Yamaha’s R15 has been the embodiment of their “Racing Instinct” tag line. Technologies such as liquid cooling, a 4-valve head, a Deltabox frame, well tuned suspension and impressive rubber have made it a sublime race track focussed machine. In the real world, the R15 wasn’t as satisfying to use and lacked a bit of muscular appeal that riders expect from their sports bike. That, and keen competition has resulted in Yamaha upgrading the R15 to v2.0.
At first glance the R15 isn’t drastically different to look at, but extensive changes have been made. A new fairing design to improve aerodynamic efficiency, upsized tyres at the front and rear (a radial) and uprated discs are some of the new bits. There’s also a new longer aluminium swingarm, a new tail section, increased seat height for a sportier seating position and tweaked weight distribution. The ECU has been tweaked for better response, changed throttle mechanism for a more linear feel and revised final drive ratios round of the list of changes. We were taken to the MMST race track to experience the result of those changes.
A few laps astride the R15 v2.0 made it clear that Yamaha has managed to improve on the R15’s core strengths. On the dynamics front the new R15 is distinctly more stable, the longer wheelbase and bigger tyres make it very forgiving to ride hard. Although the r15 is still incredibly sharp and rewarding to ride hard around corners, it has lost some of the flickability of the earlier motorcycle. The engine felt more driveable than before too. It didn’t need to be wound all the way to the red line to get going.
So the R15 is easier to ride faster around corners, it is better when powering out of corners and very stable down the straights. While the difference may not be startling Yamaha has managed to improve the R15 discernibly in every area. And, while that is no small feat, more performance is needed to really spice things up. The R15 V2.0 is priced at Rs9,500 premium over the out going model. For an in depth report, watch out for the November issue of Autocar India.
Also watch: Yamaha R15 V2.0 video review