When I first planned to go for a new bike, the ones I considered were the Yamaha R15 and the Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi, as at the time there were no bikes seemingly better than these two. I was seriously confused, the price tag didn’t matter to me and all I wanted was a great bike with an acceptable mileage. A friend of mine had bought the R15 earlier and I decided to check it out.

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Off I went onto the highway on the R15 and I remember catching 121 on the speedo in 6th gear with relatively no effort. Being such a powerful bike, I thought that it would have vibrations and similar issues and to my amazement it felt completely void of those elements. It almost felt like the bike would never give up its acceleration at all.

Just one ride and before I knew it, I was in love with the R15 and decided that it was going to be my next machine. By Mar 2009, after an argument with my Dad over the 1 lakh price tag, I had it in my garage. My first impressions were that it was relatively small in terms of dimensions; I also found the seating to be a little bit uncomfortable for my liking during the first week. But soon after, I began to get used to the bike and to this day I have done a total of over 10,000 Kms.

Since I have had the bike for quite a while, I had slowly figured out its strengths and weaknesses first hand, with BikeAdvice, I’d like to share these with the rest of the world. Please do note that these are my personal views which I firmly believe in.

Performance: The R15 is completely different from any other bike that I have owned so far, Like its dual headlamps, I have learned that the engine has dual characters, The first is below 5000rpm, at this RPM, the power of the machine can hardly be felt and you can feel like you are stressing the engine a lot, but when you let the Tachometer head north, you would feel the second character playing its role on the machine. There are really no words to describe this other that a huge WOW, It pulls you away really amazingly and you’d rather be surprised when it suddenly does so. I was stunned myself when I experienced it firsthand.

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The engine remains smooth across the entire rev-range and high RPM’s you would find it hard to just let go of the throttle as the power is just addictive. The engine would never feel stressed out under any conditions and these factors have made riding the R15 more entertaining than anything else for me. Its liquid cooling system was so effective that I rode the bike at a constant 100-110Kmph between Hyderabad and Warrangal, which is approximately 200 Kms apart, without noticing the engine overheat LED or any other signs of heat or stress. Hence I do think that the R15 is a great touring machine.

While touring with my old Apache 150 I used to think after 90Kmph there must be a Sixth Gear to help the machine cross the 100 Kmph mark without stressing out. The R15, with its 6th cog makes things a lot better after the 100 Kmph mark compared to any other machine. Also during drag races, the 6th gear makes the competitors appear in the rear view mirror, slowly turning into a tiny dot. Awesome!

And the best part about all these is that you wouldn’t have to make frequent visits to the petrol station. I fill up my bike at the beginning of every month with a full tank of petrol, from the 1st to the 20th of every month; I keep the speed at over 90kmph in which case it would return about 40-45 Kmpl, on the other hand, during the 21st to the end of the month I would be forced, due to monthly budget restrictions, to keep the bike below 70Kmph In which case, the R15 would return a healthy 50Kmpl. A fact that I have tested and confirmed by putting in just 1 litre during the controlled riding that I do at the end of every month.

Handling: I remember when I bought the bike an engineer at Yamaha spoke about the delta box frame and my Dad told me that he was lying just to sell off the bike and that those were just fancy names they put for everything in order to justify the price tag and misguide the clueless youngsters. He also told that these kinds of gadgets and gizmos are simply of no use in bikes that are going to be used daily.

But unfortunately, after all these months of riding, I am sorry to say that my Dad was wrong. The Delta Box Frame is just the quiet little element of the Bike that gives you loads and loads of confidence at corners; I have done tight corners at over 90Kmph without feeling any sort of fear. Also I have noticed that the bike is really light which makes it a pleasure to control at high speeds. The handle bar really needs no input to turn the bike, once you are going fast. You would really love to turn the bike while leaning on the sides every time.

At speeds of over 125Kmph, it feels like everything is under control, vibrations are absent, you can easily stop in just a few meters, thanks to the brakes which are one of the best stock bike brakes in India. But at those speeds, T-Shirts are not the best thing to be wearing as you would feel a lot of wind turbulence. But that is a lot worse in bikes without a fairing. I would definitely recommend a helmet and a jacket if you are planning to conquer those speeds. The riding posture also adds to the confidence, as it streamlines the airflow around your body.

Design: Nothing really needs to be said about its awesome looks. I’m sure that you all have seen the R15 before. The rear tyre is slim and does make me feel sad the way it ruins the look, but it offers astounding grip which again adds to the confidence.

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The bike is a guaranteed head turner, when I head into a crowded place, I am pretty sure that a lot of heads are going to turn towards me or at least the bike. Anywhere you take it, be it the posh suburbs or the urban slums, people just take notice of this machine, some simply stare, some ask for photos and one person even asked for a test drive when I parked it outside a hotel.

