India has had enough of malnutrition. The young blood was
starving with an unquenched appetite. The restless generation was desperately
awaiting an adrenaline pumping machine. The much hyped Pulsar-220 was here, but
it was a pulsar again. Indian streets have been witnessing more pulsars than
street dogs lately. Hero Honda shamelessly wasn't showing any signs of
upgrading the Karizma. Honda Unicorn was aging and it looked like Honda
motorcycles was squarely targeting the uncle jis. Dis-satisfaction and gloom
And then came the saviour, The YZF R-15 from the YAMAHA stable? What?
Yamaha has long died in the Indian hearts after the 2-stroke era of RD-350 and
RX-100, after which it started pretending to be a commuter oriented company.
Its market share was down to a jaw dropping 3%. Worthless machines like the
enticer, crux, libero and fazer were crushed by competition. Its reputation of
bad customer service shooed away potential customers.
But, Yamaha was working hard to get back on to its original genes. Ad midst the
laurels for P-220, performance figures of TVS Apache RTR and design gimmicks of
the CBZ Extreme and HH Hunk, it was quietly developing a machine exclusively
for India in Japan, in the same design shop in which the legendary YZF R-1 was
sculpted. It grabbed attention when it was first showcased at the 2008 Auto
Expo in New Delhi. No one knew, it was going to hit the streets this soon.
And all of a sudden, the R-15 arrived. Its specifications seem alien to the
common man. It was now speaking a true blue biker's lingo.
To start with, it came with
1) Liquid cooled engine
2) Forged piston
3) Dia-sil cylinder
4) 4 valves per cylinder
5) Fuel injection
6) Six Speed gear box
7) Delta box chassis
8) Rising rate link-type monocross suspension
9) Clip-on handle bars
10) Alloy wheels
11) Front and rear disc brakes
12) Specially developed sticky MRF rubber
13) Digital meter console
14) Split grab rails
15) R-1 styling DNA
Yamaha has rammed in all the world class technology into this 150 cc motor to
produce an astounding 17 PS of power. This machine can give you the taste of
the lost thrills of an RD or an RX. This machine can take you to a
speedo-indicated 140 kmph, which actually is 130 kmph. It's rock solid and
stable even at triple digit speeds. It's precise around corners like a true
super sports bike. It's a head turner and will keep people's eye balls hooked
on. The engine is so smooth that even at 100+, you'll get confused whether the
engine is running at all. It's damn comfortable for both the city and hi-way,
unless you are considering a trip to Leh or Ladakh. Riders above the height of
5'8 might find the bike uncomfortable due to the small size of the bike. On
long hi-way stints however, you might suffer from back and shoulder ache, due to
the sporty riding position. It's all about getting accustomed to. The
suspension can handle even the worst roads with aplomb. To derive that
extra-ordinary top end from a puny 150 cc motor, yamaha engineers had to
compromise on the low-end torque. Hence, the bike isn't much fun until 5000
rpm. You might feel a lack pick-up at slow riding. Don't get disappointed. It
gets into a league of its own after 60 kmph. The pulsars and the karizmas will
fade away in your rear view mirrors.
Now, the eternal Indian question. Mileage kitna hai? To answer that, first let
me tell you that YZF R-15 is yours for just Rs. 1, 10, 000 on road approximately.
That might sound too much for a 150 cc, considering that we live in the country
of TATA Nano, the 1 lac car. Even now, if you want to know the mileage, it will
give you 35 kmpl if you thrash it the way it should be. You can expect upto
mid-40's if you ride decently.
So, is the R-15 worth it? Of course Yes. It's after all India's first
After the launch of this model, Yamaha sales have shot up. The industry sales
is succumbing to the rising inflation, but in contrast, Yamaha's sales are
inching up. R-15's are being more and more visible on Delhi streets. Yamaha has
revamped its brand image. It took a bold step to show that YAMAHA=
Performance. It is sure to dethrone the P-220. It's becoming a pride to own a
yamaha. People unable to afford the R-15 are going for the Gladiator. It's
evident from the sheer number of Gladiators on Delhi streets. Yamaha is all set
to launch FZ-15, another naked 150cc street bike costing around 70K. All the
Pulsars, Apaches and Hunks, BEWARE! Yamaha is eyeing for a 10% market share
within the next 2 fiscals. Yamaha is already selling their international super
bike R-1 and cruiser MT-01, both for 12 lacs on road in India.
YAMAHA turn around story is truly inspirational and motivational. We all have
something to learn from it. It's STRATEGY.
Hope you enjoyed reading the article. I'd love to see your comments.
D. Vijay Krishna.