The 150cc bike segment has been very uneventful historically. But with Yamaha’s FZ 2.0, Suzuki’s Gixxer, and Bajaj’s Discover 150F, this segment has livened up like never before. Here’s the lowdown on all three...
Indian bike customers have benefitted from a wide range of options for quite some time now, but this year has proven to be better than ever. More-and-more motorcycle manufacturers are entering the 150cc segment, and owning a fun motorcycle doesn’t have to cost a bomb anymore.
Yamaha rolled out the latest variant of its highly successful FZ a few months ago, called the FZ 2.0, and Suzuki came up with its Gixxer more recently. Bajaj soon followed suit and added more power and displacement to its Discover range – making it more desirable. However, it would be a bit unfair to call this article a direct comparison – as the Bajaj Discover caters to a different segment of slightly more mature customers looking for a powerful, yet efficient, bike. The Gixxer and the FZ 2.0, on the other hand, target a younger audience who want to not only look good, but also ride fast. So, are these motorcycles worth the hype, and the money you invest in them? Well, we decided to test them together in an attempt to find an answer for you.
I personally haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like the way the FZ looks. Having said that, while the older version looked pretty good, I expected the new one to be a little more radical in its appearance. Does that mean I don’t like it? No, not at all! The new body panels, split seats, the new tail and the sporty exhaust make it look a lot edgier than before.
Now to the Gixxer – there’s just something about the Suzuki brand that I really like. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something there for sure. I’ve always loved the Fireblade and the YZF-R1, but it’s the GSX-R1000 that remains my favourite – perhaps because it was the most thrilling of the lot to ride. So, when Suzuki named their 150cc challenger the Gixxer – what the GSX-R series is fondly referred to – it had a real reputation to live up to. Fortunately, the design of the Gixxer makes it the most gorgeous looking bike in the segment – as it’s both muscular and stunning. The bikini fairing, the LED tail lamp, and the unique twin exit exhaust make it look as though the designer was sculpting a masterpiece.
The third entry into the segment is the Bajaj Discover 150F – a motorcycle that needs no introduction. It looks bigger and more polished than its smaller sibling, the Discover 125, but is it enough to compete with the likes of the Yamaha and Suzuki? With that said, I don’t doubt the fact that the Bajaj Discover 150F will outsell the Yamaha FZ 2.0 and Suzuki Gixxer combined. The Discover 150F has a half front fairing and features an LED tail lamp. The Discover is offered in two variants – the 150F and 150S – the F variant is 5kgs heavier than the S, which comes with looks that are anything but impressive. Frankly, it would be unfair to compare the Discover with the FZ 2.0 and Gixxer – as the price difference between the Discover and the other two is almost Rs. 25,000. And one look at the bikes makes that quite apparent. The Discover 150F has stuff that’s needed, not necessarily desired.
The 2014 FZ, meanwhile, is four cc’s and one bhp less than its previous avatar – but flaunts something known as Blue Core technology, which is supposed to find a perfect balance between fuel-efficiency and performance. The engine ‘sounds’ very refined and twice, at a traffic signal, I had to check if the engine was still alive and well – it’s that silent. Acceleration wise, twist the throttle and the bike effortlessly hits the rev limiter in every gear – thanks to the highly responsive fuel injection system, which is one of the main changes to the FZ. While the claimed speed of the FZ is 116km/h, it struggles once you cross 100km/h. The power, in fact, is just enough to satisfy most customers. The power delivery is linear, but the handling is brilliant.
The Gixxer’s 155cc engine, meanwhile, delivers 14.6bhp of power and 14Nm of torque, and the power delivery is so linear that it barely requires any gearshifts at all while riding in the city. Unlike the updated FZ though, the Suzuki Gixxer is not fuel injected – and so throttle response suffers a little as a result. What’s worth mentioning is the fact that, when revved, the Gixxer’s loud grunt can be music to your ears.
The Discover, as expected, has the smallest powerplant of the lot at 144.8cc – which delivers 14.3bhp at 8,500 rpm. Rather than noticeably less power, it’s refinement that it lacks. Cross 60km/h, and you get a front row seat to all the rattles and vibrations. Throttle response, though, is fairly nice and crisp – but the Japanese competition feels much better north of 60km/h.
Speed is all very well, but bikes like these will be used primarily in the city – and so it’s important for them to be comfortable first and foremost. In this respect, the Yamaha is very comfortable thanks to a redesigned seat. Riding posture is the most aggressive amongst the three, but it lets you remain in control in most riding conditions – including when negotiating city traffic. The seat is wider than both the Gixxer and the Discover, and hence provides much more comfort. Yamaha has also fitted an ‘Eco’ indicator in this machine, which goes green when you’re riding in a manner that’s fuel efficient. This also marks the beginning of an era where Yamaha has decided to turn towards fuel-efficiency in order to increase their sales. That being said, this is still a bike that gives you the confidence to take on corners – as the MRF tyres provide ample grip.
The posture of the Gixxer, on the other hand, is too relaxed for my liking. I preferred the FZ more in terms of the stance and the control it gave me. The seat, though, is quite comfortable – and the 41mm shocks at the front, with the help of 17-inch MRF tyres and a monoshock at the rear, make city riding a breeze. The fuelling on the Gixxer is via a carburettor, and this’s where the Yamaha FZ supersedes it in terms of throttle response. Rev the bike hard, and the grunt gets louder – so, for those who like a little music from the tail pipe, this is pick of the lot. The good thing is that it can stop pretty efficiently too. A Bybre caliper at the front and drum brakes at the rear do their job well. The instrument cluster tells you almost everything you need to know. It’s quite easy to read, and looks a bit like a new-age mobile phone.
The Discover’s instrument cluster is also partly digital, but it’s nothing fancy. Braking is effective, but the tyres fail to complement the braking ability. The 110mm monoshock at the rear provides adequate comfort to the rider and the pillion. The riding position, however, was a little cramped as the handlebar is a little narrow. What the Discover has going for it is the fact that the 150F is the most fuel efficient in the entire segment – at 72km/l, if you believe the company.
Priced at Rs. 76,250 to Rs. 78,250, the FZ 2.0 is a good buy as it’s evolved – mechanically and visually – from its previous avatar. And even if looks aren’t that important to you, and you just want to have some fun on your daily commute, you can’t really go wrong with the Yamaha FZ 2.0.
The Bajaj Discover 150F, also, is clearly ahead of its previous version – but it still lacks character and dynamism. But you can’t argue with a price tag of Rs. 51,720 (ex-showroom, Pune). And there’s nothing that comes close to the 150F in terms of fuel economy. Plus, it has decent power to take you from point A to point B without a fuss.
The Gixxer, however, would be my pick – as it has a very distinct appeal. It not only looks good, but it also performs well. If it was my money, I would happily spend Rs. 80,000 on this machine.
- Bajaj Discover 150F
- Suzuki Gixxer
Transmission: 5-speed Manual
Power: 14.3bhp @ 8,500rpm
Torque: 12.7Nm @ 6,500rpm
Price: `59,034 (ex-showroom, Delhi)
Transmission: 5-speed Manual
Power: 14.6bhp @ 8,000rpm
Torque: 14Nm @ 6,000rpm
Price: `79,957 (on-road, Delhi)