When the first Yamaha YBZ R15 was launched way back in 2008, it gave birth to a new breed of enthusiasts. It gave riders a taste of what a track bike can feel like. Sporty riding posture and the superb handling became the hallmark of the R15 brand & it very soon it managed to create a small but strong fan base of riders swearing by it. The Version 2 launched in 2011 with same engine powertrain albeit it brought about improvements in a lot of areas including the most talked about pillion riding position. Last month the company showcased the Yamaha R15 V3.0 at Delhi Auto Expo and we recently had a chance to test ride it at the Madras Motorsports Race Track (MMRT) near Chennai. Here is what we feel about it.
Yamaha R15 V3.0 Design
From the looks of it, one can easily make out that V3 borrows quite a few design cues from R1, its elder sibling. Twin Headlamps in the front are now LED powered, just like the tail lamps, rendering a very contemporary look to the bike. The new tank design also bears a unique gill like design very similar to the one seen on R1. We however wonder if it would be easy to maintain it clean with dust settling inside these gaps over a period of time. On the styling front, it’s safe to say that V3 proves it once again that Yamaha has got the knack of making impressive looking track bikes worthy of your day to day riding.
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Yamaha R15 V3.0 Features
V3 brings along an all new fully digital multi-functional Instrument console that has a digital Odometer, Tachometer, Trip Meter and a Clock. It also gives a variety of information to the user including gear Position indicator and a shift Indicator along with instantaneous as well as average fuel consumption data. An optional connector for USB charging can be availed as an accessory if you need one.
The upside down forks offered internationally on R15 V3.0 could not find its way to India. However, a wider and sturdier 41mm front forks in lieu of 33mm in V2, together with a larger 282 mm disc in front are surely good welcome changes. The stock MRF tyres are also wider 100/80 in front & a 140/70 at the rear. A shorter than before swing arm with foot pegs pushed a little further behind gives way to a more aggressive riding posture. pillion seat is still placed higher than that of the rider, however it’s not as high as before.
Yamaha R15 V3.0 Performance
The new 153cc liquid-cooled engine that powers the V3 is marginally bigger than the earlier engine used in V2, yet churning out a 16% higher power of 19.3PS. While the peak torque output remains unchanged use of Variable Valve Actuation (VVA) technology ensures good top end power without any compromise on torque delivery at low & mid-range. Apart from this an assist and slipper clutch makes the clutch lighter to operate and provides stress free gear shifting resulting in a smoother deceleration.
Yamaha R15 V3.0 Ride and Handling
On the race track, Yamaha R15 V3.0 is a very obedient machine. It’s easy to push her around corners without braking much of your speed. The Deltabox chassis provides enough rigidity to the bike for handling aggressive manoeuvring even on a race track. In spite of a slightly bigger engine and an increased power output Yamaha claims an improvement of 4.7%, in fuel-efficiency, which in our opinion is a commendable job. Yamaha is also offering a race kit for R15 V3.0 that includes a Daytona Muffler and Metzzler Tyre at an additional price, albeit only for track usage purpose.
Yamaha R15 V3.0 was one of the most awaited bike in the segment & after the last major update as long back in time as 2011, expectations from the brand soared very high. However, when you look at the final outcome, fit & finish of the bike is not to the level as expected from Yamaha. Quality of switch panel, uneven panel gaps and rough welding joints at places bring down the overall impression. Not giving an ABS, even as an option, further dampens the mood.
But at the end, R1 inspired styling, an improved engine performance and the superb handling of Yamaha R15 V3.0 makes it truly more desirable than ever before. A reasonable mark up of around 7000 over the V2 helps one decide in favour without major deliberations. So if you are looking for an entry level track bike that can be ridden on street with equal amount of ease, then this is the bike you can go for.