Like little children eagerly waiting for their ice-creams, some of my guy friends, akin to all other guys, I’m sure, have been waiting for the New R15 christened as R15 Version 2.0 to hit the streets. Unlike my friends, I felt the R15 to be an uncomfortable ride, though I’ve just had a few short rides in the outgoing model. The introduction of the R15 was just to satisfy the hunger of the crazy lot of bikers to have something close to the actual Racing bikes, in their possession, which they could pacify themselves with, was my impression of the Yamaha R15.
Then, one fine day, given the nature of my job, I was called to test ride the very bike, but a newer and improved version, the MAW (Morang Auto Works) Yamaha, promised. I was hesitant at first, but then I did it. I was handed over the Midnight Black Yamaha R15 and people (Yamaha staff) and I, myself were skeptical about the ride that was awaiting me. The Yamaha staff weren’t ready to believe that a girl standing just 5’3” would be able to handle a 150cc, liquid-cooled 4 stroke SOCH engine of the YZF R15 V 2.0 a racing bike, with a beast like appearance and weighing 136 kg.
I wasn’t thrilled by the ride at first. So, I just rode it home and parked it for the night. Next morning, I decided to head towards Dhulikhel to actually test the bike for what it stands for. It’s supposedly a racing bike, which the outgoing model had failed to strike me with. In my head I was still unconvinced. The bike rode through the Mangal Bazaar potholed narrow roads and occasional traffic with ease. I was now beginning to open up a little towards my prior perception. For a larger than the average bike due to its increased wheelbase (1290mm to 1345mm), the performance was pretty positive. Then, when I headed out towards more open roads (the ring road), I gave my wrist a good twist. Soon, I became one of those wild guys, on the road, that people look at with crazy eyes... cynically curved brows and say - What’s up with that idiot? Why is he in such a rush? He’s probably gonna end up hitting someone!
Well… what can I say, it’s the bike! You could have driven something else all your life but when you ride the R15, you unknowingly tend to stretch your physical limits with far from normal lean angles and twists that comes so effortlessly astride this bike. To try and understand where I am coming from, you need to ride the bike, to see how it brings out the racer and the racing instincts in you!
Towards Bhaktapur, I raced with almost all the bikes that were en route. I got a lot of stares, from folks of all ages, especially from young college boys. They’d look at the bike and then look at me, the rider, with amazed expressions and awe! All that attention, I did not mind, as it somehow managed to put a smile, and made me feel less lonely during my long ride.
Given the good road condition, I managed to crank up 94 on the speedometer, would have loved to hit the three digit mark on the display but, people crossing from out of nowhere restricted me – to be honest it scared me. From stand still point 0-60 Kmph was attainable in just 4.1 seconds while 0-94 Kmph was at about 10.4 seconds.
Minor changes have been made in the internals of the engine which have resulted in better acceleration through gears 5 & 6 and of course, marginal increase in top speed. The new R15 is a lot more precise in throttle input and the way it responds to exiting out of the corners is absolutely exciting!
The racing bike, R15 V 2.0 I believe had it easy to impress me in the smooth roads. So, to put forward a little tougher test, after reaching my destination, Dhulikhel we (R15 V 2.0 and I), took a detour and headed towards Nepalthok. The ride was a pleasant one, not much traffic and almost zero pollution. The tranquility was what made my ride perfect but the harsh spin crushing cold and the freezing wind smashing against my face was what discouraged me to go all the way. Consequently, instead of going all the way to Nepalthok I decided to go up to Namobuddha. Almost halfway up, I decided to head down, bowing gracefully before the mighty nature and her callousness. The warmth of the sun was all I could see myself wishing for.
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