It was the 2008 Auto Expo which could be called as a turning point in the history of Indian motorcycling. Yamaha courageously showcased India the first affordable dedicated sportsbike and daringly launched it later in 2009. Back then nobody imagined that a 150 cc motorcycle could cost over 1 Lakh. However, R15 was an instant hit with people flocking Yamaha’s showrooms in hoards.

Three years later, rival Honda also gambled with their CBR 150R and placed it over R15. Both the motorcycles served the premium 150 cc customer however, CBR has never been able to come anyway close to the demeanour, poise, interest and the sales of R15, even after half a decade!

R15 vs CBR150R: Sales Comparo

Just to give you a snapshot, here is the sales comparison of both the motorcycles in the last twelve months…

As you can see

  • R15 still sells nine times more than CBR 150R.
  • Average 1.5 month sales of R15 are more than the yearly sales of CBR.
  • To draw a parallel, CBR 150R will need more than eight years to sell what R15 did in this last one year.
  • Never had it happened that CBR 150R touched the 1000 sales mark in a month and in the comparable period, R15 has not reached below 2400 units.

R15 vs CBR150R: Reasons of Difference

Despite packing more power, DOHC engine (R15’s is still a SOHC), higher sales points what are the reasons CBR 150R is not as highly regarded a motorcycle as the R15? Let us list them down in the order of ascending significance…

Why CBR150R Could Not Do As Well

Higher Price Tag: Even in international markets CBR 150R has always held a premium over the R15 (barring the latest V3). Replicating the same strategy in India, Honda has consistently asked for a higher price tag. However, this is a smaller reason considering the fact that anyone who is investing about 1.2 lakh in a motorcycle can easily add another five (or even 10)! But what is significant is this – buyers do NOT accept that CBR could be had for a premium over the R15!

This is the Indonesia-spec 2016 CBR150R and it looks ominous!

Segment-Least Torque: Now this is important! No 150 cc motorcycle, even the ones costing 60k, produce as low a torque as the CBR. If there was a compromise to be made, Honda should have reduced the outright power and increased the torque, like they did with the Indonesia-spec CBR 150R. 12.66 Nm of peak torque is something which even the marketing team should not have accepted!

Undecided Looks: R15 was and is a dedicated track tool! So, if you want to taste sports motorcycling, the packet that is called as R15 is the most suited (around its price tag). After its rear was criticised, Yamaha reacted swiftly and the version 2 sorted out its ass. CBR 150R, though a decent looker is not as dedicated a motorcycle. It does not look bad at all but but at the same time it does not appear as intentful!



The BIGGEST REASON

No Updates: Right since its birth in 2012, CBR 150R has been carried over as it is, without Honda touching a single nut! Apart from new colours and graphics, the motorcycle has NOT received any update what so ever. What is salt on the wounds is the consistent updates and new models of the motorcycle international markets have received in these many years. The following infographic will sum up the sad state of affairs…

Also Read: Honda Sets Up Team to Develop New Mid-Size Motorcycle Against Royal Enfield in India

Markets like Indonesia have gotten two significant makeovers including mechanical updates since 2012 and the 2017 edition is expected in some weeks. However, in India Honda has paid no heed and the model has continued as it is since 2012. With the BS4 norms kicking in from April 2017, there has been a momentary pause in the sale of the motorcycle. However, we do not have hopes if Honda, at this backdrop, will introduce the updated versions in India…

Also Read: Brilliant Honda ‘150SS RACER’ Cafe Racer Concept Revealed at Bangkok Motor Show

Have I missed any other reason of CBR’s lacklustre sales?

Next Read: Biggest Reason Why Yamaha R15 V3 India Launch is Far Away…

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  • saisachin5

    The Main Reason Is Since Last 5 Years Honda Only Focused On Scooters Sales As In Last 5 Years Sales Of Activa Has Increased Heavily And Sales Of Bikes Are Lesser Compared To Scooters In India. Only In Rural Areas Sales Of Bike Is Good But There Economic Companies Like Hero And TVS Dominates.

