Yamaha YZF-R15 will debut in Nepal in the later half of 2008 at an expected price of Rs 2,80,000-3,00,000
The YZF-R15 wil be the first motorcycle in India with six gears after the old venerable Yamaha RD 350. Good that the new one too is coming from Yamaha. After the iconic Yamaha RX 100 which came to India in the 90s (or was it before that?) Yamaha has consistently managed to play the mileage game instead of the performance game. And lost.
The new direction is what everyone has been waiting for from Yamaha. Forget the six gears – the greatest thing about the Yamaha YZF R15 is its looks. Very like the Yamaha R1 superbike, which is also now available in India anyway as a high priced flagship motorcycle. The Yamaha YZF-R15 was shown to the Indian pubic for the first time at the Auto Expo. And it took the collective breath of India's motoring press away.
The YZF-R15 is India's first fully faired motorcycle. So far the closest we have come to a full fairing in India is the Karizma and the Pulsar models – which have that half fairing. But the fully faired YZF-R15 can make the Karizma and Pulsar models pee in their fairings.
This one is pretty much international, extremely well designed – and get this – there will be a little piece of plastic that will fit snugly over the rear seat giving your r15 motorcycle that single-seater look. What else have we got? You get a steel Deltabox twin-spar frame, digital speedometer and tachometer, tubeless tyres, clip-on handlebars.
You have the close ratio six speed gearbox, 150ccs, liquid cooling, and a massive 18-22 bhp (massive by Indian standards). The 4-valve engine will use fuel injection, and you get both emission haven and power too. Stopping power is provided by the single disc brakes in front and back. Front suspension is traditional, but you have a monoshock at the back.
And them most important factor – price. No official figures have been given so far, but rumors say it would cost Rs 90,000 max on-road in Delhi – add a couple of thousands more for Mumbai. What are the negatives that might creep in by the time the YZF-R15 hits the road?
For one the price might be higher. That would be a dampener for many. Two, expect Hero Honda and Bajaj Auto to try and out-punch the Yamaha YZF-R15 – both in price and power. If Yamaha can really manage a price of 90,000 on road for a 18-22 bhp motorcycle, sure Bajaj and Hero Honda too can do the same. And that might steal a bit of the the YZF-R15's thunder. No matter, we don't think they will easily match the R1-esque looks of the YZF-R15. Expect news on the final pricing and launch dates by June-July 2008.
The Yamaha FZ – they call it a prototype – reminded me of the F650 with its color scheme and upright stance. But the FZ looks more modern for sure. Yamaha says that the FZ is just a prototype. Nobody in the motoring press believes them. Chances are, this 150 cc air-cooled motorcycle will make it into production towards the end of 2008.
You have basically the same engine as the YZF-R15 Yamaha on this motorcycle, but this is more a road-and-track motorcycle than the YZF, which has racing pretensions even in the 150 cc guise. So what you have is a motorcycle that will take on the Pulsars directly, and will tempt the owners of the regular econo-miser 150 cc motorcycles. The Yamaha FZ will hav a 5-speed gearbox which will put some 16-18 bp on the road – enough to become the performance 150cc king. The expected price (absolutely unconfirmed, and based on rumors, etc etc) is Rs 70,000 on-road in Delhi.
One advice: If you can hold on to your motorcycle purchase decision for a while, do so till you hear about the YZF R15 and the FZ from Yamaha. They might both be path-breaking motorcycles in India, and you don't want to feel bad about not buying them. Wait for a bit, it'll be worth it.