Yamaha YZF-R15 V2.0 Review

What’s appreciable about the Yamaha YZF-R15 V2.0:

  • The supercompact fully faired design which is steady as a rock on the straights as well as twisties.
  • Head-turning looks borrowed from the R1.
  • Efficient heat management.
  • Negligible vibrations even when the engine is stressed.
  • Easy handling and good agility.
  • Great suspension performance.

What could have been better: 

  • Rear brake tends to lock the wheel if hit hard. This issue was faced even in first version of R15.
  • Lack of ABS is a major drawback.
  • No grab rails for pillion and the pillion seat is too high.

The Yamaha R15 has been doing well in the market. It has been known for its racing ergonomics and appealing looks along with a superior performance. The Version 2.0 gets a design which is more sharper and more similar to the supersport model YZF-R1 which is Yamaha’s flagship motorcycle. All in all the bike aims to give an enthusiast a taste of race heritage in a small budget which is INR 1,29,000 (ex-showroom- Mumbai). It is a direct competitor to Honda CBR150R but has left it far behind as far as performance is concerned. The bike looks attractive because of the minute details of the graphics but how well does it perform? To find out, we took the bike for a spin in the city and also for a 150 kilometers ride to see if it can be a tourer too.

Looks & Aesthetics

It is one of the most attractive looking motorcycles in India till date in the segment handsdown. Look at it from any angle and you will appreciate the designer. This is one major reasons which will drive the sales figures. The fully faired motorcycle is beefy enough to gain attention. It has the sharp curves which look really great and the design as a whole is streamlined from headlamp to the tail. It comes in three colour variants – Revving Blue, Sparky Green and Adrenaline Red. The R15 V2.0 measures 1,970 mm in length, 670 mm in width and 1,070 mm in height. It has a wheelbase of 1,345 mm, a considerable ground clearance of 160 mm and a seat height of 800 mm. Even though the bike looks so big, surprisingly it weighs only 136 kg. It has a fuel tank capacity of 12 litres.

The bike has a big visor to take care of the windblast. The split headlamp assembly, borrowed from its bigger sibling R1, gives it an aggressive and mean look. Even though the headlamps look nice, they do not work as expected and are too out of focus. The low beam, which is the left one, projects lights towards the left side only and leaves a dark spot towards right. There is absolutely no light projection on the right side.

The instrument cluster is partly digital and partly analog. It has a digital fuel gauge, speedometer and two trip meters. The panel is well lit up and does not have visibility issues in the day as well as night. The tachometer is the main highlight which provokes you to push the bike even harder. The fuel indicator will blink when you are in the reserve zone. Apart from this, it indicates for neutral, engine oil level , overheat indicator and the turn signals.

The fuel tank is uniquely designed and misleads to think to be big. But it can contain only 12 litres of fuel. The Yamaha logo is right at its centre. Considering a fuel economy of 36 kmpl, i.e. our observation, you can ride for about 430 kilometers at a stretch. We would like to mention that the fuel economy was around 40 kmpl on highways. Below the fuel tank is the carbon finish graphic strip which basically hides the frame underneath. Also it enhances the forward biased posture on the bike and holds the rider in position while cornering. Further, the fairing houses the engine and the radiator. The radiator is well protected due to the fairing. It would have been great if the coolant (antifreeze) level could be visible easily instead of housing it inside the cowl. The fairing is one major component of its styling. It slightly reveals the engine which has Yamaha written on it in bold letters, just enough to represent the Yamaha racing heritage.

The rear view mirrors are mounted on the front part of the fairing. The design is too simple but they serve their purpose well as they are is sufficient space between them. The big indicators in the front pop-out from the fairing and look out of place. Also, these can be easily knocked out by anything close to the fairing. The rear indicators are fine but could definitely have a sleek design. The switch gear is of good quality but could have been a little bit more better. The bike has a 3-piece handlebar which reminds us of the katana held by sensei. The handle grips are soft and give a nice feel.

