If there’s a motorcycle that truly and genuinely gave Indians their first taste of a sports bike, it’s the Yamaha R15. Since the launch of the first-gen model in 2008, this mini R1 has enthralled and excited the average bikers of the country like no other motorcycle. And even after all these years, the R15 remains a formidable package – it is, arguably, the best entry-level sports bike that money can buy in India. And what we’ve got here is its latest iteration – the new R15M.
The R15M essentially is the same motorcycle that was launched in 2018 – the R15 V3 – since it features the same engine and frame. However, for 2021, Yamaha has re-introduced it as the R15 V4, along with an R15M version. While it may look like a mere cosmetic job at first, the new model has received a couple of significant and crucial updates, which simply can’t be ignored. The design is now inspired by the company’s R7 Supersport, and it’s fair to say that the R15M – with its tasteful hues of silver, gold, black, and blue – looks absolutely smashing.
Now, we haven’t included the R15 in this year’s jury round just because of its delectable design – it’s here because it’s now a more potent machine than ever. The new version gets inverted forks, a quick-shifter, and a traction control system. All this has enhanced the riding experience, and we must say that it’s now even a sharper machine than before. The changes are all the more evident on the track, which is like a second home to this little Yamaha.
The R15 has always been a sweet and forgiving motorcycle. The current changes have made it even better – it’s still as sharp and agile, but now, it is more stable and the front-end has more feel. The 155cc single-cylinder with VVT tech is a peach – it has decent poke at low revs, but it really comes to its own at higher revs. The quick-shifter is another great addition – Simran absolutely loved it and found it to be better than some of the big bikes.
In the end, the R15M impressed us on all fronts. It’s one of those motorcycles that makes your life really hard as an automotive critic – it’s really hard to find flaws with it. However, let me add that it has become a little too expensive – the on-road prices will easily touch ₹2 lakh in some cities, which makes it twice as expensive as the first model! Plus, it definitely needs more power, as you’ll quickly get bored of the puny 155cc motor. In the face of growing competition, we think Yamaha should seriously consider bringing the R25 or the R3 in the same slippery bodywork.
- Yamaha R15M (Lap Time – 01:17.3)
|COMFORT & PRACTICALITY||10||6.5|
|RIDE & HANDLING||10||8.0|
|VALUE FOR MONEY||20||10.0|