--BY SARTHAK RAJ BARAL
Ever since the first iteration of the Yamaha R15 hit the roads in 2008, it has established a unique stature in the two-wheeler market as an affordable yet elegant sports bike. The slick-looking motorbike burst into prominence with the launch of the V2 in India and Nepal and it has not looked back since. Popular among bike enthusiasts who seek tocruise along the city roads and highways with style and speed, the R15’s sporty outlook and spirited performance have rendered it a crowd favourite. Eight years after the V2 made its bow, the R15’s latest edition, the V3, was launched under much pomp and circumstance during the NADA Auto Show 2018. Touted to be a considerable improvement over its predecessor, the V3 is assuredly the most aesthetically appealing bike in the R15 stable. We spent time with the Yamaha R15 V3 to ascertain how much of an evolution it legitimately is.
Although the phrase Universal Selling Proposition (USP) has been worked to death in a plethora of marketing campaigns, it warrants a return to the fold when one touches upon the design of the R15 V3. The design here is stellar and is undoubtedly the V3’s USP. The V3 borrows key style elements from its elder and more expensive sibling, the Yamaha R1, and it is better for it. The shaper, more aerodynamically inclined look is a delight. The LED headlight has a distinctly angular look when contrasted to its predecessor and imparts the bike with a muscular visage, complementing the brawny fuel tank. The digital instrument cluster, yet another addition, rests firmly at the front. A nifty feature Yamaha has incorporated is the gearshift timing light that indicates the optimal time to shift gears. The V3 is aggressive, polished, and it was the subject of much ogling while I was taking it out for a spin in and around the Kathmandu valley. Design is subjective; however, it is unlikely the V3’s design language will have many detractors.
Engine, Performance and Ride Quality
To say the R15 V3 is fast would be a substantial understatement. This bike doesn’t just run; it flies. The liquid-cooled, SOHC, 4-valve engine can produce up to 14.2 kW of max power @10,000 RPM and 15 Newton metres of torque @8,500 RPM. Those numbers translate favourably to real-world usage as well. The acceleration is brisk, the V3 can go from 0 to 60 (Km/h) in a mere 5 seconds. The feedback is great; once you go past the 6,000 to 7,000 RPM mark, the racing aspect truly kicks in and the bike zips along. Yamaha has equipped the bike with Variable Valve Actuation (VVA) and it positively influences the performance of the engine. Further, the new slipper clutch works exceptionally well. There is slight vibration at high speeds but nothing worth docking points for. The bike handles extremely well.The reduced wheelbase means the turning radius is lower, and this allows the rider to cut corners and veer through traffic with relative composure. Further, the efficient handling breeds confidence when at higher speeds.
Another aspect worth mentioning is the rider stance. For those not accustomed to the ‘racing’ stance and for those of short stature, it can take some time to get used to; it isn’t drastically uncomfortable and with time, riders will surely appreciate the reduction in drag the stance provides.
Braking and Safety
The lack of Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) is certainly a disappointment, especially considering the V3’s pricing in Nepal (Rs 4,19,900). The brakes here are hydraulic single discs on both the front and the back and they provide great response times and reasonable bite. There are MRF tires on both the front and the back.
The Yamaha R15 V3 is the most finely tuned R15 available in the market. Its merits far outnumber its few deficiencies. Right from the outset, the V3 checks many boxes, and many of them with panache. The look and feel of the bike are laudable, it is a handsome work of machinery.Thankfully, the pleasanat aesthetics are not merely a veneer and the bike is equally impressive in the engine room. Rapid, responsive and endowed with superlative handling, the bike presents all the tools for riders to unleash their inner Valentino Rossi. The omission of ABS is a disappointment, but as an overall package, the R15 V3 is an attractive and impressive apparatus.