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Yamaha YZF-R15 V3.0 – Road Test Review

Yamaha YZF-R15 V3.0 – Road Test Review

Snapshot: When looking at the bigger picture, it has the potential to shame down a number of bikes in its class and above it.

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Just a few months back in Chennai, I got a chance to ride the Yamaha YZF-R15 V3.0 at the MMRT circuit which was indeed an amazing experience on a bike like this which belongs very much on the track. Now, a few months down the line, the company was kind enough to lend me the same for a few days to experience how it felt like on everyday roads. Was it as impressive on the daily roads as on the tracks? Let’s find out!

How is it in the traffic?

This is the third generation in the R15 series as its name says, and no matter which bike in the chain you have a look at you’ll always find these bikes engineered to be easy to live with motorcycles. And the new one doesn’t disappoint. Though the bike has clearly grown a bit aggressive in every sense but it doesn’t bring any radical behavioral change on the daily roads. Its seat height has grown by 15mm and now sits at 815mm making it slightly demanding for an average Indian rider (as we are not considered the tallest of races). But at the same time, I didn’t find it a bit harder for me to put my foot down in the time of need. Also, the clip-ons feel like they’re set a bit lower, giving more confidence during the ride, but uncomfortable was it ever? Errr…Negative!

Next thing which I was l really eager to put it to test was the scorching Delhi summer heat, the traffic and how it reacts to it. And as expected it feels calm and composed, never felt running out of breath or giving up.  The bike shows no signs of heating even when trundling on slow city speeds for an hour, and that really makes it stand apart from a hoard of other bikes in its competition.

The bike comes with assist clutch which puts no pressure whatsoever on the hand and is definitely lighter than the previous generation.

Is there any significant update in the engine?

The engine in question is the 155 cc Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, SOHC, 4-valve engine which is slightly higher in the cubic capacity. This unit now pushes out close to 19.3PS of maximum power at 10,000 rpm, and 15Nm of peak torque comes at 8500 rpm. It comes mated to a 6-speed transmission, which is precise and smooth (typical Yamaha). The power is up on the paper, and it doesn’t take a highly skilled rider to figure out the actual difference in the power surge, its right there, clearly visible. The engine has been worked out heavily to deliver stronger power throughout the rev range. It has a significantly stronger punch down in the bottom end, which is what is needed in the city riding, while Variable Valve Actuation (VVA) takes care when you are going past 7500 rpms. Meaning you never really run out of juice, and power is linearly spread throughout the rpm band.

The motorcycle feels smooth even when getting pushed out hard, delineating high level of refinement from the engine. Making it a joy to ride.

Ride, Handling and Brakes?

It’s only a matter of minutes that you understand how friendly the bike feels. The riding stance though has gotten a bit demanding with the lowered clip-ons and seat height, but at the same time it is nothing when compared to the Orange machines which are close to being called out cruel. It is sporty, yet comfortable, and commuting on the daily basis is nothing short of a delight.  

The bike has grown taller, the ground clearance is up by 10mm and now stands up 170mm, and well, higher ground clearance is always welcome on the daily Indian roads.

Another update it receives comes in as bigger 41mm telescopic front forks, which are setup on the softer side. While the mono shock unit at the back is set to be stiffer. The suspension has been engineered to be comfortable even on the bad countryside roads, managing to soak almost everything that’s thrown at it. And it’s only the worst kind of patches that’s transferred down to the rider. And I reckon it’s very close to being called an excellent setup for all the purpose it’s been tuned to serve.

I remember throwing it around at the MMRT, and walking out all smiles for the way it handles, and on the daily roads too it is hugely impressed being a light, nimble, predictable and yet precise machine. It zips through even the tightest spots like a scooter, and throw a corner at it, and you will feel like a racer, leaning down as hard as you can. And the motorcycle will only boost your confidence while following your tiniest inputs like a good motorcycle should.

It packs a 282 mm single disc at the front and 220 mm single disc at the rear, I remember over-praising the brakes when I rode the bike for the first time at the track but then again, it was worth it. The kind of braking power and feedback they provide even on daily roads is impressive and I haven’t changed my mind a bit. But at the same time, shame that it misses out on the ABS, which is now becoming at least an optional safety feature even in the lower segment motorcycles.  

 Should you buy one?

Definitely yes! If you are planning to upgrade from a commuter and want to step into the world of supersport motorcycling. Or it can also be your first bike which will teach you a thing or two about motorcycling, at the same time being capable, friendly, reliable and stunning to look at. When looking at the bigger picture, it has the potential to shame down a number of bikes in its class and above it. It looks like a small fish in a big pond which can take down even the bigger ones, but then it’s only the size (the displacement game) in which others might win.   

Photography - Mohd. Nasir

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