We test the Yamaha R15 version 2.0: meaner, leaner and faster

It’s fast, it’s aggressive. It can turn heads and it’s a track tool. It belongs to the reputed R-series of motorcycles from Yamaha and yes, it’s the R1 with 5 suffix.

Long time back, when we heard that the Japs were working to upgrade the R15, we really wished and expected a few more horses squeezed into the metal mill. Then, after 2 years of launch of the original pocket-rocket R15, Yamaha came up with the version 2.0. It saw all the efforts being put into upgrading the visual aspects of the machine, and oh boy, were we spell bound? We all (or some of us) were more than happy with what Yamaha did with the already good-looking piece of engineering. In this time of competition when almost all other brands are fielding their players, we try to find out if the version 2.0 is really worth the price tag it carries.

We got to spend a week with the Version 2.0 in Racing Blue hues and the first look at the machine polishes the feeling of an aggressive sport bike. For starters, Yamaha completely redesigned the rear half of the bike with triangular LED tail lamps, new registration plate bracket, split seats and re-designed exhaust system with small makeovers that change the complete feel and look of the sports bike. The rear of the R15, simply put, is the best on any locally produced motorcycle in the country by a huge margin. From the front, the bike looks similar to the previous version with minor changes done to the fairing for better heat displacement and a darker visor and ofcourse also helps in cutting through air in a better way.

Yamaha brands the bike with “Racing Instinct” and the machine never misses a chance to prove the tag line with which it is being sold. Constructed and designed inspired from the super-sport bike of Yamaha, the R1, the version 2.0 is the closest experience to a Superbike. It is built around a Deltabox Frame, which provides the best in class stability and rigidity to the bike. The linked type monocross suspension along with low center of gravity is another feature that will take you around the corners quicker without scaring you, even when riding with a pillion.

The company has made sure they did not fiddle too much with the hard working 150cc liquid cooled motor. Ofcourse, fans of the R15 would’ve liked a few more horses. All the major changes as per the manufacturer are – new ECU, new circular throttle pulley, injection maps et al. While these might not have pushed up the power and torque figures on papers, the fact is that ride both the old and the new version back to back and you feel the quicker throttle response and better engine punch through the mid-range.

R15 version 2.0 feels quick, that said, the bike can hit 60kmph mark in under 5 seconds and the speedometer can show all the way up to 130 km/h, which is a significant improvement over the previous generation R15. Being lighter and having a sharper front end helps! The bike feels light and its ability to zip through traffic and cut lanes is impressive. Take it to the track and you will notice how it changes its personality further and make you grin with its abilities.

One of the features that can be termed as best feature without any second thought is its brakes. Yamaha has worked hard and made sure the disc brakes provide enough bite to bring the machine to standstill in almost no time. The console of the bike has been carried forward without any change, it has an analogue tacho with big LCD which has various indicators and warning lamps. The neat looking console shows basic information about speed, fuel, odometer and trip meter. It also warns about the engine temperature, turn indicators and high-beam.

Then, the Yamaha R15 version 2.0 is not made for posers, the bike’s racing inspired seating position and ergonomics can transfer serious body aches, if ridden for long distances in city traffic. Mind you, the bike is not designed for the city in first place. Even though we couldn’t manage to take the bike to a track, but with whatever confidence and performance it induced while tackling any city corner, it will surely love the track terrain.

Yamaha R15 once used to be the only bike in the faired segment which is now being explored extensively by other manufacturers. The recent intrusion by manufacturers like Honda with their CBR 150R and KTM with Duke 200 in slightly different segments has changed the game for R15 for sure. The version 2.0 came with an swelled price tag, which is now available for Rs. 1,07,000/- (ex-showroom, Delhi), but is still proving to be a game changer for Yamaha. This bike was and still is the perfect example of thrashing the old notion of small capacity bikes not being fun to own, ride or do a track day on!



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