Yamaha R15 Ownership Review by Abhishek

After I came to Chandigarh, I wanted to buy a new bike, the old abused TVS Victor was around but I wanted more. Thought about every bike out there within the 1lac price tag. From 125cc to 350cc, I thoroughly scanned each bike through the specification sheets and ownership reviews, I read a lot about each bike, test rode a few of them, had almost finalized the classic 350, but then I visited the Yamaha showroom, saw an R15, couldn’t test ride it, for some weird reason they didn’t offer me a test ride. But having read so much about this bike, I decided to go for it. Moreover, “You don’t choose the bike, the bike chooses you”, I had been chosen.

On the 7th of December, 2010 I Got My Black Beauty. I always knew that the run-in period was going to be boring (<5k RPM on this machine is worse than sitting through back to back episodes of saas bahu sagas) and at72Kmph (max it does @5k rpm) you don’t even feel that you’re going that fast. I rode the baby home and realized that my assumptions were correct.

A boring first month followed and I didnt notice anything exceptional about the bike during the first month other than the handling. The bike feels light even in traffic and its maneuverable (RTR is a little more flickable in traffic ). My old bike that had bald ceat securas (not that they were any good when they had tread), had really tampered my confidence, R15’s tires bought it back within a month.

Great handling and great tires made leaning fun. I found the handle bars, the seating position, very friendly and inviting, the posture is aggressive and keeps the rider on his toes. But soon my wrists started to hurt, especially in heavy traffic (which is rare in Chandigarh), neck aches too for a while. Somehow, got through the run in period and started to stretch her legs a little.

Started taking the bike to 7-8k sometimes. I noticed how the bike sprang to life suddenly after crossing the 6k RPM mark, it leaps forward, accelerates rapidly after that RPM range, even the engine make a sweet sound (superbike like at that RPM. Got tempted a couple of times and even took it too higher RPMs but then didn’t push it too much as I didn’t want to risk any damage to engine.

But the occasional bursts of accelerations did keep my interest alive. After the second service, the refined gearbox and engine felt even smoother. Gear shifts were easy, noiseless, smooth. I started riding longer distances on the bike from then on. It took me a good two months to get properly accustomed to the riding position. I had severe pain in the neck and back after every long ride.

I tried sitting close to the tank, with elbows slightly bent, the pain reduced considerably. Once that was taken care of I fell in love with the bike and it became my primary mode of long distance commuting as well. There was a time when I was doing kandaghat-solan and similar smooth stretches on NH22, on weekends just for the fun of it J. You just love the twists and turns when you’re riding an R15.

Ride Balance, Handling and Stability

Unmatched ride quality, excellent handling and stability. Nothing else comes close. Some people find it difficult to get used to the seating position but once that’s taken care of it offers nothing but sheer pleasure. The deltabox chassis inspired from R series Yamaha bikes are designed keeping the track usage in mind and R15 offers similar performance as well. The bike is not as vibration free as the R15s from 2008/2009. But its still smoother than others around.The video perhaps gives you an idea of how well the bike handles.


Front and rear disk brakes do their job pretty well and make the bike very safe. This combined with excellent handling inspires a lot of confidence and ensure that the rider Is in complete control.

Power Delivery, Gearbox Acceleration and Torque

The 150cc mill is one of the best out there. Outside of the power band the bike is boring, one can’t find anything special unless the engine is kept at 6k+Rpm’s. Keep the engine reving high and you’ll not complain for power ever, downshift and accelerate whenever the bike runs out of steam. However, with a pillion on board the acceleration goes down.

Also, you need to shift gears and be in the right gear to enjoy the bike fully. The gear shifts are very smooth, ultra refined gearbox. The acceleration from the start is a little slow, once the bike reaches the power band it gets pretty quick. The gearbox offers additional sixth gear, majorly for cruising. The drive chain is open and needs maintenance every 1000kms. Dry type lube is preferred as the chain is almost naked.

Fuel Consumption

The bike has electronic fuel injection that does it job pretty well. And anyhow you don’t really bother about fuel efficiency much when going for a performance oriented bike. But even if you decide to compare it to the other bikes that boast of similar performances, R15 outperforms. The bike offers 35kmpl, even in worst of riding conditions (uphill with pillion/very high revving/enthusiastic riding). A well maintained r15 should offer 40kmpl on an average basis. On most of the group rides (average speed is lesser here usually) I have got 40+ f.e. The efficiency drops when ridden constantly over 8k/9k Rpm mark.

Headlights, Instrument Cluster, RVMs

The headlights (twin 35W lamps) provide decent illuminations. However, they are no match for p220s projector lamps and get overpowered by the oncoming traffic sometimes. Also, the spread could have been better. None the less its good enough. The instrument cluster and console does a pretty good job.

