Yamaha YZF-R15 vs Honda CBR 150R - ChooseMyBike.in Review

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The Yamaha R15 holds a special place in India’s motorcycle history. It revolutionized the performance bike segment in India. At the time of its launch, it was the most technologically-advanced bike in its class, and most importantly, it was the first 150cc bike to sport a full fairing. The upshot was a bike that looked like a superbike, handled like a superbike, but was priced within the reach of a large number of Indian bike enthusiasts. This made the Yamaha R15 an instant hit in India.

 

Yamaha R15

 

The success of the Yamaha R15 got the attention of Honda, who responded by launching the CBR 150R in 2012. As a sports bike from one of the biggest names in motorcycle racing, the baby-CBR was built to take on the R15 from the outset. Thus began a fierce rivalry that saw pitched battles fought on both the race track and on the roads. So which side should you take? Watch on and find out!

 

Honda CBR 150

 

 

Design

 

The CBR 150R features a VFR inspired full fairing, which gives it superbike styling. While the bike does look striking, the styling doesn’t appeal to everyone’s tastes. The full-fairing helps divert air around the rider, although those with taller frames may feel that the air is directed onto their face.

 

CBR 150r

 

The styling of the R15 is inspired by the 1000cc R1, and it shows. The bulky full-fairing and high-mounted pillion seat makes it look like a Super bike. The fairing does its job quite well, effectively keeping wind blast at bay at high speeds.

 

R15

 

 

Ergonomics

 

The CBR 150R features a relatively comfortable riding posture for a sport bike. Surprisingly, pillion comfort is exceptional, which is a rarity in its class. The bike’s compact dimensions make riding through traffic quite easy, although your wrists will start aching when riding for prolonged durations, due to the forward-biased riding posture.

 

CBR Dimensions

 

The R15’s aggressive riding posture may bode well for the track, but it makes riding in traffic laborious. The pillion seat position is set very high, and gives you the impression that the pillion is seated on another level compared to the rider. That being said, the balance remains unaffected, although passenger comfort is compromised making it best suited for short rides. The low clip-ons put a lot of pressure on the wrists, although things improve a bit once you speed up. Taller riders will feel cramped because of the tight riding posture, making the R15 best suited for riders under 5‘10”.

 

R15 Dimensions

 

The CBR 150R is the better one amongst the two for touring. Long rides on the R15 will definitely be interspersed with frequent breaks to relieve your wrists. 

 

 

Engine and Transmission

 

The 150cc, single cylinder engine on the CBR is a tech-laden unit, equipped with liquid-cooling, fuel-injection, and a 4-valve DOHC (dual overhead camshaft) system. The unit is a smooth performer that makes most of its power at high RPMs. Power delivery is very linear, with sufficient torque available at low revs to see it tide through traffic.

 

CBR 150 Engine

 

The six-speed gearbox has well-spaced ratios and shifts precisely, although it feels slightly clunky at times. The clutch action is very light, alleviating some of the stress from riding the bike in traffic.

 

CBR 150R Power

 

The R15’s engine is just as impressive as the CBR’s. It too incorporates liquid-cooling and fuel-injection, although its 4-valves are operated by one overhead camshaft as opposed to the CBR’s two. This unit is much smoother and revs extremely fast. While there is sufficient power and torque to work with at the lower end of the rev range, the best part lies at the top end. You get the feeling that the bike eggs you on to push it to its limits.

 

Yamaha R15 Engine

 

The R15’s six-speed transmission deserves special mention. It is the smoothest we’ve tested in the performance segment, so smooth that at times you are left wondering if you’ve change gears at all! The precise shifting action makes going through the ‘box a delight. Clutch action is quite light too.

 

R15 Power

 

 

Ride & Handling

 

Handling is at the crux of R15’s repertoire. The bike incorporates Yamaha’s trademark Deltabox frame, and a linked-type rear monoshock. The chassis and suspension is tuned to offer quick direction changes, although they aren’t as snappy as the first-generation R15, which had a shorter wheelbase. Enter a corner, and you’ll find that the R15 remains well poised. Mid-corner stability is reinforced by the fat 130-section rear tire. While the setup is friendly for all types of riders, only experts will be able to extract the most out of it.

 

R15 Ride and Handling

 

The R15 offers a ride quality that’s firm yet comfortable, which is commendable for a sport bike, as softer suspension would have affected high-speed cornering stability.

 

Yamaha R15 Suspension

 

The CBR 150R is a fun to ride bike. It exhibits neutral handling characteristics, which makes it easy for amateurs to explore its limits, although it doesn’t really reward expert riders as much as the R15 does. While it holds its line at speed very well, the suspension is set up on the softer side, which upsets the balance if it encounters any undulations mid-corner.

 

CBR 150R Handling

 

While the soft-suspension helps the CBR offers exemplary ride comfort, it makes for a slightly bouncy ride at high speeds. This could be corrected by a change in the stiffness setting on the rear- monoshock

 

CBR 150R  Suspension

 

 

Tyres and Brakes

 

The bike comes equipped with 100-section front and 130-section rear tyres from TVS, mounted on black powder-coated 17-inch alloy rims. The tyres offered sufficient grip to exploit the best out of the CBR, both in dry and wet conditions.

 

Also See COMPARISON REVIEW OF KTM 200 DUKE AND BAJAJ PULSAR 200 NS

 

The CBR is fitted with disc brakes on both wheels, with a 276mm rotor up front, and a 220mm at the rear. Coupled with the grippy tyres, they help the bike decelerate without much fuss or drama.

