Yamaha YZF-R15 V3.0

The new bench­mark in small-ca­pac­ity per­for­mance mo­tor­cy­cles

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The speed, power and tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments of a su­per­bike makes it what it is to­day. For man­u­fac­tur­ers, not only is it the pin­na­cle of their tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ment but also an ex­pres­sion and ex­am­ple of what the brand stands for. Such is the Yamaha YZF-R1. But for many who may not ever be able to ride, let alone own one, the fully faired mo­tor­cy­cle will al­ways be a fa­bled crea­ture, a uni­corn of sorts. Hence, the need for mak­ing en­try-level sport­bikes a spit­ting image of their litre-class coun­ter­parts, help­ing at­tract newer rid­ers to the sport. Talent how­ever, can­not be cre­ated, you ei­ther have it or you don’t. And that holds true for mo­tor­cy­cles too, they ei­ther have it in them or they don’t. The first gen­er­a­tion R15 had a few things go­ing against it. High price tag for a 150cc, R1/R6 from the front but un­der-tyred skinny, unas­sum­ing rear but these didn’t stop it from be­com­ing the weapon of choice for rid­ers se­ri­ous about per­for­mance rid­ing. It set the base for many rid­ers who have grad­u­ated onto big­ger ma­chines now. The sec­ond gen­er­a­tion was to cater to the fac­tion of rid­ers for

whom aes­thetic ap­peal is prime. In the process, the longer wheel­base and fat­ter rear tyre en­tirely com­pro­mised on what was so like­able about the first ver­sion - han­dling.

Ver­sion 3.0 how­ever, has got it all. Cues from the lat­est YZF-R1 and R6 are ev­i­dent, mak­ing the new R15 look fast even while stand­ing still. Split LED lamps sep­a­rated by an air-in­take, feed­ing a vari­able valve tim­ing equipped 155cc en­gine that prom­ises to match the go with the show. Al­though, the qual­ity of com­po­nents seems a tad lower that be­fore, some of glar­ing bits be­ing the weld­ing marks on the Deltabox. In spite of this, there’s ab­so­lutely noth­ing to fault the design with, it’s a top-class looker.

This pint-sized 155cc mo­tor, has not only grown in ca­pac­ity from 149.8cc thanks to a 1mm wider bore but also gets more power. 16.3 per cent more to be pre­cise and that’s with the help of a

THE 155CC MO­TOR HAS GROWN IN CA­PAC­ITY THANKS TO A 1MM WIDER BORE, GETS MORE POWER WITH THE HELP OF A LARGER AIR-BOX, 30MM IN­TAKE PORT AND VVA SYS­TEM

larger air-box, 30mm in­take port and the new VVA (Vari­able Valve Ac­tu­a­tion) sys­tem. Us­ing a so­le­noid to op­er­ate a low and a high-rpm cams, the VVA sys­tem en­sures op­ti­mal low-end grunt un­der 7,400rpm while not sac­ri­fic­ing top-end per­for­mance at higher rpms.

All this looked good on Pow­erPoint as we were taken through the prod­uct brief­ing but only a ride on the new mo­tor­cy­cle would set­tle the an­tic­i­pa­tion. Rightly enough, the MMRT in Chen­nai was the cho­sen prov­ing grounds, just as it was 10 years back when the first R15 was launched. Sad­dled up, this R15 feels com­pact yet ac­com­mo­dat­ing. The arms stretch out to the low-set clip-ons that are placed fur­ther from the triple clamp and lev­elled to it. The feet fall per­fectly in place on the rear-set foot­pegs. The rid­ing po­si­tion feels com­mit­ted, pos­si­bly a tad too much for the road but per­fect for the track.

There’s a no­tice­able change from ear­lier in the way the en­gine builds up revs from a stand­still. There’s

no lug­ging in lower rpms and the new VVA sys­tem could main­tain smooth­ness in fu­elling even in fifth gear while do­ing 50kmph. There’s am­ple torque to help with the smooth ac­cel­er­a­tion. Once past the 7,000rpm mark though, redlin­ing through the gears of the 6-speed trans­mis­sion, the R15 dis­plays a change of char­ac­ter and comes alive.

Be­tween 7,000 and 10,000 revs, the en­gine has a lot of go and the rapid pace didn’t even war­rant the use of the sixth gear. Throt­tle re­sponse is sharp while the rev lim­iter at 11,500rpm is soft in its cut-off. Even off throt­tle tran­si­tions in­duc­ing en­gine brak­ing are smooth from higher rpms while down­shifts are aided with a slip and as­sist clutch pre­vent­ing rear wheel hop. It has to be men­tioned that the en­gine and gear­box has the smooth­ness that’s sec­ond to none in its seg­ment.

The brak­ing did leave a lit­tle to be de­sired with the ab­sence of feel and feed­back on the lever but the ride qual­ity and han­dling left us im­pressed. The 41mm tele­scopic fork ab­sorbs un­du­la­tions at high speed swiftly, to not trans­mit shocks to the rider while even feel­ing taut around cor­ners. The han­dling is neu­tral and for­giv­ing with just a hint of ag­gres­sive­ness at turn in due to the re­duced trail and shorter swingarm. The R15 V3.0 re­tains sta­bil­ity at its peak ve­loc­ity and is even easy to flick from side to side at pace.

BE­TWEEN 7,000 AND 10,000 REVS, THE EN­GINE PACKS A LOT OF GO AND THE RAPID PACE DIDN’T EVEN WAR­RANT THE USE OF THE SIXTH GEAR

1. R15 V3.0 be­comes the first mo­tor­cy­cle in its seg­ment to of­fer full LED head­lights, fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of the FZ25. We couldn’t test the an­gu­lar units’ ef­fec­tive­ness but they sure look nice, split with an air-in­take. 2. The all dig­i­tal me­ter dis­plays gear po­si­tion, fuel con­sump­tion and houses a shift light among

other fea­tures

1. Pil­lion seat more co­he­sively de­signed than the V2.0, no­tice the aero cut-outs ala R1/R6. 2. 282mm front disc packs good bite but lacks lever feel, no ABS even as op­tion

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