Yamaha Ray ZR v Honda Dio
Moto-scooter duo in a tussle
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