During the first service, Yamaha recommended me to apply an Auto Shine to have the glow for years. I did it and yes, they were right, the bike still has the factory glow even today but it cost a cool Rs.600. Basically it was another tough clear coat of paint. At office the security will stop everyone for ID’s but at the entry of my R15 I can see a smile on his face.

Value For Money: I have already done about 10,000Kms on my Bike and I feel that the Engine has become smoother than before. Unlike the other bikes that I have owned before, there has been no change in the engine sound after all these months, like a Chetak Scooter, the engine sounds exactly the same way I’ve heard when I first turned on the Bike. This bike is absolutely loaded with all kinds of technical advancements, I remember the Yamaha engineer explaining about the DIASIL cylinder and forged pistons, with the help of the internet, I found out that similar materials are lightweight and more resistant to heat and are also used in aircraft engines. The liquid radiator not just cools the engine but also extends engine life by maintaining a constant operating temperature for the mechanical parts, all of these made me wonder at the kind of interest and effort that Yamaha have put into making an awesome machine like this for us in India.

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So far I haven’t incurred any maintenance expenses with any mechanical parts of the bike and firmly believe that I have made the right choice, and for all the people considering the R15, id say that it is worth every penny.

The Downsides: On the first day of ownership, me and my dad went to the temple for performing a pooja and when the poojari asked to put the bike on the centre stand, I realized that there wasn’t any, the guys at the showroom said that it was part of the design. The same night I found that one headlight does not light up when the low beam was turned on, this was also dismissed as a design element.

The tyres on the R15 provide the best grip as I’ve mentioned earlier, but these are soft compound rubbers, which mean that they wear out faster while offering maximum grip. I had a puncture once and soon I took it to MRF where I saw them inserting a huge needle into the puncture spot and attaching a sticky string to the hole. If punctures happened more often, then I’d have to replace the tires due to the holes that are created with the needle.

But a few months later, I noticed that there was a crack in my tyre, so I headed over to MRF and they promptly replaced it with a new one, they also told me how the new Yamaha tyres designed by MRF are best suited for track use. They then showed me that 8mm of my old tyre was worn out, which I thought happened in just over 5 months of moderate usage, however, they did charge me for the used 8mm of rubber before delivering a new one.

Yamaha’s service is good but it’s not up to the mark, they often make silly statements and reasons for any complaints or suggestions that I point out and often feel neglected when I deliver it for servicing. I have never had a piece of mind when I’ve given the bike for service.

The bike is great when you would like to go around by yourself, but when you have a friend on board, it changes its character. The brakes feel weaker and the low end power seems dismal so one would have to be harder on the brakes and also would have to shift more often to compensate the added weight of the pillion. As I weigh in at just around 65 Kgs, I find that the bike is a pretty good all-round performer, but another friend of mine, who weighs around 90 + Kgs thinks that the bike doesn’t have low end power.

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Another issue that you may face is the fact that the rear brakes are a little powerful. Since it’s a disc brake for the rear, the wheels lock up quite easily. This can make the bike fishtail due to its long wheelbase. So it would be wise to use it with caution.

The performance accessories that Yamaha sells seems like a waste for me, because of the simple fact that Yamaha does not offer it at the time of delivery as a replacement for existing parts. They, for some reason want us to pay for and throw away the originals in order to fit the new ones. They could have avoided the wastage by simply offering a factory fitted option.

Also I do think that the accessories and the race Kits are a bit too pricey. I have installed the race ECU, and feel that the stock brakes are not sufficient enough to handle the extra power.

The Racing Kit: The Race ECU that I have purchased simply removes the Rev Limiter which was previously at 9,800 RPM, now the bike can easily rev up to 11,000 RPM. I once took the bike on a lonely highway for about 2 km’s. At 10,500 RPM in top gear, the speedometer indicated an amazing 152 Kmph. The previously dismal low end power has improved a lot with the new ECU.

It really pulls now and has helped in getting rid of frequent gear shifts which would otherwise be required. I never really tested the 0-60 timing as it does not feature the timer as on the new Apache.

My Verdict: Two years back when I bought my Apache; I never thought of Yamaha as a company focussed on performance bikes and used to think that RX 100’s were for bike freaks who don’t mind unrefined machines with low efficiency. But I salute the R15 for the build quality and the thrill that it gives along with the great mileage it delivers of around 40-50 Kmpl.

