India Yamaha Motor launched the Yamaha R15 V 3.0 a few months ago at a price of ₹ 1.25 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). In fact, we first rode the motorcycle at the Madras Motor Race Track as well, but now we get to ride it out in the real world, in the city and with a fair bit of highway thrown in as well, to see how it performs if you were to consider it as your daily ride. The 2018 Yamaha R 15 V 3.0 focusses on performance and looks to give you the thrill of maybe even a bigger capacity motorcycle. In its latest avatar, the Yamaha R15 is everything that you could have wanted out of a motorcycle that is priced below ₹ 1.5 lakh.
Also Read: 2018 Yamaha YZF R15 V3 Track Review
Looks so sexy!
Oh it does! I am not gushing about the bike, it just does! Taking cues from its elder siblings, the R1 and the R6, the bike looks sharp and warrants a second look when moving on the road. The arrow-head shaped air vent between the LED lamps up front makes for an aggressive face along with the sleek headlamps. The fairing itself has been designed nicely and fits very well in the overall scheme of things even though it doesn't go all the way down and leaves the engine slightly exposed. View it in profile, the sculpted fuel tank along with the upswept exhaust give the bike an edgy look. The good thing is that there is a sense of balance. The design is not overwhelming or busy but at the same time, it is not too simple either that the bike is lost in a sea of two-wheelers on the road.
But there is a grouse here! The fit and finish on the bike could have been better. The windscreen on our test bike had already started rattling and then, there are those ugly weld points on the Deltabox frame along with not-so-good plastics on the switchgear. It is slightly surprising because Yamaha models are known to have immaculate fit and finish.
What about features?
To begin with, the bike gets twin-LED headlamps, an LED tail lamp, a fully digital and comprehensive instrumentation console and an assist and slipper clutch. The R15 model, which is sold in South East Asia, gets upside-down forks along with ABS which the Indian-spec model skips, understandably because costs would go up by a fair bit! We wish Yamaha offered ABS on the new-gen R15, even if as an option, because the kind of performance it delivers, ABS should have been standard actually. You also get a USB charger and an array of optional equipment such as a Daytona exhaust and Metzeler rear tyre, all for a cost, of course. But the Metzelers should have been offered on both wheels.
Engine and performance
The new-gen R15 gets a bunch of updates to the engine. It is a 155 cc, single-cylinder liquid cooled engine which makes 19 bhp at 10,000 rpm and 15.1 Nm of peak torque at 8,500 rpm. Then there is the rather slick 6-speed transmission as well. But the biggest update that the engine gets is the variable valve actuation or VVA. It's variable valve timing in plain speak and its job primarily is to get the engine to pump out more torque and power at both ends of the rev range. This means that you start from the second gear, rev hard and as you go up the gears, you feel the insides of the bike churning and doling out a sumptuous spread of power and torque right from 5,000 rpm till the red line. We saw the bike reaching illegal speeds in less time than it takes to tell about it and we kind of liked it!
The 6-speed gearbox in tandem with the engine, works beautifully. You approach a corner, brake hard, drop down two gears in a jiffy and accelerate hard and the entire operation will put the widest of smiles on your face. The slip and assist clutch is a segment first and it works very well. Hard downshifts don't easily let the rear lock up and slide uncontrollably. .
Handling and braking
Sure-footed and nimble, the new-gen R15 is as it is supposed to be. It has no problems in changing directions swiftly. Be it chucking the bike hard in the corner or filtering through traffic, the R15 will happily negotiate either with effortless ease. You take time trusting the bike in corners because the MRF Nylogrip tyres aren't the stickiest of the lot even if they are wide enough. If I were to buy the bike, I would immediately swap the MRF for better and stickier tyres, maybe Metzelers. That way, one can push the bike even harder and do so with better confidence.
The R15 V3 now gets a bigger disc up front (282 mm) and a 220 mm at the rear. While the stopping power was adequate, we wish that the bike offered a little more bite. The braking is progressive but a touch more sharpness would have been welcome. Of course, ABS is sorely missed.
Ride quality and ergonomics
We actually quite like the ride quality of the bike. The suspension isn't as stiff as we thought it would be. It absorbs bumps and broken tarmac better than what we expected, on your usual everyday roads. Does that mean you can put in long hours on the bike? Well, you could if you have a strong core and solid wrists. The riding posture on the R15 V3 is even more committed with the seat height being increased by 15 mm and the clip on handlebars being lowered further than what it was before. I clocked substantial mileage on the bike over two days and well, the wrists did hurt. Not that I am the epitome of fitness either. Is it a question of getting used to? Possibly, but a long daily commute, especially in the summer months, could drain you out.
We like it! The third generation of the Yamaha R15 is the embodiment of what the R15 has always stood for. Sheer unbridled fun and affordable at that. It is now priced at ₹ 1.26 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). Save for the omission of ABS and stickier standard tyres, there is little we could fault with the bike. The performance is enthralling and the bike is more than eager to be ridden hard. If you like your corners fast and would like to cut your teeth on smaller displacement bikes before you move on to bigger bikes, this is the ideal bike you can buy.
Action Shots by Azam Siddiqui