The R15 has light yet strong cast wheels with 5 spoke design made of 10 smaller spokes (2 coupled as 1 pair). The rims are coupled with MRF Zapper 90/80-17 tyre in the front and a wide 130/70-R17 radial tyre at the rear. The rubber compound and tread pattern are designed for the optimum mutual balance to ensure confident riding. Comparing with the Fazer or Fz which get a 140 mm wide rear tyre, R15 should also have got a wider tyre than the stock one. The braking system is equipped with 267 mm single disc in the front and 220 mm disc in the rear. This larger disc is coupled with the piston-slide type single-pot caliper. The bike stops properly at lower speeds but if you hit the brakes hard, it tends to skid as the rear tyre locks up immediately.

Talking about the seat, the R15 V2.0 has spit seat assembly, unlike the first version. The rider seat is well padded for a normal ride and is comfortable too. But it does tend to take a toll on your butt during the long rides. The sitting posture pushes most of the rider’s weight on the palms and can cause back aches during long rides as well as traffic. Its aggressive riding posture is liveable but again that is a subjective thought. One will get used to it within a week or so. I was comfortable with it after riding it for 3 days. The posture is demanding (my wrist would pain every time I applied brake) but we cant complain about it as it has been made for the track and not for the daily commute to office. The tail light and the pillion seat are designed like a shark fin and distinguish the bike from the rest. The bike is pretty short in height. Hence, the bike is well suited for a person whose height is less than 5’9″. For taller people, the bike seems too small and uncomfortable. There are 2 main problems with the pillion seat – first, the seat is too high and secondly, there are no grabrails. The sitting posture for the pillion can be very uncomfortable and does not instill a feeling of safety. The LED taillight design is inspired from the Yamaha R6. Also, it gets an upswept exhaust with a carbon-look design to add to the high-performance image and the feeling of quality.

Engine, Performance & Ride Quality

The single cylinder 149 cc, 4-stroke, liquid cooled SOHC engine (with fuel injection) is butter smooth and produces a power of 17 PS @ 8500 rpm and 15 Nm of peak torque @ 7500 rpm. Some might say that the specifications are similar to Pulsar 180 and yet is way costlier. But, lets not be too quick to judge as the pick up and performance of the bike is superb. The throttle response is excellent and bike responds to slightest wring. The engine is mated with a Return type – 6 speed gearbox which is pretty smooth without any miss-shifts or lag. The bike goes upto 100 kmph effortlessly. However, in order to go beyond 125 kmph, the bike takes some time. Linear power delivery can be felt throughout and the needle redlines at 10,500 rpm which means the power builds gradually and you have the power kept at the higher RPM. With all tall gears, this track bike provokes hard riding.

The 2.0 gets a deltabox chassis which delivers superior rigidity balance. The deltabox frame was inspired from Yamaha’s experience at MotoGP. One interesting fact about the R15 is that it is the first Indian motorcycle to feature a long aluminium swing arm cast in one piece which improves handling in the turns. It gets its swing arm from Yamaha’s YZR-M1 (MotoGP Race Machine). The suspension system consists of telescopic hydraulic shock absorbers in the front and Linked type Monocross suspension in the rear.

Our Verdict

The bike impressed us with its looks as well as performance. It qualifies at every point that a track or race bike is expected to have. All minute details are so well taken care of that the V2.0 isn’t a mere sticker work, but brings a rider way more closer to the track riding experience. But everything comes at a price. It is priced as much as Hero Karizma (223 cc) and Bajaj Pulsar 220. We felt that the bike is not suitable for a person who commutes in the bumper to bumper traffic of the city and also for long rides. The bike is a big no for tall people. The bike is apt for people looking for a fast bike for small distance traveling, love racing and of average body frame.

Specifications

Dimensions Length 1970 mm
Width 670 mm
Height 1070 mm
Wheelbase 1345 mm
Ground clearance 160 mm
Kerb weight 136 kg
Fuel capacity 12 litres
Engine Type Liquid cooled, 4 stroke
Displacement (cc) 149.8
Max power 17 PS @ 8000 RPM
Max torque 15 Nm @ 6500 RPM
Gearbox 6 speed
Braking System & Tyres Brakes front* (mm) 267 dia disc
Brakes rear* (mm) 220 dia disc
Tyres front 90/80 – 17 Radial
Tyres rear 130/70 – R17 Radial
Chassis & Suspension Frame Deltabox frame
Front Suspension Telescopic hydraulic
Rear Suspension Linked type Monocross
Electricals Battery 12V, 3.5Ah (10H)
Headlamp Lo beam12V/35W X1, Hi beam12V/35W X2
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