QUICK FANG: Yamaha YZF-R15 - Race Relations

29 May 2013
The needle soars past 7000rpm as the four-valve, single-cylinder comes on song before hitting the 10,500rpm limit. Ridden with enthusiasm, Yamaha’s updated sports commuter scoots along relatively quickly as you punch through the gears. 
This is the second iteration of the LAMS-approved R15 and it brings a raft of refinements to what was already a pretty good mousetrap. Key changes include an updated ECU for drive and economy, shorter gearing and wider rubber with a radial on the rear. Updated five-spoke alloys complete the package. 
On the road the R15 changes direction with poise and confidence-inspiring front grip. A longer swingarm with link-type rear suspension provides better cornering stability, too. 
Despite my efforts, the bike remained composed over Sydney’s broken surfaces and potholes. Stopping power is adequate, too, with a single disc at each end. 
With a learner-friendly 790mm seat height and a 670mm width it’s easy to thread the R15 through traffic. It was comfortable for my 178cm/85kg frame and the seat is easy to shuffle around on if you like to impersonate MotoGP gods.
Importantly, the R15 teaches novices critical bike-handling skills in a non-intimidating package. 
Gear selection is key. If the revs drop, the tiny 150cc engine bogs down and loses momentum. But keep the revvy engine in its happy zone and it rewards with good pace accompanied by a pleasant exhaust note. 
Mated with a six-speed gearbox, Yamaha claims the updated 149.8cc four-stroke single sips an incredible 47.6km/lt (2.1lt/100km), which, matched with a 12lt tank, should give an astonishing commuting range of well over 500km. 
Its rivals, including the Honda CBR250R and Kawasaki Ninja 300, are bigger in capacity for better low-down flexibility, but the R15 represents great value and makes good sense – especially for Rossi-inspired learners who hope to one day step up to the YZF-R6 or YZF-R1 supersports models. 
In a word, the R15 is fun, fun, fun! That’s three words, I know, but with a wet weight of just 136kg, a rev-happy engine and entertaining handling, saying it once simply doesn’t do this bike justice.
Type: Liquid-cooled, four-stroke, SOHC, four-valve, single-cylinder 
Capacity: 150cc 
Bore and Stroke: 57x 58.7mm 
Compression Ratio: 10.4:1
Fuel System: Electronic fuel injection
Type: six-seed, constant mesh 
Final Drive: Chain 
Frame Type: Steel bridge Deltabox 
Front Suspension: Conventional telescopic fork, non-adjustable
Rear Suspension: linked 'Monocross' monoshock 
Front Brake: Single disc twin-piston caliper 
Rear Brake: Single disc with single-piston caliper
Dry Weight: 120kg
Seat Height: 790mm 
Fuel Capacity: 12lt
Wheelbase: 1290mm