinder, fuel-injected engine that runs the same sprocket as the FZS-FI. The motor develops 12.2 bhp at 7,250 rpm and 13.3 Nm of peak torque at 5,500 rpm, while paired with a 5-speed gearbox. The motor now gets an onboard diagnostics system that will test real-time emissions and that’s in line with the new government norms. The engine is also E20 compliant, which means it is ready for 20 per cent of ethanol-blended fuel whenever that will be available in the market.
The updates make no changes to the performance of the motorcycle. Essentially, the engine is largely the same and if you liked it before, you will still like it. Power is concentrated in the low and mid-range and that's where the FZ-X feels in its element. The top-end leaves you wanting more. Above 8,000 rpm, power fades out and there’s not much feedback, especially on an open stretch. But in the city, the engine feels nice and linear, super tractable and the gearbox is slick too.
The FZ-X gets the lowest power figures in the segment and it shows. The motor is clearly tuned for efficiency which may be great for the commuter buyer, what the FZ-X lacks is any excitement. Commuters need not necessarily be boring and we've seen several examples of it too. Yamaha seems to forget that, which is sad given the brand's racing roots. While the motor will keep you happy to putter around in the city between 60-70 kmph, vibrations will force you to slow down above 80 kmph. Vibrations are most felt on the handlebar and rearview mirrors and the bike resists pushing beyond 100 kmph.
2023 Yamaha FZ-X - Handling & ride quality
The handling itself is neutral and gets the job done but doesn’t excite you much either. The telescopic front forks and a monoshock at the rear gobble bad roads easily and are particularly well-tuned for smooth tarmac. However, the suspension feels slightly firm at the rear but overall does a good job to keep you comfortable. The dual-purpose tyres have their limitations as well, which do not allow the bike to be pushed hard. They do help tackle bad roads with ease. Lastly, braking performance comes from a 282 mm front disc and a 220 mm rear disc feels adequate. The feedback from the lever is not the sharpest but there's little to complain about there.
2023 Yamaha FZ-X - Price and Verdict
Priced at ₹1.36 lakh (ex-showroom), the Yamaha FZ-X sits at the top of the FZ family. As a retro, simple-to-run, simple-to-own motorcycle, it does a good job and the latest updates add a bit more value too. But it needs improvements. Given how competitive this segment really is, the FZ-X feels like a half-baked job and for a brand known for its performance attributes, we would've liked to be a little more excited with even its modern-retro.