The R15 receives a major upgrade in the form of new styling and more equipment.
If you had to make a list of the most popular motorcycles sold in India, the Yamaha YZF-R15 would easily be included. After all, it brings truly accessible sporting performance to the masses and everyone is aware of our love for faired motorcycles. In fact, the R15 is so popular that the whole world notices it every time a new version comes out. That’s why we wanted to see what Yamaha offered on the latest R15, version 4.0.
Yamaha YZF-R15: design and features
Approaching the bike, it’s obvious that the new R15 looks even better than the photos suggest. As was the case with the R15s of yore, the 4.0 version is based on a larger Yamaha R-series motorcycle. This time it is a copy of the 2021 YZF-R7. , and that’s a good place to start.
The front end looks crisp and aggressive with the bi-functional LED projector headlight sitting inside the fake air intake. The LED position lights that frame the spotlight appear like a pair of evil eyes, while giving it a contemporary look.
Above the front fairing is a new windshield very well designed to protect you from the head wind. Yamaha claims that this fairing is more aerodynamic, helping it reach its top speed of almost 150 km / h with a bit more ease. This is something we will check, if and when we take this bike for a track day.
The side fairing blends in perfectly with the rest of the bike and I love the ‘Racing Blue’ paint job with the two-tone, matte and glossy effect. The fuel tank is also new and is designed to offer more buying to your knees. It looks bulkier than the version 3.0 tank, however, it has the same capacity at 11 liters. The rear part, again, is reminiscent of the R7 with its floating panels.
Overall, the design of the new R15 is consistent, proportionate and arguably the most beautiful of all versions to date. It certainly managed to attract a lot of glances as we tested the bike. The only shocking thing is that the angle of the exhaust does not match the angle of the tail.
There is also a marked improvement in quality levels – the R15 V3 had received criticism for its substandard quality in areas such as plastics. This is not the case with version 4.0, whether in terms of the quality of the equipment, its tactile buttons or the plastics used to mold the fairings. Then there is the impressive paint finish which adds to the premium feeling of the bike.
In terms of features, the new R15 has a nice LCD display with Bluetooth connectivity for phone, SMS and email notifications, but there is no navigation functionality. Yamaha’s exclusive Y-connect app offers more information such as the last parked location and fuel consumption data. The screen also switches to track mode which shows your current lap time and the best on a race track.
Yamaha YZF-R15: how is it in the saddle?
Get on the bike and you’ll notice that while the saddle is new, more comfortable, and has a slimmer profile towards the reservoir, it’s the same 815mm height as the previous bike.
The position of the footrests also seems unchanged, but what has changed is the placement of the clips. These are now located under the new triple clamp, unlike the previous bike where they were located above. This led us to think that the driving position is more engaged than before. Fortunately, it didn’t get too aggressive as the clips are angled so that they rise slightly above the height of the triple clamp. The end result is a riding position similar to that of the v3 bike, but with a slightly lower handlebar position.
Clip-on handlebars are positioned under the triple clamp.
That being said, keep in mind that this super cool racing boy riding position is not suitable for long highway stints.
Yamaha YZF-R15: what is the performance like?
The 155cc liquid-cooled 4-valve single-cylinder is the star of the YZF-R15 show and is without doubt one of the best small-displacement motorcycle engines. The version 4.0 unit is 0.2 hp less than the previous engine, but that’s not a cause for concern. Because, in the real world, there is no noticeable drop in overall performance. In fact, this engine makes 0.1 Nm more and it peaks at 1000 rpm less than before. This could result in a slightly faster accelerating motorcycle than the v3, but we’ll check that out once we get a chance to attach our Vbox test gear to the bike.
All in all, the engine is delightfully rev-free, manoeuvrable at low speeds, and variable valve actuation, or VVA, gives you extra top-level performance on the open road.
The six-speed gearbox is as smooth as ever, and the optional quickshifter (standard on Racing Blue, R15 M and MotoGP editions) shifts smoothly. But, you can only use it in track mode.
Considering that this engine is largely the same as before, and the bike’s curb weight remains unchanged at 142kg, fuel economy should be around the same stage. For reference, the R15 v3 brought in 37.2 kpl in the city and nearly 50 kpl on the highway.
Yamaha YZF-R15: driving and handling
One of the main reasons the R15 is so endearing in my books is its handling. The Indian bike finally gets a USD (non-adjustable) fork, although the inner diameter of the tubes, at 37mm, is smaller than the 41mm fork on the v3. That said, the inherently greater stiffness of a USD fork compared to a conventional fork will provide improved stability, especially when loading into a corner or under hard braking. Other modifications to the chassis include a reinforced subframe.
The rest of the chassis has not been touched and that’s great because the Deltabox frame and suspension work together to deliver a handling package that is a treat. The R15 simply likes bends and clings to a planned line like on rails. The turn, however, is sharp and it takes a bit of getting used to.
All of that handling finesse didn’t come at the expense of ride quality and the bike does a decent job of tackling most of the road’s imperfections.
The turn is sharp and it takes a bit of getting used to.
Yamaha also added a traction control system with version 4.0. Some may consider this to be unnecessary excess for a bike under 20hp, however, knowing our slippery and shoddy roads, safety systems like this are always welcome.
The braking hardware is the same as before and there is nothing to complain about here, either in terms of bite or lever feedback.
Yamaha YZF-R15: should you buy one?
With a new design and feature updates, the venerable R15 gets a price hike of nearly Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 over the outgoing version, depending on the colors.
Spend a little more and you can buy the bike in the colors of the Yamaha MotoGP team or the R15 M. The latter gives you delicious silver paint, a silver swingarm, gold brake calipers and aesthetically different seats. This is our choice of the lot.
Some may think that the road price of Rs 2 lakh is too high for a 155cc motorcycle. But for all that dough, you get a high-quality, feature-packed motorcycle that delivers an unmatched riding experience at this price. It puts a big smile on your face every time you ride it, and it remains a fantastic, forgiving tool for beginners on the track looking to develop their riding skills. The price is certainly high, but we have it for a lot.