A much long awaited review of the most awaited motorcycle for the year 2011 is here. Yes, we are referring to the 2011 Yamaha R15 in India and one which has been named as the Yamaha R15 Version 2.0. Now, don’t ask us as to why Yamaha came up with that name instead of keeping it plain simple like the 2011 Yamaha R15 or something with similar effect. Name or no name, we have one 2011 Yamaha R15 for a review and nonetheless, we are still impressed. Initially at the launch, we weren’t that impressed especially when Yamaha boffins concluded the speech with the words that there has been no increase in the power specs. Read on to find out why we came out impressed with the review of this bike.
Frankly speaking, there hasn’t been much of a change and it would take the real fan to find out what’s the difference between the older and newer version. First up is the design of the alloy wheels. It has changed and instead has been converted to a gorgeous 5 spoke split alloy wheel pattern. There have been some changes made towards the side fairing while the fairing visor has also become a dark tinted one. Yamaha have also incorporated a rear tyre hugger like the one seen on the Pulsar 135LS. Then there is the Indian mandatory saree guard. The pillion has got its work cut out with the wide flaring side panels towards the rear. Everything seems sharply chiseled while the tail lamp unit is also a new one with Yamaha keeping up with modern times by offering a LED tail lamp. The exhaust pipe also has been made a tad more modern while the seat has become a two piece one. The biggest change can be attributed to the change in rubber size. The front now carries 90/80 section while the rear now gets 130/70 section tyres. The wheelbase for this one has been also increased what with 55mm of more travel.
This new bike now gets an aluminium swingarm and needless to say, it adds to the visual allure. Yamaha have carried forward the same instrument binnacle from the 2010. The instrument binnacle is all digital, however unlike the FZ, this one gets an analogue tachometer. Then there is the time, fuel gauge and other details in digital fare. In the interests of a sporty riding position, Yamaha have raised the height of the rider’s seat. For taller riders, its not a problem but for the shorter ones, it definitely is.
On the move
136 kgs of weight along with same power doesn’t make for a fast bike. The 2011 Yamaha R15 still makes 16.76 Bhp of power and 1.52 kgm of torque along with a 6 speed manual transmission. The first noticeable thing is that thing doesn’t require too much effort from the right wrist and this is considering the traffic conditions. Some jugaad in the ECU has resulted in the driveability being more apt for the city conditions. We remember that the older R15 had this issue of requiring twists of the accelerator to make rapid progress, however, this newer one is similar to the Apache RTR160, one small turn or even half and the bike is ready to make progress. The 0-60 kmph figure comes up only in 3.8 seconds while the 0-100 kmph figure comes up in 10.48 seconds. The top speed that we achieved on the Kalyan Bhiwandi road was an effortless 131 kmph with us running out of road before the vehicle lost its steam. The brakes have been upgraded and the rear one now has more bite than the earlier next to none bite. A single finger is enough to ensure that power is shed off rapidly in this bike. The maneuverability and also the stability have gone notches up, with the increased wheelbase of course. But then, in city speeds, the R15 has lost some of its flickability. However, going around corners has become second nature to this bike, especially, since it’s contact with the ground has increased due to the increased rubber patch. The clutch feel has become lighter, even lighter than the previous version and is now an absolute joy to engage. The gear shifts are smooth; however, shifting from 1st to 2nd is a tad notchy. The new tail pipe ensures that the R15 maintains its superbike like roar at high speeds.
At the pumps
Inspite of the weight gain and the stickier rubber made only for the purpose of cornering as also stability, the 2011 Yamaha R15 retains its fuel efficient nature. This is what the claim of Yamaha officials was at the time of the launch. We are pleased to say that their claim wasn’t entirely wrong. The 2010 model used to return approximately 42 kmpl overall while the 2011 model that we tested gave 2 kmpl less. For stickier and beefier tyres, this is a fair trade-off.
Of course, since the time it was launched, the R15 has had a high desirability level inspite of the 150 cc bearings and high price levels. The newer version with its improvements and also much better things is certainly the pick of the lot. After all who wouldn’t want some good performance with minimalistic trade-off in the fuel efficiency stakes. The 2011 Yamaha R15 price in India stands at Rs 1.07 lakhs, a premium of Rs 9k over the older variant. The price is an all India ex-show room thing. The waiting periods have already begun for this one with Yamaha claiming about 2-3 months waiting periods. We would have liked more power. The bike is perfect but the pillion wouldn’t be able to sustain for quite a long time.