Here's the review you've all been waiting for with bated breath. The 150cc space in the Indian motorcycle market hasn't seen a more hotly contested battle since the R15 Vs CBR 150R.
The Yamaha FZ has been the hallmark of this segment. With its butch styling and torque-loaded performance, it became a darling amongst youngsters in the country. The all-new FZ-Fi looks to take over the mantle from its predecessor, but now, there is a new contender for the crown.
Enter the Gixxer 155, Suzuki's second innings in this segment, after the brilliant-but-unsuccessful GS150R. On paper, it looks extremely capable of unseating the FZ from the premium 150cc throne, but we aren't going to ride them on paper, are we? We put these two new motorcycles through their paces on the roads in and around Chennai, and see how they stack up!
Although the Gixxer's styling was based on the bigger GSX-series bikes, it looks very similar to the FZ when seen from a distance, especially in black. But as you get closer, the details start to trickle in. The Gixxer seems lither, while the FZ-Fi has a little heft around the middle. Both look sculpted and toned, but it's the Gixxer that comes across to us the most attractive amongst the two.
Yamaha has always had a reputation for high manufacturing quality, but that has taken a downward spiral with the new FZ-Fi. While it is still above most other bikes in the segment, we were startled to find that the finish levels were below the high standards Yamaha had set for itself over the years. The side panels and rear tail light seems flimsy and loose.
The Gixxer suffers no such issues. All panels are well put together, while all materials exude a high-quality feel. Suzuki has done well to ensure that this level of quality is maintained throughout the bike.
Both the FZ and the Gixxer have an accommodating riding posture that should bode well for most riders. While the FZ's large split seats are a bit more comfortable, the Gixxer's tank is shaped well to make room for the rider's knees. Both bikes offer a similar level of pillion comfort, but the FZ scores slightly more in this department, thanks to its larger pillion seat.
It has been neck to neck until now, but it's in the performance section where the Gixxer will leave the FZ-Fi in the dust. The FZ-Fi comes with a new 149cc engine which employs fuel-injection, producing 12.8 bhp and 12.8 Nm torque, lower than its predecessor’s 153cc engine. In contrast, the Gixxer gets a 155cc unit that's carbureted, developing 14.6 bhp and 14 Nm torque.
The fuel-injection has given the FZ-Fi smoothness and an instantaneous throttle response that the Gixxer can't match, but when you twist open the throttle, it is the Suzuki that jolts forward. The Yamaha in comparison builds up speed at a leisurely pace. As the revs pile up, the FZ maintains the same level of thrust, whereas the Gixxer hits its peak torque and zips forward. It is quite vocal too, making a throaty growl as it nears its 9500 rpm redline, while the FZ lets out a nice refined thrum at the same point.
Here's where all the acumen gathered by both Suzuki and Yamaha from years for racing experience has helped. Both the Gixxer and FZ handle really well around corners. They turn in easily, and are quite stable once in. Both bikes use the same MRF Zapper Revz tires, which offer loads of grip.
In terms of city manoeuvrability, the FZ trumps the Gixxer, thanks to its low steering weight and smaller turning radius, which makes it easy to skim through gaps in traffic. Doing the same on the Gixxer takes a little more effort, given its slightly restricted steering movement. Both the FZ and the Gixxer have a similar suspension setup, with beefy telescopic forks upfront and a monoshock at the rear, which helps them to impart an exceptional ride quality, absorbing almost all imperfections on the road. The best part is that despite the excellent damping characteristics, in no way did the suspension of both bikes seem overly soft or bouncy, as is usually the case.
A disc brake at the front and a drum at the rear is what both the FZ and the Gixxer employ. The Gixxer's setup was better overall, in terms of performance and feel. The FZ has a strong front brake, but the rear is what lets it down. In our braking tests, the FZ-Fi came from 50 kmph to standstill in 11.14m, whereas the Gixxer did the same in 9.25m. Both these would have fared even better had they come with a disc brake at the rear, but sadly, neither Yamaha nor Suzuki offer that, not even as an optional extra.
The features on the FZ-Fi and the Gixxer are as minimal as their body panels. The only standout feature on both bikes is their digital instrument consoles. The FZ comes with a smart-looking rectangular orange-backlit LCD display unit that has the usual set of features, but now includes an 'ECO' indicator light, which flashes green when you are riding sedately, in a fuel-conserving manner.
The Gixxer also gets a similar rectangular orange-backlit display. Apart from the usual tachometer and tell-tale lights, it has a gear indicator that tells you which gear you are in, along with a gearshift light that blinks when it hits a certain rpm point, which can be adjusted according to rider preference.
Both the Suzuki Gixxer and the Yamaha FZ-Fi are talented bikes. They have the same agenda, but take completely different routes to achieve it. While the Gixxer offers oodles of performance, the FZ-Fi is focused on delivering a smooth, comfortable and efficient ride for the consumer.
We feel that while it was commendable for Yamaha to have pursued efficiency, they shouldn't have done it at the cost of performance. The Gixxer is as comfortable and handles just as well as the FZ-Fi, but it is also powerful to boot. Not to mention that at Rs 72,199 (Ex-Showroom, Delhi), it is Rs 4000 cheaper than the FZ, which runs to Rs 76,850 (Ex-Showroom, Delhi).
So there you have it - the Suzuki Gixxer emerges the clear winner in this comparison, and is the new bike to beat in the premium 150cc segment in India. The Pulsar 150 better watch out!
Special thanks to ABT Suzuki, Nandanam, Chennai, and Bikerz Yamaha Nandanam, Chennai, for providing us with the bikes for the review
Disclaimer: This review is purely based on the test conducted by "ChooseMyBike.in". All views expressed in this review are that of ChooseMyBike.in's, and not of the manufacturer's.
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Check out the video of the Gixxer vs FZ-Fi comparo here: