It should’ve had a fatter rear tyre.’ That’s what most motorcycle ‘enthusiasts’ say/think when you utter the words ‘Yamaha R15’. Now, you can say ‘Version 2.0’ and rub it in their faces till they smell burning rubber... or skin. The R15 has always been a brilliant motorcycle, though there was universal agreement that it needed more power. The new R15, all of us hoped, would remedy that. Sadly, it hasn’t. Yamaha’s upgrade for existing R15 owners makes the same power as their bikes. What, no R25? Or even an R20? Not done.
However, here’s the good thing about good motorcycles – all is never lost. Despite ‘Version 2.0’ falling short of our expectations, the R15 hasn’t stopped being a good motorcycle. In fact, it actually is better in some ways, the most apparent being the tail section. The girl-next-door rear of the older R15 has been replaced by a skin-fit-jeans shape. The R15 is now best seen from the rear three-quarter angle, a fact aided by that 130-section radial tyre.
The new swingarm, the split seat and the numberplate-indicator holder too do their bit in bringing the R15 closer to the international mainstream than ever before. The tail-light is now an LED number, though it isn’t exactly the most fetching one I’ve seen. And that ugly plastic rear wheel shroud and saree guard assembly undo some of the sporty sophistication that the rear displays. I’m sure there will be more than a few customers who will take deliveries of their bikes armed with the appropriate spanner.
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