Yamaha R15 Review by Gowthaman

First of all I’m not a bike expert and not much passionate on bikes as electronic gadgets. It was 2008 when I finished my 12th and went to Chennai to do CA. When I was getting ready for class one fine morning, I saw a stunning blue bike. It didn’t strike in my mind that it was Yamaha R15 even though I knew of the launch.

As soon as I imagined me sitting on that bike, my father came in front of me like a hologram projection and he warned me that I should get through CPT before thinking of this bike! Then I kept a side all these kinds of thoughts and started preparing for my exam. But unfortunately I got through only the second time.

So my father backed up and said that he can get me a bike only after getting through IPCC. But I couldn’t wait for that miracle to happen and started preparing a speech to convince my dad which was not an easy job (Only a CA’s son would know it). I figured a right day and right time to talk to him about a new bike. Until then I was riding a Splendor +.

After a 2 hours speech I convinced him. But I didn’t say what bike it was. I assumed that he wouldn’t buy me R15 because of its sporty look and started to enquire FZ 16 and FAZER. But I really wished to buy R15 (who wouldn’t?). One day dad asked what bike I needed. Instead of FZ or FAZER, I showed R15. My plan is to get FZ if dad says no to R15.

But to my surprise he said yes for my babe and we both went to the showroom to enquire about the bike. Luckily the representative’s review on the bike’s handling and safety impressed my dad. Then what else? i booked the limited edition or the yellow as second option incase I don’t get white color. Later the showroom people said that it will take 3 months to get white color.

As it was my birthday gift, I decided to get the yellow color. Even though my birthday was on May 17th, I took delivery on May 13th 2010 as it was an auspicious day. That day I got my dream fulfilled. After all the spiritual stuffs I took the bike for a spin. All friends felt very happy for me and surprised as I didn’t say to many about the “new bike thought”. She’s hot!!! (I mean Yamaha R15).


Obviously R15 is better than Splendor+ or any other bikes within this budget till date. As it’s the sibling of the monster R1, the power, handling, aerodynamics and looks are unquestionable. I touched 144kmph once. It’s quite impressive for a 150cc bike. But the initial torque is not that impressive as the engine is tuned for fuel economy and for Indian traffic conditions.

For avid bikers, Yamaha India has offered performance parts. But the pricing is so steep that most of us couldn’t afford to buy. Even if you can afford for those performance parts, it won’t be a wise investment. Because after spending nearly 75k, you would get only 22bhp from 17bhp where you squeeze the engine.

That too with the performance exhaust due to its high sound, it’s illegal to ride in the city. It costs around 2lakhs with the performance upgrade. By investing extra 50k you can get a Honda CBR250R which has 26.4 bhp with a relaxed engine. The simple concept of Yamaha for customers is “Buy it, ride it as we give it” or “Don’t modify”.

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My bike gives me a satisfactory figure of 37kmpl in the city and 40-42kmpl on highway which is a pretty decent figure for an R15. The mileage differs with the riding style. Can you believe that my friend who also has an R15 gets only 15kmpl.

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There’s no one who doesn’t like its look. Especially it has a charm for girls. Some feel that the tires are skinny. But it gives a superior road grip made specially for R15.

Also after seeing R15 with these tires, it looks awkward with custom tires which is my personal opinion. Another negative point in the look is the brake light which resembles the Libero. But overall the look is stunning and it’s definitely an “Eye Catcher”.

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I have to admit that the riding position is not comfortable for long rides and heavy traffic riding. It has a very large turning circle (better need a reverse gear and parking sensor) compared to any other bikes. For parking this babe, you need a double parking space. The rear suspension is also tuned for racing and little bit of commuting which is not enough. You would get back pain when rid on the Indian roads.

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Wow! That was my expression on the first trip to Ooty on my babe. Can anyone believe that 60-70kmph on uphill and 70-80 downhill was my speed? You have to. Trust me; the handling is awesome in R15. No no, “THE R15”! and I am very proud to say that. You will realize where your extra buck on a 150cc went when you get that thrill.

What about the braking at those triple digits? As a common casual rider we think about it. How can a bike designer miss that part? They didn’t. With a good braking technique, you can make use of the front and rear disk brakes to stop the bike safely (with the help of bikeadvice.in).

There’s always a “But” right? The brakes should be improved by providing ABS at least as an option. Not all the riders know the techniques to use the disk brakes effectively. Yamaha should think seriously about it.

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The service in my city is like “not bad”. I heard that other cities also have same kind of service. They are also trying to improve their service quality by asking a service feedback. The spare parts are medium priced and easily available.

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The rivals for the Yamaha R15 are Pulsar 220, RTR 180 and the HH Karizma ZMR. The Pulsar 220 has higher bhp and catchy facilities like automatic indicators and projector head light. But it lacks the “power to weight ratio”. By look, it’s only a pulsar 150 with semi-faring. It wins on a drag. But it ain’t got that stuff like the R15 and RTR 180.

My opinion on Pulsar 220 is that it’s just a pulsar 150 with bigger engine. No offence! The RTR 180 is a great bike for its price. It has got the same power as R15. And guess what. They have announced the ABS version which beats the R15 in braking. Even though it has some cons, it’s a pretty decent bike with decent power, looks and performance.

The Karizma ZMR is the latest. It has got a bigger relaxed engine and higher bhp. Even though the looks are not stunning, it looks good. I am not sure about its performance. But it’s a great tourer bike. The price is same as R15.

If you want a real performer get an R15 which you won’t regret. If you are a frequent tourer and want a comfortable ride, then go for ZMR. If you have a small budget and yet want a powerful bike, then go for RTR180.

Gowthaman Uthaman

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