Ever since its launch in India in 2008, the Yamaha R15 has always held a soft spot in the hearts of Indian bikers. The R15 offered a near-perfect balance of performance, affordability and dynamics that was unseen in our two-wheeler space before its arrival. The sharp styling was an added bonus and when riders rode the R15 on a racetrack, it was a revelation for them – and still remains so. In its decade-old journey in India, Yamaha has introduced three generations of the R15. Its latest avatar is the Yamaha R15 Version 3.0, which was launched at the 2018 Auto Expo. We will be riding the new bike at MMRT, Chennai, tomorrow; but before that let’s bring forward the difference between the new R15 and its predecessor.
One of the main reasons for the bike's popularity, especially among youngsters, has been its styling. The Yamaha R15 Version 3.0 carries forward the same legacy of sharp styling, albeit with a more modern touch. It still features twin-split headlamps which are now all-LED, as opposed to the halogen unit seen on its predecessor. The front apron and the fairing are more sculpted and the styling inspiration from the Yamaha R6 is clearly visible. The fuel tank unit is also new and features gills, as seen on its flagship litre-class offering – the Yamaha R1. Split-seats have been carried forward but the tail-section is all-new, with a redesigned LED tail-light. The bike also has a different alloy wheel design and the multi-spoke wheels look better than the star-shaped wheels seen on the R15 Version 2.0. The new graphics are also much subtle and the R15 Version 3.0 is available in two new shades – thunder grey and racing blue.
Apart from cosmetic updates, the Yamaha R15 Version 3.0 also gets new features. Yamaha has endowed the new motorcycle with an all-digital dash and shift light indicator, as opposed to the part-analogue-part-digital instrument console seen on the older bike. A slipper clutch also makes its debut on the R15. Yamaha had also displayed a R15 with optional accessories, which it claimed will be part of the race kit. Additional goodies include a Daytona performance exhaust, rear-set footpegs, frame sliders, a tank pad and grippy Metzeler tyres. However, the Japanese two-wheeler giant has yet to divulge details about the pricing for the optional kit.
Powering the new motorcycle is a 155cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled motor which pumps out 19.3hp at 10,000rpm and 15Nm peak torque at 8,500rpm. The older bike, on the other hand, produced 17hp of power and an identical torque of 15Nm from its 149cc mill. Its bore has been increased from 57mm to 58mm, while its stroke remains unchanged, at 58.7mm. The new R15 is also the first bike in its segment to offer VVA (Variable Valve Actuation). The system consists of a more aggressive cam profile that sets in at about 7,400rpm for a harder-hitting top end. In a non-VVA motor, the cam has to be set for either low-mid-range power or one can have better mid-range and top-end. However, the VVA allows the engine’s power delivery to be more flexible. VVA helps the mill to rev higher, which increases peak power and also helps in low-end torque for better drivability at low speeds. Its gear box remains a 6-speed unit with the same internal ratios; but Yamaha has revised the final drive ratio to better suit the nature of the new engine.
Yamaha hasn't yet divulged its new changes to the frame and we will have to wait till the first ride for confirmation. What we can tell you is that trail has reduced from 98mm to 88mm – which hints at a sharper steering rake angle. Then again, we can only confirm this after seeing the bike personally. Furthermore, the bike's wheelbase has been reduced from 1,345mm to 1,325mm, which is a significant drop. What we can deduce from above is that the new R15 is likely to be a much sharper handling and track-focused motorcycle than its predecessor.
Seat height has also increased from 800mm to 815mm and we expect that the riding posture to also be more aggressive, as a result – unless Yamaha has raised the clip-ons, as well. The India-spec R15 Version 3.0 has been equipped with telescopic front forks instead of USD forks, as seen on the international model, as a way to keep cost under check. How much the telescopic forks have affected the handling dynamics is something that we will understand after the ride – but, we expect the difference to be marginal. Tyre size on the new R15 has also grown from 90/80-R17 at front and 130/70-R17 at the back to 100/80-R17 tyre at front and 140/70-R17 at the rear. Fuel tank capacity on the new bike has dropped by a litre (11 litres) while it has gained 3kg (139kg) kerb weight over version 2.0.
The Yamaha R15 Version 2.0 was on sale for Rs 1,18,883 while the Yamaha R15 Version 3.0 has been priced at Rs 1.25 lakh. The price difference between the new R15 and the old bike is just Rs 6,117 – which we feel is really good pricing for the upgrades in technology, power and features that the new motorcycle offers. Look out for our full review and first ride, tomorrow.
Yamaha R15 V3.0 accessory and racing kit pricing revealed