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With the new R15 V4, Yamaha has brought everything that they could for the R15 and it boasts quite a few features that are unheard of in the segment. We’ll break it down systematically and see if the latest iteration can live up to the legacy created by the R15.
Starting with the looks, the new R15 looks smashing in all its shades be it Racing Blue or the MotoGP-inspired colour scheme of the R15M. Even more so in this special WGP 60th Anniversary Edition. First of all, the magic begins with the redesigned front fascia. It is now closer than ever to its elder sibling, the R7.
The fairing has been redesigned which not only makes it look better but also makes it more aerodynamic. The new bi-functional LED headlamp and the LED DRLs gel well with the cowl and overall the new R15 stands apart and looks like a much bigger motorcycle than it actually is.
As we move towards the rear, you would notice that it shares most of its design traits with the R15 V3. This works very well in its favour as it looks really good, giving the R15 the proper appeal of a supersport machine. Now, let us talk about the bits that are specific to the R15M WGP 60th Anniversary Edition.
The first thing you are going to notice is the colour scheme. In celebration of Yamaha’s 60 years in Grand Prix racing, the R15M gets the iconic White and Red ‘speed block’ colour scheme. There’s also a Yamaha Golden Tuning Fork Logo along with a 60th WGP logo on the tank. The wheels are golden too on both the ends and further distinguish this model as a special edition R15M. An embroidered R15M logo on the seat completes the changes that define this special edition.
Now, mechanically there are no changes and the R15M WGP 60th Anniversary Edition is identical to the base R15M model which means it gets all the bells and whistles such as quickshifter and traction control.
In terms of the engine performance, Yamaha has tweaked the highly potent mill a bit. The motorcycle is now powered by a 155cc mill that makes 18.4 PS of power and 14.2 Nm of torque. The peak torque also comes in 1,000 rpm earlier. That aside, the engine still gets VVA to broaden the powerband and make the motorcycle more responsive in the lower rev range.
The new R15M is a superiorly rewarding motorcycle when ridden hard. The upper midrange and the top end are blistering and it is an ode to what a gem of a motor this 155cc engine is. It just keeps revving and keeps asking for more which makes the R15M a fun and engaging motorcycle to ride. Another nod to its top end and rev-happy nature is that when you put the motorcycle in Track Mode, the rev counter starts from 6,000 rpm.
Once you grasp how lively the R15M feels, it becomes a very involving motorcycle to ride. Even more so with the quickshifter which works at its best higher up in the rev range. It is like every aspect of this motorcycle coerces you to take it to a racetrack. The slip-and-assist clutch means that the R15M can be ridden harder still without the risk of the rear tyre giving up on you.
The R15M is also a fantastic handler thanks to its sorted chassis and fantastic geometry. The R15 has always been that way but this time, we have the USD forks too. It is less prone to flexing and confidence-inspiring. You can go harder on the brakes and turn in more aggressively. Then, while exiting the corners, you can really grab a fistful of throttle because even if you’re overeager, the traction control will have your back!
Leaning the motorcycle from one side to the other also comes very naturally. The R15M is a better handler than its predecessors which is no mean feat because as far as the earlier versions go, they were near-perfect. Despite its stellar handling though, the R15M is not a rigid backbreaker and does a surprisingly good job of soaking up bumps and irregularities.
Another aspect that makes the R15M easy to manoeuvre is the handlebar. The clip-ons are set slightly wider this time and provide some extra leverage. This makes for an engaging yet relatively comfortable riding posture. Don’t get us wrong though, the riding position is still committed as should be with a supersport machine, but the ergonomics truly shine through when you are on a racetrack, with the YZF-R1 inspired bubble windscreen improving the aerodynamics during a race tuck.
Coming to the brakes, the bite is ample and goes well with the motorcycle. In addition to the braking system, the light weight of the R15M also contributes to its impressive braking performance. The feel on the lever is also enough to gauge the amount of braking force you are sending through.
On the feature front, a new instrument cluster makes its way to the R15M. It comes with a whole lot of information with a dedicated track mode that makes the tacho start from 6,000 rpm- as is the case with the R1. All the information you need is there along with a lap timer. It is also Bluetooth-enabled now and you can pair your smartphone with it for notifications and other updates.
We believe that the R15M is one of the best motorcycles you can get your hands on in this class. Moreover, if racing is something that you think about often, this is the place to start. And even when you are done with the racetrack, the R15M will prove to be a practical motorcycle for your daily runs.
The R15M is undoubtedly special and rewards you with an involving riding experience like no other. Add to that the attention you get on the road, which is further amplified by the stunning YZF-R15M WGP 60th Anniversary Edition.