Yes, despite all the CBU announcements, this is the stall that was wow-ing the crowds. You see, Yamaha will launch the YZF-R15 in India come June. The mini-R1 styling wraps around a very sexy motorcycle. The frame is a proper spar job, with the present and correct light subframe. The engine is water-cooled 150cc single. As far as I can tell, it has to be a SOHC four-valve job. There seems to be a claim of more than 20 bhp, which would require a fast-flowing four-valve head. Fuel injection is there too. Also present are sticky, thin tyres, which will be a boon. All of those wondering if you need thicker tyres are barking up the wrong tree. Fat rubber is less of a handling asset than is sticky rubber. Fat contact patches only help you lay power down – great when you're fighting you way forward with a 150 bhp engine on song. But the same patch also makes the motorcycle harder to steer and change direction with. Not an asset in our everyday riding situation.
All of those of you who will buy one and then upgrade rubber will lose out in the bargain. I'll guarantee that. I'm expecting a 22-odd bhp 150, displacing about 3-5 kgs more than our average 150s (extra weight of plastic and all offset by lighter aggregates throughout; my guess). The parts quality is really high, and I'm expecting to pay Rs 80-85,000 when it comes to showrooms. If the performance promise holds up, Rs 90-95,000 on-road (220 DTS-Fi territory) will be a good price point. Yamaha is clear that it will make high-quality and high-performance products for India, so expect premium pricing as well. Al this happens in June.
In November, Yamaha will launch the naked FZ, which uses an air-cooled engine, and lots of styling elements from the international FZ range (naked bikes from Yamaha). The engine, once again, is a 150cc unit, but torque rather than top-end glory is the aim here. So expect an effortless, likeable machine. Once more, the small bits are of a very high quality, high enough to make the RTR 160 look a bit under-designed. This one should be a more normal price, say Rs 65,000 on-road. Both FZ and the YZF-R15 have monoshocks, mind you.
But first, Yamaha will launch two cosmetic variants of the Gladiator, called the Type SS and the Type RS. Yeah, whatever.
Specifications for YZF-R15
Engine: 150cc, four-valve SOHC,Liquid cooled
Power: 22 bhp (guesstimate)
Gearbox: 6-speed (NC)
Fuelling: Six-hole injectors, FI
Frame: [Steel] Twin-spar frame
Fuel tank: 12 litre
Length: 1995 mm
Width: 670 mm
Height: 1070 mm
Wheelbase: 1290 mm
Ground Clearance: 160 mm
Tyres: 80/90-17 (f), 100/80-17 (r) tubeless
Brakes: Front and rear disc
All images from Yamaha Motor India
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