Yamaha YZF-R15 version 2.0 launched
Finally our prayers have been answered. Yamaha India has given its flagship sportsbike, the YZF-R15 a comprehensive make-over, the first ever upgrade since its launch in June 2008.
The new bike gets a slew of cosmetic and performance upgrades, which give it a more contemporary look, and will help in making it quicker as well. Head on the bike looks identical to the outgoing version, but the new R15 boasts of a completely restyled rear end, apart from changes to the side fairing. The bike now gets a split seat and LED tail lamp, which have become the norm and were missing on the previous version. The R15 version 2.0 also gets a restyled end can and new set of alloys which look sportier than the outgoing version. One of the biggest visual changes though are the new tyres, the R15 now sporting fatter rubber at both ends â" the front now has a 90/80 section, whereas the rear boasts of a meaty 130/70 section tyre.
Talking about technical changes, the R15 version 2.0 gets a remapped ECU, a first in class aluminum swingarm along with upgrades to the clutch and throttle pulley. Wheelbase is up to 1345mm from the older bike's 1290mm. Overall length is down to 1970mm from 1995mm, while width and height remain the same. Seat height is up to 800mm on the bike as compared to the older bike's 790mm, and Yamaha claim the new bike will have a sportier riding position with a high rear and shorter front. Kerb weight for the new bike is 136kg, a 5kg increase over the outgoing model. The primary ratio remains the same at 3.042, whereas the secondary ratio is up to 3.133 from the old bike's 3.000. Power and torque figures remains unchanged, the bike producing 17PS of power at 8500rpm, and developing 15Nm of torque at 7500rpm. The new bike will be sold in three colours â" blue, red and black. All these changes command a small premium of Rs 8000 over the outgoing model, the R15 version 2.0 retailing at Rs 1.07 lakh, ex-showroom.
The thing that becomes clear from the R15 upgrade is that the enthusiast motorcyclist is still lost in a sea of customers. On the face of it, it is the latter that is being catered to by the changes Yamaha have chosen to deploy in the upgraded R15. All of the changes in the styling and especially in that rear tyre come directly from customer feedback, although we have repeatedly established the fact that even the previous "under-tyred" motorcycle was a track demon. On the other hand, while the changes to the chassis and gearing are relatively few, we do expect them to have an important impact on how the R15 feels to ride. The gearing changes should make for a quicker motorcycle that will immediately feel more at home in traffic at lower revs than before and feel better to ride in power delivery terms at tight racetracks like the one at Chennai. The aluminium swingarm should also improve the already light on it's feet feel of the Yamaha. The extra weight will probably be balanced by the low gearing and overall performance, we expect, should be a whiff quicker than the outgoing motorcycle. In the looks department, there is now question that despite the same tank and upper fairing, the R15 looks substantially more upmarket and well created with more design cohesion than before. The price rise, then, is modest and entirely explainable rationally though we know there are enthusiasts who were expecting more from the first serious upgrades Yamaha have made to the excellent, award-winning R15.
Look for a full road test in the November issue of OVERDRIVE, as the motorcycle is being given for media rides only later this month, not in time to make the October issue.
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