A couple of weeks ago, The Business Standard reviewed the Honda CBR, and labelled it as one of the top 3 sports bikes of the country. The bike we have here today, in terms of popularity, is a league ahead of any sports bikes available in Bangladesh.
Yamaha claims the R15 is the most successful sports bike to have been ever launched by the company in various Asian markets, albeit including Bangladesh as well – if both the official and grey market sales are combined.
Fans went crazy when Yamaha launched the latest version of the R15 in late 2021. Part of the credit goes to the R15 V3, which was the perfect balance between features it had to offer, while flaunting an aggressive, yet beautiful, design.
For the first time ever, the latest R15 came in two different variants – the R15 V4 and the R15M. Motorcycle enthusiasts in Bangladesh, me included, fell in love with the new models right after the original unveiling. Given the displacement restriction on the import of any bike above 165cc, the R15 is the closest thing to ever riding the actual Yamaha R1M, a fantasy for many bikers in Bangladesh.
Despite the 'M' added to the name, as well as the new colours, both the new R15 and the R15M looks almost the same, getting most of its design elements inspired from the R7. When both the R7 and the R15 are parked side by side, the only way to tell both bikes apart at first glance would be the tyre widths.
The unit we featured here is a 2022 Yamaha R15M Monster Edition, which gets its design inspired from Yamaha's current MotoGP livery, and is owned by Mushfiqur Rahman Emon. Emon purchased the bike at the beginning of this year, in January 2022, and rode over 15,000 km at the time of writing.
Comparing the R15 V4 to the R15 V3, the new model has a much bulkier look to it overall. The long LED DRLs are now made to look like eyes, similar to the R7, while the opening for the air intake has been replaced with the spot to hide the Bi-functional projection LED headlight.
At the sides, the new R15 is bulkier, albeit trying a bit too hard to look like a superbike. Nonetheless, it is actually pleasing to look at. The bodykit covers a significantly greater area compared to the R15 V3. The suspension bow comes USD as standard on all R15 V4s and is painted in a bright golden, which was only available with the Indonesian variants of the R15 V3.
Turning the key lights up the dash with all the signals and reverse LCD display, greeting its owner. The R15 V4 and R15M also comes with Yamaha Y Connect which lets users connect their smartphones to their bike to receive SMS, call alerts along with several stats of the bike on the smartphone app.
The prime reason buyers used to lean away from the R15 V3 was mainly how unforgiving the ergonomics were. Users of the older model would complain about wrist pain and back muscle pain. Many circumvented these issues by adding extensions in the handle bar or even modifying the bike in various ways.
Sitting on the new R15M for the first time, I did not have to lean in as much as I did with older models. It is definitely a much more comfortable ride, something which was also echoed by Emon who has used it to travel from Dhaka to Sylhet after purchasing it.
Visuals aside, the R15 V4 is still powered by the 155cc liquid cooled single cylinder VVA engine found in the V3, but the engine is now tweaked and re-tuned to make 18.2 bhp and 14.2 Nm of torque. Riders coming from the first generation V3s – which produce over 19bhp – will definitely feel a slight drop in power, but be rest assured that the bike will never feel slow or laggy at any moment.
Cornering is my second most favourite thing on the new R15 V4. It is confidence enhancing even for someone who has never ridden another sportbike. The bike is light at 142 kg, but feels even lighter than it actually is, due to great weight distribution.
The 140 section radial tires contribute to the weight distribution as well, although the stock MRF tires had been replaced with Timsun by Mushfiqur in this bike for better grip.
My favourite feature of the new R15M is the addition of the new quick shifter. Pushing the bike to the redline, seeing the indicators go from yellow to green to red, and not having to care about the throttle when shifting gears is a lot more fun than I had initially imagined.
The R15M is the first ever bike to ever come with traction control in its class. However, riders are divided about this. Some are calling this new feature a gimmick, while others believe this to be a very useful feature for the Bangladeshi terrains, which more often than not consists of sand and mud.
The brakes of the R15s have always been some of the best in its class and the new one is no different. All new variants of the R15 get Dual Channel ABS as standard!
The R15 V4 is one of the most feature packed bikes one can get in the market right now, checking all the right boxes and overcoming the flaws of the previous model. It is certainly the best choice for anyone, without budget constraints, looking for a 150cc sportbike.
Currently, the R15 V4 is officially available for Tk5,55,000 and the R15M for Tk5,65,000. However, prices at the grey market can range from 5 lac all the way to 7 lac for the limited edition 60th anniversary model.