The light, precise handling and comfortable ride make Yamaha Ray ideal for young ladies

Japanese giant Yamaha has made its first scooter for the Indian market. While the scooter is aimed primarily at women, it isn’t exclusively feminine looking, with edgy, modern lines that’ll appeal to many a macho male as well. Yamaha’s first Indian scooter looks good-to-go on paper, so we got astride one for a thorough road test.

The first thing that strikes you about Yamaha’s new Ray is how compact this scooter really is, with low 760mm saddle height. It is purpose-built to woo young ladies with its sporty, youthful styling and sharp lines – the Ray certainly isn’t a good scooter of choice for adult males.

It closely resembles Honda’s Dio from the front, and uses dual-colour panels to good effect. The Ray’s large and flush-set headlight does a good job at night, this dominating the raked front apron and sitting over a space-age front mudguard.

It’s a 104kg scooter that feels light and easily manageable and these factors are certain to delight members of the fairer sex. The instruments are attractively laid-out, and very readable with the speedometer and fuel-gauge prominently displayed. The scooter-typical switches and control levers work well, and the Ray provides effective mirrors that are simple to adjust. We really missed a rear brake lock clamp on the Ray, which we’ve always considered crucial kit on gearless scooters. Yamaha has however aced to give its latest scooter really nice palm grips. And we were further impressed with the thoughtful provision of storage cubbies near the ignition key pod, and a sturdy bag-hook. The Ray’s rubberised foot-well is a boon, more so when riding in wet conditions. The pillion footrests neatly tuck into recesses within the body.

There’s a lockable underseat stowage area that shuts with a nice, positive click and the Ray’s saddle uses smart, textured fabric. The tail of this scooter looks smart too, its exhaust sitting neatly encased within a tasteful shroud.

The Ray should prove a reliable scooter in time, thanks to its excellent overall quality, fit and finish, and built-to-last rubber and plastic components.

Under the Ray’s seat sits its 113cc, single-cylinder, four-stroke and force air-cooled engine. This is a button-started, single overhead camshaft driven, twin-valve powerplant with long stroke dimensions of 50mm x 57.8mm. Peak power is 7bhp at 7500rpm, while the maximum torque output is 0.82kgm made at 5000rpm.

The Ray provides, now standard in our market, friction-cutting technology like roller bearings for its rocker arms. There’s also Yamaha’s TPS, a throttle position sensor that sits astride the carburettor to assist control ignition and help the 3D mapping system to attain good efficiency.

The CVT-transmission-driven Ray engine is refined and smooth, and also stays vibe-free at all times. Throttle response is adequate too, but we did find ourselves feeling let down with the Ray’s performance, which felt a tad sluggish for a 113cc scooter, more so because it sells with a Yamaha badge. While the Ray’s acceleration is acceptable for an automatic scooter, its mid-range power delivery is lazy, reflected in the tardy 12.23 seconds taken to achieve 60kph from rest, considerably slower than rivals like Honda’s Activa or Aviator and TVS’s Wego, despite their using smaller capacity engines.

The Ray’s performance won’t disappoint you if you’re looking to it for commuting.

The Ray uses a steel, underbone-type chassis, and bests most rivals, including Honda’s Dio for using telescopic front fork suspension. At the rear, it uses an industry standard single-shock absorber, with the engine a stressed member of the frame.

The low, upright riding posture feels comfortable and right for a commuter, and although the Ray’s floorboard is slightly inclined, this doesn’t hamper riding pleasure, as it is set at the perfect height, along with the scooter’s handlebar.

The Ray offers light handling and a precise steering feel, making this a very easy scooter to master. Even short riders will face no trouble placing both feet properly on the road when stationary. And this Yamaha goes around corners as well as any scooter riding on 10-inch wheels. Likewise, ride quality is good, neither overly soft nor firm, with reassuring stability available at all speeds. The MRF tyres on the front and rear generate good grip, while braking is adequate, via 130mm drum brakes at both ends. The Ray stopped after 20.95 metres from 60kph during brake testing. The Ray is just as fuel-efficient as any Indian scooter with an automatic transmission, and it returned a decent 41.8kpl during city testing, and 45.1kpl when ridden on Indian highways at close to 60kph.

While not the best option for most males, the light, precise handling and comfortable ride make it ideal for younger ladies. And of course, the Rs. 46,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi) price should work well in the market.