Yamaha R15 always has been a game changer for the Japanese bike maker since its inception in the year 2008. With all-new domestic market dynamics and new age competitors, Yamaha aims to rewrite the history with the new version of R15 by setting new benchmarks in the segment. As the new Yamaha YZF-R15 is already on sale, the motorcycle has brought a new flavour to the maturing market. But the question that remains to be answered is that; can the new Yamaha R15 V3 carry a decade-long legacy forward? Let’s find out!
Design and Look: First things first. The design of the new R15 V3.0 is truly and dearly inspired by its elder sibling - Yamaha YZF-R1. The overall appeal and looks are very much similar to elder motorcycle making it look like a scaled down version. The front fairing, tail section, vertical LED tail lights and every detail of the motorcycle seems to be inspired by the big brother. The LED headlights get a sleekly appeal giving the bike a proportionate look. On the whole, the new R15 V3.0 is aggressive in terms of looks and the best R15 to date from Yamaha. The new version now comes fitted with new fibre fuel tank, unlike previous R15s, featuring fuel capacity of 11-litres. As it is a fibre tank, one cannot stick magnetic tank bags to it.
Quality: The not-so-positive trails begin here. The built quality of the new R15 V3.0 starts falling apart with the plastics used feel a notch below the one seen previously. The quality of certain fibre panels seems to have taken a hit here. This area is definitely one where Yamaha should pay close attention.
Features & Ergonomics: The instrument panel on the new version 3.0 is an LCD console which gets gear position indicator, shift light, clock and a trip computer. The best part is that the rider is greeted with a welcoming message on the dashboard which can be customised, though it is a tedious job to do. Talking about the ergonomics, the riding position is now more committed with the clip-on set at low, which you realise the very moment you are on the saddle. Further, the increased seat height and rear set footpegs too add to the aggressive riding position.
Engine: The defining characteristics of R15 always have been its heart. And, this time it is no different. The new 155cc liquid cooled engine seems to be the best which is not only more powerful but also more refined than the previous one. Tuned to make 19.3 PS @ 10,000 rpm and 15Nm @ 8500 rpm, the engine is an absolute joy to rev around even at lower rpm with high gears. This joy part is possible because of VVA or Variable Valve Assist making it a good city bike. The highway performance of the bike is another aspect which needs to be highlighted here. With open roads, the bike transforms itself into a stronger avatar delivering power in a crusty way.
With higher revs, come vibrations. But, this statement won’t be aptly suitable here, as the buzzing sensation of vibration could be felt at footpegs and handlebar while hitting towards the max speed. As far as the performance factors are concerned, the new version 3.0 of R15 returned fuel economy of 40 kmpl in city condition whereas this figure rose to 47 Kmpl on highways.
Ride and handling: The suspension duties on the motorcycles are taken care by 41mm forks at the front and link type mono-shock suspension at the rear, which did an excellent job while riding over potholes and uneven roads. Attributing to the great riding delight, the new Deltabox frame on new Yamaha R15 YZF version 3.0 offers remarkable feedback. The deceleration functioning on the bike is taken care by a 282mm front brake that gives excellent braking feedback and confidence in the absence of much needed ABS. Contributing to the braking duties, in the real world scenario, the bike is fitted with MRF Zapper tubeless tyres at the front as well as the rear. Moving on to comfort aspect, the new Yamaha R15 V3.0 is not that comfortable as one aspect’s it to be. With the 15mm rise in seat height, the riding position has become more aggressive and committed, which could make long rides more stressful.
Verdict: On the whole, the new Yamaha R15 V3.0 is a fun machine to ride with a price tag of Rs. 1.26 lakh (ex-showroom). But, the bike has its stigma, presence and a decade legacy which no other quarter-litre bike can bring at this price point. And, don’t forget the cornering ability of the bike. All in all, the R15 V3.0 is a complete package with great suspension setup, perimeter frame, aluminium swingarm, sweet exhaust note and more. But, the ABS is surely missed out here.