You're favorite 150cc Indian Sport Bike?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Yamaha YZF R15 - Can Yamaha find it's lost glory with it?

In the recent years a lot has happened sometimes pretty much silently in the Indian Motorcycling scene and the Yamaha YZF R15 is an evidence of such developments. During the 60s and the 70s the market was closed for foreign bike makers to enter Indian shores alone. They had to tie up with an Indian Partner in what was called a Joint Venture. Usually these ventures were nothing more than a contract for technology transfer of some of their old models that were dumped into the 3rd world economy of India. The Indian laws were forever biased towards import of automobiles to protect and encourage whatever junk the local industry was able to deliver. The general Indian consumer at the very end of the food chain was heavily deprived of options and was left at the mercy of these profit minded businessmen & age old laws. In the 80s and 90s Yamaha in collaboration with Escorts had tried to break out of the chain and produce performance bikes which were then way ahead of their times in India. Well, India is a weird market and evidently production of the mighty Yamaha RD350 was stopped in the early 90s. The RDs popularity was shared by it's smaller sibling the RX100 in the early and mid 90s but then again it fell prey to the new legislation against 2 strokes . Yamaha India was trying hard to change with times. They moved out of their long term relationship with Escorts (probably for good). They were incurring heavy losses as they were losing ground to stiff competition from much advanced and attractive products from Bajaj and Hero Honda. Yamaha in India it seemed was heading fast for a crash landing. Their products lacked heavily in terms of R&D - it was evident that they had forgotten all about their past glory in India. The only thing that Yamaha India shared with Yamaha Global was the naming convention. But even that was horribly wrong as for example, the name Fazer will make one think about a bike street bike like the Fazer 650 or Fazer 250 but what they launched as Fazer in India was nowhere linked to the Fazer family. It was a weird looking contraption which just made the Yamaha logo look funny on top of it.

Yamaha India had to act fast before it was too late. It was the only chance for Yamaha India to make a comeback. There was a major reshuffle going on inside the Company. They decided to build a 150cc bike suited to Indian market but which had the characteristics of their flagship model the mighty YZF R1. The bike was built using the "DNA" of the R1 and hence they named it the YZF R15 (read: R one five). This bike was destined to rewrite motorcycling as it is known in this country. Did it live up to the hype?

I would say on a wider note Yes it did live up to the hype...well somewhat. Althought the bike was built around a 150cc engine yet it's way too powerful for any other bike in it's class. Like the R1 it's been designed with feedback coming from the track. Lets not go too deep into tech specs here but we may easily say that this bike sports both in terms of design and technology, most of which no other motorcycle built in this country has ever seen before. 1st time in India we have could actually have a bike which had a functional full fairing tested in wind tunnel. Again, this was the 1st time a truely liquid cooled engine sporting diasyl cylinder breathing through EFI was like dream come true experience for the Indian biker. Yamaha chose to keep the power and torque figures a secret untill the actual launch of the bike. There was a wide spread speculation about the bhp figure & top speed of the bike. Speculation ranging from some claiming 22bhp with top speed of 150kmph to some saying that it would be doing 130kmph at 15bhp. Anyways, finally Yamaha delivered the final product with 17bhp of max power. But all this came for a premium. This bike sports a price tag of Rs.97K Ex-showroom across India, which makes it the costliest Indian made motorcycle. So is it worth it? Can it bring back the past glory for Yamaha.

Well, only time can answer these questions. As of now, the bike seems to have been accepted by the market as sales is picking up maybe not as much as a Pulsar would be selling. But a price tag of more than 1 lac Rupees is a little too much to ask for a 150cc bike doing just 17bhp...IMHO. There is another 150cc bike called the Yamaha FZ 15 is also due for launch from Yamaha later this year. It's going to be a naked street bike built in the lines of the FZ1. Personally I would like to wait for sometime as the competition for the 250cc category is just going get ugly very soon as most major players start to launch their products in this range...


Anonymous said...

dont know abt technicalities bt yamaha surely looks cool

Unknown said...

yes Yamaha will rise with R15.

i want them to rise

Anonymous said...

dont know abt yamaha finding its lost glory bt it has surely managed to raise quite a few eyeballs since every 1 right now is taking abt yahama R15. Its surely gaining popularity


Chester said...

HapiBlogging to you my friend! Have a nice day!

AbattoirOfDreams said...

The R15 is extremely enticing. so much so, that me being a 220 owner for the past 1 year is considering it seriously. what works for me is the bike's lower Center of gravity.
well as they say one person's con is another's pro. the bike is the best for short people like me.
5'5" and under.