It's a sort-of review. Late one but adding to the positive ones and countering the detractors of this bike :).
For people familiar with Mumbai, my ride was about 25kms long from Bandra to Powai. Usually this road is choc-a-block with commuter coming back from office but today being a Saturday the road wasn't exactly empty but not really crowded and that made for a perfect test ride of my cousin's 2-week old R15.
Mind you I am not a stunt freak. Though am a motorcycling enthusiast and like to ride fast, I fear trying out any kind of stunts on my bike. I could even say that none of the bikes until now gave me the confidence to try any kind of stunt. May be it's the lack of feeling of good balance or sturdiness or any other factor but somehow I never got the confidence to try anything out on any motorcycle till date. I could even blame my own disposition. Perhaps my mindset has changed and unarguably am less fearful now than what I was a few years back.
So coming to the R15 ride. On a couple of traffic stops, when the light turned green I actually felt like I can jump off the mark and shoot ahead. Considering my conservative stance on stunts, it does say something about the confidence the bike instills in the rider after a little bit of riding.
I didn't go past 80km/hr but on Mumbai roads even 75km/hr speed feels like flying. And R15 makes it more exhilarating. On turns or while overtaking it feels so sure. There were a few stretches where I could enjoy the 6th gear - the bike really rides free in that gear. Braking is superb with disc brakes at the front and the rear working in perfect unison; indeed, you also need the timing right :). The gear changes are so crisp; at stops, changing to neutral was perfect. No false neutrals at all. That's Yamaha engineering.
Every biker I passed, at least paid a glance to the bike; without doubt it's a looker.
So the thing is, you can go on cribbing that Indian motorcycle makers aren't launching higher-end performance bikes and so on... The really high end bikes have already been launched and we know how many Indians can afford those bikes. So the thing is, no matter what anybody says, for an average motorcycling enthusiast who doesn't just vainly dream big and crib, Yamaha R15 comes as close to anything as sports motorcycling and, I should say, at a very reasonable price. It deserves every penny you pay of that 100 grands. You ride it, you'll know it.
Think of any other sports bike and you'll atleast have to pay double, nothing less. For e.g. Kawasaki Ninja 250R, it will cost you anything around INR 2.25 to 2.5. Got that kind of money? If yes, I would say go for it :); otherwise also no harm, R15 will give you as much thrill.