The R15 set a standard when it entered the Indian market well over a decade ago, and the changes to it since then have been marginal, except for the Version 2.0. Now, though, there’s an all-new one, and it is priced really well. However, the older-gen R15 is still currently on sale, and there’s also the FZ-based 250cc motorcycles to consider when you walk into a Yamaha showroom. They all are priced within Rs 10,000 of each other. Which will it be, then?
The R15 V2.0 has the smallest, least powerful engine here with 150cc and 16.7bhp. The R15 V3 generates a couple more bhp at 18.7bhp, but at 10,000rpm to the V2’s 8500rpm. Both the FZ25 and Fazer 25 generate 20.3bhp at 8000rpm, an advantage they derive thanks to their extra displacement. That advantage is on full display when you compare the torque peaks: the 249cc engine generates 20Nm whereas both R15s generate 15Nm – again, the V3 is more aggressive, generating the peak torque at 8500rpm, 1000rpm higher than the V2.0. The R15’s engine has a four valve head, liquid cooling and a special low-friction cylinder to help it generate the power, whereas the FZ25 and Fazer 25 have an old-school two-valve head, air cooling and an oil cooler to keep it cool. All of them sport fuel injection. The R15 twins have a six-speed gearbox, the 250s, a five-speed one. The R15 V3 uses an assist and slipper clutch as well. The R15 V2 has the smallest front disc brake at 267mm; the other three all have a 282mm front disc. All four have the same size rear disc at 220mm. As with the front disc brake, the same three have the same size tyres: 100/80-17 in front and 140/70-17 at the rear. The R15 V2 uses slightly narrower tyres at 90/80-17 front and 130/70-17 rear. Both R15s have the advantage of a perimeter frame.
They all have similar seat heights, within 2cm from lowest to highest, but the R15 V3 has the shortest wheelbase at 1325. The older R15 is 20mm longer, and predictably, the 250s are longer at a wheelbase of 1360mm. In the same order are the tank capacities: the new R15 holds 11 litres, the old one 12 litres. The FZ25 and Fazer 25 hold 14 litres. The old R15 is the only with with an analog tachometer; the others have switched to all-digital clusters. All have stepped seating, although the 250s are the most comfortable for a pillion rider. None offer ABS. The older R15 is the only one without an LED headlamp, and the R15 V3 has a twin-pod headlamp.
In effect, if you need a city motorcycle, the FZ25 (Rs 1.18 lakh) will be the perfect match. If you need something that can do highway touring, the Fazer 25 (Rs 1.28 lakh) with its torque spread and full fairing will help you along. If you need to zip everywhere at the speed of light, the R15 (V2.0: Rs 1.19 lakh) will light your face up with a grin like no other bike will – but the V3 (Rs 1.25 lakh) promises more reward at the cost of more effort from its engine.
All prices ex-showroom, Mumbai.