Yamaha Ray ZR v Honda Dio

Moto-scooter duo in a tus­sle

Bike India - - Contents -

STYLE IS A dom­i­nat­ing as­pect of our lives. There’s no doubt about that. While a tiny mar­gin of peo­ple don’t re­ally care about the brands they wear or how they ap­pear to oth­ers in what they’ve cho­sen so long as they’re com­fort­able, it’s a vastly dif­fer­ent world out there. One that tends to show more re­spect to a mon­key in a suit rather than an in­tel­lec­tual dressed in ca­sual shorts and flip-flops. In an ideal world, the fash­ion cap­i­tal would be a throng of peo­ple in jeans and T-shirts, but, as we can plainly see from the sit­u­a­tion around us, it’s far from it; and, wor­ri­somely so, it seems to be get­ting worse.

An evo­lu­tion of teenage and wanna­beteenage devil-may-care style has ar­rived in the form of ‘swag’; where, at first, it seems you melt all your dig­nity and self­worth into chains for your neck and caps for your teeth. While some may find it amus­ing to be­hold at first — pants get­ting ev­i­dently lower as they tend to process the idea be­fore them — there are many who ac­tu­ally take it se­ri­ously and con­sider it a life­style. While I’m cer­tainly not try­ing to of­fend those who have adopted the life­style and turned it into a lu­cra­tive ca­reer, I’m try­ing to get to the bot­tom of how many are ex­posed to the re­sults of other in­dus­tries try­ing to cater to this par­tic­u­lar life­style.

One such ex­am­ple is the new Yamaha Ray ZR, ac­tu­ally pro­nounced ‘ra­zor’, as I be­came aware from the tele­vi­sion com­mer­cial that re­cently played more than the ac­tual pro­gram­ming. The new Ray ZR is es­sen­tially a Ray Z with more at­ti­tude; the one that wanted to be your new brother, which, in turn, was a Cygnus Ray with a bit less at­ti­tude than the ZR. What it is, to me, is a suc­cess­ful olive green colour scheme with yel­low ‘tat­too’ graph­ics from the pop­u­lar Yamaha FZ stick­ered on to the scooter and, ap­pre­cia­bly so. The gas-damped monoshock with a bril­liant gold fin­ish and golden wheels was some bling I was ac­tu­ally sort of ex­cited about.

I’ve never rid­den a small scooter with a gas-damped monoshock and that’s prob­a­bly the sole rea­son I was look­ing for­ward to the Yamaha Ray ZR. That, and the fact that it looks like the sort of scooter Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger would ride in ‘Com­mando’.

An­other one that ac­tu­ally man­aged to get my eye­brow raised was the new choice of colour for the Honda Dio. While their palette con­sisted mainly of two-tone shades, the sim­ple act of turn­ing the whole thing matte-grey makes it more in­ter­est­ing. Plus, if ever there were two moto-scoot­ers ask­ing for the spot­light, th­ese are them.

Un­for­tu­nately, our Ray ZR didn’t have

the golden monoshock or the wheels. The Yamaha dealer con­firmed that the bling bits were not on of­fer, yet.

The Honda Dio has been the most at­trac­tive, rak­ish de­signed moto-scooter for a while; in fact, for over a decade. It built upon the suc­cess of its more ev­ery­day sibling, the Ac­tiva, In­dia’s best­selling scooter ever, and that was key. It was a more modern, youth­ful of­fer­ing that was backed by le­gendary re­li­a­bil­ity and sim­plic­ity of op­er­a­tion: ex­actly what some­one in their grow­ing years with a fresh li­cence look­ing to dom­i­nate the streets on some­thing with­out a man­ual trans­mis­sion sought.

Fast for­ward to the present and the Dio is still on sale, post a facelift. The new pan­els and re­vised head­lamp unit

have shed the lean im­age and made it look more mus­cu­lar. The en­gine has grown from 102 cc to 109 cc and de­liv­ers 8.0 PS and 8.8 Nm, pack­ing ‘HET’ (Honda Eco Tech­nol­ogy) to im­prove ef­fi­ciency. Apart from the ad­di­tion of Honda’s Com­bined Brak­ing Sys­tem (CBS), the Dio re­mains the same me­chan­i­cally.