 

The MRF Zapper tyres on the R15 are some of the best in the business. While the front retains the same 90-section tyre as the first generation model, the rear now comes with a fatter 130-section unit. Both are fitted to a set of smart-looking 17-inch alloy wheels.

The 270mm front and 220mm rear disc brakes help stop the R15 on a dime. They offer a strong bite, while the progressive action makes modulating the braking force easy.

 

In our braking tests, the CBR came out on top, stopping from 60 kmph in just 9.72metres while the R15 took 11.83 metres to stop from the same speed.

 

CBR BrakingR15 Braking

 

 

Features

 

The CBR 150R’s instrument console features an analogue tachometer coupled with a digital display that includes the speedometer and other key info, along with a bevy of lights. Surprisingly, for a bike in the Rs 1 lakh+ range, the CBR doesn’t come equipped with a pass light switch and an engine kill switch.

 

CBR 150R Meter Console

 

The R15 also comes equipped with a digital-analogue instrument cluster. The digital readout, displays speed and other essential information in a large and easy to read format, which makes it quite legible to read at speed. The bike comes with pass-light switch and an engine kill-switch as standard, something the CBR 150R lacks.

 

Yamaha R15 Speedometer

 

Price

 

With regards to the pricing, the R15 is set at Rs 1,15,000, whereas the CBR 150R is priced at a slight premium over the Yamaha, at around Rs 1,20,000.`

 

 

X-Factor

 

So, what is the one aspect that stands out in each of the bike? The R15’s handling is what defines it the most. As we have seen earlier, the track-focussed chassis and suspension set-up of the bike lends it exceptional dynamic characteristics.

 

CBR 150R vs R15

 

The one aspect that stands out on the CBR is the comfort. The soft suspension may detract a bit from the sporty experience during spirited riding, but when you are riding in the city or touring long distances, it turns out to be a blessing in disguise.

 

 

Technical Specifications 

 

 

Yamaha YZF-R15

Honda CBR 150R

Chassis Type

Deltabox

Diamond Frame

Brakes

Front: Hydraulic Single Disc – Dia:270mm

Front: Hydraulic Single Disc – Dia:276mm

Rear: Hydraulic Single Disc – Dia:220mm

Rear: Hydraulic Single Disc – Dia:220mm

Suspension

Front:  Telescopic

Front:  Telescopic

Rear: Linked type Monocross

Rear: Mono Suspension

Kerb Weight

136Kg

138Kg

Fuel Tank Capacity

12Litres

13Litres

Mileage

46.8Kmpl(Claimed)

55Kmpl(Claimed)

Price

(ex-showroom Delhi)

Rs.1,12,450 onwards

Rs.1,20,967 onwards

 

 

Pros and Cons

 

Now that we’ve fine-combed through all the aspects of both the bikes, we know that they have their fair share of pros and cons, so instead of deciding an outright winner, let us see which bike you should buy.

 

The Honda CBR 150R is a relaxed, but fast sports bike. Has comfortable ergonomics that can accommodate taller riders as well. It is a bike that you can use for daily commute while always having the option of taking it on long-distances rides

On the flip side, its styling does have a love it or hate it, effect on a lot of people, and you could say that the bike has limited switchgear functionality

 

Pros:

Relaxed and fast sports bike

Comfortable Ergonomics

Can be used for Daily commute, and even for long distance rides

 

Cons:

Love-it or Hate-it styling

Limited Switchgear Functionality

 

 

The Yamaha R15 is a fast, aggressive and track-focused motorcycle. Its design and styling will have onlookers swooning over the bike. The R15 does have OEM and after-market modification options

What the R15 has working against it is that it is not the most comfortable performance bike. The ergonomics limits riders above 5’ 10” as they can feel cramped. It is not the best bike for long-distance touring.

 

Pros:

Performance, track-focused handling

Superbike-like aesthetics

Has a wide range of OEM and aftermarket modification options

 

Cons:

Lacks comfort for rider and pillion

Cramped Ergonomics for riders over 5’10”

Not suited for daily commutes or for touring long distances

 

 

Conclusion

What makes the R15 so popular? The heart of the R15’s mass appeal lies in its packaging - Superbike aesthetics, superlative performance, track-honed handing, a tech-laden engine, and an attractive price tag, all complementing each other to make a perfect combination of sorts. Both posers and performance enthusiasts love the R15 to bits, and it wouldn’t have been possible had Yamaha compromised on any of those factors.

The CBR 150R’s trump card is its practicality. While the R15 is perfect for leisure rides, it isn’t a very comfortable bike to commute on. The CBR though, is different. It performs like a sport bike should, but you can also use it on a daily basis. The seating posture is quite comfortable for both rider and pillion, ride quality is exemplary and the bike’s narrow width makes it easy to filter through traffic.

 

R15 and Cbr 150R

 

So, there you are. While the Yamaha R15 is a serious and focused performer, the Honda CBR 150R is a comfortable, yet sporty bike. They may be rivals, but as we’ve seen, they are poles apart in character. Keeping in mind the ideal combination of performance and practicality, the Honda CBR 150R is the better bike overall, and the one we’d recommend. 

 

 

Check out our video review of the Yamaha YZF-R15 vs Honda CBR 150R below:

 

 

Jaichandran Jayapalan

 

DisclaimerThis review is purely based on the test conducted by "ChooseMyBike.in". All views expressed in this review are that of ChooseMyBike.in's, and not of the manufacturers'. 

 

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