The Indian 2 wheeler industry is going through some wonderful times. Now only do we have Yamaha's R1 & MT-01 on sale here (for the price of a Skoda Ocatavia,Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla but still ....) but Suzuki has lined up the iconic Hayabusa & Gixxer for launch this year, Honda is launching a couple of bikes above 800cc this year and Kawasaki is bringing out its magnificent Ninja 250 soon. KTM's launches are around the corner and Ducati is already here with some gorgeous & jaw droppingly expensive bikes. All of which are out of my reach.
However Yamaha's new beautiful & expensive R15 is a bike that is a landmark achievement for Indian bikers. Priced almost twice as much as bikes with a similar engine capacity, the bike brings with is exquisite styling & features that makes your bike feel like yesterdays hit. I wasnt really taken up by the bike after watching its ad but that was until I popped into the Yamaha showroom to check out the prices of the bike. And boy is she a royal beaut.
Of course its not all picture perfect, there are only 2 colours on offer right now. A nice blue and a very ordinary black. Apparently a new red colour has been added to the range. I had suggested on xbhp.com that Yamaha could probably look at introducing more colours especially in their special anniversary edition scheme that they released the R1 in recently. In fact there is a guy in Bangalore with an R15 in those colours. Damm neat. Also lower down the torque isnt killer which means some of the opposition 150s might be quicker off the block but the bike is an angel while handling and has rock solid stability. And can just about outdrag a Pulsar 220 which was the erstwhile king of the hill.
The Pulsar220 may epitomise the cream of the current crop of Indian bikes but with its body styling too similar to all the other countless Pulsars on the road the stand out value is not really there. A proverbial victim of its own success. If anyone from Bajaj Auto is reading this, please give your flagship bike some distinctive styling to make it special. Because thats what the R15 does, its turns heads. It brings a smile to your face. You look at it and wish you could have one. And at the end of the day thats what a flagship bike should do.