A strong standard continues.
Yamaha X-1 fans need not despair. The awesome handling, impressive power, high style and user’s comfort can still be had in the new generation Crypton Z.
Despite its strong sales and racing success, Yamaha’s popular X-1 underbone was phased out in late 2007 after only 2 and ½ years in the market. In its relatively short stint, the X-1 has gained a strong following among the racing and modifier community and quickly overshadowed Yamaha’s previous star, the Crypton Z which continued to be sold.
In circuit racing, most of the beginner racers who started in the 110 cc stock classes were riding X-1s. Its performance in the stock category was so impressive that some 125 riders refused to compete with the X-1 for fear of being embarrassed. Its ace was a strong engine coupled with light and sporty handling. Even in the higher race classes, the X-1 was the weapon of choice for the privateer teams. Meanwhile, Yamaha factory and satellite team riders won many races and championships.
On the bike show scene, despite the limited aftermarket parts, the X-1’s slick “R-1” styling and fully enclosed bodywork was a favorite and became the most commonly displayed underbone with race replica graphics or airbrush works.
Sadly, while the X-1 was still selling well here, the model came out late in our market and was already old in the ASEAN region so it was already scheduled to be discontinued. With the arrival of the 135 cc Sniper in 2006 as Yamaha’s flagship sporty underbone, the X-1’s mission was no longer needed.
However, experts know that the only major difference between the X-1 and Crypton Z was the bodywork. The foundation of the X-1’s success was built by the Crypton Z, with its advanced engine and nimble handling frame that was introduced more than two years earlier than the X-1.
And it’s good to know that the same solid foundation is still present in the new generation Crypton Z. In preparation for the X-1’s departure, Yamaha upgraded the Crypton Z in late 2007 that modernized its styling and gave it an edgier image. It’s now positioned as a premium 110 cc underbone that can still play aggressively at the racetrack and can also be ridden as a comfortable daily commuter. While the Sniper is now the “supersports performer”, the Crypton Z will be the “jack of all trades”.
The Crypton Z is still powered by the same advanced and efficient 110.3 cc air-cooled 4-stroke SOHC engine that Yamaha developed under the concept “performance innovation”. With its long stroke engine dimensions of 51 mm x 54 mm, it delivers impressive torque and smooth acceleration that assists the rider for easy low to medium speed riding. This makes it very flexible for a variety of riding styles from sporty riding, urban commuting to long touring rides. It develops a class-leading power of 6.6 kW at 8000 rpm and 9.0 N-m of torque at 5000 rpm. It is also environment-friendly as Yamaha’s Air Induction System forces fresh air from the air cleaner to a point at the exhaust duct to re-burn any unburned fuel in the exhaust for cleaner emissions.
The basic steel tube frame is the same as well as the suspension which retains the X-1’s excellent handing. The compliant front and rear suspensions are similar as well as the excellent 2-pot caliper hydraulic front disk brake. An improvement for the Crypton Z is the larger rear drum brake (now as big as the Sniper’s) which theoretically should give it better braking performance than the X-1. Wheels are 17 inches equipped with all-weather IRC tires measuring 70/90 at the front and 80/90 at the rear.
Much of the improvement is on the styling. Most noticeable is the new dual headlight with flashers that give it a more modern and aggressive face similar to its big bike supersport cousins. The tail lamp sports a unique and very stylish “Gatling” beam light design. The meter panel also has been redesigned with florescent needles for increased visibility. The whole package is wrapped with new plastic bodywork adorned with vibrant two-tone colors, Orange-Black and Purplish-Blue with sophisticated graphics, a big improvement from the previous model’s solid color options.
Even with the IR team’s very short test ride in the rain on traffic-free concrete roads, we easily noticed the Crypton Z’s strong points. Our test team is composed of riders of different sizes and weights as well as riding styles and preferences, but all of us concluded that its biggest asset is the engine. Yes, the new look is striking, but the engine is still the shining jewel.