The Ray ZR, on the other hand, packs a 113-cc ‘BlueCore’ air-cooled sin­gle that makes 7.2 PS and 8.1 Nm. It’s slightly down on the Dio in the num­bers game and that shows in the ac­cel­er­a­tion fig­ures. The Dio takes 8.84 sec­onds to get from 0 to 60 km/h, whereas the Ray ZR is over half-a-sec­ond slower at 9.48. In terms of top speed too, the Ray ZR tops out at 86.3 km/h, while the Dio goes on to 93 km/h. Not much in there, but the Dio’s slightly faster at the top with its 10 per cent higher power. Both feel equally re­fined, so there’s re­ally noth­ing be­tween them on that front.

The Ray ZR looks like the sort of scooter Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger would ride in ‘Com­mando’

The Ray ZR is ac­tu­ally very good to ride. The mildly- stepped seat is com­fort­able and there’s enough knee room. It also feels wider and the equiv­a­lent of a car with a wide- body kit on. It’s very flick­able and the weight dis­tri­bu­tion feels just right. The sus­pen­sion setup is nei­ther too stiff nor too soft; it’s just right, and lean- ins and changes of di­rec­tion are han­dled with ease. How­ever, I just wish the brakes had a bit more bite. The Dio, mean­while, feels slightly stiffer and a bit heav­ier at the rear. Other than that, it looks leaner, but feels more solid and picks up well. The ini­tial punch is good and it feels the more ur­gent of the two. The flick­a­bil­ity is just as good as that of the Ray ZR and its han­dling in­spires con­fi­dence.

From the prac­ti­cal­ity as­pect, though, both scoot­ers weigh the same, at 105 kg, and even have sim­i­lar fuel- tank ca­pac­i­ties: 5.2 litres for the Ray ZR and 5.3 for the Dio. Their econ­omy, how­ever, re­flects quite a dif­fer­ence in ef­fi­ciency. The Ray ZR re­turns 42.5 km/ l, trans­lat­ing into a 221- km range on a full tank, while the Dio de­liv­ers 54.75 km/ l, a cri­te­rion for you, the Ray ZR’s seat height, at 775 mm, is 10 mm more than the Dio’s. The Dio, how­ever, of­fers 18 litres of un­der- seat stor­age vol­ume. The Ray ZR has 21 litres un­der the seat, plus twin stor­age bins up front.

Then there’s the mat­ter of the ask­ing price. The Honda Dio costs Rs 53,114 on- road in Pune, while the Ray ZR, with­out the front disc brake op­tion, will cost you Rs 60,662 ( OTR, Pune); add Rs 2,800 more for the front disc. It isn’t the stop- on- a- dime kind but is pro­gres­sive enough.

If you want the safe op­tion which, now, has seem­ingly been re­born on the dark side with its af­ter- dark shade of shadow, the Dio can do no wrong. How­ever, if you want to be bold and ride out on a unique, sharply de­signed mo­to­scooter, and ei­ther want or can get over the ‘ swag’ fac­tor, the Ray ZR cer­tainly makes a strong case for it­self. The Dio feels sharper and more will­ing, and the added power makes a dif­fer­ence in the right places. Make no mis­take, the Ray ZR is an ex­cel­lent ride, but the Dio just has that much more of an edge over it.

The Ray ZR is an ex­cel­lent ride, but the Dio just has that much more of an edge

Ray ZR con­sole tries to look space-age; dual stor­age pock­ets are use­ful

that the Ray ZR’s? How did the de­signer miss that? Dio gets a much edgier sep­tag­o­nal look­ing- glass

Dio’s un­der- seat stor­age of­fers enough room for a half- face hel­met

Ray ZR’s stor­age af­fords a bit more room even with a half- face hel­met in there

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