Yamaha R15 Version 2.0 Test Report

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Yamaha today make the most aggressive looking bikes in the 150 cc range: FZ / FZ-S / FZ16 / R15. The split headlight in the Fazer and R15 is definitely radical and adds to their aggression. Even the single domes of the FZ & FZS are very mean looking.

Yet aggress-ivity and mean-ness are mere perceptions depending on 0ne’s standpoint. Some may say Pulsar is meaner and more aggressive! Definitely Male – as Pulsar is advertised! Like I said, it is a point of view, a perception, very personal. To each his own!

The YZF R15 is powered by Yamaha’s FASTERnotional 150 cc engine, which is a Liquid Cooled, 4Valve SOHC 149.8 cc engine, having bore X stroke of 57 X 58.7 mm, giving a stroke/bore rati0= =58.7/57= =1.03, which is positive for LowEndTork as per Archimedes Law, since it is more than 1.

The almostUNiQUE SPL-iT HEAD-L-ight grabs your attention immediately! 0bviously the two MultiFOcal Reflectors would have two separate beams, but what is their focus? Is it 0ne-dome-upwards=HiGHbeam&--0ne-dome-downwards=LOWbeam? Do both beams point inwards? Do both point outwards? I checked out the beams and swatched (=switched 0n) the two switches 0ne by 0ne – 0ne at RHS and 0ne at LHS.

Push the RH switch 0ne step and the 2 pilot lights (=I call them Mandrake lights) come ON, irrespective of whether LH switch is pressed aagay ya peechhay / forward or not. Now push the RH Two steps: If the LH switch is not pressed forward, the pilot lights stay on and 0nly LH dome lights up with Low beam. Press LH switch forward and both domes light up bright – high beam from both domes and the pilots stay ON. So much for the lights, though I am not clear what purpose this serves, since two domes definitely cost more than single dome. This is pure GiZmo-giri and believe me it works! Youngsters love GiZmo-giri !  

This Fuel injected=F-i engine produces 17PS=12.5kw=16.77bhp of power at 8500 and develops 15Nm of torque at 7500 at a compression ratio CR=10.4. Contrast this with the 0ther slower notional~150cc (actually 153cc exactly) Yamaha engine which powers the SZ, which maxes power at a lower 7500 rpm and maxes torque also at a much lower 4500 rpm. It is easy to see that the ELF=1.13 of this 149.8cc engine is lower than ELF=1.4 of the 153cc engine.

Weighing 136kg 0n a wheelbase of 1345mm [GC=160mm], this bike rides on 17inch tires, front tire being 90/80 & rear tire 130/70. Stopping is by disc brakes both front & rear. Suspension is Twin-Fork front and M0N0SH0CK rear. Transmission is SiX speed, the only Indian bike of less than 150cc having six gears. Headlight power is a standard 35watts.

For more differences between the old and new versions check out



On the Road:

Press the starter button (there is no kicker) and the engine fires. De-clutch, press toe and engage clutch – the bike takes off – which is QUiTE a take 0ff! And you are (at least I was! I am 174cm=5.85feet tall) sitting crouched, forward leaning, more or less akin to the TVS RTRs. I went to my college – Sri Balaji Society (=SBS) – 16km away on the highway. I could go fast and I touched 105 easily (I am 49kg). The bike was willing to do more, but the traffic didn’t allow. This was traffic time and the cops were out in full force. Don’t want to tangle with cops.

Early next morning (6.am. Roads are empty) my partner Devjeet Saha (40 years younger, 22kg heavier and 3cm shorter than me), took the R15 for a speed test. He did a Speed0-indicated 141, which is indeed more than you can get an opportunity to do on 99% Indian roads 99% of the time! He said the bike could do maybe 145, but it started raining, and I for 0ne – and Devjeet for another – believe doing this kind of speed on wet roads is an invitation to disaster. The bike has to be returned tomorrow. End of speed test. Maybe another time, when I get the bike for Long- term and the rains are over.

While the earlier version had 17inchDiameternarrower and higher profile tires [80/90 front & 100/80 rear], this new version has lower profile tires.

Crouched Low on the seat on Low profile (90/80Front & 130/70Rear) 17inch tires on a Longer=1345mm wheelbase (inkreeZed by 55mm from the earlier 1290mm) makes the Center of Gravity much lower, and improves handling, road holding, cornering and braking! Makes sense!

