While I have been riding motorcycles long before it was legal for me to ride, my first motorcycle which I actively used to ride was a Yamaha. A small (not so much) 125cc machine called Yamaha Gladiator. I have crashed it, wheelied it, crashed it again, modded it, ridden it recklessly and it still continues to putter along happily. Then I switched to a Royal Enfield Thunderbird, not exactly at my will but anyway. The rev happy reliable engine was replaced by a lazy but torquey, and slightly cranky engine.
The Yamaha was like a sweet girlfriend who can make you a nice sandwich and would never complain about anything. The Enfield however, was like a mistress. She will throw tantrums at you and won’t be good at many things. But there will be that one evening when you will go out on a ride and know that the pleasure was worth all the drama.
Anyway, after over 15K kms on the Thunderbird, it was time the Enfield goes back to my dad and I was looking for a machine that I can ride to work everyday and also take on long highway rides without any issues. All the options, right from Hero Impulse to Duke 390 and everything in between were considered and eventually I found a nice less used Yamaha R15. I almost passed it in favour of a new Pulsar AS200 but then common sense kicked in. The price was good and I was low on funds so went ahead without wasting lot of time. I have had the motorcycle for almost a month now and have done over 2000 kms on it. I think I couldn’t have made a better choice.
I have ridden the Yamaha R15 quite a lot when it was first introduced but, once you start riding it everyday, it starts to surprise you in ways. It certainly looks like a serious machine and is even built like one but the good things go way beyond that. While I have spent time in the saddle of much powerful machines, the Yamaha R15 still allows me to learn and improve. It is engaging. Even after pushing it a lot everyday, I feel there is still room for more. Every corner I take is better than the previous one and I know that the machine is capable of more if I improve.
The versatility further adds to its capabilities. I recently went for a short 120 km highway ride. You can easily keep cruising at 90 kph without any effort and the moment you start getting bored, smile is just a downshift away. It just lives up on open roads.
Give her hell and she will love you even more.
Keep riding below 6K rpm and it is just another fancy looking motorcycle. Beyond that, it is a totally different animal. You feel that you are making quick progress but the power delivery is so linear that you are ready to push further. The power is not even remotely intimidating but it makes its presence felt when you call using your wrist. And no matter how fast you are going, it will be well planted.
I know I have barely scratched the surface of its capabilities and will continue to push it even further. Very soon I also plan to take the R15 on a long-ish roadtrip, maybe to some mountains where I can find some nice corners to lean in. I am hearing lot of arguments about why I should have adhered to the Enfield but I know that deep down, I always wanted to come back to a Yamaha. Will share more stories on how this love affair goes forward.