I think I know speed. I know the abandon, the almost reckless sensation that accompanies blurring scenery. My gaze is scanning the road ahead as the R15 tears through the early morning Mumbai smog, the digital meter shouting 135. We’re on our way to meet the R15’s spiritual father, the almighty R1. Right now, watching the gloomy tarmac in the distance disappear rapidly under the R15’s wheels, it’s easy for me to believe that I know speed. But that changed when Rameez torpedoed past, with me at full throttle. In first gear. On one wheel. Speed will never be the same again.
Now, I’m an unabashed Hayabusa fan. A scale model of Suzuki’s flagship occupies prime real estate in my room that is filled to the ceiling with automobile paraphernalia. If I ever muster enough loose change, a 1:1 bird of prey will take the place of the 1:18 model. But the R1 comes a close second. Close enough for the world to go out of focus when I caught my first glimpse of the red-and-white guided missile that you see here. The R1 had been waiting patiently for us to show up, leaning on its stand, its engine humming a tune unmatched by any musical instrument. As I parked the R15 next to the R1, the little blue bike looked almost apologetic for making the big one wait, even as the R1’s four cylinders seemed to say it was quite alright.
The R15 does look like a mini R1. Alright, maybe it’s just the fairing, seeing as it comes with a conventionally placed exhaust can and a tail section that would be at home on a normal 150. Oh, and the Deltabox frame, of course, makes it look more ‘authentic.’ Also, this particular R15 came with cool blue anodised bits all over, including the levers, exhaust can tip and brake fluid reservoir cap among others. The R1, on the other hand, doesn’t even have to try to be cool. Every nut has coolness infused into it at the forging step itself. However, there are other similarities too, in addition to the fairing and the Deltabox chassis. Six-speed gearboxes, fuel injection, liquid cooling, 17-inch wheels and back-breaking ergonomics are the other connections that these two share. And of course, the all-important R badging.