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Yamaha’s R15 is a sublime racetrack-focussed machine. In the real world, the first R15 wasn’t as satisfying to use and lacked a bit of that muscular appeal riders expect. That, and competition from other bikemakers resulted in Yamaha upgrading the R15 to v2.0 that you see here.
On the outside
What strikes you is that the R15 isn’t drastically different to look at, but Yamaha has made extensive changes to this bike. Some new bits include the new fairing design to improve aerodynamic efficiency, upsized tyres at the front and rear (a radial) and uprated discs. There’s a new tail section, a new longer aluminium swingarm, increased seat height for a sportier seating position and tweaked weight distribution.
From the saddle
It's clear that that Yamaha has managed to improve on the R15’s core strengths. The engine feels more driveable than before - it doesn't need to be revved all the way to the red line to get it going. The R15 is distinctly more stable, and the longer wheelbase and bigger tyres make it very forgiving to ride hard. Although the bike is still incredibly sharp and rewards you when you ride enthusiastically around bends, it has lost some of the lightness and agility of the earlier motorcycle.
Is it worth the money?
The R15 is easier to ride faster around corners, but it is better coming out of a corner and onto a straight, where it’s the most stable. While the differences aren’t stark, Yamaha has managed to improve the R15 in most areas. The bike could have done with a bit more on the power front though. But overall, the V2.0 is a capable evolution of Yamaha’s track-focussed R15.
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