Yamaha YZF R15 V2.0 - Review


Back in 2008, with the launch of YZF R15, Yamaha was able to kickstart the budget sportbike segment in India. The segment was primarily dominated by the Pulsar 220 till then, which was a rather crude and unforgiving machine targeted towards performance junkies. The R15 bought a refreshing change with its distinct looks and racing appeal. Despite having a free revving engine with nimble handling, the rear end of the bike looked very commuterish and didn't gel well with the edgy front.

To eradicate probably the only issue with the R15, Yamaha launched the Version 2.0 in 2011. Six years down the line, the design still has appeal for its clean lines and enough bling at the right places. Droolworthy design would be an understatement, it looked like nothing else on the road. The raised tail, split seats, longer wheelbase, wide tyres and improved low end pep were some of the major highlights of the Version 2.0 over its predecessor.

Price and Design

The YZF R15 V2.0 is available at a price of 1.17 Lac ex-showroom Delhi. Starting with the design, this bike is a head-turner, there are no two ways about that. Yamaha has taken cues from the bigger siblings R6 and R1 to give the R15 a supersport touch. Even though the dimensions aren't massive, this bike looks like a typical sportbike from most angles. The front end is dominated by dual halogen headlamps, which are great for aesthetics but leave a lot to be desired when it comes to brightness and visibility. 

The rear view mirrors are mounted on the front fairing and jut out to provide good rear visibility. Yamaha has made some changes to the fairing and it looks more edgy in Version 2.0 with lots of cuts and vents. From the profile, the raised rear end gives it a striking look. The increased wheelbase and sheer height of the pillion seat are obvious from this angle. The tank is perfectly sculpted and allows the rider to grip with his knees. The 10 spoke 17 inch alloy wheels are finished in black with a body colour outer tape, which looks very tasteful and minimalistic.

The rear end gets a dramatic treatment which makes the bike eerily similar to the R6. There is a triangular LED unit for the brake lamp and the indicators and registration plate get a place of their own on an attached holder. The 130-section rear tyre covered by a tyre hugger looks sufficiently wide and blends in well with the supersport image of the bike. Paint quality is top notch for the major plastic and metal parts but one with a detailed eye can spot orange peel at some places. There are fake carbon fiber design accents all around the bike, which break the monotony of black colour on lower half of the bike. Overall, the design and quality of the R15 Version 2.0 looks very nice and won't leave any of us wanting for more.

The dimensions of R15 V2.0 stand at 1970 x 670 x 1070 mm, with a wheelbase of 1345 mm. The kerb weight is just 136 kgs, which contributes to the acceleration and handlings capabilities of the bike. Ground clearance of 160 mm might seem less on paper but the R15 clears most speed breakers and bad roads with ease as it is not equipped with a main stand.

Instrument Cluster

The digi-analog instrument cluster is another major attraction in the bike. The cluster is fairly informative and comes with odometer, tachometer, speedometer, 2 trip meters, reserve meter and all major warning lights. It lacks a very useful clock though. It does a self check everytime you turn the key. Also, the cluster gets a white backlight.

General Quality

As expected, the plastic and switch quality is top notch on most parts. There is a kill switch and pass light function as well.

The levers and footpegs are of impressive quality. There are a few rattles from the visor and fairing which creep up after some usage, but these are not alarming and can be lived with. Most parts on the bike feel built to last.

Engine and Performance

The R15 V2.0 comes with the same liquid cooled 4 valve, fuel injected 150cc engine and offers improved low end power delivery. Power figures stand at 17 BHP (@8500 RPM) while torque is rated at 15 NM (@7500 RPM). The bike feels sufficiently nimble at city speeds and requires less downshifts in traffic conditions. The power surge starts from the 5000 RPM mark and there is no denying that the meat of the matter lies in the top end. The engine revs freely to the redline and doesn't feel strained at all. There is ample power in the mid range and one can make quick progress by staying away from the traffic merely by keeping the bike in the mid range. The bike is equipped with a 6 speed gearbox. Gearshifts are well defined, but gears feel a bit clunky while downshifting. Upshifts are butter smooth and clutch action is effortless.

