2018 Yamaha R15 V3 – Roadtest Review
Yamaha recently launched the 3rd iteration of its R15 series at the Auto Expo in NCR, and we have ridden it on the Madras track, to feel how the V3 rides. The new R15 v3 is a complete upgrade to the R15 series, unlike the R15v2, which carried forward the same engine as v1, with a new body design. The R15v3 was much awaited in India, after Yamaha launched it in Indonesia last year. The R15v3 is definitely the most powerful, modern, stylish and also the fastest bike in its segment. The R15v3 can definitely be the first step to performance & track riding experience.
Back in 2008, Yamaha Motors India introduced the first version of the R15, a 150cc motorcycle, which totally redefined the concept of a performance racing bike within the 150cc segment. Since then, the R15 has been doing good numbers. In 2011, Yamaha upgraded the R15 with the same engine, but with major body & structural changes, with its design inspired from Yamaha’s R6 model. The new design was very sporty and aggressive in terms of design & riding dynamics, with the pillion seat high up in the air getting mixed reviews.
Further ahead in 2015, when Yamaha read the market, they realized that the demand for the R15v1 still existed, also with the realisation that the R15 v2 was not a replacement for V1. So happened the re-launch of the V1 – R15 as R15S. So what now ? Does the R15v3 replace all other versions? Or will it be sold besides the existing 2 models? Well, the R15 stable will now offer 2 bikes specifically, the R15S and the R15v3, while the R15v2 gets scrapped.
Well, the R15v3 is a complete upgrade in all terms, be it the Engine, Chassis or even the Body Design. Yamaha has taken inspiration from the Elder YZF-R1 while designing the R15v3, and traces of the DNA are easily identifiable. The front Dual split headlamp with LED DRL’s and the Squared LED Tail lamp are simply scaled down versions of the ones on the R1. The front end looks aggressive, while the sleek LED lamps which look stunning, simply resemble a oncoming Superbike to bystanders. The Fuel tank too has been redesigned and now is a little bulged out from the top; with fins on top of it like the R1 has, which look classy, stylish and add to the aggressive look of the R15v3. The rear end body panels too have been redesigned and resemble the R1. Look at the V3 from any angle, and I am sure you wouldn’t dislike it.
The instrument cluster on the R15v3 is upgraded to a fully digital LCD cluster, and looks like a scaled down version of the cluster on the current M1, the moto GP spec bike from the Yamaha stable. Speaking about the M1 inspired Instrument cluster, it comes loaded with features like a digital tachometer, speedometer, fuel gauge, VVA indicator, Odometer and a Gear indicator inside the LCD display, while the Neutral indicator, Low oil pressure indicator, Engine malfunction indicator, High beam indicator and signal lights ON indicator are placed on both the sides of the digital display.
The Rider seat is comfortable and spacious, and the riding position isn’t that aggressive as the KTM Rc twins demand. Foot pegs are Rear-set, and the Handlebars are low, with the R15v3 demanding the rider to crouch a bit while riding. Overall, Yamaha has done a spectacular job of downsizing the R1-DNA and fitting it into a 150cc motorcycle, which actually looks proportionate from any angle you look. The R15v3 is surely a head-turner and will grab all the attention while riding on the city roads.
The R15v3 gets a completely new Engine which has been developed and tested in Yamaha’s Japanese facility. The new R15v3 now comes equipped with a 155cc 4 valve liquid cooled engine with a Single Over Head Camshaft having a compression ratio of 11.6: 1. This new Engine now comes equipped with VVA, which is Variable Valve Actuation technology, which actually does all the magic here. Yamaha has installed a solenoid motor in the Engine head, which basically shifts the Rocker Arm from a Low lift Loop to a high lift Loop on the same camshaft at exact 7400rpm, which in-turn will allow the Inlet valve to open up more, allow more air and Petrol in the combustion chamber, and in turn deliver more power without any stress felt.
