It’s barely three months since we aimed Honda’s CBR150R at the Yamaha YZF-R15 V2.0 on road. As a daily use sportsbike, the R15 went one up to prove it holds the edge over the new Honda, but some niggling doubts remain.
Can the baby Fireblade’s on-road shortcomings actually prove a blessing on the famous Sriperumbudur track just outside Chennai?
Art of usable power
Like the Yamaha R15V2.0, the CBR is powered by a near-150cc 4-stroke motor. However, the Honda’s engine seems to be better suited for the race track. A short stroke, higher compression, DOHC head and digital ignition all aim at better peak performance.
The end result is that the Honda’s horsepower is slightly higher. The advantage shrinks when looking at horsepower-per-tonne with the Yamaha slightly lighter. Crucially, the Honda revs higher with more top end performance. All put together the CBR150R’s advantages make it capable putting up a good fight.
Out on the track the Honda motor feels really good, as it screams through its rev range. Compared to the R15 the CBR is over a second quicker to 100kph from standstill. But this advantage is minimised on a flying lap. Conversely, the CBR’s tall gearing and late torque delivery make getting the most out of the motor a lot of work. Around corners the CBR is less perceptive to throttle input, especially when powering out of corners. The Yamaha meanwhile feels more lively, a combination of heftier torque developed lower in the rev range and its more usable gearing. Data collected at Sriperumbudur showed it was the bike that stays ahead and builds speed quicker in several sections of this technical track.
Craving for Corners
Both bikes use rigid perimeter frames, regular telescopic forks at the front with mono-shocks at the rear. The CBR ergonomics are better than the R15. The reach from the seat to the clip-on handlebars is longer so riders have more space. The steering feels light, turn in is quick and precise, and this Honda feels reassuring even when keeled over.
On the R15, the cockpit can seem a bit more cramped, although on track the Yamaha feels more at home. The R15 boasts of a cast alloy swing arm while the Honda uses a box section unit; and its linked mono-shock is superior as well, with a radial MRF rear tyre providing us far more grip than the CBR.
The upside of the Yamaha’s aggressive seating position is superior front-end feel. The CBR in comparison doesn’t feel as committed at the track as the R15.
Sharp end of the grid
Both these motorcycle are even in terms of showing off racy looks and more ample features for their segment. However, that’s not what a track test is about, and the CBR150R has curiously been priced a glaring Rs 8-10,000 premium higher by Honda, placing it at a disadvantage.
Despite being the faster bike around the racetrack and easier to ride, Yamaha’s R15 is also more affordable to own. Yamaha’s YZF-R15 V2.0 has retained rightful possession of its numero uno affordable Indian sportsbike slot.
Issue: 198 | Autocar India: February 2016
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