All three of us raved about the “torquey” engine and that it feels more powerful than what its 110 cc size suggests. All of us began to understand now how some 125 racers developed concerns of embarrassment towards the X-1. Moreover, we were also amazed by how smooth the engine operates with very minimal vibration at all speeds. The way it develops torque as you twist the throttle is very linear which enables you to exit corners better and with more confidence. It must be great to ride this bike on twisty and flowing roads. Equally impressive is the silky smooth, precise and light shifting 4-speed rotary transmission.
Next are the brakes. The front binder is already very good and when coupled with the very strong rear brakes, stopped the bike very well even on wet surface. The feel of the hydraulic brakes was very good as well.
The excellent handlebar position and height also caught our attention. The bar angle and height feels very natural. We found it ideal for aggressive cornering but at the same time comfortable enough for normal riding with good steering leverage.
We also appreciated the high level of fit and finish. The quality material of the plastics and metals were noticeable, much better than those found on most underbones we have ridden. The build quality is very high (the bike felt “tightly and solidly” assembled) that can be felt while riding it from the seat of your pants and through the controls.
However, we did find the underseat compartment smaller compared to the other underbones in the class. This is due to the large 4.5-liter fuel tank which resides directly under the seat base close to the engine. The advantage here is that it centralizes the mass for better handling. Since the tank is lower, the center of gravity is lowered and the effect on the handling as fuel load changes is minimal. In fact, one of our testers noted how well-balanced the bike is. Maybe that is why the handling is so good when used as a race bike. Also, the bigger fuel tank capacity gives it a longer touring range.
We would have to wait for more riding time with the bike to know its long ride comfort and suspension behavior on different types of roads but, our brief test ride in the wet has given us a good impression of how good the Crypton Z is as a package.
However, all good stuff comes with a high price. At 62, 200 Php, the Crypton Z is priced higher, at least a couple of thousands more than most 125 cc Japanese underbones. The price positioning speaks well of how confident Yamaha is with their product. They are confident that the few thousands more will give you one of the best sporty packages available in the market without sacrificing commuting efficiency and comfort. With the new generation Crypton Z, the old X-1 will not be missed at all. For price conscious-buyers, it’s unwise to overlook this bike because of its price point. At the least, take it for a test ride, even if it is a short one.
Al Camba (5’7”, 160 lbs)
“Aside from the new body, twin headlamps and a bigger rear brake, the Crypton Z is basically the same as the X-1. I’m impressed with the 110 cc engine’s linearity and smoothness as well as its crisp transmission. The handlebar position and angle is very natural for me. The handling is so light and easy. It’s no wonder that the 110 cc Yamaha is the preferred bike of beginner racers. The bike is well-built, feels “solid” with not so much engine vibration. Aside from the small seat compartment, it’s one of the best Japanese bikes I’ve ever ridden.”
Philip Bonza (5’11”, 180 lbs)
“Sa design, maganda siya. Yung headlight niya kakaiba. Para siyang “alien” pero maganda, at ang colors napaka-vibrant, talagang nakaka-attract! Ang engine power malakas, 1st, 2nd, 3rd to 4th gears ok! Ang front brake ok, lalo ang rear brake…malakas! Front suspension is ok, sa likod medyo matigas for me. The riding position, for my height, is ok. The handling is much better. Yung shape nung upuan ok din sa akin. Yung handling tama naman yung position at saka walang vibration. So, masarap gamitin dahil balanced talaga.”
Ricci Abrina (5’8”, 152 lbs)
“Brakes are fabulous! Although we haven’t ridden it long enough, I think the suspension is good. Shifting is highly precise and very light. The handlebar is perfect for my sporty riding style. I like the new body design as well as the gauges. The engine is smooth, very smooth, no vibration! The engine’s power band is very linear and I think it can handle a 125 cc bike on the track easily!”
This was published in the 2008 InsideRACING Magazine Volume 6 Number 7 issue
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