Yamaha Ray-ZR: Review

Published On Sep 24, 2016 By Arun Mohan Nadar for Yamaha Ray ZR

We ride the latest new scooter offering from Yamaha for the Indian market – the Ray-ZR


2016 can be labelled as the year of scooters. Sales for gearless scooters have skyrocketed while motorcycle sales have slowed down. This means every two-wheeler manufacturer is trying its best to cash in on this boom (except Bajaj Auto). Yamaha has also been among the many beneficiaries of this demand for scooters as its Ray family of scooters have played their part well in increasing sales figures. The Japanese two-wheeler giant hit gold with the Fascino which has been a runaway hit for Yamaha and now it plans to get a scooter targeted towards the youth – the Ray ZR. We have seen rapper Badshah groove to a song for the Yamaha Ray-ZR, but does it hit the right note with us? Let’s find out.

Design: 8.5/10

The Yamaha Ray range of scooters have always featured a stylish and eye catching design. But, in my opinion, the Yamaha Ray-ZR has to be the most striking looking scooter from the Japanese two-wheeler giant yet for our market. I must admit that I wasn’t a fan of the Ray-ZR’s design when I first saw it at the 2016 Auto Expo and also in the studio shots. But in the flesh and on the tarmac, the Ray-ZR does look impressive. 

The raked-out front apron has been completely redesigned with a sharper looking headlight that has the cowl overlapping it mildly on top. The turn indicators aren’t integrated and have been shifted to the side panel. Yamaha designers have also utilised the new graphics in clever fashion to further increase the visual appeal of the scooter. The olive green and black dual tone colour scheme also works well while the streaks on the panel below the seat look distinctive. The tail lamp has been completely redesigned and is much bigger than its siblings while the indicators have been placed on the mudguard, similar to motorcycles, which is a first for any scooter, Yamaha claims. 

The edgy grabrail has been finished in black while the monoshock spring gets covered in white to add some contrast to the rear. The Ray-ZR is also the first Yamaha offering to get 12-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels that look good. Styling is among the highlights of the new Yamaha Ray-ZR and the amount of eyeballs it gathered is a sure indication that it will appeal to young buyers. 

Features List: 7/10

With respect to features, the biggest talking point about for the Yamaha Ray-ZR is the optional 170mm disc brake, making it the first Yamaha scooter in India to offer a disc brake. Under-seat storage is also among the highest in its segment at 21 litres but the design isn’t clever as we couldn’t manage to fit our full-face helmet. Also I feel that a mobile charger should have been offered as an optional extra. 

Another vital feature that is omitted on the Yamaha Ray is the external fuel filler cap, which is a big miss. There’s also provision for storage below the handlebar, which is deep enough to hold a 500ml water bottle or some other sundries and is a useful addition. The edgy instrument console looks funky but we wished it had a digital display, and it also gets a key shutter lock system. Switch gear quality is good and so is the fit and finish on the new scooter.  

Performance Test: 8/10

Powering the new Ray-ZR is the same 113cc motor as seen on other Yamaha scooters. The single-cylinder engine develops 7.2PS and 8.1Nm of peak torque. Power figures could have been better, I feel, with respect to the competition. But despite the lower power output, the Ray-ZR doesn’t disappoint on the performance aspect. Acceleration is slow as the CVT transmission takes a moment to find its footing. But once past the initial hitch, the Ray-ZR gathers momentum at a brisk pace for a 110cc scooter. The scooter has a strong mid-range and feels happy cruising between 60 and 70kmph. Once past this, the enthusiasm of the scooter dulls down but NVH levels are impressive. There is a minor buzz from the footboard which is negligible and the Yamaha motor scores highly on refinement. 

Mileage Run: 9/10

Fuel efficiency is among the most important criterion for scooter buyers. With the advancement of technology, scooters have been becoming more frugal with every passing year. The Ray-ZR features Yamaha’s patented Blue Core technology that reduces friction among the mating parts of the engine. This results in lesser friction and better thermal efficiency which translates in higher mileage. Yamaha claims a mileage figure of 66kmpl which is among the highest for any scooter on sale. During our fuel efficiency run, the Yamaha Ray-ZR did return us over 60kmpl fuel efficiency with a light wrist. When ridden in real world conditions and speed, the Ray-ZR returned us an overall fuel efficiency of 58kmpl which is very impressive. Clubbed with a 5.2 litre capacity fuel tank, the Ray-ZR has a range of around 300km on a full tank. 

Rideonomics: 8.5/10

The tall handle bar and the slightly firm seat results in an upright and comfortable riding posture. There is also lots of space on the footboard and the raised handlebar means that tall riders will not feel cramped on the scooter. The seat has been tapered cleverly at front so that the fairer sex also feels comfortable on the scooter, though the seat height could have been lower. Among the impressive aspects of the Yamaha Ray-ZR is its supple ride quality as it rode over the innumerable potholes that have been scattered on the streets of Mumbai courtesy the monsoons effortlessly. But the 130mm ground clearance means that you have to be careful over speed breakers so as to not scrape the underbody. 

Despite the brilliant ride, handling performance hasn’t been compromised. The Ray-ZR took sweeping corners with confidence, something which very few scooters can boast about. It also felt quick on its feet with seamless direction changes, a trait that will be useful in negotiating the traffic choked streets. The Ray-ZR is the first Yamaha offering to get optional front disc brake as seen on our test scooter. The disc brake has understandably improved the braking performance in comparison to its siblings which have drum brakes on both ends. The disc brake provided good bite but progression could have been better through the lever.

Final Call: 8/10

So at the end of the day, I must admit the Yamaha Ray-ZR impressed me. The question is who should buy one? The obvious answer is youngsters but that shouldn’t be really the case as the Ray-ZR has the potential to impress mature buyers also. It’s easy to ride in city, offers comfortable ride quality and houses a refined motor that delivers impressive efficiency. The addition of disc brake and the sporty styling only hikes its appeal further. But there are some drawbacks, like the lack of features in terms of external fuel filler cap and the omission of a mobile charger. But the biggest hurdle for the Yamaha Ray-ZR is its pricing. The base variant with drum brake has been priced at Rs 52,000 while the disc brake variant carries a price tag of Rs 54,500. Its arch rival, the Honda Dio, retails for Rs 48,412 (all prices mentioned are ex-showroom, Delhi). Having said that, if money isn’t a difficulty and you are in the hunt for a youthful and refined scooter, look no further!

Photography: Eshan Shetty

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