Prakash has submitted this review in our Ownership Review Contest No 13, ensuring himself an assured prize. The contest also offers a chance to win Riding Jacket, Helmet and more.. You can submit your review to us as wellHere are all the details.

It all started when I passed out of 12th from an all-boys School. The year was 2009. We boys were turning men. College jo join karne waale the. And like every other ‘all-boys school’ student I had 2 dreams, one of going to a co-ed college where girls roamed about in mini-skirts and every night is a party night where you sing ‘n’ shout  and dance to your hearts content.

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And the other dream of owning my very own motorcycle. That beauty, my whole circle of friends would queue-up to ride, my girlfriends envy, my mother’s pride, my very own mean machine. They say, not all dreams come true. For me, both didn’t!

My father was growing old, my brother had already taken up the mantle of responsibility and now I was expected to share a part of the same. Regardless of where you stand in life, there are always times when you have to make some sacrifices and you cant refuse. From joining a college to taking up a correspondence course in Bangalore University, Life had taken the most wildest of turns. With this, even the dream of owning a motorcycle took a backseat.

I joined my family business and got involved deeply. Will swear it wasn’t easy at all. It was the phase of life where I was neither a student nor a professional. But there was some relief to life in the form of Sneha. God’s very own angel. She was the best friend I ever had.

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Sneha was my School buddy’s college friend. Those were the days of Orkut and Sneha & I apparently struck a conversation there. We ‘chatted’ for a long long time before exchanging numbers. From Orkut to gtalk to sms’, we one day decided to meet up. That evening was undoubtedly the most intoxicating ones of my life. We spent close to 2 hours together and did nothing but laugh. I never thought I’d meet someone who’d meet my wavelength so closely.

Sneha and my time schedule were such that we could meet only on Sunday evenings. With time flying by, we became better, stronger friends. Our lives had become like open books for each other to read.

What came as a shocker one fine day was besides being a hobbyist musician, Sneha was a huge Rossi fan. Okay, I’ll be honest it wasn’t a shocker as such, actually it wasn’t a shocker at all because I hadn’t heard of Rossi before. Or even the R1. And she apparently knew how the cross-plane crankshaft worked. :O

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She spoke about the R1, R6 and the M1 with such flair it most times was embarrassing. 😛
But regardless of her love for big bikes, she never minded sitting pillion on my humble family moped. (self-praise alert: I may have had no “Knowledge” of bikes, but I had “Skills”, something Sneha always proclaimed.B)) Now even if she dint mind the moped, I still wanted a bike, only this time not to fullfil my dream but to make her happy. And that’s when Yamaha launched its FZ16 with a fairing, the Yamaha Fazer. My sole inclination towards finalising it was “because Rossi rode a Yamaha”.

Went through the whole drama of convincing the family.  I’ll be honest, convincing any other family would have been so much easier, but my family, I had to submit to them a report equal to the size of a 12 standard Accounts text book about all the reasons of buying a bike. My father is a self-made man. All that I stand half an heir to (the other half being held by my brother, ofcourse) is born out of his shear hardwork. Therefore, money to him was sweat & blood which meant I had to have strong reasons behind buying the Fazer. (Forget strong, the only reason I wanted a bike  was to take Sneha out every Sunday evening for an hour or too.)

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Unconvincing as my proposal was, the purchase of a bike was denied but not as bluntly as one would think. You see, my Old man is a smart one at handling people. While the Fazer costed 85k in Bangalore back then, he handed me ₹1lakh. And to make it seem huge he handed me the sum in brand new crisp ‘kadak-kadak’ notes of ₹100. Saying, “its all yours Son, you have earned it working late at the office for the last few months and now (he said this real slowly) you can either double it or blow it, its all upto to you“.

But I felt like Uncle Scrooge (from Duck Tales, a show if you don’t know about probably means you had a bad childhood), money sparkling in my eyes. I was suddenly the owner of one hundred thousand rupees (that’s exactly how large the amount looked) and I could do whatever with it (buy the Midnight Black Limited Edition Fazer which costed 88k. Woot!)

So I took it to a nationalised bank (because private banks like the “Liar” Brothers had lost my trust) and stashed it in the form of a fixed deposit at an interest rate of 9% per annum.

