Review: All-New Yamaha YZF-R15 V4

The Yamaha R15 is self-explanatory! The R15 caught the interest of a whole new generation of Indian motorcyclists when it was introduced in 2008. The R15’s fast, athletic aesthetics, dedicated riding posture, and incredible dynamics have earned it a favourite among young Indian riders throughout the years. As a result, the Yamaha YZF-R15 is one of the most legendary models in Indian motorcycle history. In its fourth-gen model, it has been extensively overhauled, with new aesthetics and improved features.

The new Yamaha YZF-R15 V4 looks even better in person as a real mid-size sportbike. It’s because its design is based on the huge Yamaha YZF-R7. The face is bold and crisp, with new LED running lights surrounding the bi-functional LED headlamp in the centre. The new windshield above the lights is also different, and it improves airflow and aerodynamics. The second visual difference is the gold-finished upside-down forks, which give the R15 V4 a luxury appearance and are supposed to provide a superior front-end feel.

Aside from the standard tachometer, speedometer, and fuel gauge, the LCD instrument dashboard in the cockpit is also new and offers a broad range of capabilities, including read-outs for battery voltage, trip meter, fuel efficiency, and a clock. The R15 now has a switchable traction control system as well. In contrast to the Street mode, which includes a lap timer, there is a Track mode. The clip-on handles are also new and broader for increased grip while providing a committed and athletic riding stance.

The back panels are of a hovering design, seating above the strengthened rear sub-frame, even though the primary delta box frame is the same as the outgoing model. The taillight is also LED; however, the indicators are not. Ultimately, there’s little to criticize about the appearance of this entry-level sportbike, but improved clutch and brake controls (with span adjustment) and LED turning indicators might have made it more interesting! However, upon a second look, the R15 V4 appears to be a true sportbike, despite its reasonably small engine.

The 155 cc, liquid-cooled, four-valve engine is maintained, but to satisfy current pollution requirements, it loses power somewhat, although not much. Maximum capacity has been reduced to 18.1 bhp at 10,000 rpm, while peak torque has been reduced by 0.1 Nm to 14.2 Nm at 7,500 rpm. However, the single-cylinder engine still provides very satisfactory performance; it’s free-revving and a delight to feel once you fire it up and start speeding through the gears.

The variable valve actuation (VVA) provides a broad powerband, and despite the restricted displacement, there is plenty of push from across the rev range. The six-speed transmission shifts smoothly, and the slip and assist clutch makes work easier of any lever movement. The R15 excels at slicing through traffic; it won’t blow you away with its speed, but it’s an exciting unit. And as the turns come up, it stays firm, giving the ride a sense of always being in charge.

The R15’s suspension is firm, in keeping with its sporting spirit. The new upside-down fork is designed to provide more braking stability while boosting pleasure and cornering ability, and it performs on all counts! The ride is comfortable enough to absorb all types of bumps without sending unpleasant sensations up your spine, and the delta box frame and suspension work together to provide a solid and balanced feel when negotiating corners or making abrupt direction changes.

Dual-channel ABS is available, and it performs admirably under severe braking. However, a little more grip from the front brakes would have been preferable. The ABS also gets involved a bit too much, or at least a little too early. Nonetheless, it’s an excellent package, and it’s arguably the finest dynamically sorted motorbike in the 150-160 cc class.