Yamaha YZF R15 v2.0 Track Review
Someone at PTR team said being a bike tester is one of the world's best jobs. So we decided to try it ourselves and see what bike testing is all about. Now for a bike testing session to be a smooth affair you need the following ingredients:
1. A Manufacturer:
You need Yamaha to announce that they are launching a sequel to the already so epic Yamaha R15. You need Yamaha to tell you that this bike will be termed R15 2.0! The 2.0 to us is suggestive that the bike is still this precise bug free piece of software that just plain works...only this time it's the more advanced 2.0 version of it. Fantastic. Bike testing is beginning to sound fun already.
2. An Invite:
You are also gonna need an invite from Yamaha. We knew of Yamaha Motorsports Department Head - Marketing, Mr J.S Cheema to be a passionate racing enthusiast himself. We had the good fortune of being introduced to him when we were down at the racetrack shooting for a Motorsports episode. A Department Head at Yamaha but a very approachable person...that's what Mr Cheema is to people from this sport. Back then in August he had delightfully entertained a 30 mins conversation with us and ended it by asking us if he should arrange for lunch for our team. If we wanted to test the bike we could perhaps approach Mr Cheema again and if he were to find Power to the Rider meritious, he may indeed help us in getting our hands onto the new bike.
3. A test rider:
Now this was going to be a difficult one. Not because there is a lack of good riders around who can test machines but because no matter how good the test rider is he is always going to have an opinion which is HIS opinion and others are going to have a tough time believing HIS opinion. So we chose to zero in on a guy we thought could do justice to this Yamaha R15 v2.0 test for he had been riding the outgoing R15 ever since it was introduced into the market in year 2008 and had since then tested quite a few superbikes, received racetrack coaching at the hands of Andy Ibbott from the California Superbike School and had raced at the Yamaha One Make championship a couple of times last year. Enter our very own Sagar 'Sergeant' Sheldekar! Since we call him 'Sergeant' cause he is too harsh and a little thick headed we had to still rope in someone else's opinion on the bike and we decided to ask the racers themselves at the racetrack. Now these guys keep belting laps on the track day in day out and we thought their word should be the last when it came to this bike test.
Along with the above ingredients one also needs to understand the nature and the category of the new bike that's undergoing a test and like the outgoing R15 the new R15 2.0 is an out and out and perhaps also the best track/race focused platform of all the available bikes in its price range. To bring you this review if we are to tour on either of the (outgoing or the incoming) R15 or just plain ride it on the streets, then we would be doing a whole lot of injustice to what the bike is meant for in the first place. The Yamaha R15 is a bike that is a descendant of the "R" lineage and is hence meant to be a natural predator in race like and track day conditions. Being extremely easy to ride and known for an engine that can rev all day long, riders do often neglect its sport and track prowess, and indulge themselves in Saddle Sore / long tours on the R15. That's just another feather in the cap! It remains to be seen if the new bike retains that aroma.
Since we are at Power to the Rider..it doesn't feel complete without a video review. But to make the R15 2.0 test even more legitimate we are making our Sergeant participate in the final round of the All India Yamaha One Make Race that is to happen on 2nd October, Sunday at MMSC racetrack Chennai. Putting the 2.0 into a competitive environment and analyzing its strengths and weaknesses in race like situations, is something that will be the final litmus test for the new bike.
YAMAHA YZF R15 V2.0 TRACK REVIEW
The launch of the Yamaha YZF R15 in 2008 introduced the concept of sport riding to biking enthusiasts who could not afford the litre bikes which were then officially for sale in India. It boasted of many firsts like a full fairing, delta box frame, liquid cooled engine and linked type monocross suspension among others. All these features coupled with its sporty styling made the R15 an instant hit and it took the Indian market by storm. So when the leaked pictures of the new R15 made their way on biking sites recently, the buzz surrounding it was electrifying and expectations were sky high.
Yamaha finally unveiled the upgraded version christened as the R15 Version 2.0 earlier this month and the first thing we looked at were the power figures. And to be honest, we were left a little disappointed as the bike is still 150cc with no upgrade in HP and torque figures. Moreover the bike now features a wider 130mm rear and a longer aluminum swing-arm has bumped the weight 5kgs and increased the wheelbase by 55mm. So our number one concern was if these modifications had robbed the R15 of its original characteristics – its flick-ability, its mid-corner stability and of course its power. And there was only one way to find out- by testing the Version 2.0 on the track.
At a special media testing event organized by Yamaha India at MMSC, Power to the Rider put the new R15 to the test. And after hours of rigorous testing, we have to admit that we were left pleasantly surprised. The version 2.0 not only looks more gorgeous but is also just as fast if not faster than the model it is replacing. And to achieve this Yamaha has put in a lot of research and effort to better what was already a brilliant product. Despite the increase in the overall weight of the bike, Yamaha engineers seem to have pulled out a rabbit out of their hat with this one. So heres a rundown on the all the changes that have been made and how they have helped extract better performance from its predecessor.