I just could not part with the huge sum. (I was feeling like Uncle Scrooge, remember? And then the words, “double it or blow it” I guess I heard only the former.:P)

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This proved to be another plus point in my life coz on my birthday in Feb Sneha revealed she had started seeing her ex again. *Head-banging the wall*
This meant bye-bye to late night calls, sms, Sunday evening meets and all the happier times.

No bike, no girl, back to office and office to bed. Time and life somehow moved on.

Fast forward to late 2011….err…..lets do it the Bollywood style..

DO SAAL BAAD *dhan dhan, background music*

A motorcycle was launched. And I think I dropped something, my jaw.

Yamaha YZF R15 Version 2.0 was here.

It was Drop. Dead. Gorgeous. I don’t remember how many times I must have kissed the computer screen. I had lost my appetite that night, and my sleep too. That bike was just insanely beautiful.

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The bike was launched, booking started but deliveries were far in the horizon. Which gave me time, time to read. I started reading about the specs of V2. Tried understanding the technical terms, what they meant & how they influenced the bike. Read article over article, scorching forum over forum. From frames to ECUs I wanted to learn everything. The thirst for “Knowledge” had begun & somewhere in me a Biker was born.

It was October and I was moving to Surat, Gujarat for good the first week of December. Decided to hold my horses till then. Deliveries in Surat were (funnily) right away. But by the time I had settled my stuff in Surat, my naniji fell critically ill and on the 1st of Jan, 2012, she kicked the bucket. It took sometime getting out of the grief especially after being so closely attached to her, for all the delicious linseed laddoos she made especially for me. (Naniji, whichever star you now shine upon us as, I’ve kept my promise and haven’t eaten linseed laddoos after you’ve left us because I know they just wont taste right.)

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This however brought about another turn in my biking life. I wasn’t very fond of the 3 colours the bike was launched in. And since Praveen and Anuj (the Gujarat guys I befriended on the Facebook page of R15v2.0) already owned the black and blue colours, respectively, I had condescended to buying the red. That’s when Praveen having brought pictures from the Delhi Auto-Expo surprised me with.

The 2012 50th Anniversary Limited Edition was here.

I think I dropped my upper jaw as well. It was unbelievably beautiful. Yamaha’s very own piece of art. And I lost my heart. For good.

The ₹1lakh my father had given me, I turned into a couple more after having invested it in a few business ventures. With the finance not being a problem, I spoke to my parents about it and they seemed to only find happiness in whatever made me happy.

That’s what’s about Parents, they only want their kids to be happy. I mean, I went to their room, showed them the brochure and went on explaining to them how fantastic the bike was and how beautiful the new colour looked, but I don’t think they heard any of that, they just saw my face gleaming with joy and the happiness in my eyes and probably asked me to go get it just to have the happy-kid feeling in me intact. Parents, proof of God’s own existence. #sigh

I had my brother take the first ride. (Neither of us are superstitious but in case something goes wrong, I can blame it on him. :P)
Went to the Ambey Maa temple and got the puja done.

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So, the booking amout was paid, the remaining amount was paid.
Come March 23rd, 2012 and I was signing all the delivery papers.

Met another chap there, the owner of a brand new Avenger 220. Tried explaining to him what Run-in Procedure meant but in vain, in the end just asked him to not cross 60kmph and change gears as much as possible till 1000km. He seemed happy. 😀

(This is where the actual “Bike Review” begins..)

Top Speed: 146kmph
Average fuel efficiency: 47kmpl. (On average speeds of 120kmph.
Surprised? Read on.)

I told you earlier I got into reading about bikes alot. Specifically the technical specs. And that’s when I came across an article by Motoman and his method to run-in a brand new engine. I was completely taken aback by the shear audacity this man spoke with. Spent over a week researching reviews of people who followed his methods. While some claimed Motoman to be a Bike-God, others wished he were dead. Lol..

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I was very particular of the run-in.
Its the most crucial part of any bikes ownership, pretty much like raising a new born, what you do in its early days  will invariably influence its entire life.
Therefore, from all the research done, I chalked out a strategy that complied with both the Motaman as well as the Manual Method.

