It is a proven fact that Indian bikers are extremely fond of fairings. From ancient bullets to humble HH CD100s there has never been a bike on which people haven’t tried to slap on a home-made fairing. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that for decades, the Indian buyer was deprived of this simple piece of plastic and now they just can’t do without one. Today, the fairing fetish has gone so far there is hardly any bike left in the market which is available exclusively in a non-faired version!
Personally, I am not a big fan of fairings, firstly because at speeds that our bikes are capable of, the fairing mostly serves only cosmetic purposes rather than aerodynamic ones. Secondly, even the smallest of the fairings hamper visibility and compromise my pothole dodging capabilities. Thirdly, they increase the weight (6kgs in case of the Fazer) and also the girth of the bike requiring you to be extra cautious while parking into that tiny slot, which was just vacated by a Splendor. But Yamaha has learned its lesson the hard way. In India you have to give the buyer what he wants and not what you think is good for him. I am sure that by now every Yamaha showroom in the country must be irritated out of their minds answering enquiries from FZ and FZ-S owners whether the Fazer’s fairing can be bolted on to their bike.
When I saw the FZ-16 I instantly thought that this is what the Pulsar should’ve become. The first generation Pulsar started off as a naked street-fighter but gradually lost the plot with each upgrade. Bolting on a fairing to an already successful model is easy money, but the Pulsar brand lost its identity. Is the FZ treading the same path? Maybe, this is what happens when manufacturer delivers far too much to customer demands. Then there is the matter of price. At Rs. 80,799 (On-Road, Pune), it is around 15 grand more expensive than its 150cc rivals. Agreed that the FZ is dynamically far more accomplished than any of its 150 cc rivals but engine could’ve been better. Instead of adding increasingly bigger fairings to the FZ, Yamaha should’ve kept the FZ a street-fighter and should have opted for a different, bigger platform for a touring bike.
Overall the Fazer along with the FZ16 and the FZ-S can lay claim on the top-spot in the 150 cc segment (not considering the R15 that is), but only by a whisker and certainly not enough to ask for such a hefty premium over its rivals. Its price-tag does put it bang into the new Pulsar 220 and Karizma territory, both of which are potent machines in their own right, especially the new 220 with a lot of standard kit, good-performance, and fantastic value-for-money. The actual Fazer (the 1000cc one) is based on the ‘06-07 R1 and gets all the hi-tech stuff from the superbike, why can’t our Fazer be based on the R15 platform tweaked suitably for torque and touring? Or do we have to wait till the third attempt?