The R15 receives a major upgrade in the form of fresh styling and more features.
If you were to make a list of the most popular motorcycles sold in India, the Yamaha YZF-R15 would easily appear on it. After all, it brings genuinely accessible, athletic performance to the masses and everyone is aware of our love for motorcycles in disguise. In fact, the R15 is so popular that every time a new version hits the market, the world takes notice and takes notice. That’s why we wanted to see what Yamaha was bringing out on the latest R15, version 4.0.
Yamaha YZF-R15: Design and Features
When you walk towards the motorcycle, you can see that the new R15 looks even better than the pictures suggest. As with the R15s of yore, version 4.0 is based on a larger Yamaha R-Series motorcycle. This time it’s a copy of the 2021 YZF-R7, and that’s a great place to start.
The front section looks sharp and aggressive as the bifunctional LED projector headlight sits in the artificial air inlet. The LED position lights that flank the headlight look like angry eyes and give it a contemporary look.
Above the front fairing is a new windshield that is very well shaped to protect you from the wind. Yamaha claims this fairing is more aerodynamic, which helps it reach its top speed of nearly 150 km / h a little easier. We’ll check that out when we take this motorcycle with us for a track day.
The side fairing blends in with the rest of the bike and I love the “Racing Blue” paintwork with the two-tone, matt and glossy effect. The fuel tank is also new and shaped to give your knees more support. It looks chunkier than the version 3.0 tank, but has the same capacity at 11 liters. The rear area is reminiscent of the R7 with its floating panels.
On the whole, the design of the new R15 is coherent, proportionate and arguably the best of all previous versions. It certainly drew a lot of attentions while we were testing the bike. The only annoying element is that the angle of the exhaust does not match the angle of the stern.
The quality level has also improved significantly – the R15 V3 had received some flak because of its below-average quality in areas such as plastics. With version 4.0 this is not the case, be it in the quality of the switchgear, its tactile buttons or the plastics from which the cladding is formed. Then there is the impressive paintwork, which underlines the feeling of premiumity of the motorcycle.
In terms of features, the new R15 has a nice LCD display with bluetooth connectivity for phone, SMS and email notifications, but there is no navigation function. Yamaha’s proprietary Y-Connect app provides additional information such as the last parked location and fuel consumption data. The display also switches to track mode, which shows your current and best lap time on a racetrack.
Yamaha YZF-R15: how is it in the saddle?
Get on the bike and you will find that while the seat is new, more comfortable and narrower towards the tank, it is the same height of 815mm as the previous bike.
The position of the footpegs also appears to be the same, but what has changed is the placement of the clip-ons. These are now located under the new fork bridge, unlike the previous motorcycle, where they were above. This has led us to believe that the driving position is more engaging than before. Thankfully, it didn’t get too aggressive as the clip-ons are angled so that they protrude slightly above the height of the triple clamp. The end result is a riding position similar to the v3 bike, albeit with a slightly lower handlebar position.
The clip-on handlebar is located below the fork bridge.
Keep in mind, however, that this super cool looking racer boy driving position isn’t great for long highway stints.
Yamaha YZF-R15: How’s the performance?
The star of the YZF-R15 show, the liquid-cooled 155cc single 4-valve engine is undoubtedly one of the best small displacement motorcycle engines on the market. The version 4.0 unit produces 0.2 hp less than the previous engine, but that is nothing to be concerned about. Because in the real world there is no noticeable drop in overall performance. In fact, this engine is 0.1 Nm more power and hits its peak at 1,000 rpm, lower than before. This could result in a bike that accelerates slightly faster than the v3, but we will check this out as soon as we have the opportunity to strap our Vbox test gear to the bike.
All in all, the engine is wonderfully easy to turn, steerable at low speeds and the variable valve actuation (VVA) offers you this additional top performance on the open road.
The six-speed gearbox is as smooth as ever and the optional up-only quickshifter (standard on Racing Blue, R15 M and MotoGP editions) works smoothly. However, you can only use it in Track mode.
Given that this engine is largely the same as before and the curb weight of the motorcycle remains unchanged at 142 kg, fuel consumption should be roughly the same. As a reference, the R15 v3 delivered 37.2 cpl in the city and almost 50 cpl on the highway.
Yamaha YZF-R15: driving behavior and handling
One of the main reasons that make the R15 so adorable in my books is its handling. The Indian bike finally gets a (non-adjustable) USD fork, although the inner diameter of the tubes is 37mm smaller than the 41mm fork on the v3. However, the inherently higher stiffness of a USD fork compared to a conventional fork leads to improved stability, especially when cornering or when braking hard. Other chassis modifications include a reinforced subframe.
The rest of the chassis has been left untouched and that’s great because the Deltabox frame and suspension work together to provide a handling package that is a treat. The R15 simply loves curves and sticks to a designated line as if on rails. However, the turning in is sharp and it takes a little getting used to.
All these finesse in handling have not come at the expense of the ride quality and the bike copes well with most bumps on the road.
The turning in is sharp and it takes a little getting used to.
Yamaha has also built in a traction control system with version 4.0. Some may consider this an unnecessary excess for a bike under 20 horsepower, but knowing our slippery, shabby roads, safety systems like this are always welcome.
The brake hardware is the same as before and there is nothing to complain about here, regardless of whether it is a bite or feedback from the lever.
Yamaha YZF-R15: Should You Buy One?
With a new design and feature updates, the venerable R15 gets a price increase of almost 10,000 to 15,000 rupees compared to the previous version, depending on the color.
If you’re spending a little more, you can buy the Yamaha MotoGP Team Live Bike or the R15 M. The latter offers you a delicious, silver paint job, a silver swingarm, gold brake calipers and aesthetically different seats. It is our choice of lot.
Some may think that the street price near Rs 2 lakh is too much for a 155cc motorcycle. But for all that batter, you get a high quality, feature-packed motorcycle that offers an unmatched driving experience at this price point. It’ll bring a big smile to your face every time you drive it, and it remains a fantastic, forgiving tool for trackday beginners looking to improve their driving skills. The price is certainly steep, but you get a lot for that.