Ever since the refurbishment of the scooter segment in India posts the arrival of Honda Activa into the scene in early 2000s, there has been a lot of change in the way scooters are perceived in India. There was a time when the scooter segment was almost dead, after the dusk of the era of two stroke scooters from Bajaj and LML. The debut of Honda Activa in the market and its open-handed receival by the ‘aam aadmi’ of India not only made us rethink that there is still a lot more action to be seen in the scooter segment, but also it forced other two wheeler manufacturers to rethink their strategy and come up with more and more scooters.
Now, such is the scenario, that every other mass market two wheeler maker, barring Bajaj Auto and Royal Enfield, has entered into the game of scooter production and sales. This is where the versatility has come in this segment as well. From a time, when the Honda Activa paved the path of only conventional looking unisex family scooters, in the current times, we can see a variety of scooters plying on the roads. And by variety, we mean to say that the scooters now differ a lot from each other in terms of body style, features and performance.
Among all the scooters existing today, the segment of retro or neo-classic scooters is undoubtedly the most unique and attractive one. Initiated by Piaggio with its legendary Vespa range, the segment of retro/neo-classic scooters is the one which focuses on overall styling rather than performance and other aspects. It is there cool design bits inspired by the scooters from the yesteryears, fused with the modern styling cues, which make them look standout from the crowd of monotonous scooters.
Ever since the success of Vespa, in spite of their steep pricing, other manufacturers too have started taking a note about it. The first manufacturer to follow the foot steps of Vespa happens to be Yamaha, which is the newest manufacturer to enter into the scooter segment. The scooter in question here is the Yamaha Fascino, which is currently the highest selling scooter from the stable of Yamaha, owing to its distinctive design. But as they say, it takes prowess in all aspects to be a game changer. So, apart from design, what more does the Yamaha Fascino packs in? Let’s find out.
If you ask us, the Fascino is a brave attempt by Yamaha in the scooter segment. The reason behind this is the fact that even though there has been numerous changes and revolutions in the scooter segment, the highest volume churners happen to be the conventionally styled unisex scooters which are usually preferred by the mature audience who want a no-nonsense design and utility from their scooter. So, it was pretty clear that the Fascino was never into the game of numbers, but it was destined to break the monotony and create a new niche – that of the fashion conscious audience who prefer looks over all other aspects of the scooter.
And if we say looks, the Yamaha Fascino has got plethora of goodness in it. The Fascino is one of the most suave looking scooters to ever come across in recent times, thanks to its fusion of retro design cues with the modern ones. There is a sense of the combination of thought processes of an automobile designer and a fashion designer in its overall stance. Though for some, the design may look a bit overboard.
The head-on frontal stance of the Fascino itself creates a good first impression. The scooter looks sleek and short when viewed from the front. The front apron has got a characteristic design with diamond shaped long and vertical clear lens turn indicators on its outer side edges, which do flank the centrally mounted thick V-shaped air vent at the lower portion of the apron. This air vent does get a chrome strip, which does get a centrally mounted logo of Yamaha on it. From the upper edges of this air vent, two sharp lines flow straight upwards to the upper edge of the front apron, thus adding some character to the otherwise simply designed front apron.
The handlebar too has been designed in a distinctive manner, with a centrally mounted rounded diamond shaped headlamp, which is surrounded by short but crisp lines character lines. The headlamp has got a substantial bulge of panel behind it, which makes it look a bit larger than what it actually is. The most noticeable part of the frontal view of the Fascino, though, happens to be the petal shaped chrome rear view mirrors, which are easily the best looking ones in this business. Besides looking good, they score full marks in terms of visibility as well.
When viewed from the sides, the Fascino looks a bit stretched from the middle-wards, which may appear awkward to some people, but nevertheless, gives it a unique stance when viewed. There is a sense of liquid flow design from the part post the floorboard, which is a bit longer to accommodate the feet of longer riders. The rear side body panels are extremely curvaceous and swoop back to the rear profile which ends in the tail lamp cluster, more on that later. The starting corner of the rear side body panels does get a boomerang shaped chrome panel, which adds in some zing to the already extrovert side design.
