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xBhp was born more than 16 years ago and since then we've had a chance to ride or drive hundreds of machines running on two wheels or four wheels, and sometimes even three wheels. We are not done yet, and this list is still growing. In these pages, we take a deep dive in the treasure trove of our ride experiences and bring you all that we have ridden or driven.

Yamaha R15 V3 – first impression & review

155CC 19BHP 15NM

“Overall, the new Yamaha YZF R15 V3 at a price tag of INR 1.25 Lakh ex-showroom Delhi comes across as a very desirable motorcycle that would help budding bikers take their first step into the world of performance motorcycling. “

Text: Sunil Gupta
Photos: Mohit Gena

It was the year 2009 when I first rode the Yamaha R 15. We were on a pan-India ride called the Passion Hunt and I was riding it alongside two R1s. I remember putting the R15 through all kinds of torture tests, revving it till the redline in almost all the gears on the literally empty Golden Quadrilateral then to keep up with the R1s. But it never complained, not even once. Then during the Passion Hunt city events, I used to do demo slalom runs, figure of eights in front of the bikers before we asked them to do it themselves. And this bike never failed me. It would do all those tricky manoeuvres smoothly without breaking a sweat. It had been recently launched then and was a rage among bikers. It looked and handled unlike any other 150 cc motorcycle at that time and clearly had the DNA of its bigger sibling, the R1 in terms of looks and the purpose it wanted to serve. The R15 set a benchmark in its category that other motorcycles found too difficult to match.

The Version 2 of the R15 took things up a notch. The bike looked more aggressive without losing on the performance front. Yamaha launched the R15 V3 recently at the Auto Expo 2018 and we got to ride it yesterday at the Madras track and did it manage to meet the standards by its predecessor?

We find out:

In terms of looks, the new R15 is a winner right from the word go! It comes across as very sharp and compact and well balanced motorcycle that looks great from every angle you look at. Predictably it takes styling cues from the latest R1s and comes with a full LED twin headlamp configuration with a dummy air intake port at the centre. The engine, alloys, and handlebars are all powder-coated black and accentuate the sporty look of the bike. The fully digital instrument cluster is also inspired by the R1. Of special interest are the details like the fins on the tank and the solid looking tyre hugger.

Yamaha has made a lot of changes to the R15 engine and the bike now gets bigger throttle bodies, new forged pistons, connecting rod as well as a rebalanced crankshaft. The R15 V3 engine cubic capacity has also gone up from 149 cc earlier to 155 cc thanks to a bigger bore and this fuel-injected ‘new’ engine is mated to a 6-speed gear box and now produces a healthy 19.3 PS at 10,000 RPM. The peak torque figure remains the same though. Yamaha says the new bike is 4.7% more fuel efficient and 16.3% more powerful.

Yamaha also incorporates the ‘variable valve actuation’ technology in the new R15, which utilizes two different cams for intake valve – one of these is activated at lower RPMs while the other one gets engaged with the help of a solenoid motor at around 7800 RPM mark , which results in better low end torque as well as overall linear power delivery. As a result, the low end torque in the R15 V3 is definitely better than the previous iterations.

Here is a small video that would help you understand the Variable Valve Timing/actuation technology 

The other major changes are a bigger air filter and the use of a slipper clutch. The slipper clutch results in overall lesser effort on rider’s part and the rear wheel staying in line even under quick downshifts at high speed.

Here are some snippets/illustrations from the official Yamaha presentation to explain the changes in the R15 V3. 

The R15 V3 now uses a fatter 140/70 section rear tyre (MRF Zapper) and to accommodate it, there is a wider but shorter swingarm and a shorter wheelbase of 1325 mm. As a result, the bike feels much more eager to change course even with the slightest of rider input, which should be quite handy when negotiating city traffic.

The rider seat height has gone up slightly, but the pillion seat height has been reduced. The riding posture is sporty but not too aggressive and you can use it for your daily commute without punishing your back, shoulders or wrists.

Now comes the riding part! I got to ride the new R3 in its favourite playground, the MMRT. There were only a limited number of laps that riders were allowed to do due to paucity of time, but I came out grinning. The bike feels quicker off the mark and builds revs without losing much time. The engine feels smooth and relaxed though tends to develop a bit of vibrations in the higher rev range. The delta box frame along with the rear monoshock and the sorted suspension setup makes it a perfect track tool and the bike leans in the corner with a sense of urgency. It felt quite forgiving in the corners and planted on the straights during high speed runs.

Interestingly enough, the bikes we were riding had the Metzeler tyre at the rear (available as an option for INR 9998) and the stock MRF Zapper in the front. This tyre combination did feel a little odd but proved to be rather helpful to augment the bike’s performance. My rear tyre did go out of line briefly a couple of times under heavy braking but came back without much drama. Talking about braking, it was something that left a lot to be desired in an otherwise formidable package. A bit more bite on the front brake would be something that I would be looking forward to whenever I get to ride it next.

The delta box frame and the suspension setup compliment the bike’s intentions pretty well too and no matter if you are a beginner or an advanced level racer, you’d love to take it to the track.

Overall, the new Yamaha YZF R15 V3 at a price tag of INR 1.25 Lakh ex-showroom Delhi comes across as a very desirable motorcycle that would help budding bikers take their first step into the world of performance motorcycling. It is a serious track tool that would be equally joyful in city riding conditions. It looks great and would surely be a head turner on the road. It is by far the best handling motorcycle in its category and will put a big smile on your face every time you ride it.

Then there are some aftermarket accessories and performance parts that you can buy from Yamaha to make it even more potent, like the Daytona exhaust, frame sliders, USB charging adapter, etc.

What needs improvement is the overall fit and finish. The uneven gap between panels and the not so clean welding is an eyesore and takes the sheen off of its otherwise premium tag.

A big round of applause for the entire Yamaha R15 V3 design team for keeping the legacy of R15 alive and coming up with this product, which stands out among the crowd and sets new benchmarks in the Indian performance motorcycling segment.

And (Indian) Rossi also came down to meet the baby R1

Yamaha R15 V3 tech spec comparison
Yamaha R15 V3 tech spec comparison with competitors

Discuss it on xBhp forum, here

And here’s first ride review of Yamaha R15 V3 by another xBhpian, Saquib, from Bangalore 

R15 V3
R15 V3 First Impressions
R15 V3 First Ride
Yamaha R15
Yamaha R15 V3