The scooter segment in India has witnessed a boost in sales over the last five years. Encouraged by this trend, major two-wheeler manufacturers such as Hero, Honda, Suzuki, TVS and Yamaha showcased at the recently concluded 2014 Auto Expo a number of new scooters that will hit the Indian market this year.
The Yamaha Alpha is the first scooter amongst the lot to be launched in this calendar year. The scooter, which is the company’s third offering after the Ray and the Ray Z, is targeted at family consumers, and looks to take the fight directly to the ever-popular Honda Activa. Does the Yamaha Alpha have what it takes to upset the king of the segment? We have the exhaustive road test review for you to find out!
Design & Build Quality
The Yamaha Alpha is one smart-looking scooter. While it doesn’t make the kind of style statement like the Ray twins do, it isn’t all too dull a design. As is the case with all Yamaha products, construction quality is top-notch, and the Alpha feels like it is built to last.
(Clockwise, from top left) The Alpha is a smart looking scooter from all angles; The front apron is dominated by the two large turn indicators; The instrument cluster is surrounded by body-coloured trim; The rear tail-light is placed unconventionally low for a scooter.
At first glance, you can see that the Alpha is a bigger scooter than the Ray, which is what it is based on. The increased dimensions allow the scooter to sport a spacious seat and a capacious flat floorboard. This means riders of all sizes can find a comfortable seating posture on the Alpha. The large seat and well-placed rear foot pegs ensure that pillion comfort is quite good too.
(Clockwise, from left) Riding posture is comfortable for both rider and pillion, thanks to the spacious seat and the large floorboard.
Engine & Performance
The Alpha is powered by the same 113cc single cylinder engine that is used by the Ray and Ray Z. Although it isn’t a very powerful engine, it is smooth and has good mid-range torque. Acceleration is a little tardy up to 30 kmph, but it picks up pace quickly thereafter. We achieved a speedo indicated top speed of 85 kmph, though getting there is a bit of a chore. After all, this is a scooter that is meant for urban usage, and the engine is best suited for those duties.
Yamaha quotes a SIAM-rated mileage of 62 kmpl for the Alpha, but we reckon the scooter should deliver an average mileage of 45 – 50 kmpl in real world usage.
Ride & Handling
The Alpha feels right at home in traffic. The chassis and suspension set-up allow it to handle gaps and turns with surefootedness. The best part of the Alpha is its ride quality. The telescopic front suspension and hydraulic rear monoshock damp undulations very well, and allow the scooter to glide over rough surfaces without upsetting its composure.
(Clockwise, from left) The Yamaha Alpha handles well in traffic. The telescopic front forks and hydraulic rear monoshock help it impart very good ride quality.
The Alpha comes equipped with 130mm drum brakes at the front and rear wheels. Coupled with the grippy MRF Zapper tires, they offer sufficient braking performance to bring the scooter to a complete stop quickly from 60 kmph without much effort or drama.
The Alpha is equipped with practical features, such as a large 21-litre underseat storage space, a utility hook and a chunky alloy pillion grab rail. The underseat storage is long, but not very deep, so it can accommodate only a small half face helmet inside it. The utility hook is mounted very low, which makes it difficult to hang bags safely. The Alpha’s instrument console is very basic, but is legible and easy to read when riding.
(Clockwise, from top left) The Alpha comes with a large 21-litre underseat storage compartment, a solid aluminium grab rail, a low-mounted utility hook, and easy-to-read speedometer console. The underseat storage can only fit small half-face helmets.
At Rs.57,000 on-road, the Yamaha Alpha is priced in the same range as the Honda Activa, Suzuki Swish, and TVS Jupiter. Considering the quality it offers, we feel that this is a reasonable price point.
The Yamaha Alpha is the stereotypical India scooter, as not much differentiates in mechanically from other scooters available in the market. The Alpha could have also done with a little bit more power. While the 113cc engine suited the light-and-petite Ray very well, it makes the larger Alpha slower than its competitors. Yamaha should have used a 125cc engine instead.
That said, what sets the Alpha apart from the rest though is the quality of the entire package and the comfort it offers. It is a well-built scooter that is spacious and offers a plush ride, making it an ideal choice for those who would want a stress-free way to commute every day.
(Special thanks to Bikerz Yamaha, Chennai, who provided us the Yamaha Alpha for the review)
|Engine||Air-cooled, 4-stroke SOHC|
|Power||7 bhp @ 7500 rpm|
|Torque||8.1 Nm @ 5000 rpm|
|Brakes||Front:130 mm dia Drum
Rear:130 mm dia Drum
|Fuel Tank Capacity||5.2|