Yamaha R15S continues to be a hoot to ride as before even at the limit and is now practical as before, we miss old engine tune though
- Styling and practicality finally together
- Superlative chassis
- Reliable and Efficient engine
- Value for money
- Can do with more power
- Dated instrument cluster
- Missing features at the price point
Yamaha is revamping worldwide its entire portfolio in pretty much every country and continent in the world. India holds strategic value for the company when it comes squeezing volumes and giving enthusiast what they need at the same time. The product we reviewed today is one of them. We asked for a sporty motorcycle back and in 2008 we got one with a 150cc unit and a fantastic chassis setup along with it. It made so many stories that it still does rounds of the internet. Yamaha followed the pursuit and dropped a gorgeous bomb with the V 2.0 with some scarifies. However, one of those sacrifices have been corrected and majority of the package is similar. The R15-S is a product which just comes with minor cosmetic changes all around. However, since the change is substantial enough, Yamaha lend us a bike to us to tell you what you should be doing with this new product of their’s. Let’s find out!
Styling wise there is a mixed reaction as there are elements of Version 2.0 and Version 1.0 at the same time. The side fairing panels comes from the from the Version 1.0 and the front continues to be the as V 1.0, which is also seen in the V 2.0. The rear tail-piece comes again in the R15-S from the V 1.0. Tail-light has been clear lens glass to distinguish it. The color schemes with Yamaha are always different and here it is the same case. Expect more colors to be added shortly.
Exhaust also stays identical as before. What makes it different is the slightly longer mudguard at the rear along with fatter tyres and the aluminum swingarm seen in the V 2.0. The seat is the main thing in question here and it is back and gives bikers a nostalgic feeling while the mechanical packages stays updated, one from the V 2.0 that it is borrowed from. We wish LED head of tail-lamps would have made to the bike. However, let’s wait for the V 3.0 to come and answer that question.
Speedo and Switchgear
Switches and hand grips remain the same high quality things that we know and all essentials are at the right place. Cluster has a analogue meter along with a digital speedo meter which has all the tell-tale lights. Meter has the fuel warning light, which shows how much kilometers are being covered post fuel warning light comes along with the usual clock, odometer and trip meters on offer.
What has changed is the ergonomics by a subtle margin, the seat height remains the same, but the riding posture is back to normal for rider and pillion which was seen on V 1.0. The clip-ons are set lower and you sit higher, making for a committed riding position but not as aggressive as the KTM (KTM took this crown from the R15). Mirrors are mounted well, seats continue to be not so great for long journeys.
Performance and Gearbox
Thrust comes from a 149cc four-valve, liquid-cooled SOHC engine that is fuel-injected and makes 17 PS of power and 15 Nm of torque. Thanks to subtle changing in gearing and sprocketing, power is made more in the lower and mid-range and the top-end continues to suffer a bit thanks to the change seen in the V 2.0 when it was launched. Gearing is still on the taller side and gearbox continues to be super smooth along with a light clutch.
All of this makes it ‘pretty’ relaxing to commute with less throttle inputs and most importantly, less down shifting of gears. Engine has the best NVH we have ever seen till date and smoothness along with an aggressive note from the motor once you start winding up the engine to the redline is typical Yamaha and makes it fun to ride along that, it also lends a very sporty character to the motorcycle. Mileage also continues to hover around the 35-40 km/l mark.
This is where most of your money goes when you pay it to Yamaha. The first in class perimeter frame along with linked rear monoshock makes it the most dynamic bike in its class and above it as well. The telescopic forks which are well tuned to deliver great front-end feedback along with superior ride quality thanks to mature damping. Lower rake angle (could be even more lower) for precision riding makes it fun to chucking into corners. Slow in and fast out is the way the R15 responds and continues to be a charmer in this part of riding dynamics.
Tyres make sure that there is grip all the time, the MRF tyres are known for good grip in every condition along with fatter tyre, now with this ergonomics lends more stability and more importantly more confidence to the rider than before. However, it isn’t as agile or chuckable in the corners as the V 1.0 courtesy, changes to swingarm, which has increased the wheelbase and the turn-in is slower by a small margin thanks to a larger tyre. Brakes continue to be stellar thanks to very good initial bite and feel from the levers and post that a lot of progressive braking power is available. Overall, there is no complaining and we cannot wait what Yamaha does next to the R15.
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2016 Yamaha R15S Review, Verdict
Clearly, the R15S is already on the list of many people who still want to get into the entry-level sports bike world. Sure there are other options, even at this price point, that too with a larger engine, but the way R15 involves the moment you start riding, the way you can wind up that motor in traffic and still get away with it is something truly remarkable.
Less power can actually be fun and it is also important that beginners should begin with this (Compulsory if you ask us). There is hardly going wrong with a proven set of mechanicals along with more practicality of the single seat. In this case, you should be looking at what is left here and that is an appealing package that is hardly being offered in the market today by others.
Rs. 1,18,373 Ex-showroom Delhi
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