A modest 75 kmph is achieved at a rather low 5000 RPM in top gear which makes this bike an excellent cruiser. When given the stick, the 150cc motor will take you to a claimed 135 kmph speed. The exhaust note isn't very pleasant at low-mid RPMs but as the needle climbs, the note starts to become gruff and throaty, which will be praised by enthusiasts. Another good point about the exhaust note is that it doesn't feel excessively feeble or loud at any point, which sometimes prevents the bike from unwanted attention.

Ride, braking and Handling

Handling is another plus point as the R15 takes corners very well and maintains its poise. Moreover, due to the long wheelbase, the bike is more forgiving to novice riders and allows room for corrections during cornering. The front end is ready to respond to rider inputs but the long wheelbase and wide rubber patch makes the bike less eager to change directions.
The bike comes with MRF tyres for the front as well as rear and I found them to be quite good and of an all-rounder nature. They have got decent grip in dry roads, they look pretty good, they last 25-30k kms easily and they don't cost a bomb to replace. The rear end slips in wet conditions and one has monitor his moves carefully when riding in such conditions as this bike does not come with ABS.

The braking department is handled by disc setup, at the front as well as rear. The front brakes have good stopping power but aren't very progressive. The brake lever feels spongy and there is a good amount of nosedive (front end dips) when relying solely on the front brake. This hampers confidence in corners as the weight shift from back to front is rather abrupt. The rear disc, quite surprisingly, has respectable stopping power by current standards but it is always recommended to use front and rear brake simultaneously while stopping.

This is a track oriented bike and has an aggressive seating position with rear-set footpegs and clip-on handlebars. The ride quality is firm and the bike will get unsettled over bad roads. Mono suspension makes the ride almost flat at high speeds and undulations are taken much better at higher speed. The seat compound is very hard but is covered with a non-slippery upholstery which makes the rider better settled during corners. The pillion seat isn't suitable for most people due to its height and riding with a pillion brings pressure on the rider's arms and wrists. The stiff suspension coupled with hard seat compound makes the bike unsuited to long rides. Rider has to take a break every 150-200 kms to stretch and prevent fatigue, while the pillion would definitely need rest every 50-60 odd kms. Seat height of 800 mm will suit medium height riders as well. Tall riders might find the riding position cramped with very less room to move around.

Tank size is 12 L. Tank range is close to 370-420 kms as the bike delivers 35-38 kmpl consistently with a mildly aggressive riding style. With a sedate riding style, one can touch early 40s as well.

Colour Options

The Yamaha R15 V2.0 is available in 3 colours - Adrenaline red, Sparky green and Revving blue.

Service Costs and Warranty

Yamaha has a wide service network in India and service charges are acceptable for a premium bike. The average charges are around Rs. 1000 per paid service which involves general maintenance items like Yamalube engine oil, oil filter, chain lube and air filter change. As per the company, service intervals are 3 months or 3000 kms.

Yamaha provides a 2 year standard warranty, which can be extended to another 3 years.

Competitors and Verdict

Major competition for the R15 is in the form of Honda CBR150R and Bajaj Pulsar RS200. While there has been a lot of buzz in the 1-1.5 Lac Rupee price segment in the recent months with the launch of new naked 200+ cc bikes, the fully faired machines still have their dedicated fanbase and the R15 continues to inspire them.

The bike has been updated with AHO and made BS4 compliant to meet Government regulations. At the current price point, R15 V2.0 makes perfect sense for someone planning to climb the supersport ladder. The handling and seating ensure that a newbie rider gets a brilliant platform to learn and hone his skills and the mini-superbike looks in new paint schemes make it more desirable than ever before!