There is no doubt in the fact the R15 is the most technically advanced bike made in India. Sure, there are other bikes that may be faster at a lower cost but the sheer technical advancement of the R15 is something remarkable. The way it handles, performs, looks, and goes is like no other bike on the streets today. If you were to buy an R15, one thing is for sure, you will never regret it even one bit that you have spent such an amount of money. It would be more than a bike; it would become your personality and your identity.

– Harish

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54 COMMENTS

  1. No ad could do the job that you have done in this review. I am sure that this review would convert into many customers for Yamaha, and hopefully they would send their reviews as well 🙂

  2. hey bro .. Excellent review dude .. d bike has the best front fairing but d tail side could have been improved a lot .. I mean d tailamps could have been leds and d TIRES could have been bigger ..

  3. i am really convinced that the r15 is a gem of a bike….i simply love it……best bike to own………hats of YAMAHA….

  4. Great review there. However you may consider breaking up the article into different sections so that it will be easier to go through the article faster. Just a suggestion.

  5. hello buddy…ur review is awesome…i like that.. a most practical review i hav ever come across…jus got a query as u hav installed ECU…is it ok to install only ECU without adding extra stuff like racing silencer etc etc…wud the ECU cop up wid the other components of the engine without adding other stuff available wid the Yamaha Racing kit…or does it have to be fitted along with the entire racing kit…??..also wot abt warranty…??plz reply..thanks…!!

  6. Yes It will Increase the Performance and Decrease the warranty on the bike.

    According to the Yamaha Showroom Guys in Hyderabad,If Race Kit is installed the warranty will be void completely, Including the Race Kit. The Race Kit will not be sold as Individual Parts.

    The High Lift Cam will increase Air intake, But end up consuming more Fuel. Forget about the Silencer even if they give it for free I will never fit, Sounds a lot and affects the look. The Front Disc Kit is awesome but costs 20K+VAT. I would endup wasting the current one.Race Sprockets are also important but I did not get them separate

    My Friend’s relative is an Yamaha Showroom Owner in Mumbai and he helped me with the Race ECU alone without the Complete Kit

    But Lets Make it confidential The Service Center that I use, Never Knew that this Bike has a Race ECU in it.

    Also I am Planning to Buy another Front Disc Kit same like the
    the factory installed One and fit, So that I will not waste anything, Because Braking is not that good at the Top end Speed.Can any Expert Suggest me on this will this cause any Damage/Harm to the Bike or Rather Myself???

  7. thanx harish 4 ur prompt reply…so ECU is not available on its own…it has to be bought with other parts…okkk…cud u plz le me know..wot r d other parts with the ECU..??..also, is it hard to detect whether ECU is installed or nt by a mechanic…bcoz if m gonna install tha…i wont le d dealer know abt it…(obviously) ;-)..any suggestion how to avoid detection…??
    plz reply..
    many thanx..!!

  8. HI…one of the best reviews that i have read…detailed and honest…thanks. Also would like to tell other readers that i own a yamaha R15..recently changed the tyres. Now have put a 120 at the rear while the stock rear has been put in the front…! my verdict on this is that it looks very very S**y and visually awesome…but the downside is that pickup is reduced…so is the top speed. so if you are riding for pleasure.. change the tyres… but if u ride for performance..dont…. Happy riding

  9. Simple,

    The Stock ECU looks exact the same like the Race Ecu. And does the same job like the Stock ECU, Except the Rev limiter is Programmed to hit >12000RPM, Where Stock cuts of at 10,000RPM.

    So the Only way for a person to identify and Race ECU fitted R15 is by its performance.A Mechanic who has good experience with R15 will easily identify that there is something extra than a Stock Bike. So avoid Bike Mechanics Riding your bike and If any Service Guys ask you about the Performance, Simply tell them you use SPEED petrol, Thats what I say.

    As I told you before I got the Race ECU Separately without any other Parts .By next Two months Yamaha is planning to introduce more Accessories, So they may sell the Race ECU Separately. It is possible for a Yamaha Dealer to sell a Race ECU separately But no one will do as Everybody will avoid buying the Kit.If you know any Dealer personally then you can get it separately.

  10. No Compensation will be given as I mentioned in the Review Whatever Race part you buy the Stock Part will be Removed and Given to you. So I would Advice you go for the Race ECU and the Sprokets as the Other parts are too costly and It costed be 12K for the ECU alone and I did not got the Sprokets.

  11. Guys, excellent reviews and comments by all, Harish I must say you know a lot about this bike. Today was my first day with my Yellow Silent Killer…which cuts through traffic with ease…I have a ? today my firs

    Suresh: Hi, How does this bike compare with Latest Karizma and Pulsar 220 DTSIThanks, Suresh

    t 10-12 kms the bike was heating up pretty quickly not sure why…I was also getting some kind of burnt smell…Is this a normal scenario? Would this problem stop after the first service? Guys did you experience this? Please advice.

