Yamaha R15 V3 Review
Bike Tested: Yamaha R15 V3; Road Test No. 959
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 1.46 lakhs
Gorgeous looks are still the USP of the Yamaha R15, all thanks to design inspiration from the superbikes
We rode the Yamaha R15 V3 on the track a few months back and were mighty impressed. Though it is a track-focused machine, not everyone buying this 150cc machine will be taking it to the track to explore its potential. Most of its usage will be limited to the streets and we've finally got our hands on one to tell you whether it is as impressive as it was on the track or not? Read on to find out.
Motor Quest: The Yamaha R15 was first launched in India way back in 2008. The motorcycle kickstarted the 150cc faired bike segment in the country and also turned the tables around for the Japanese company. A couple of years later, the R15 V2 was launched which offered more of a cosmetic uplift. Fast forward to 2018, in comes the R15 V3 which looks more appealing and promises to be a more fun motorcycle.
Styling - There's no denying the fact the there is no other motorcycle that looks as sexy and as appealing as the Yamaha R15 V3 in the sub Rs. 1.5 lakhs bike segment. This bike looks absolutely stunning with the twin LED headlights which do attract a lot of eyeballs. However, illumination from the headlamps isn't all that great. The R15 V3 takes design cues from the larger sibling, the R6 and the legendary R1. The rear winglets, tail-light and even the grooves on the tank are R1 inspired. The design on the alloy wheels has also changed. Unlike before, the front and rear design of the motorcycle now match completely and overall, the design is neutral in nature.
Instrument Cluster and Switchgear - The Yamaha R15 V3 ditches the analogue-digital combination console for a fully digital LCD unit. While the new console looks modern, we do miss the analogue tachometer. Nonetheless, the digital instrument cluster displays a ton of useful information. Besides the regular odometer, speedometer, tachometer, clock, fuel-level indicator and twin trip meters, the console can also contains readouts for real time mileage, average fuel efficiency, average speed along with a gear position indicator. The displayed information is legible but the only gripe is that you cannot see the tripmeter and the clock at the same time. The switchgear, even though of good quality, is shared with FZ25 which honestly feels kinda cheap, especially considering that this machine wears an R badge. The RHS features an engine kill-switch and a self-start button while the LHS gets the usual buttons for horn, indicator and a low/high beam switch.
Ergonomics - The Yamaha R15 V3 gets a more committed and aggressive riding position. The foot pegs are rear set and this will tire you out on long rides faster than expected. However, the seats are well padded and generously cushioned, especially the pillion seat. Talking of pillion comfort, the seat will no longer give the pillion the feeling of sitting on a higher floor. The R15 V3 has a saddle height of 815 mm which is quite tall and is likely to make shorter riders uncomfortable.
Performance - The R15 V3 comes powered by a 155cc single-cylinder, liquid-cooled and fuel-injected motor that produces 19.3 PS (up from 17 PS) of power at 10,000 RPM and 15 Nm of torque at 8500 RPM. The engine comes with VVA (Variable Valves Actuation) technology and is mated to the same 6-speed gearbox like before but this time around Yamaha has given an Assist and Slipper clutch for the V3 and it works fantastically. Irrespective of how aggressively you downshift, the slipper clutch doesn't let the rear wheel slip.
The Yamaha R15 V3 isn't as refined as its predecessor but is definitely faster
The motor has punchy performance at lower revs and pulls really well till almost 11,500 RPM. Exhaust note too is better than before but unfortunately, refinement has gone for a toss. The powertrain feels thrashy and the smoothness of the R15 V2 seems to be missing. Nonetheless, fuel efficiency is better than before and the bike returned us 38 km/l (in hard riding conditions) which is good for a bike of this caliber.
Riding Dynamics - The Yamaha R15 V3 uses the Deltabox frame like before. This gives the bike very good handling and it feels surefooted around corners. While the suspension is on the stiffer side, the clip-on handlebars feel lighter to turn than before which makes the bike nimble around corners and easy to flick into gaps in city traffic. The feedback from the front end is slightly lesser when compared to the R15 V2 and the stiff rear suspension takes a toll on the ride quality of the bike. The motorcycle gets thicker telescopic forks but Indian customers would have sure liked to have the USD forks.
The shorter swingarm has resulted in a shorter wheelbase and better flickability
The disc brakes (282 mm at the front and 220 mm at the rear) have an adequate amount of bite but are again shared with the FZ25 which means that ABS has been given a miss. Under hard braking conditions, the bike tends to nose dive. High speed stability is good and the tall windscreen sure deflects the windblast, making high speed runs on the open roads a breeze. The 100 and 140 section front and rear MRF tyres grip the road well but the front rubber tends to lose grip under hard braking. Better tyres can work wonders on this bike.
Verdict – Clearly, the R15 V3 is the best R15 yet. The bike is more of a revolution than an evolution as it still has its flaws. It is definitely pricey for a 150cc machine and still does not offer ABS. However, keeping aside the negatives, if you're looking for a fun motorcycle (that even your girlfriend/wife can sit on without any problem) for your daily commutes to college/office that would fare equally well when you decide take it to the nearby hill stations or valleys, the R15 V3 is sure to be a happy ride companion.
* Gorgeous looks, the design makes it look more expensive than it is
* Comfortable and low-set pillion seat, well-padded too
* Powerful 150cc engine packs some serious punch in the top-end
* Improved rideability thanks to VVA, doesn't lack punch in the city
* Assist and slipper clutch offers seamless downshifts
* Sharp handling, easy to flick due to light clip-on bars
What's Not So Cool
* Super aggressive riding posture, the most committed R15 ever
* Not as refined as the R15 V2
* ABS not on offer, all other Japanese bike makers are offering it
* Grip from the front tyre isn't impressive, optional Metzeler is only for the rear
Yamaha R15 V3
Yamaha R15 V3 Review
The Yamaha R15 V3 is definitely a looker and that is a major USP of the product. Besides the reliability and quality of Yamaha, what works in favour of the R15 V3 is the positive reputation created by the R15 V1 and V2 over the last decade. If you can manage with the lack of ABS, there is no major dealbreaker in the product provided you are ready to pay a premium asking price in the first place.
User Review( vote)
Further Reading -