Superbike ownership experiences in India: Karthik R’s love affair with the Yamaha FZ1

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We are back with our Indian Superbike Ownership Experiences and this time it’s Karthik R from Bangalore speaking about his big set of wheels. Karthik is an Electrical Engineer by qualification, a software engineer by profession and a self thought “Grease Monkey” who has an evergreen passion for Motorbikes. He grew up watching his dad perform weekend Sunday DIY Bike Service rituals that sparked of the addiction for motorcycles.

As a child he would keenly follow and watch local rallies that introduced him into the world of racing. Karthik has participated in numerous one make races, hill climb races, drag races, Casual Track Days. And of course all the events were legal and FMSCI approved. He reserves his weekends for breakfast rides or a TLC on bikes. (We’re impressed Karthik!!!)

Yamaha FZ1 India ownership

So here’s our converse with Karthik and his experiences not only with his Yammie Streetster- the Yamaha FZ1, but his addiction for two wheels.

1) When did the FZ1 step in?
The Brutal Beast aka Yamaha FZ1n came into my life on the 28th of June 2013. It was a landmark moment of my life and I couldn’t resist capturing the unrolling of the event on camera. And here’s how the events unfolded.

Yamaha FZ1 crate packing

Yamaha FZ1 India delivery

2) Which bikes did you own prior to the FZ1?
> 1983 TVS 50 XL, used to be my dad’s sedate ride, was passed over to me. It is now restored, modified and race tuned displacing 70ccs, running IRC sticky tires and tops out at 105kmph, way more than the original factory speed, a screaming stroker which can truly bleed ears !

TVS 50XL Dragbike (2)

TVS 50XL Dragbike

Enjoys privilege parking on the First Floor of the house, in my bed room! A video tutorial of the Bike.

> A 2003 TVS Victor GL, happens to be MY first geared motorbike, got me through ALL of my engineering days. This bike once enjoyed a 130cc heart and had an interesting round of FMSCI Drag Race at Hyderabad. Now back in the sedate 110cc, being used by my younger brother Kishore, it never seems to miss a beat

TVS Victor Dragbike

> 2008 Yamaha YZF R15, a true blue all rounder –Numerous FMSCI One make races & Hill climbs, Casual Track Days, Break Fast Rides and A daily Office Commuter. It’s got the battle scars to prove them.

Yamaha R15 Yamaha FZ1

Yamaha R15 Chennai MMSC track

3) Which other bikes do you own apart from the FZ1?
The FZ1 shares parking space with all of the above bikes. Recent addition to the family has been a Manic KTM Duke 390. All in all, a total of six bikes and a humble 2007 Maruti 800 MPFI, never falling short of wheels when we need them.

Yamaha FZ1 KTM Duke 390

4) Why only the FZ1? Did you consider some other bike while making a purchase decision?
I had originally considered an array of bikes, starting from ‘used’ Super bikes in the lines of R1 /CBR1000RR/GSXR1000 to the affordable ‘brand new’ GT650Rs. The news of Daytona 675R launch had me all excited; unfortunately the launch of the bike took forever. A recent visit to one of the bike shows in Prague is when I realized practicality of a naked bike, a segment of bikes overlooked in our country. The exposed mechanicals meant easy DIY maintenance; absence of acres of fairing meant no worries of attracting scratches. A perfect SBK for the Indian scene. So the search narrowed down to CB1000R and the FZ1n. The Honda at 125BHP came at a premium compared to the 150BHP FZ1. The CB is a very sedate ride, not my cup of tea. Viola the FZ1!

5) What is the best part you like about your bike?
The ‘Practicality’ of it. Unlike any faired superbike, the FZ1 is easy to maintain, easy DIY for a self-thought grease monkey like me. What is even better is it runs on fuel from the bunks next door (don’t have to frantically search or store 97 octane). If that’s not good enough, it does 140kmph (yes yes, not a typo) on the First gear at redline or putters easily on 45-50kmph in the sixth (top) gear. Its 20 valve engine is a derived from an R1 and is tuned for improved mid-range power, making it an ideal Superbike for our country and road conditions.

6) And the worse part?
The heat from engine can get to the rider when commuting in stop and go city traffic. All though on highway rides, this is not a problem.

7) What has been your longest ride?
The farthest I have been on the FZ1 is on a 350 km ‘Run-in’ trip in South of India, covered in half a day. However, I have done numerous 800kms one day rides onboard my Yamaha R15. Leave Bangalore early in the morning, reach the Chennai MMSC Race track, burn rubber, start back to Bangalore to be on time for late evening Tea.

Yamaha FZ1 India ride

8) How has been the after sales experience?
Before & After Sales experience has been very good so far. I guess it tends to vary with the dealership and how well you know the Sales Managers and Mechanics.

9) How much on average do you spend on service including consumables?
The bike has been through its scheduled first service and it cost me around 5k. Everything except for the Air filter was changed. So one can expect 5-7k in service.

10) Any independent service centre/ mechanic you would recommend?
Since these machines cost a bomb to own and maintain, I would suggest getting them serviced on the scheduled km interval in authorized service centers so as to not void warranty. Perfect Motors (Yamaha ASC) in Bangalore seems to have good mechanics and have decent attention to detail in the work they do. For bike detailing I would recommend Quantum Details India.

11) Where do you source the spares from?
So far, generic consumable/spares have been available in the Service Center. If not, you order and they ship it for you.

Yamaha FZ1 Console

12) What modifications have you done to the bike? Any noticeable differences?
The bike has no mechanical modifications done to it contrary to my other highly modified bikes. This is in respect of the factory warranty which is valid for 2 years. I have added a few essential safety bits like the Custom CNC’d Frame, Fork and Swingarm Sliders from the UK, Stomp Grip Traction Pads from the US of A, Tank pad from Poland. A Smoked Headlight mask from UK to elevate cosmetics. I intend to add a Full Exhaust System from Leo Vince and a PC-5 for fuelling once the warranty expires.

13) What makes up your riding gear?
Cramster Single Piece Leather Race Suit for long hauls; Alpinestars T-RC-1 Jacket for short distances; DSG Carbon Gloves; SparX Helmets – Good Vs Evil, Sin City, Buck King, Hornet 1.0, Paaw ; Cramster Race Boots (a bit of a helmet collector)

Yamaha FZ1 India

14) Have you ever faced issues from cops since lot of bikes out there are grey imports and inappropriately documented?
I have had no issues with cops so far. Even If I would be stopped and checked, I would happily produce the Documentation for this is an Indian Invoiced Bike brought in a Showroom, All taxes paid. That’s Peace of Mind 🙂

15) What would be your next bike?
I would like to save up some dough to see a KTM Super Duke 1290 in my parking. KTM are you listening? 😛

KTM SuperDuke 1290r

16) Any pointers on parking in public places?
In my case, the FZ1 does not attract unnecessary attention from people. They assume it to be a FZ16 and don’t bother to stop or click pictures. This gives me peace of mind when I park it in mall or office parking spaces. I never leave the bike where there is no security to look over or in a crowded place.

17) What tips would you give to prospective superbike owners?
Superbikes demand a lot of respect. Treat them with lots of it and it won’t bite you back. Invest in decent gears for your own protection.

18) And finally the question that we Indians love so much.. ‘kitna deti hai’? 
In cities it does a decent 14-15 kmpl, in highways around 19-20 kmpl. Beat that 🙂

Words straight from the heart of a true motorcycle aficionado indeed. We wish Karthik the best of times with his Yamaha FZ1 and hope his SuperDuke dreams are realized soon. Ride on Karthik!

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