  12. Guys, excellent reviews and comments by all, Harish I must say you know a lot about this bike. Today was my first day with my Yellow Silent Killer…which cuts through traffic with ease…I have a ? today my first 10-12 kms the bike was heating up pretty quickly not sure why…I was also getting some kind of burnt smell…Is this a normal scenario? Would this problem stop after the first service? Guys did you experience this? Please advice.

  13. @ kanal

    i recommend you to have your bike checked….i never faced this problem with my bike which i bought last year in june….

  14. Hi Kanal,

    You are Exactly Right the same Happen to me, The Bike will get Over Heated Particularly the Place were your thighs contact the Petrol Tank , in the First 100-200 Kms and I too got the Same Burning Smell. But all that were taken care in the First Service and now its all good. Dont twist your Bike above 5K Rpm until the First Service and unlike other bikes you will start loving your bike as it gets older and older, Because the Engine will become more Smooth after 8-10 Months of use.

  15. Hey buddy!!awesome review…kudos to u for that..i would like to ask u a question…did u ride ur bike above the 5000rpm mark in your initial times which the ppl at yamaha asks u not to do until u have done with 2000kms/2nd service???….pls reply……

  16. No Nothing as Such, There is no Hard and Fast Rule for any Bike that It should be ridden within 5K Rpm, My Opinion is, this Applies to all bikes Coz the initial 1000Kms that you ride is the Crucial Part in our Engines Life, If you Stress the Engine Initially, I am not sure Technically what exactly happens to the Engine Bore but My Friend’s R15 returns a Mileage 9K Rpm on Day One Itself. About Me I Have never Crossed 4K Rpm for the first 1000Kms(1st Service). But after the 1st Service Its all set and I can Take it to any RPM as I wish and the Mileage would be surely between 45-50Kmpl. Moreover I will touch the Clutch exactly, Only when needed, Improper usage of clutch will give you a huge downfall in mileage.

    Also I would Request you to maintain your bike by the R15 User manual, Instead of Believing the Service Person, Coz I feel they are not well trained and have less product knowledge.

  17. Harish/Amal, Thanks for ur quick input….I was busy completing my first 1000 kms…
    Its been almost 9 days and I have completed around 575 kms, and now the engine is getting more refined, the overheating and burning smell is hardly there. I have ensured that the bike does not do more than 5K RPM, so the max till date is around 75 KMS/HR on 5K RPM.
    I know the bike is still raw but certainly has tremendous potential which is waiting to be explored.
    Also I must say our bike R15 is a show stopper on every signal I have lots of heads turn towards this beauty and several ?s being asked,its really a feel good factor whether on the move or just standing alone.
    And now I am convinced that this bike is good value for money.
    Enjoy Riding Safe….

  18. harish i would like to thank you first because i m riding passion plus from last five years and now looking fore a bike which really means a BIKE and your review not only helped but i come out of big confusion only because of ur preview n i have my own sports bike which roar n run like a tiger on road

  19. Hi, Vedant that is not true because What I heard from the Yamaha people while I left the Bike for a Service is that, “AS THE RESULT OF NINJA’s Launch , THE SALES OF R15 HAS DOUBLED AND NOW THE WAIT TIME FOR A YELLOW R15 WOULD BE 2MONTHS HERE”. So all R15 owners have to proud that currently an R15 cannot be delivered even you pay the Ready cash. So Might be that might be the Reason for your dealer to say so. Or I am not sure might be Yamaha may comeup with an upgrade or something coz its been more than a year of its launch all competitors are coming closer.

  20. Hi, its a very good review man. Yamaha allways Rocks, I still proud of my Rx135. once i was going at Airport Rd Bangalore, i always ride my RX as it is meant for,i got a guy with R15 and the race started. i honestly say R15 sux at below 100kmph speed. ya its a rong comparision with 2 stroke bike anyways. I like that damn naked bike FZ. but 150cc bikes its a kids toy boys. why this damn yamaha people dont put a 200+ cc engine to R15 or for FZ. Waiting for a 250cc bike from Yamaha, i hope they put it at affordable price unlike Ninja.

  21. Yes Manz, You are correct, If Yamaha is going to launch a 200+CC Bike, It will never be like Pulsar or ZMA, Its going to be something like Ninja and Cost Similarly. Also Yamaha will never give up its brand name, So it will be a Reliable Product but Burn your pockets.