Simply put, the R15v3 is the fastest 150cc bike in the Indian market. This new 155cc mill with VVA delivers a whopping 19.3PS @ 10000rpm of power, and 15.2Nm @ 8500rpm of torque, which is a 16% increase from the V2 enigne, and miles ahead from its competition. The fueling on this machine is managed by a Electronic Fuel Injector with 10 holes, which is another update as the earlier model had a 6 holes injector. To aid this high performance engine, Yamaha has also upgraded the Air filter box from 2.2 litres to 5.5 litres now on the V3. The Engine head has been redesigned to increase the compression ratios, the Engine casing and all internal parts now come manufactured in a light weight alloy, which is done to keep the weight of the bike in check.
Adding to all this, Yamaha has also upgraded the R15v3 in terms of the clutch, and has equipped the V3 with a Assist & Slipper clutch. The assist clutch helps in reducing a good amount of effort to pull the lever, in-turn making the ride more comfortable, and less fatigue-filled. The slipper clutch will now take care of those fish tails and wheel locks on aggressive downshifts and make your ride smoother and controlled. For engine cooling, Yamaha has carried forward the Liquid cooling technology with an upgraded and a bigger size valve to ease the flow of Coolant to and from the engine to facilitate better cooling. Overall, the ride is plush and vibration free at all rpm, and the engine delivers performance even at the top of the rev limit without much stress.
The R15v3 uses a New Deltabox chassis derived directly from the elder sibling, the YZF-R1, with the R-DNA embedded into it. The overall wheelbase of the New V3 is just 1325mm, which keeps the bike stable and anchored even on knee scraping corners. We aren’t saying that the earlier versions had this problem, but this one surely feels more welcoming, specially while taking high speed corners. Yamaha has also upgraded the Swing arm on the V3, by using a Wider, 2-piece light weight aluminum alloy Swing Arm with support beams on the inner-side to maintain the strength & rigidity expected.
In terms of Suspension, Yamaha has upgraded the Front forks to ones with 41mm inner diameter forks with a travel of 130mm, which is ready to take on bad, cratered roads without much discomfort to the rider. To give u an idea, it’s the same size forks a FZ uses, though the alloy used on the R15v3 and the fork length is different. On the Rear, Yamaha has not made any mechanical changes to the Mono- Suspension setup with 97mm travel, but has updated the mounting from the Swing Arm on the V2 to a linkage type setup tuned on the stiffer side on the R15v3, which has actually resulted in delivering a plush and comfortable ride, while keeping the bike planted on the deepest of corners.
In terms of braking, it was a big disappointment from Yamaha that they did not equip the R15V3 with ABS, which soon becomes mandatory by law in India soon. They should have at least given it as an option variant for the customers. Coming to the actual specs of the R15v3, Yamaha has equipped the V3 with 15mm bigger brakes than on the V2 on the front, with a 282mm disk rotor with twin pistons, while the rear brakes remain the same, and comes equipped with a 220mm disk rotor. Though the setup provides enough braking power, ABS will still be missed, especially in hard & emergency braking conditions, and braking on corners, since in real world road conditions, we have on-coming traffic, potholes and streets full of idiot drivers who will take a turn anytime, anywhere they feel like without any indication.
The Rims used on the V3 are light-weight and use a different alloy than the V2, to keep the overall weight of the bike in check. In terms of tyres too, Yamaha has upgraded the V3 with beefier tyres on both the ends, with a 100/80-17 tyre on the Front, and a 140/70-17 tyre of MRF Nylogrip brand. Yamaha will also be providing Metzeler tyres for the Rear end as a optional accessory at a price of 10k for those who want to do professional track riding. Though the stock tyres too are pretty fine, and provide good feedback and support even on knee scraping corners. Overall, the bike is very agile and easy to maneuver, like the earlier R15 versions, thanks to R15v3’s 139kg weight, which is just 3 kgs heavier that the V2.
Priced at Rs.1,25,000 Ex-factory, the R15v3 is the most affordable track spec bike from Yamaha. It is refined, powerful, agile and definitely a complete evolution of the R15 platform which Yamaha launched in 2008. So…Is it worth the hype? Does all this technology and upgrades actually make the V3 magical ? Out of our track riding experience, I can say that the results are assuring, but we still need to ride the V3 on real world roads before giving out a definite verdict.
Review – Suraj Sawant
Photography – Smruti Gaimukhe