    • Fat Owens Fat

      If you guys would do less chutiyapa, you would know that Honda’s target was to sell 200 units per month from day 1. The 150R only arrived in India so it could be homologated for the 150cc national racing class. You can check engine import list on Zauba from the month before the 150R was launched in India. They only imported 200 engines from Thailand per month and they adjusted that ratio if the sales exceeded or lagged behind 200 units.

  • Beacuse they dont make much profit in India compared to scooters. After all every company is here for business. i.e to make money

    • saisachin5

      Honda Is India Due To Bumper Sales Of Activa Has Became More Of A Scooter Company. Bikes Are Just There For Formality I Wonder Who Developed Hornet 160R There ?

      • Fat Owens Fat

        Hornet 160R formerly the CX01 concept was developed by Honda’s Indian R&D that was setup in 2008. It is Honda India R&D’s first indigenous product unlike the local Indian manufacturers who outsource R&D or beg other companies for assistance. The next Honda India R&D product is the CX02 concept that is based around CB500X.

  • Bharath Kumar

    Honda is Honda, even asking a hefty price for that 150cc, the small CBR did not have DC electrical and engine killer. But Honda was advertising the bike for that TANDEM seat and VFR headlight. More over Yamaha is one those companies that listens to its customers carefully, they changed FZ series to a more practical one like the wider rear seat, mud guards etc. They brought back the old R15 as r15-S, all of these happened as Yamaha is serious about its customer, where as Honda, no matter how much ever their customers or fan boys shout asking for a change they will give some lame answers like – We think its not required for 150 cc, we havnt thought of those things while designing the bike, we are honda, honda is honda. This attitude of honda will continue and they wont satisfy the enthusiasts especially in India.

    • Fat Owens Fat

      They were never competing to sell 150R in bulk you moron. The 150R engine was imported from Thailand at 200 units per month. That was their target sales number because the bike only went on sale for it to meet minimum sales number to be eligible for local racing series homologation. Cannot race a bike in national racing class if you don’t sell minimum of so many units of the same bike.

  • Fat Owens Fat

    If you guys would do less chutiyapa, you would know that Honda’s target was to sell 200 units per month from day 1. The 150R only arrived in India so it could be homologated for the 150cc national racing class. You can check engine import list on Zauba from the month before the 150R was launched in India. They only imported 200 engines from Thailand per month and they adjusted that ratio if the sales exceeded or lagged behind 200 units.

    • saisachin5

      This Is NOT CHUTIYAPA. Chutiyapa Is Honda Updated CBR 150 R Model Everywhere,Except India. Bikeadvice HAS GREAT POINT That Yamaha Constantly Updated R15 And Planning To Bring V3.0 In Diwali In India (It Is Praiseworthy How Yamaha Listened To Indians For Seat Issue And Released R15S) But No Update From Honda For CBR 150R Since Last 6 Years.

      • Fat Owens Fat

        Like I said, the CBR150R was only meant for track homologation for the national racing class. The rules require minimum number of production models to be sold to be eligible. This is why they imported engine and electrical parts from Thailand from the first to last day of production. Its DOHC engine is far more superior for racing teams to tune and extract more potential out of, which is why Honda let engines come from Thailand as the bike races there too and the engine has better quality control.

        The 150R even in stock trim was always a second faster than the R15 around the Kari speedway anyway.

      • saisachin5

        Yes CBR Has DOHC Engine But Also Least Torque In Segment,However Power Matters More In Terms Of Speed But The Way Honda Overlooked Bringing Updated Models Of CBR 150R Is Not Good. There NO Restriction Of Sales For Consumers But Indians Opted Heavily In Favor Of R15 Than CBR 150R

  • Fat Owens Fat

    ” CBR 150R, though a decent looker is not as dedicated a motorcycle”

    Lmfao. Guess which motorcycle is the chosen track weapon for Apex Racing and Ten10 Racing Academy in India? Guess which motorcycle has a track tuned DOHC engine that’s capable of churning out more hp with basic tunes? Zigwheels had a track comparo between the R15 and the old CBR150R and the 150R lapped the Kari Speedway 1 second quicker than the SOHC R15.

    So Saad, please do your research before you write articles for any motorcycle blogs even if its as crappy as bike advice which gives crappy advice 😀