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Yamaha R15 V4: Roadtest Review

14 January 2022, 04:05 PM Neil Nair

Introduction

Yamaha YZF R15 V4 Left Front Three Quarter

Pros: Has a peppy and refined engine, Sharp handling, Premium fit, and finish

Cons: Uncomfortable pillion seat, LED headlamp could offer better spread of light

If there’s any Yamaha motorcycle more popular than the RX100, it’s the R15. The motorcycle has worked wonders for the manufacturer’s sales numbers ever since it was launched. And in a nod that recognised India as an important market, Yamaha launched the R15 V4 in the country before anywhere else in the world.

We have ridden the Yamaha R15 V4 previously, albeit for a short period wherein we couldn’t exploit the full potential of the heavy updates it has received. So, we did this time, and here is what we came back with.  

Quality

Yamaha YZF R15 V4 Handle Bar

One of the major shortcomings of the V3 was the quality of components. And we’re glad to see that Yamaha has worked on that aspect. Compared to the V3, the build quality of components on the R15 V4 has improved drastically. Even the panels on the R15 V4 fit flush with no gaps to be seen. And with wiring neatly tucked away, the cockpit looks clean and in a way, premium. In addition, the black plastics are of good quality too and the buttons on the switchgear look and feel premium as well.  

Yamaha YZF R15 V4 Front View
Yamaha YZF R15 V4

Yamaha YZF R15 V4

  • Displacement155 cc
  • Mileage - Owner Reported45 kmpl
  • Max Power(bhp)18.1 bhp
  • Kerb Weight142 kg
  • ;

Avg. Ex-showroom price

₹ 1,73,550

Besides an overhaul to its build quality, Yamaha has also tastefully re-designed the R15, drawing inspiration from the R1 and R7. Hence, it gets the aggressive-looking front end that features twin LED DRLs with a projector headlamp in between. Moreover, the fairing design has also been tweaked with more creases for better aerodynamics. Even the tail section is now sharper than before, completing the R15’s new avatar. 

Comfort

Yamaha YZF R15 V4 Right Front Three Quarter

On paper, the R15 V4 has a tall seat height of 815mm. However, with a narrow fuel tank and a taper to the seat, it feels low once seated and will make newer and shorter riders feel at home. Yamaha has also tweaked the handlebars, making them a tad wider and lower than before. And with the footpegs placed higher up, it does make for a committed riding position. Although, as we found out, it did not take much of a while to get used to.

Yamaha YZF R15 V4 Right Side View

The revisions also include a well-cushioned seat, but one that could be a tight fit for larger individuals. Even the pillion seat has little space to offer and with only the tail scoops to hold on to, it becomes uncomfortable on longer rides.   

Performance

Yamaha YZF R15 V4 Right Side View

The Yamaha R15’s pride and joy has always been its extremely responsive chassis and a formidable 155cc engine that has been planted in several other two-wheelers from the Iwata-based manufacturer. Hence, the R15 V4’s recipe is nearly the same. It continues with a Delabox frame with an engine that churns out 18.1bhp and 14.2Nm. Now, these numbers are different than on the V3; the power has gone down by 0.2bhp while torque is up by 0.1Nm. But has it changed the way the R15 behaves?  

Yamaha YZF R15 V4 Left Side View

Not really. The engine, with its VVA tech, has been tuned to give the best of both worlds. It might feel a tad dull up to 4500rpm, but as the tachometer pushes past that mark to 7000rpm and the VVA kicks in, the R15 V4 comes into its element with all guns blazing. The motor happily revs to 12,500rpm hitting a top speed of around 146kmph. It does take a while to get there, but the performance it offers is consistent.  

Yamaha YZF R15 V4 Rear View

And as sporty as it is, the R15’s engine is also tractable. The motorcycle is surprisingly composed even while trodding as low as 35kmph in sixth gear. Speaking of which, the R15 V4’s transmission is butter smooth all through the six gears. The light clutch pull and quickshifter just add to the slick shifts. However, not everything is pristine about the motor. It still has vibrations that creep in on the pegs and handlebar. Although minor at first, the vibes become much more prominent closer to the redline.  

Yamaha YZF R15 V4 Left Side View

Now, everything about the R15 V4 has been focused on being sporty - including the suspension. While it is set up to be on the stiffer side, it surprisingly does not feel jarring over bumps. Even its handling is as sharp as ever. The R15 V4 tips in almost instantly and has ample cornering clearance to offer if the rider is willing to exploit it. 

Yamaha YZF R15 V4 Front View

This also translates to intuitive handling in the city. It is quick and agile through traffic and the punchy motor only makes things better. What I was also impressed with were the brakes. Not only did they offer solid bite and stopping power, but there were also no signs of fade even after extensive use through the ghats and city. 

Technology

Yamaha YZF R15 V4 Instrument Cluster

Yamaha has gone a step forward and offered the R15 V4 with some first-in-class tech. On offer is a traction control system as standard and a quickshifter as an optional accessory (standard on the R15 M). Then there also is a Bluetooth-enabled LCD screen that can be paired to a smartphone using the Yamaha Motorcycle Connect app. 

Yamaha YZF R15 V4 Head Light

The display can then provide call, SMS, and email alerts as well as phone battery levels. Adding to that, the LCD unit also has a ‘Track’ mode to complete the package. And lastly, there is the full-LED headlamp setup with LED DRLs and an LED projector that has a good throw of light but very little spread. 

Fuel Efficiency

Yamaha YZF R15 V4 Rear View

On our test route, the Yamaha R15 V4 returned an impressive fuel efficiency figure of 51.4kmpl; a result of the VVA tech and tractable nature of its engine. So, with an 11-litre fuel tank, the R15 can travel for roughly 550kms on a single full tank. 

Verdict

 

Yamaha YZF R15 V4 Right Side View

With every new iteration, Yamaha has made the R15 superior and the V4 is no different. It now has much better quality and a design to aspire for. And for once, the R15 gets all the features that the international-spec model comes fitted with. Yes, with a starting price of Rs 1.72 lakh, it is more expensive than its predecessor, but with the updates it receives, the R15 now feels complete - as a city motorcycle and a beginner’s track tool. Moreover, it also seems like a much better package against the KTM RC 125 that is costlier at Rs 1.82 lakh, has lesser power, and misses out on features that the R15 comes with.  

Photos by Kaustubh Gandhi 

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