Even though the Fascino may appear small and sleek when viewed first, which may make you question about its capacity to seat two. But make no mistake, as the seat is large and comfortable enough to seat two. And what’s more surprising is its underseat storage space, which at 21 liters, is the largest in its segment, which is capacious enough to store a full sized helmet. The back portion of the seat too gets unique hooks to mount the spanner and other parts of the tool kit. The Fascino does get a conventional underseat fuel tank, the capacity of which is a decent 5.2 liters.
The rear profile of the Fascino too has been uniquely designed with the tail lamp cluster supported by a large matt black panel upwards of it. The trapezoidal tail lamp, just like the air vent on the front apron, gets a thick chrome garnish with the Yamaha logo stamped in the middle of it. The tail lamp gets the assistance of teardrop-shaped clear lens vertical turn indicators. The single piece alloy pillion grab rail look stylish and is large, perhaps the largest we have ever seen on an Indian scooter, thus adding to its utility.
Coming to the instrument console design, the overall layout of it is not as fascinating as that of the rest of the design of the scooter. Sure, it has an air of distinctiveness in its design with a thick panel of alloy surrounding the petal shaped meter unit, the meters themselves look a bit small and lesser legible than what we have seen on other scooters. The all analog unit packs in a speedometer, fuel gauge, odometer and tell tale lamps of turn indicators and high beam light. The fact that the Fascino doesn’t get a part digital layout may be disappointing for some, and it lacks a couple of features here, such as service indicator, side stand indicator or clock, make us feel a bit disappointed here.
Overall, the Yamaha Fascino is indeed the most unique looking and beautiful 110cc scooter we have across in recent times, with the neo-classic theme going well in the entire profile of the scooter. Though, the scooter lacks in terms of equipment, as the scooter misses out on some crucial features which have become standard on many of its competitors, like alloy wheels, tubeless tyres, external fuel filler and mobile charging point, making us feel that Yamaha needs to up the equipment levels on this scooter.
|Overall Length x Width x Height||1,815 mm x 675 mm x 1,120 mm|
|Kerb Weight||103 kg|
|Minimum ground clearance||128 mm|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||5.2L|
|Seat height||775 mm|
Yamaha made its debut in the Indian scooter segment with the Ray, and since then, it has been playing safe in its every other scooter offering in terms of the powertrain. Yamaha has bestowed the Fascino with a four stroke, single cylinder, air cooled, 113cc Blue Core engine, which has been doing its duty on all the scooters which Yamaha has introduced in the Indian market, right from the Ray to its latest scooter, the Ray ZR.
For the starters, the performance figures of the Yamaha Fascino may not seem to be as enthusiastic and ground breaking as its overall design, as the engine pumps out very decent figures – a maximum power output of 7.1 PS and a maximum torque output of 8.1 Nm. This makes us feel that that Fascino is indeed the lowest powerful scooter in its segment, where all of its rivals do produce a power output of at least 8 PS.
And yes, it does feel a bit less powerful when you first twist the throttle, which lacks the initial zing of the other scooters in its class. But then, there’s a catch – the scooter weighs just 103 kg, which makes it the lightest scooter in its class and the one with a very good power to weight ratio. It is this goodness in its power to weight ratio that despite its low power output on paper, the scooter pulls off nicely, without feeling underpowered as the revs rise.
Other talking points of this engine, apart from the brilliant power to weight ratio, is its refinement and fuel efficiency. As with all other engines that Yamaha has produced till date, this 113cc engine too doesn’t lack refinement even as the revs rise. Though, being an underpowered scooter engine, this 113cc mill has a limitation, and the vibrations begin to creep in post the speed mark of 80 kmph. However, the Fascino is never meant to be ridden beyond such a speed, and is a strict city commuter, where it performs decently.