Drew 2 standard rules which I follow even today.

Standard Ignition Rule:

  • Shove in the key. Turn to ignition. Wait till the Speedo needle does all its melodrama.
  • Ignite the engine. Idle for exactly 60 seconds. (Note to self: Keep bike straight while idling.)

Standard First 2km Rule:

  • For the first 2kms ride through all gears and do not cross 4k rpm.

Reasons behind the above were plain and simple: You need the engine oil to move from the sump at the bottom through the entire engine and lubricate it completely for better transmission.

And then here is the important part;

The Run-in Strategy

For first 500km:

  • Do not cross 5k rpm. Mandatory
  • Do not use engine braking. Mandatory.
  • Do not use brakes. Mandatory. (okay atleast try).
  • Upshift gears from 1st to 6th, in a perfect ascending order, never downshift to a lower gear in the middle. (Which meant riding only in traffic-less areas which allowed reaching 6th gear at 5krpm, in other words 75kmph).
  • Do not downshift. When in 6th gear at 5k rpm, cut the throttle and allow bike to come to 0 kmph using wind resistance. (Which again meant riding on long traffic-less stretches which allowed coming down from 75kmph to 0 only on wind-resistance.)
  • Once at 0, stop and downshift to 1st gear & repeat the above procedure.

From 500km to 750km ODO reading:

  • Same as above, only the rpm limit was upped to 7.5k.

From 750km to 1000km ODO reading:

  • Let hell break loose. 9k, all the way.

Now I know a few reading this might think I am a lunatic to device such a painful strategy or even call it a strategy in the first place. But hey, it worked. Praveen & Anuj (who btw are two of the most enthusiastic motorcyclists you’ll find in the Country) vouch for the tap-to-trigger kind of throttle response, the clear engine note and fantastic engine braking my bike offers. And of course the fuel efficiency.

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This was about the run-in, my first reaction on riding the bike was very different. Coming from an Activa in Bangalore and a Splendor in Surat, the first time I rode the R15, I was left bewildered, lost in question as to how would I ride this bike with a stance so drastically different from my earlier stallions. There were times when I was shaking with fear, wondering if I made the right choice. The worries, however, dint last beyond the first 100 kms. I got used to….wait…addicted to the sporty stance.

After the stance, its the cornering capability of the one-five, you get addicted to. But the aggressive position coupled with the leaning into corners regularly took a toll on my palms and wrists. And slowly the infamous back pain also started. While people keep saying the pain goes away with time, its all utter rubbish. Even after thousands of kilometres of mile-munching, Praveen, Anuj & I, men of highly varied body proportions, still experience the tinge every now and then. But its the fun part that’s still kept us hooked to our motorcycles.

People ask me if I’ve met with any accidents. Yes, I have. One. At 657km ODO. The experience was more emotionally painful than physical. The bike was brand new and I crashed it. That dreaded night still haunts me at times and there isn’t much I want to talk about the incident.

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It took the SVC close to 30days to get the parts replaced. I went to the SVC pretty much everyday and sat before my bike with tears rolling down. The old, grey-haired, head mechanic would walk upto me, patting my back saying, “areh tension mat lo dost, mein isko aesa thik karunga, pata hi nahi chalega kuch hua tha..

For bikers, their first bikes are never just bikes, they become a part of their very own life. You love it, like it weren’t an inanimate object but another human. And to see it wrecked, it breaks you from within. This is when a very young yet talented friend of mine said something that lifted much of my spirit,

“You don’t ride, if you don’t crash”.

Thanx Sriram Sridharan, it helped me regain sense much.

When I got back my beloved, I took her for a ride. I could not cross 45kmph for several days. With time and clocking over 200 more kms I touched 77kmph. Was so ecstatic I wrote an fb status about it, and the kind of mass-support and encouragement the biker friends I made on fb gave me was a sight to see.

Upon crossing the 1k mark I was back to riding normally.

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Post the first service,

  • there were acute vibrations at the part of the fairing where my left knee touched. Took it to the SVC the next day and learnt it was just a loose screw. Slapped my head for not finding out myself.
  • Gearbox was still the same, notchy. If there was one thing I genuinely feel needs improvement, its the gearshift. It plonks each gear as though loading a mini rifle.
  • Engine note had changed remarkably, felt much soothing.
  • And the bike looked fantastic.