- The new bike features a remapped ECU and new sprockets which have slightly improved the low end torque and off-the-line acceleration. So now the bike packs more juice at corner exits.
- Along with the above the bike now has a new two-cable-throttle-system with a circular pulley for more linear throttle action. The old clutch has also been replaced with a more rigid clutch axle shaft for better feel. Both these changes allow crisp acceleration and a smooth transition through the gearbox.
- R15 2.0 now sports a longer, first-in-its-class aluminum swingarm coupled with a specially designed wider 130/70 MRF radial tyre. This setup has further improved mid-corner stability and enhanced the feedback from the rear tyre keeping the rider constantly on top of the traction levels as he opens the throttle in a corner.
- To support its wider rear (same MRF soft compound), the bike also features a bigger 220mm rear disk for improved braking force. The design of the front disk too has been changed to keep the distortions caused under hard braking to a minimum while maintaining the same potent bite and feel.
- Yamaha has also made changes to the bikes geometry by raising the tail section and shifting more weight to the front. So the weight distribution now stands at 49% front and 51% rear as opposed to 47% front and 53% rear observed in the older version.
- To support the above change, the front tyre (80/90) has been replaced with a 90/80 soft compound MRF rubber. This modification has made it easier to load the front and lean the bike into the corner. The steeper angle though means the rider can feel the extra weight of the bike on his hands under hard braking and needs to put in more effort to counter-steer the bike and maintain the same turn-in-rate of the old model into a corner.
- Yamaha claims that the tail-up-front-down geometry along with the new improved middle cowl of the bike have reduced the aerodynamic resistance by 4% as compared to the old R15 to improve the top end.
AESTHETIC UPGRADES: The R15 V 2.0 sports new 10 spoke alloys similar to those on the Yamaha R125 that blend in well with the new design. The exhaust pipe now has a steeper angle to go with the raised tail section and the new carbon patterned silencer protector now features a model nameplate. But the most beautiful change in our opinion is the new tail section which features LED taillights and tail cowl inspired from the R6. This along with the wider rear and new rear mud guard really give this R15 a big-bike styling, more so when the tyre hugger is cut midway as on the new R15s used for racing. Add to this the new split seats and you have a package that looks incredibly appealing.
The R15 V2.0 also features a double horn which will be a boon for street and highway rides. The tyres, especially the rear one, take a little more time to heat up. But o
nce heated they stick to the road like glue. Tourers will benefit from enhanced braking and high speed stability because of the bigger rear disk and wider rear tyre on the new version. However, we feel the more aggressive design and with more weight on the front, touring on this bike will be little more tiring as compared to the old model. We will of course cover this point more in detail along with the fuel economy when we test the bike on the street.
FINAL VERDICT: feel the more aggressive design and with more weight on the front, touring on this bike will be little more tiring as compared to the old model. We will of course cover this point more in detail along with the fuel economy when we test the bike on the street.
To summarize, the R15 V2.0 is a more super-sports version of the original model. It looks better, rides better and scores higher on the super sport characteristics. Yamaha have done a commendable job in balancing customers demand for a bigger rear without compromising on the bikes performance. In fact, it is just as fast despite being 5kgs heavier and this is where Yamahas technical prowess comes to the fore. So yes, it is a not a 250 as we were expecting but for 9.5k more, we are getting a more technically sound and refined R15 in a new near-perfect avatar. No review is complete without asking the god of all questions. So will we buy it? Sergeant was seen making phone calls pleading his wife to let him buy this one right after he was done testing the new bike. Now we dont know if its him being thick headed again but we are inclined to convince his wife to let him buy it and we arent alone! It's no more Yes Yamaha! It's YAY YAMAHA!
Thursday, 05 July 2012 12:09
The first song in the background is "Rain" by Klaypex! Brilliantly made video. The most stylish video of the lot from PTR! :-) One kickass video for the CBR250R please please please! ;-)
Tuesday, 03 July 2012 10:41
PTR needs to include the names of the songs used in the videos! Like the score in the beginning of the R15 track review! Kick-ass! What is the name of the track by the way?
Monday, 09 April 2012 11:41
the new R15 is impressive . love the red and white paint scheme.
ridden it in the city ... was not what i call easy.
engine has definitely improved over the previous version.
bike is still brilliant but the service is absolutely horrible. dose not do justice to the bike.....
very good with attention to detail ....
how the parts fit & finish
to the idiot proof chain adjustment.
how ever it would be nice if the engine was DOHC to make the power curve a bold curve....
breaks are still nervous at panic breaking.
it grips exceptionally well in dry condition but on the monsoon season i will know if its still the same being a bit nervous at minor tilt angle...