Yamaha YZF-R25

Yamaha has finally unveiled the R25 which has been expected since a long long time now. Everyone loves Yamaha as they stand for ‘motorcycles for the enthusiasts’ but the slowness by the company in bringing in new products has frustrated quite a few. The R15’s success is testimony to the fact that higher capacity Yamaha bikes will simply work in India but sadly the focus is on volume products rather than performance machines. Yamaha actually started the very trend of performance motorcycles in India, whether you factor in the RD350 in the 1980s or the R15 in 2008, sadly the momentum hasn’t been sustained.

The problem is that many companies have beaten Yamaha to the quarter-litre segment, a class where Yamaha is naturally bound to do very good numbers. When the R15 arrived, everyone wanted one and those who got one, were so impressed they wanted to upgrade to a faster Yamaha bike. Lack of choices meant these owners had to jump ship and opt for motorcycles from Yamaha’s key rivals. Most R15 owners have upgraded to either the Honda CBR250R, KTM Duke 200/390 or the Kawasaki Ninja 250/300. So yes, Yamaha has lost many loyal customers because of their slow approach towards the performance segment.

Now the crucial question needs to be answered. Is Yamaha really late to the quarter litre party? The answer is both yes and no. No because there is room for many more bikes in this segment as the alternatives are very few (just three yet). While it is indeed late as some rivals have established themselves very well. By the time the Japanese firm launches the Yamaha R25 in India (in 2015), the Honda CBR300R and KTM RC 390 would have gone on sale in our country. How many will be ready to pay a premium for a Yamaha machine then?

There are two types of people who buy a performance bike. One is the enthusiast who loves speed and cornering hard. This person won’t wait for the Yamaha R25 to arrive and will get something already. Besides, for him, performance and value go hand and hand and we all know that Yamaha’s 250cc offering won’t come cheap. The other kind of person is of course the person who loves style. This begs the crucial question, why would he opt for the R25 when bikes like the CBR300R and RC 390 are equally gorgeous.

The Yamaha R25 is a twin-cylinder motorcycle, which is bound to push its price upwards. If Yamaha decides to bring in a single-cylinder engine in the R25 instead, then the competition will be very intense. Kawasaki has become very serious about the Indian market and the Ninja 300 is by-far the best bike in its class, so beating the green machine won’t be an easy task. Yamaha’s age old presence in India has given it no advantage. The Japanese company’s 250cc machine comes at a time when new players would have graced the streets. Now the Yamaha R25 will have to compete with the Triumph Daytona 250 and TVS-BMW’s 250cc bike which isn’t going to make things easy for the YZF offering.

Do you think Yamaha is late in bringing in a 250cc bike to India? We feel the company should be focussing on developing an affordable 400cc bike as that’s the next big segment globally.

Yamaha R25 India

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