When Yamaha came up with the YZF R15 back in 2008, the nation accepted it with open arms, as it was the motorcycle which reminded the enthusiasts that this country has still some juice remaining for the performance cravers. The R15 not only revived the fortunes of Yamaha Motor India which was struggling to hard to find its ground post the discontinuation of the two stroke motorcycles, but also opened the gates for an all new breed of entry level performance oriented sportsbikes.
The R15 was given a midlife makeover in 2011 with the name ‘R15 Version 2.0’, which made the motorcycle even more stylish and focused, taking care of the niggles projected as the customer feedback for the first generation model. But in the process, the motorcycle lost the daily practicality a bit, as the pillion section was heavily redesigned which became a tad too uncomfortable for pillion riders.
After some four years of the launch of the R15 Version 2.0, Yamaha has finally addressed this issue by relaunching the first generation model with the name YZF R15s. Yamaha claims that the R15s boasts of all the improvements which were carried on the Version 2.0 model, save for the pillion section which has been carried forward from the previous model. Is the R15s capable of being a game changer which its previous iterations were? Here’s a detailed look on this new motorcycle from Yamaha.
If you were an ardent fan of the first generation R15 and find the R15 Version 2.0 a bit too extreme for your liking, you will be instantly pleased with the R15s. as the motorcycle looks exactly the same as the first generation model. Though there are a number of minute changes which will be addressed below.
The R1-inpired front full fairing has been carried forward in this new model, though this time, they are in a dual tone paint scheme and different panels bolted together to minimize the repairing costs in case of a crash. The dual headlights, fairing mounted rear view mirrors and the transparent visor too are the same as before.
The fuel tank, which was carried forward on the R15 Version 2.0 as well, has been retained for the R15s too. Though the changes become more prominent beyond the fuel tank, as the side body cowls finished in faux carbon are all new and consist of busy lines. The main highlight of this motorcycle is the rear section – the rear side body panels, unibody seat, pillion grab rail and tail light have been lifted off from the first generation model. The rear fender, though, is all new, but looks disproportionately large and out of place.
The part digital instrument console which the YZF R15s comes fitted with is now a familiar unit, but now looks extremely dated in front of more comprehensive units from other motorcycles in the same space. The unit consists of an analog tachometer and an LCD panel which displays readouts for speedometer, odometer, trip meter and fuel gauge. The fit and finish is nothing to complain about, with the R15s feeling as sturdy as its previous models.
The one thing which has been completely unchanged on the new R15s as well is its engine – the four stroke, single cylinder, fuel injected, liquid cooled, 149cc engine is still known as one of the most technically advanced engines out there. This 149cc engine produces a maximum power output of 17 PS, while the maximum torque output stands at 14.6 Nm.
The engine has proven its mettle all these years as an excellent tractable mill, but in today’s age, the bike feels a bit underpowered, especially when the competitors are moving up in the game of horsepowers. The engine has withstood the test of times, but Yamaha could have used this opportunity by adding in few more horsepowers to this extremely brilliant engine. Nevertheless this engine, which comes with tech like MotoGP derived DiASil cylinder, fuel injection and liquid cooling, still feels smooth, refined and decently powerful at lower revs as well as mid range.
Both the first generation of R15 as well as R15 Version 2.0 have set taller standards of dynamics which are hard to match by other motorcycles in their class. The R15s takes forward the legacy with the skin of the first generation R15, but the underpinnings of the Version 2.0 model.
The R15s comes fitted with the aluminium swingarm, Deltabox frame and linked monocross rear suspension, which together form the best hardware for an entry level performance motorcycle. The motorcycle feels stable in all the conditions, and can be regarded as the best handler in its class. The bike comes fitted with disc brakes at both the ends, though the ABS has been given a miss. Yamaha also has fitted the wider 130mm section rear radial tyre of the Version 2.0 model on the R15s, which not only looks good but also adds in the supremen dynamics of the motorcycle.
Yamaha has priced the YZF R15s at Rs. 1.14 lakh, which doesn’t seem to be great value for money, considering the fact that you can buy the Version 2.0 model at Rs. 500 lesser than the R15s. For the extra Rs. 500, you do get a more stylish but lesser practical rear pillion section, which also comes fitted with a beautiful LED tail lamp. The R15s should have been positioned in the range of Rs. 1.05 to 1.10 lakh, in order to take on the competition very well, as well to differentiate between itself and the Version 2.0 model in a much more substantial way.
The R15s comes painted in three different dual tone liveries – Track White, Adrenaline Red and Spark Green.
The R15 has repeatedly been facing a not so stiff competition from the Honda CBR 150R, which too was recently given a very mild cosmetic facelift with new paint options on offer. In terms of looks, the R15s surely looks more enticing even after being a seven year old design, as the VFR-ish stance of the CBR 150R is not to everybody’s taste.
On the front of performance, the Honda CBR 150R surely has an upper edge with an additional horsepower from its four stroke, single cylinder, fuel injected, liquid cooled, 149.4cc, which produces 18.4 PS of power, while the torque is lesser than the R15s at 12.66 Nm. While the R15s trails behind the CBR 150R in outright performance, it edges it out in terms of dynamics, by offering superior handling and even more superior mechanical hardware. The CBR 150R also doesn’t feel as feature rich and premium as the R15s, and misses out even one some basics like engine kill switch and premium switchgear.
If you have loved the first generation R15, and have always wished for its comeback, Yamaha has answered your prayers in the form of R15s. Not only the motorcycle feels as impeccable as before, but also comes with added improvements by taking a couple of kit from the Version 2.0 model, which makes it a better model from the first generation mode, but not at the cost of pillion comfort – a mistake (though unintentional one) which the Version 2.0 model committed.
The engine feels as smooth and refined as before, though it’s high time that Yamaha should pump it a bit more with added bhps to make it feel more powerful. The R15s still feels as razor sharp as before, with the added equipment from Version 2.0 such as aluminium swingarm and 130mm rear radial tyre adding in the zest to the bike. The only major grouse with the motorcycle? Wish it was priced a bit lower to ensure that there was a substantial gap between it and the R15 version 2.0.