There is a fuel gauge, 2 trip meters and an odometer and warning lights for engine malfunction, low coolant level. The tachometer is analog. The odometer has six digits (Yamaha are so sure of the quality). The rear view mirrors do their job adequately. However in heavy traffic they cause a few problems and are not easily foldable.

Console Backlit in White Looks Cool

The Twin Headlamps Provide Adequate illumination

Ground Clearance, Fairing, Tyres, Suspension, Seats

Contrary to the looks the bike has good GC:160mm and no issues faced in clearing bumps and speed breakers. The fairing in place good improves the aerodynamics and adds to the sports bike character. However, it also cause a few problems in water crossings with strong current (Of course The bike isn’t designed for Offroading). Offroading reminds me of the tyres that the bike sports. They are MRF Zapper S soft compound tubeless tyres. Although they look thin (100/80 rear), they offer excellent grip on good roads. However, they skid a lot on gravel/slush/snow. You’ve got to be careful while offroading.

Well you’ve got be a careful if you’re planning to ride to such places…

Where’s the bike?

Sandy Escapades

Celebrating Solitude

Also, they start wearing out at 9k kms. I changed the rear tyre at 12000kms. There are a few substitutes available in the market. If you’re not ‘keen on lean’ you’ll be happy with those. The suspension( being track oriented )is hard(non adjustable) and the rear end of machine and rider end up taking equal beating on bad roads. The rear seats are not the most comfortable either but not bad and are good enough for small rides /city riding.

Build Quality, Paint-job, Finish, Looks

Well built, well finished. Great quality paintjob. For me it was the best looking bike in its time. Version 2.0 is even better J. However the bike’s alloys are a little delicate and serious bumps can cause a rim bent. Getting a grip for handle bars or wearing gloves while riding is recommended. Paintjob quality at the joint of the clip on handle bars is poor and I have often noticed R15s with paint scraped around the lock assembly.

But apart from ^^ that, it’s perfect.

After Sales Service/Maintenance Costs

The maintenance charges come out to be 1000 per month for me. Tyres start to go bald at around 10k-12k, stock front and rear tyres costs 1600 and 1800 bucks respectively. The disc pads last for about 8k-9k kms for me. I met with an accident and realized that the parts are a bit more expensive than the other bikes around. The staff at both the service centers in Chandigarh are pretty average. It always helps to know a few things about the bike. If you know what needs to be done get it done. Avoid getting any maintenance/repairs done from outside the authorized SVCs, unless you completely trust the abilities of the mechanic.

I have ridden the bike for almost 20k Kms now in almost all type of terrains and it still fails to disappoint me. I have been to Leh , few places in himachal, uttarakhand and rajasthan. Few pics from my rides:

I must admit that being a sports bike, it has a few limitations (especially when it comes to touring in adverse road conditions) but then pros the bike offers make up for those by a huge margin. I have never faced any problems with my bike (starting problems, engine failures, overheating) and have been very satisfied with the 100k I spent on it.

P.S. All novice riders (sometimes seasoned and experienced riders as well) do get a little over enthusiastic on their bikes and lose control. Its perhaps the only bike that allows you to get away with small mistakes that you make once in a while. Nonetheless, it has power that commands respect and must be driven responsibly.


Tech Specifications

Length x Width x Height: 1,995mm x 670mm x 1,070mm
Seat Height: 790mm
Wheelbase: 1,290mm
Minimum Ground Clearance: 160mm
Dry/Curb Weight: 120kg/131kg
Engine Type: Liquid-Cooled, 4-Stroke, SOHC, 4-valve
Cylinder Arrangement: Single Cylinder
Displacement: 149.8 cubic centimeter
Bore x Stroke: 57 x 58.7mm
Compression Ratio: 10.4:1
Maximum Power: 17PS@8,500rpm
Maximum Torque: 15NM@7,500rpm
Starting System: Electric
Lubrication: Wet Sump
Engine Oil Capacity: 1.0 liters
Fuel Tank Capacity: 12 liters
Fuel Supply System: Electronic Fuel Injection
Ignition System: T.C.I.
Primary/Secondary Reduction ratio: 3.042/3.000
Clutch Type: Constant-mesh wet multi-plate
Transmission Type: Return Type 6-speed

Gear Ratios

1st: 2.833
2nd: 1.875
3rd: 1.364
4th: 1.143
5th: 0.957
6th: 0.84

Frame Type: Deltabox Frame
Caster/Trail: 26/100mm
Tire Size (Front/Rear): 80/90-17 / 100/80-17
Brake Type (Front/Rear): Hydraulic, Single Disks(front/Rear)
Suspension Type (Front/Rear): Telescopic / Linked Type Monocross
Headlight: 12V35W/35W+35W

Statutory Warning: This review is based on reviewer’s personal experiences and is strictly reflective of his opinion only. Also, I am more of tourer than racer/stunter. I am at the bottom of the learning curve when it comes to biking so keyboard warriors please excuse..