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

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