Yamaha YZF R15 v3.0
The latest generation of the Yamaha YZF-R15 marks evolution in the right direction
The latest edition of the iconic R15 ridden on the track
the Madras Motor race track (MMRT) was the venue for the first ride of the YZF-r15 when it was launched in India. Incidentally, 10 years later we were at the same track for the first ride of Version 3.0. since its introduction, the r15 has been popular among people looking for an accessible option to experience Yamaha’s r series. the motorcycle soon set a benchmark in handling and became the choice of wheels for budding racers. Now the Japanese marque has brought the third iteration of the YZF-r15 to India.
a row of spanking new r15s were lined up in the MMRT pit-lane. the motorcycle’s sharp lines and aggressive stance echoed its superbike lineage even at standstill. as I came closer, it became evident that Yamaha had taken a lot of visual elements from the legendary YZF-r1. the sharp lines of the motorcycle extend from the twin Led headlamp to the sculpted fairing and on to the chiselled dual-tone fuel tank. the rear cowl flanking the subframe looks attractive and blends seamlessly with the Led tail-lamp. overall, the motorcycle represents an evolution of the purposeful look that the r series is known for and continues to arrest inquisitive eyes until they have appreciated every detail.
turn the key and the fully digital instrument cluster lights up with a “hi buddy” message. the screen is dominated by the tachometer and speedometer with a gear indicator, fuel gauge, and clock arranged around them. Instead of the clock, you can toggle between the odometer and trip
meters (with average speed and fuel consumption displays).
Powering the motorcycle is a new 155-cc liquid-cooled singlecylinder engine that produces power and peak torque at higher rpm as compared to the previous model. While the torque remains the same, the power has gone up by 2.3 Ps. the Variable Valve actuation (VVa) system has improved performance throughout the rev-range. It makes use of two cams to control the lift of the intake valves. at 7,400 rpm, the larger cam is engaged which actuates the intake valves, giving a slightly higher lift. this helps the motorcycle deliver better top-end performance without compromising on bottom- and mid-range performance. the engine is mated to the same six-speed gearbox as on its predecessor, this time via a slipper clutch, though.
the new deltabox frame has received changes to the swingarm pivot and subframe. the shorter swingarm and minor changes to the rake angle have brought down the wheelbase to 1,325 millimetres (20 mm shorter than in Version 2.0). at the front is a 41-mm telescopic fork and the rear is managed by a linkage-type monocross.
as I settled into the saddle, the first thing I noticed was the improved riding position. the saddle is longer, roomier, and more comfortable, with plenty of space for tall riders also. the foot-pegs are slightly rear-set than in the previous model and, in full race crouch or otherwise, the committed seating position feels natural and is far from demanding. after spending nearly an hour on the track I did not experience any physical discomfort whatsoever.
after the warm-up laps I began pushing the motorcycle. Power was always available at either end of the rev-range and the bike pulls steadily until it red-lines at 11,500 rpm. In order to take advantage of the power delivery at higher rpm, Yamaha have lowered the gear ratio. hurtling down the main straight in sixth gear, the console showed 120 km/h at 9,000 rpm. the motorcycle was capable of even more if only I had a longer straight. to test the slipper clutch, I dropped a couple of gears while riding at 75 km/h in fourth gear. the motorcycle remained stable and there was no rear-wheel locking.
the r15 was easy to flick into corners and it held the line with an admirable confidence thanks to the rigid deltabox frame and the equally capable suspension setup. Yamaha have managed to set up the suspension in such a way that it is perfect for everyday use and the bike is still a fast machine on the track. there was rarely an instance when I felt I was not in harmony with the motorcycle.
one area Yamaha should look into is the front brake. Most of us had issues with the front stopper. the lever play and feel were different on each of our
The R15 was easy to flick into corners and it held the line with an admirable confidence thanks to the rigid Deltabox frame.
motorcycles. Mine had a spongy feel at the lever. although the bite from the larger 282-mm disc is adequate for city use, it needs to be more responsive for the track.
For a machine that revs to 11,000 rpm, the new r15 had almost no vibration at the pegs or the handlebars, even at the extreme end of the rev-range. the pillion seat has been lowered so the pillion rider can now ride with his head slightly below the stratosphere. Yamaha have maintained their high standard of quality and the r15 is among the betterbuilt motorcycles in its price range. there are a few places where the attention to detail and finish could have been better but for rs 1.25 lakh (ex-showroom, delhi) the motorcycle is great value for money. Yamaha confirmed that they plan to introduce ABS in this motorcycle in the first half of 2019.
to summarize, the new r15 did not turn out to be a stranger at all. In fact, for the latest r15, Yamaha have taken everything we liked about the previous models and made it even better.
There was rarely an instance when I felt I was not in harmony with the motorcycle
The 282-mm front stopper is larger than on the previous model Foot-pegs are further rear set than the Version 2.0 YZF-R1 styling evident from almost every angle