  22. Harish R15 is worth the penny u gave, i am not denying it. In fact R15 & FZ16 are world class designs.Yamaha people are smart, they specially designed these two bikes keeping performance and mileage in mind, so they can attract the both kind of buyers. I wont mind getting 30kmpl but i need power. may be they would have made R15 with 200cc with another 20K extra. that would get around 22BHP it will outclass all bikes. who will pay 3L to ninja man.Anyhow Yamaha are smart they launch bikes in style,sure they lunch 250cc one which will beat ninja not only performance but with price also(may b arund 2L),it is just the matter of time. chk the links
    http://www.mydigitalfc.com/companies/yamaha-plans-delay-225-250-cc-bike-launch-783
    Happy Biking
    Manz

  23. heyy harish…..!! wat a beautiful review……evn the cmpany’s brochure will not be this informative.i am 18 old nd now i booked a r15…..i hav never owned a bike nd not much accquainted vth it….so i need alot of tips about the bike’s maintainence,clutch handling,gear shifting..etc to really enjoy the bike and ita performance…i also need some tips to get a good mileage nd……..

    plZ help me………..

    sukumar…..

  24. Hi Sukumar,
    Congrats, unlike other bikes you no need to take much care on R15, But yes for the first 1000-1500 kms keeps the throttle less than 4K rpm. I did the same my Bike is still give a Mileage bet 45-50 Kms between 8K to 5K rpm respectively. Also always use Semi Synthetic Oil, DONT GO FOR THE NORMAL 4S OIL it will ruin the performance. Make sure that you service periodically as per the manual and thats it. You are good to go

  25. Hi Harish..
    Lovely review.. I am on the verge of buying the R-15..
    I just wanted to ask you about the parts.. Just like your dad even my dad is making a fuss about the cost(i’ve convinced him) but he also keeps bugging me that lots of parts are being STOLEN by people.(even i’ve heard from one friend whose entire front wheel assembly was stolen when his bike was parked in his house itself). Its risky to park the bike almost ANYWHERE except your house in a locked up garage. Few original decorations are not replaceable.. What do you have to say about it.. Did you face any such problem?
    And I personally also am afraid of parking a good looking bike in crowded places where other fools may scratch my beauty.. 🙁

  26. Congrats Sharvil on your new bike, I never Faced any kind of issues, Only ppl will stare at my bike and certain ppl will sit on it and assume themselves as Rossi. Once I parked outside a Hotel, a person was sitting on the bike and as soon as I came near the bike, he was asking for the key to have a Test Drive(Bl**dy Hell). Also one other day at my office there were lot of Hot Chicks Sitting on my bike with Mini Skirts and taking Photographs(Bl**dy Heaven). So it all happens when you have a Different, Good Looking Bike with you. Moreover the Logos are stickers in the Bike, So that can be easily stolen. Rear Discs are risky too. No chance for a Helmet Holder, So I lost two Vega Helmets. So make sure that you always leave the Bike at a public place where many ppl are around and at make sure that you have an eye on it. Also one piece of advice when parking the bike if a Shop keeper or someone argues with you not to park there, PLEASE DONT FIGHT WITH HIM, Coz your bike will be standing alone and he might do something nasty. Thats it and I suppose R15s are quite common in Cities So you no need to get any unnecessary fear. Take your R15 and start Gliding. 🙂

    • Buy a cable lock and lock it to the grab-rail, it can secure a full faced helmet. Choosing matching colors; they go in well with the bike. Use rear disks with caution especially if you are used to the staid rear drums.
      Chikks sitting on your bike to take photos ..Noe thats bl**dy imaginative 😉

      • Hey, Terabaap

        I have taken a picture, when chicks were trying to take pics sitting on my bike. But I wasnt able to share it coz they were in mini skirts and lot of censorship would have to be applied and I have also shared this like in Facebook. Remember the first sight you had on a R15, Dont say you never wanted a picture of the R15.

  27. Hehehe… Thanx Harish for the advice… 🙂
    Hope the HOT chics thing works out well for me.. 😉 😛
    and no one steals anything from my beauty..

  28. I got my r15 delivered yesterday from Orion Motors in Bangalore, but they advised me of not having a owner’s manual at that point and will provide me the same in 15 days. Is that a problem?

  29. Hey frnz,i recently buked yamaha r15 impact yellow,bt da waiting period iz too long..i bukd it on 11th july nd da bike iz gna b availbl in da first week of august..damn excited nd waiting eagerly 4 ma yellow angel,

  30. Hey frnz,i recently buked yamaha r15 impact yellow,bt da waiting period iz too long..i bukd it on 11th july nd da bike iz gna b availbl in da first week of august..damn excited nd waiting eagerly 4 ma yellow angel,.

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