When it comes to fuel efficiency, Yamaha is indeed breaking the norm of being notorious on the front of fuel efficiency in its past machine, with its new ‘Blue Core’ technology. As per this tech, which makes use of lighter pistons and better monitored fuel consumption, the Fascino delivers an official fuel economy of 66 kmpl, which makes it the most fuel efficient scooter of India – something which we never expected from a Yamaha product.
|Engine type||Air-cooled, 4-stroke, SOHC, 2-valve|
|Bore & Stroke||50.0mm x 57.8mm|
|Maximum Horse Power||7.1PS /7,500 rpm|
|Maximum torque||8.1 N.M / 5000 rpm|
|Starting System||Electric and Kick|
|Lubrication||Force-Feed Lubrication, Wet Sump|
|Cylinder layout||Single cylinder|
|Clutch type||Dry, centrifugal|
|Ignition System||CDI (Capacitor Discharge Ignition)|
Once in a blue moon, a Yamaha product may disappoint you or may not fully satisfy you with its design or powertrain combination, but one aspect on which a Yamaha product may never go wrong is the riding dynamics and brilliance of chassis. In the past, each and every Yamaha product has had class leading chassis combination and establishes benchmarks in riding dynamics, and the same has been translated into the Fascino as well.
The Yamaha Fascino retains the underbone frame as well as suspension and brake setup from the rest of the scooters from Yamaha. The scooter is blessed with hydraulic telescopic forks at the front and a single sided hydraulic monoshock at the rear, both of which, though conventional, are better tuned than what the other scooters from its peers from Honda and Hero have got. There is a sense of plush-ness and planted-ness in its overall suspension setup, which is neither too stiff nor too soft, thus making it perhaps the benchmark in its class.
Thanks to the lower kerb weight of 103 kg and good weight distribution at both front and rear, the Yamaha Fascino handles like a charm. The initial lots of the Fascino skipped out on tubeless tyres, which have been taken care of in the 2016 models, all of which do come shod with 90/100 x 10” tubeless tyres. There is no option of alloy wheels though, which we would have definitely liked on the Fascino, as not only they would have raised the styling quotient, but also would have enhanced the overall riding dynamics even more.
When it comes to brakes, the small 110mm drums at both the ends are sufficient enough to bring this light weighted scooter to a halt. However, considering the competition and its price positioning, Yamaha should have offered an optional front disc brake.
This is one main aspect where the Fascino disappoints more than expected. Yamaha currently has made the Fascino available with a price point of Rs. 53,000, which makes it one of the most expensive 110cc scooters currently on sale in India. Even though it doesn’t lack the finesse in design, build quality, engine and chassis, the fact that many other scooters such as TVS Wego, TVS Jupiter, Suzuki Access (a 125cc scooter) and Mahindra Gusto are priced below the Fascino, and do come with better equipment levels and performance on the go, making the Fascino feel like it’s not that great value for money. Currently, the Yamaha Fascino is being offered in a range of five different color options – Sassy Cyan, Rouge Red, Tuxedo Black, Haute White and Cool Cobalt.
Yamaha did introduce the Fascino to create a new niche segment of fashion-conscious scooter buyers, who prefer design over other aspects. To some extent, they have proved to be successful, as the Fascino is a decent selling scooter, which though is not as high selling as the Honda Activa and TVS Jupiter, but being Yamaha’s highest selling scooter of current times, brings in sufficient volumes for the company. In terms of looks and design, the Fascino is one of the most uniquely styled scooter, which may garner a second glance, something which a scooter usually doesn’t get. The distinctive design cues and dashes of chrome are the main reasons that the Fascino has broken the monotony in the otherwise boring segment of family scooters.
Then come the performance, on which the Yamaha Fascino slightly has disappointed us, considering the fact that it was Yamaha which pioneered the era of performance oriented two wheelers in the country. However, it does balance the loss of peppiness in its performance with its brilliant refinement and fuel economy. And then, the class leading chassis and suspension setup and adequate brakes make it a dynamically rich scooter which is fun to potter around in the city.
On an ending note, the lack of features and a slightly underpowered engine may not justify its high asking price, but then, if you want a distinctive looking scooter which is easy to ride, then the Fascino is just the right product for you which may make you avoid the possibilities of getting a 125cc scooter at the same price tag as that of it!