How to quantify all this? Can it be quantified? While there are no units to measure handling (at least I don’t know of any), I suppose cornering ability could be measured by the lean angle (rider height weight & sitting ge0metry n0twithstanding!), but I don’t have the equipment to do it. However I do have the man to do it: my friend Risky MindKe – his real name is Rishi Mandke and is 40years younger than me! Taking risks/being Risky is his profession, so I call him Risky. He does all the Wheelie/stoppie/burnout stuff (wearing full face helmet) in most of the bike stunting ads you see on TV, and when the helmet is removed, out pops a Bollywood chocolate her0! And how come I changed his surname? Bkoz anybody who chooses this profession has to have Risky Mind ! Such people are Risky Mind Ke aadmi! Hence his name= Risky MindKe !

I may not be able to quantify and measure handling and cornering, but with Risky MindKe around, I can surely quantify and measure braking and Road holding, which I did. Conditions were not ideal. The road should be pot-hole free, luckily it was. It should be plain, not sloping. But it was sloping. So I apply Laplace correction.

Eh? Laplace? What’s Laplace? Who’s Laplace? What correction did you apply?

Laplace was Pierre-Simon Laplace, (1749—1827) who made corrections to many laws and theories of Physics. So to neutralize the slope, I made Risky MindKe do three runs 0ne way (Upwards) and another three the 0pposite (Downwards) way, add them, and divide by SiX! Simple!

I did the same for braking: Three runs downwards + three runs upwards. Add the six readings, divide by six, and you’ve got it!

The Zero to sixty figure I mathematically got is 4.6 seconds, which appears slower than what is claimed. But then, my method is quite DESi, cheap and crude, with known – and approximately quantifiable – errors. Thus applying bikeguru correction factor explained many times before, the real Zero to sixty timing is 3.6seconds!

By the same parameters, the Sixty to Zero (braking test) gave a braking distance [Lock both brakes and skid to a stop] of 12.7meters.

Sure, my braking test is dangerous, but by gawd=god, it is MOST REALiSTiC, and duplicates an accident situation. That’s what everyone wants: As close to reality as possible. That is what Risky MindKe delivers!

Quantification apart, how is the ride quality?

Not too comfortable for a 67year old 51kg 174cm man like me. The suspension is a bit stiff, which is fine for a bike like this. The riding posture is not relaxed. But then, this bike is not about relaxation. It is about performance. And if you relax, can you perform?

I have not done the mileage test on this bike. No time. I had to return the bike. Hopefully I should get one for Long Term. Then I will do it.


How is the bike doing in the market? Numbers?

I did a survey. The best place to do a survey is my college: SBS=Sri Balaji Society Pune. There are more than 1500 students in the age group 20—23, and there are hundreds of bikes in the campus at any time. The day I rode the R15 to campus, I took a slow ride around, looking for an R15. While I found over a dozen FZ /FZ-S/FZ-16, I found only ONE R15. Why only one?

For 0ne, it is EXPENSiVE=COSTLY. It costs much much more than the FZs. But is cost the ONLY issue? I doubt it. I know the demography of SBS students. In a campus where there are more than half a dozen Bullets – including a Desert Storm 500cc, a dozen Karizmas, four ZMRs, half a dozen Pulsar 180s, a doZen TVS RTRs and not a single Platina means it is quite a high standard campus, so cost could not be the only issue.

Is mileage an issue? Could be, but then I have not measured the mileage of this bike. In any case this bike is not going to give Crux kind of mileage (I saw ONE crux in the campus), and anybody who buys R15 is not expecting Crux kind of mileage.

Is it looks? Possibly! Is it comfort? Probably!

My conclusion is that it is a combination of: Cost / Mileage / Looks / Performance / Comfort / Personality Statement and maybe many more!

Yet, out of these above six and more, there will always be ONE Paramount Reason, which could, and probably would differ from person to person.

A person whose paramount reason/consideration is comfort & ease, will go for an ungeared/CVT scooter.

A person for whom Personality is paramount, will go for Bullet. 

If cost & mileage is the crux of the matter, person will go for Crux.

If it is performance you want, then it has to be R15!

But here are the test results. You decide!


For more photographs of R15 V2 visit:



Team bikeguru:

bikeguru Dilip Bam: www.facebook.com/bikegurudilipbam

Devjeet Saha: www.facebook.com/sahadevjeet

Hrishikesh Mandke: www.facebook.com/hrishikesh.mandke

Photo Credits: www.djclicks.com

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