• 2021 Yamaha RayZR 125 Fi Hybrid: First Ride Review

Is the mild-hybrid tech on this 125cc Yamaha a gimmick or a gamechanger?

In a segment headlined by LED lights, Bluetooth connectivity and navigation, how do you really stand out? Yamaha seems to have found the answer. They’ve brought hybrid technology or at least a mild version of it into the mainstream two-wheelers world with its 125cc scooter range. It's a rather straightforward system that promises better acceleration and fuel efficiency. How does it all come together though? We got our hands on the new RayZR 125 to find the answers. 

The RayZR 125 carries forward the same bodywork as its predecessor but now features a more premium and youthful-looking livery. It gets a new LED headlamp that offers excellent illumination with a wide and focussed spread. The tail lamp and turn indicators are regular bulb-type and seem out of place. The digital instrument console now features revised graphics with a body-coloured surround trim around it. Yamaha also sells a more ‘funky’ Street Rally variant that gets hand guards and new tyres. The design comes at the cost of functionality though. For example, the curved apron eats into the floorboard space and it’s difficult to place a regular backpack on the floorboard even.

The digital cluster now features Bluetooth connectivity. Paired with the Yamaha Motorcycle Connect X app, it allows you to store trip details, locate your scooter and even shows its current parked location on maps. Other nifty features include silent start, engine start-stop, a pass switch integrated into the headlamp toggle and a side-stand engine cutoff switch. It still misses out on an external fuel filler cap though. The fit and finish levels are good but a few parts like the mirrors and turn indicators feel dated.

Now, the hybrid tech is an integration of the Smart Motor Generator (SMG) and battery. The SMG acts as an auxiliary electric motor that boosts the 125cc motor’s acceleration at low speeds. This assist is offered just for three seconds or until the motor reaches a defined rpm limit. The updated motor continues to deliver the same 8.2Nm as its predecessor but an improved 10.3Nm of torque that is 0.6Nm higher than before. In the real world, do not expect a turbo-esque boost from the motor though. It is a setup that works discreetly to help get the scooter off the line, with minimal lag. Get to the mid-range and the scooter feels peppier than its predecessor. Out on the highway, there is no perceptible difference in performance compared to the previous version. The engine gets up to 80kmph easily and feels refined too. The RayZR has been one of the most fuel-efficient 125cc scooters and the hybrid tech should improve the figures even further.

Like its predecessor, the RayZR 125 continues to run a stiff suspension setup. The ride feels jarring when confronted with rumble strips. However, it  improves as the speeds go up. Despite the addition of new hardware, the RayZR 125 weighs 99 kilos as before. This makes it easy to manoeuvre at low speeds. The chassis is well balanced although the 12-inch/10-inch rim setup makes it slightly reluctant to tip it into corners. That said, it feels quite stable in corners and even on the straights. The TVS Eurogrip tyres too offer adequate grip both in both dry and wet road conditions. The disc brake setup feels spongy and lacking in feedback but this being a brand new scooter, we would give it the benefit of doubt.

With the new micro-hybrid system, the RayZR 125 does not feel like a stark revolution but a more polished version of its predecessor. It offers peppy acceleration but the difference is not mind-blowing. The package is surely improved and feels premium too. As for the hybrid tech, it is a small but significant step up in the evolution of ICE scooters until electric propulsion takes over.

Prices for the RayZR 125 start at Rs 73,330 while the top-spec variant that we rode is priced at Rs 80,830. The price has gone up by 3,500 rupees over the predecessor. However, the benefits of the hybrid tech are definitely worth the money. In fact, the RayZR 125’s pricing is at par with the 125cc competition. It’s definitely worth a dekko!

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