Yamaha’s R15 V3 had been the go-to option for many motorcycle enthusiasts for over half a decade. The R15 series has been a popular name in the biggest Asian markets for a long time. This is because bikes from the series are known to have great overall performance, top-of-the-line build quality, engine refinement and well-established Yamaha reliability.
Last year, Yamaha rolled out the 4th iteration of the R15, along with a first-ever track-focused variant, the R15M.
ACI Motors, the official distributor of Yamaha Motorcycle in Bangladesh has only started taking pre-orders for both models, but Turbine had the opportunity to have a sneak peek, courtesy of a grey market R15M. We took it out on one breezy Thursday night to share our insights.
In terms of visuals, the R15 V4 and the R15M are made to look exactly the same minus the different graphics.
The version we test drove is a 2022 Yamaha R15M 60th Anniversary Edition with its iconic white and red livery representing the Japanese flag and Yamaha’s 60-year-old rich racing heritage.
Being a member of the R series, the R15 was always supposed to have visual similarities to its more powerful siblings but with this newest model, the resemblance to the R7 is just uncanny. While other colour variants such as the iconic silver-blue-black pretend to look like the flagship R1M.
Compare to its predecessor, the R15M comes with a mildly angrier front fascia and perhaps, a more rounded look overall to make it look bigger than it certainly had to be.
the new R15M gets a slightly detuned engine which produces a max power of 18.1bhp compared to the 18.6bhp of the previous model
At the sides, the fairing still hides every internal bit but now they are even more ‘faired up’ to make the bike look a little more bulkier for its class.
The rear retains the same tail lamp unit as the R15 V3 and exactly the same-sounding exhaust although designed to look different. While the front gets this model’s iconic eye-like DRLs and in between those rests the Bi-functional projection LED headlamp same place where the R15’s elder siblings are known to have their air intakes.
Will all that said, while there are several design changes, all it would take is to squint your eyes and you’ll have a tough time differentiating it from an R15 V3. In fact, some of our staff have a tough time identifying both models even in broad daylight.
Get past the fairing, the resemblance to the previous model will start getting more evident. The R15 V4 gets the same 155cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder VVA engine as its predecessor but Yamaha claims to have re-tweaked the engine a bit.
The power-loving motorcyclists will be a bit disappointed knowing that the new R15M gets a slightly detuned engine which produces a max power of 18.1bhp compared to the 18.6bhp of the previous model. The maximum torque has also been cut short from 14.7Nm at 8000rpm to 14.2Nm at 7500rpm. Although we didn’t get to test ride a V3 alongside the R15M, but from my short ride, I was more than content with the power delivery the bike had to offer.
Speaking of the ride, the bike is unsurprisingly playful as a sports bike should be and would start to show its excitement the moment the throttle is twisted. Despite the bike being almost brand new, it was still astonishingly smooth even at the top end.
One of the two exclusive features of the R15M and the R15 V4 Racing Blue has compared to the other V4s is its quickshifter, which lets the rider upshift the gears without holding the clutch. While this doesn’t seem like much on paper but real-world testing has made this my favourite feature. Regular shiftings have been known to be smooth as butter in the predecessor and that gets carried over to the new one but things only start to get more enhanced thanks to the quickshifter, especially near the redline.
The other exclusive feature on the bike is the first-in-class traction control. Opinions among motorcyclists are divided, with one group calling it more of a gimmick for a bike in the 150cc segment while another group considers it a handy feature for wet and muddy roads. Other than that, items such as the slipper clutch and VVA has been carried over from the old V3.
Putting in the keys, users will be greeted with the redesigned gauge cluster made to look very similar to the flagship R1M and now comes with Yamaha Motorcycle Connect. The cluster shows all the necessary information from speed and rpm to digital temperature readings and real-time fuel consumption as well as SMS and call alerts when connected to the phone.
Although we didn’t get the opportunity to ride the bike through traffic, with the improved seating position and the light 142kg chassis, manoeuvring the bike on Dhaka’s Airport road during peak office hours shouldn’t be too cruel to the spinal cord like the V3. The new KYB USD suspension, which now comes standard in both Indian and Indonesian variants, should help with that as well.
The R15M and the R15V were much-needed refreshments to make the bike stay on top as the favourite sports bike of the Bangladeshi bikers. The bike overcomes all the drawbacks of its predecessor like the seating position and a branded USD suspension coming as standard while also offering a plethora of new features, some of which are first in class in any bike in the country such as the traction control. The R15 series, especially the R15M still remains to be the perfect recommendation to anyone in the market for a premium sports bike.