1st service charge:

  • Oil -470
  • Filter -167
  • Chain cleaning & lubing -200
  • General tune-up – Free
  • Total – ₹837

This bike comes with 6 free services, throughout the nation with 1 year validity and 70days interval between each service.

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Soon after the 1st service I went for a long roadtrip of close to 300km. Realised probably the largest drawback as well as the biggest benefit of having a fairing. At speeds of close to 120kmph on the NH8, cross-winds tried to push me off track. At point while overtaking a truck I was suddenly hit by a surge of air-current and I almost slammed into the very same truck. The biggest plus of having a fairing is easy-maintaining of 120+kmph. The head-on wind gets far too easily slices by this wind-tunnel piece of refinement. Simply amazing to see a 150cc engine pull-off speeds in excess of 120 with such ease.
While returning, however, realised a flaw – the lights. They are too weak for any highway riding. Hope there’s an update-kit offered soon.

Later clocked more in-city kilometers and it was soon time for 2nd service. Repeated the process of getting air-filter vacuumed and oil-filter+engine oil changed. (Something I follow in every service).
This time got all the nuts and bolts tightened before I checked out.

2nd Service Charges;

  • Oil – 470
  • Filter – 167.
  • General tune-up – Free.

Came home and cleaned & lubed the chain myself because the SVC was ripping off charging ₹200. Instead bought a TVS chain spray for ₹310 and have used it for more than 15 sprays already.

With many more services and time passing-by, I was getting frustrated of not finding any place to explore the true cornering potential of this bike. But upon seeing photo’s of Praveen’s Saputara roadtrip, decided to ride there the very next Sunday.
Luckily met Harish a day before. He too owns an LE R15v2.0 and almost instantly agreed to tag along. Saputara is a hill station 164km (one way) away from Surat. That’s where the corner-games began. Amazing amazing fun. Words fall short of the kind of happiness this bike gave me there.

Came home, cleaned & lubed the chain again.

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I have always made sure to give my bike for servicing as per the schedule in the manual and also clean & lube the chain timely (every 500-750km).

During Diwali last month, I made a huge mistake. Parked the bike in the garage and forgot to remove the key and straight away headed for a 2 week vacation. Since the key was turned towards the ignition mode, the entire battery drained. Came back, realised the blunder and called my friend in Bamgalore Ronnie Sylvester Thomas whom I befriended on BikeAdvice’s Facebook page. He gave me Rayhan’s no. who owns an R1. Called him and he guided step by step on removing the seats to unscrewing the battery and plugging it on charge. Such honest and humble human beings.

So far my sweet love has been pretty trouble free. Maybe its only returning the love it receives. 😀

Just some pros & cons;

Pros:

  • *Hottest bike in India. Lots of stares at signals.
  • *Fantastic topend. Which 150cc bike touches 146kmph?
  • *Amazing handler. Its brilliance is in its capability of cornering.
  • *High speed stability. Even at 146 it remains grounded.
  • *Yamaha reliability. The courage to Arrive Alone. 😀

Cons:

  • *Hottest bike in India. Drives unwanted attention from ill-elements of the society who seems to live only to damage other people’s property. Use a cover, wherever possible.
  • *Pathetic headlamps. Upgrade to 55w.
  • *Notchy gearbox. Cant help.
  • *Stance is too aggressive for those with nimble wrists and soft palms.
  • Keep your elbows bent a little and use gloves. Will ease a lot of pain.
  • *Spare parts are expensive. But quality comes for a price.
  • *Spare parts take time. This point is quite irritating.
  • *Pillion seat is indeed too high and too uncomfortable. Both for the rider as well as the pillion.
  • *At speeds in excess of 120, any sort of cross-wind pushes the bike onto the opposite lane.
  • *SVCs aren’t that impressive. Instead of arguing,  befriend the mechanics there. You’ll be amazed at how helpful and patient they are.

That’s it folks. That’s all for now.
Hope you guys enjoyed reading my story.
Happy mile-munching and God bless us all.

Regards,
Prakash Solanki

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