Yes, we have finally had a rendezvous with the utterly delicious Yamaha R15 V3.0 and will talk about the new motorcycle in detail in this review. The R15 V3.0 (pronounced as Version 3 point O), until recently, was the most anticipated bike in the country and not without a reason. The original R15, the V1.0 as we now refer to it now, was much ahead of its time when it first came to India.
It was quick to become a hot favorite of many youngsters and all racing enthusiasts worth their salt. Almost a decade later, Yamaha has introduced the third iteration of its fully-faired low-displacement supersports motorcycle. We rode it on MMRT today and you can find a full account of our trackday in this Yamaha R15 V3.0 review.
Design and Ergonomics
While a trained eye could be pretty quick to spot at least some of the components that the V3.0 shares with its predecessor, many are bound to perceive this as an all-new product. Actually, Yamaha has given the R15 a comprehensive facelift, which not only makes it look a lot fresher but also more premium. The India-spec R15 borrows in plenty from the Indonesian version but skips on bits like USD front forks to keep costs under check. Anyway, other new bits, like the full LED headlamps and taillamp, do make the motorcycle look a lot more premium. The new front-fairing is more angular and looks a bit sharper than the one on the V2.0.
Astride the motorcycle, you’ll be quick to notice the new fully-digital speedo console that replaces the part-digital-part-analogue cluster of the V2.0. The new unit displays speed, tachometer, fuel level indicator, trip meter, odometer, and even a gear shift indicator. It also offers a USB charging port. The fuel tank is also new and offers better thigh support through the flatter knee recesses.
Even the seats are new and are wider than before. The pillions should no longer feel awkward as the pillion seat isn’t as high as before. The new tailpiece is sleeker and the earlier single-piece R6-like taillamp has been replaced with a bigger unit with LED fixtures.
Engine and Performance
The Yamaha R15 V3.0 is powered by a new 155cc heart that benefits from Variable Valve Actuation (VVA). The new engine outputs a maximum power of 19.3 PS at 10,000 RPM along with a peak torque of 14.7 Nm at 8,500 RPM, which makes the R15 V3.0 the most powerful 150cc offering by a huge margin.
The engine comes mated to a six-speed manual transmission but the real highlight here is the introduction of the slipper clutch – this helped us downshift aggressively under hard-braking and before making fast entries into corners. Also, the lighter clutch action is due to a company-claimed 18% reduction in the weight of the clutch pull.
Yamaha engines have always been high on refinement and the new 155cc mill for the latest R15 is no different in this regard. Thumb the starter and the engine wakes up with a muted growl. The soundtrack is sufficiently rorty without ever getting too loud.
Like we said, the clutch action is light and the transmission offers a positive shift action. The biggest highlight, however, is the way the new R15 feels more sophisticated and even more accomplished than its predecessor.
There’s a lot of punch, available almost throughout the powerband. It’s really tough to accept that it’s a 155cc heart that powers this motorcycle. The engine just loves to rev even and feels much more powerful than the 149.8cc motor it replaces. There’s really no surprise, then, that the new motorcycle ends up being considerably faster and quicker than its predecessor. Compared to the V2, the V3 delivers 16.3% more power and 4.7% more mileage.
Ride and Handling
While the R15 has always offered decent straight line performance, its high engine prowess has always played second fiddle to the motorcycle’s excellent handling characteristics. A big reason for the amazing handling capabilities is the Deltabox frame that has been carried forward since the original R15. Furthermore, Yamaha claims to have made enough revisions to the frame to enhance its strength and balance. What remains unchanged, however, is a really aggressive riding position. You can order the V3.0 with Metzeler rubber, which further enhances this motorcycle’s cornering abilities.
Overall, Yamaha has done a decent job with making this motorcycle all the more fun in the corners. The V1.0 is still remembered for being a sharp cornering tool that can be a great track weapons in the right hands of experienced racers. The V2.0, on the other hand, was slightly softer and much friendlier to the novices.
Guess what, Yamaha has got it just right with the V3.0. While it’s at least as sharp as the V1.0, it offers enough confidence to enable even the not-so-experienced riders to push this bike hard in the corners. The excellent weight distribution and the lightweight helps the V3.0 feel at home in the fast corners. Sudden line-corrections are really easy and you’ll love to go apex-hunting on one of these.
The new R15 offers a comfortable ride even on the broken tarmac. While the ride remains firm, it never gets too uncomfortable. Sadly, Yamaha isn’t offering ABS on this motorcycle. You get a single disc brake arrangement on both the wheels. The brakes offer a sharp bite and are adequate to easily bring this baby to a complete halt from triple digit speeds.
As part of the standard package, the R15 V3.0 comes fitted with 100/80-17- and 140/70-17-spec MRF tires at front and rear respectively. Of course, you can always opt for the lovely Metzelers but having the MRFs as standard option enables the company to price the motorcycle competitively. This is also why there’s no USD-arrangement for the Indian version.
On sale at an ex-showroom price of Rs 1.25 lakh, the new Yamaha R15 V3.0 is only about Rs 8,000 costlier than the V2.0. However, this slight increase in price is easily justifiable through a sharper styling, more performance, higher fuel efficiency and pretty much the same affordability. Basically, the V3.0 is quite an improvement over the earlier iterations, which is saying a lot as the earlier R15s were remarkably capable.
The new Yamaha R15 V3.0 is a world-class motorcycle that impresses with its high engine performance, a very attractive design, and excellent handling characteristics. The V3.0 is easily the best R15 we’ve seen so far and that, alone, is a reason enough to have one of these in your garage. The R15 V3.0 is definitely the sportiest sub-200cc offering we have on sale today. And it has enough firepower to beat most of the 200 cc segment motorcycles we have on sale in India today.
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