The idea of a small-displacement sportbike, say 150cc or so, may seem counterintuitive for some. Indeed, the notion of a sportbike is a powerful, sporty motorbike that's faster than most other vehicles on the road. While this is true even for 600cc sportbikes, the Asian and European markets are littered with small-displacement sportbikes that, for the most part, serve two purposes.
The first would be style. Undeniably, sportbikes are cool, but powerful sportbikes are quite a handful to handle, especially in the heavily congested urban cities of most Asian countries. The second is just that small sportbikes are fun – be it on the track or on a twisty road. In the U.S., the smallest sportbikes occupy the 250cc to 300cc realm, with machines like the Yamaha R3 and Honda CBR300R. In Asia, however, there are sportbikes as small as 150cc. Take for example the Yamaha YZF-R15, which has just been launched in India.
The YZF-R15 is by no means a new motorcycle. Now in its fourth iteration, the 150cc sportbike bearing the iconic YZF-R moniker is one of the best in its class, overtaking its rivals from fellow Japanese manufacturers. From a styling perspective, it's clear as day that this bike receives the superbike treatment from Team Blue, as it slots in perfectly with its bigger siblings, the R3, R7, and R1. It took some time for this bike to make its way to India, but now, Indian enthusiasts have a thoroughly premium little sportbike for both daily commuting and spirited rides on the twisties or the track.
On the performance side of the equation, the R15 is powered by a 155cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, single-cylinder engine with 18 horsepower and 9.8 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheel via a six-speed manual gearbox. However, the fancier YZF-R15M gets a quickshifter as standard, making it the first sportbike of this displacement to feature this technology. It also flaunts a TFT display, in contrast to the standard model's backlit LCD.
In terms of availability, the YZF-R15 comes in an assortment of sporty colorways. The standard model is offered in four color options consisting of Metallic Red, Dark Knight, Racing Blue, and Intensity White. In India, it starts at Rs 180,900, or the equivalent of about $2,204 USD. For a little extra money, Rs 194,400 ($2,369 USD) to be exact, the YZF-R15M is offered in just one Metallic Gray colorway.