Words by Vishnu G Haarinath
Yamaha recently pulled the wraps off their third generation of the YZF-R15 in Indonesia, and it was unveiled by none other than Yamaha MotoGP factory riders Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales.
Let’s take a look at the evolution of the R15, from the first one that we lay eyes on nine years ago to the one that was revealed yesterday. Way back in 2008, India saw the launch its first supersport bike in the 150cc category. A fully-faired body kit, a 149.8cc liquid-cooled four-valve engine mated to a six-speed gearbox, fuel injection replacing the traditional carburetor and completely running on an ECU (Electronic Control Unit) – it was a technological marvel in the 150cc class. It marked the introduction of liquid-cooling on such a small capacity bike in India. With TVS ruling the track, the launch of the R15 saw many riders switching to the latter as it did not need any modification to make it worthy of the track. Christened the mini-R1, the machine was one of the best handling bikes around, thanks to the mono-shock suspension on the swing arm made it unbeatable for the rivals on and off track.
With more and more demand and developments from competitors, Yamaha introduced the R15 V2.0 in 2011. Power was bumped up by 0.7bhp and there were huge cosmetic changes to the bike. The major cosmetic changes were the introduction of the aluminum swing arm with a larger wheelbase alongside new designed alloys, which improved the bikes handling in the corners. It got a split seat for the pillion which allowed more space for the rider to crouch on the straights for extra speed. The rear tail and the side fairing got fresh looks while the front remained the same. Strangely, the bike weighed 5 kilos more than its previous version. The ECU was remapped for a better mileage.
However, not everyone was taken by the V2.0. A major issue that road users had with the bike is that the pillion seat was far too high and was very uncomfortable. Yamaha took this feedback rather seriously, and launched the R15 S, a V2.0-spec bike but with the joined seat from the original R15.
Now, the new bike – the R15 V3.0 has been unveiled and it is even more focused than before. It’s got a 155.1cc engine (up by 5.3cc from the older one courtesy a larger bore) and the power is improved to 19.04bhp. The wheel base is shorter than the V2.0 and the seat height has been raised up along with the clip-on handle bars. The bike looks meatier and the conventional telescopic forks are replaced by the upside down ones for a better handling and feel. The biggest plus is that the V3.0 is equipped with a slipper clutch. The older combination of the analogue and digital is replaced by the fully digital speedo. The styling is fresh and the bikes stability will be much better than the previous versions making it a good run for its value.
Yamaha hasn’t announced when the YZF-R15 V3.0 will make it to Indian shores, but stay tuned and we will keep you updated with the latest.