The popular Yamaha R15 gets a comprehensive upgrade, with better equipment and fresh styling. Does it still have the magic? We swung a leg over it to see
2021 Yamaha YZF-R15 V4 Review
The popular Yamaha R15 gets a comprehensive upgrade, with better equipment and fresh styling. Does it still have the magic? We swung a leg over it to see.
- The Yamaha R15 V4 arrives with plenty of upgrades
- The 4th gen R15 is up to Rs. 18,000 more expensive than its predecessor
- The new R15 V4 is priced on par with 250 cc offerings
The Yamaha R15 needs no introduction! When it was first launched in 2008, the R15 captured the imagination of a whole new generation of bikers in India. Racy, sporty looks, with a committed riding position and excellent dynamics, made the R15 a favourite of young Indian riders over the years. It’s probably one of the most iconic models in Indian motorcycling history, and now in its fourth generation model, the Yamaha YZF-R15 gets significantly updated, with fresh looks and better equipment. Does it still have the magic to appeal to the masses? We spent some time with the new R15 V4 to see what exactly it offers.
Inspired by the Yamaha YZF-R7. the face is sharp and aggressive with new LED DRLs flanking the bi-functional LED headlight sitting at the centre
Design & Features
In the flesh, the new Yamaha YZF-R15 V4 looks even better and looks like a proper mid-size sportbike. And that’s because its design takes inspiration from the bigger Yamaha YZF-R7. The face is sharp and aggressive, with new LED running lights flanking the bi-functional LED headlight sitting at the centre. The new windscreen above the lights is also new and offers better airflow and aids in better aerodynamics. The other visual change is the gold-finished upside-down forks, which gives the R15 V4 premium appeal and is said to offer a better front end feel as well.
The LCD digital console comes with two modes – Track and Street – with the former offering a lap timer too
In the cockpit, the LCD instrument console is new as well, and offers a long list of features, including read-outs for battery voltage, trip meter, fuel efficiency, and a clock, apart from the regular tachometer, speedometer and fuel gauge. And now, the R15 gets a traction control system also, which is switchable. There’s also a Track mode, in addition to Street mode, which offers a lap timer. The clip-on handlebars are new as well and are wider for better leverage, but still offer a committed and sporty riding position.
There’s no doubt, the R15 V4 looks like a proper sportbike, despite its rather small-ish engine
Towards the rear, the panels are of a floating design, seating above the reinforced rear sub-frame, although the main delta box frame is the same as the outgoing model’s. The taillight is LED too, although the indicators are not. Overall, there’s little to find fault in the way this entry-level sportbike looks, but better clutch and brake levers (with span adjustability), and LED turns indicators would have definitely made it even better! But take a second glance, and the R15 V4 does look like a proper sportbike, despite its rather small-ish engine.
Engine & Performance
Speaking of which, the 155 cc, liquid-cooled, the four-valve engine is retained, but in meeting new emission regulations, it marginally loses power, but not so much to notice really. Maximum power is now 18.1 bhp at 10,000 rpm while peak torque is 0.1 Nm down to 14.2 Nm at 7,500 rpm. But the single-cylinder engine still offers very likeable performance; it’s free-revving and a joy to experience, as soon as you fire it up and begin accelerating through the gears.
The variable valve actuation (VVA) offers a wide powerband, and even with the limited displacement, there’s ample shove across the rev range. The six-speed gearbox is slick-shifting, and the slip and assist clutch makes light work of any lever effort. Slicing through traffic is what the R15 is best for; it will not blow you away with its performance, but at the same time it’s an entertaining and involving unit. And when the corners come up, it remains planted and makes the ride feel always in control.
Ride & Handling
The R15 is set up on the firm side, going with its sporty personality. The new upside-down fork is set up to offer more stability under braking while improving comfort and cornering performance, and it delivers, on all counts! The ride quality is plush enough to soak all kinds of bumps without any jarring shocks felt up your spine, and the deltabox frame and suspension actually work together to offer a stable and balanced feel when tackling corners or quick direction changes.
There’s dual-channel ABS on offer, and it works well, under hard braking. But a little more bite from the front brakes could have been better. The ABS also intervenes a little too much, so it’s felt, a little too early. Still, it’s a very good package, and possibly the best dynamically sorted motorcycle in the 150-160 cc segment
The new Yamaha YZF-R15 V4 definitely is an impressive package. Even with the price hike, it gets better equipment and features, so it covers almost all bases as a well-rounded product. Even though it gets Bluetooth connectivity, turn-by-turn navigation would have added more value. And with that committed and crouched down riding position, the R15 V4 may not be a comfortable bike for long hours in the saddle, especially if a long ride is put into the picture. The pillion seat is still tall, and that could be a cause for concern for those looking to have a pillion rider on board frequently.
Still, the Yamaha YZF-R15 V4 has a lot going for it, and there’s no doubt it’s still a high-quality package, offering a level of performance and dynamics that seems well worth the relatively high sticker price. Overall, it’s a great bike, but something similar with a slightly bigger engine, perhaps a new Yamaha YZF-R25 would be something worth wishing for. Now, that would be something!
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