For 2021, Yamaha has given its 125cc scooters — the Fascino 125 and the RayZR 125 a handful of upgrades, which brings them right up to date with the competition. The main talking point of the new versions of both the scooters is the hybrid system that the brand claims improves performance without compromising on fuel efficiency. We've ridden both the scooters and while they might be very similar on paper, they do cater to two different groups of people. You can read about the RayZR here, so let's see how the new Fascino 125 Hybrid fares:
The Yamaha Fascino 125, with its retro styling, has always been a head-turner. It received a major cosmetic makeover when it stepped up to the 125cc class back in 2020 and this 2021 update adds in premium features like an LED headlight, LED tail light and a couple of new striking colours.
For the test, Yamaha lent us a unit that was wearing the 'Cool Blue Metallic' paint, which, with the colour contrast Beige seat looks rather elegant. This unit also had oodles of chrome highlights around the headlight, on the apron, RVMs and even on the side panels. This is one of the two newly available paint schemes, the other being a Matte Black over Gold combination which gets blacked-out elements instead of chrome on the aforementioned parts, to appeal to the younger folks. At the back, the new Fascino gets an upswept grab bar, which is easier to reach than before and it continues to sport the long tail design which suits its neo-retro styling.
The Yamaha Fascino 125 Hybrid continues to use the same BS6-compliant 125cc single-cylinder, fuel-injected engine that produces 8.04bhp at 6500rpm and 10.3Nm at 5000rpm. While the bhp figure is identical, this Fi Hybrid variant gains 0.7Nm of torque, courtesy the addition of a small electric motor which Yamaha calls Smart Motor Generator (SMG). This is the Hybrid tech that the brand is demanding the extra moolah for and we can confirm that it works as advertised. Yamaha claims that this extra power from the electric motor will help the Fascino get off the line quicker, which is sort of true. The SMG system gives the engine a slight boost when rolling from standstill bridging the lag of the ICE engine, the system also kicks in and gives that extra little push when going uphill. SMG also ensures an almost silent start. Thumb the start button, and the Fascino breathes to life with minimal sound.
Compared to the standard Fascino 125, the hybrid variant feels peppier. It accelerates faster from a standstill and builds up speed with good linearity up to around 85kmph. The engine runs stress-free even when it is at its peak and has zero vibrations. We found out that it tops out at a speedo indicated 95kmph. The SMG also enables the automatic start stop system, which I have to say works seamlessly. It automatically switches off the engine whenever you come to a halt and switches it back on as soon as you twist the throttle. Yamaha claims that the start stop feature saves up to four per cent more fuel and while that sounds like a minor amount, it will surely add up in the long run. The Fascino Hybrid managed to return us a mileage of 52kmpl (in mixed riding conditions). Which translates to it having an approximate range of 260km on a single tank of fuel from its 5.2 litre fuel capacity.
Getting on to the features list, the new Fascino now gets a fully digital instrument cluster, which, while being an upgrade over the outgoing version, is a bit bland and simple. It only has vital stuff -- speed, the odometer, a fuel meter and that's about it. The system does get Yamaha's Bluetooth Connect X connectivity which offers features like geo-tracking, riding history and hazard light activation. However, it does miss out on turn-by-turn navigation and incoming call/message notification functions.
The side-stand engine cut-off function is a good safety feature and the Fascino gets a 21-litre under seat storage compartment which can be equipped with a phone charger. Another thing that the Fascino misses out on is an external fuel filler, the addition of which would have greatly improved the overall user experience.
The Fascino maintains its flickable and easy going nature for which all credit goes to its light wet weight of 99kgs. Its suspension is well suited for smooth roads but it’s not the best on bad roads. The Fascino's suspension feels on the stiffer side when compared to its rivals. But it does get better, the faster you go. Even at full whack the scooter remained planted. At low speeds, it feels a bit harsh, especially if you go over a tall speed breaker or a nasty pothole. So, it's best to take them cautiously.
The Fascino isn't aimed to be a sporty scooter at all, but due to its lightweight, it handles rather well. You can enter a corner with a good amount of speed and carry it throughout all while holding the line confidently. Braking duties are taken care of by a 190mm disc at the front and a drum unit at the rear. Braking performance is adequate but could do with better initial bite. The scooter also gets a Unified Braking System which is Yamaha speak for a combi brake system and it does a good job of giving a balanced feel by distributing the braking force. The Fascino's turning radius is fairly short, and that makes it possible for it to filter through traffic with ease.
The Yamaha Fascino Hybrid is a looker and it packs a good amount of features over the standard model. It is quicker and feels fun to ride as long as you're on well paved roads. The Bluetooth connectivity and LED headlight add in a touch of premiumness and also make it a more value-for-money proposition. However, the addition of features like an external fuel filler cap, turn-by-turn navigation, and incoming call alert would've made it more appealing. The Yamaha Fascino demands a price tag of Rs 78,530 which is Rs 5000 more than the Activa 125 and that is a nominal price to pay for the clever hybrid technology that it has on offer. No other scooter, including the Activa, gets this tech even as an option and as we found out, it isn't a gimmick at all. Moreover, if retro styling is your thing, the Fascino is the scooter you should be looking for.