12th of December 2011, I saw her bums for the first time and fell in love with her … a beauty in black and graphite winking at me as the twin headlights was being tested. I slowly walked up to her, touched her, turned the key and pushed the button. The engine purred into life and she was christened Zurina – the white shadow. The name was kind of oxymoronic for the black beauty.
Photo Credit: my close pals Indranil Mukherjee & Shovon Ray
The R15v2 is probably the best looking bike in India at the moment and there are no second thoughts about the same. Being a big fan of the iconic RX100, I had huge expectations from this one.
The moment you put your leg over the seat you would realize the most prominent thing about the bike. The tail is high. It is so high that an average height person would still end up scratching the pillion seats with his shoes. This was something I need to get used to. The seating position is such that the weight of the rider is onto the front of the bike. And like many would think, yes the body weight is mostly onto the palms of the rider. However I noticed that the seats are designed such that you are expected to sit further up on the seat, such that you touch the pillion seat. This is the most comfortable way you can sit on this bike. You would notice that the weight suddenly vanishes from the palms and you are seated almost hugging the tank and you are maneuvering the bike at a flick of your body weight.
One of the things I noticed, a change from the previous version, was that the low/mid end torque is more spread out and it’s a breeze to flick the bike around city traffic. This was my first full fairing bike, hence took me some time getting used to the size upfront.
Next I took the bike to lady friends of mine and boy did they love the bike, like I mentioned earlier, the looks are killer. Took them for a spin around town and she mentioned that she loved the high seating position as she could see what’s up front over my head. Not all ladies had the same opinion though, some were scared enough not to even give it a try. The pillion seat is not exactly comfortable and can be a pain in the bums especially in Kolkata where the roads are bad. I’m working on getting the seats redone to make it more comfy. Seeking an opinion from my guy friends I took the bike to two of my guy friends, one a heavy 90+ kilo guy and the other with a medium stout build. Both of them loved the seating and what was surprising was that handling the bike with all that weight was still a breeze. Even in hard breaking the weight shift was manageable. Another thing I noticed was that most pillions were holding on to me, which is nice and cozy as long as the ladies are concerned, however it can be very tiring with their body weight slung on you. The solution was simple, asking the pillions to hold the tank with their palms, when going fast. At slow speeds all they need to do is take support from the riders’ shoulders.
The run in period was the most difficult … keeping the baby under 4K rpm in the first 1000 kms. It was just too tempting to twist the throttle and go for it … but of course at the possible risk of damaging the engine. I did a two step run in process. The first 250kms I ran the engine with the usual 4 stroke mineral oil and then drained the oil and replaced it with the recommended synthetic oil. This was done to get rid of possible contaminants from the engine compartments. The bike handled well in those low speeds and the overall handling was confidence inspiring. The efficiency was what surprised me … it returned around 47kmpl which was a shock to me. I recalculated to make sure I got it right.
Noticeable issues I had with the bike till now were a few but something that cannot be ignored. The bike has no grab rail which scared the pillions at times. A centre stand would be greatly appreciated, especially for us DIY guys who love to get their hands dirty in oil and grim. In fact a race stand could be an optional accessory we could get from the company showrooms. The rear tail assembly came loose, required a twist of the screws to set it right. The rear view mirrors are not that user-friendly to adjust. If you get the arms right and tighten them, it is still easy for a road side romeo to twist the mirrors for his narcissist pleasures. Another thing I noticed was that the tool box did not have a spanner to adjust the rear view mirror arms; I just bought one from my friendly diy store.
Time came for me to experience the bike on open roads. I was heading home to Jamshedpur from Kolkata; around 280Kms. Post the run in period this would the first time I was going to open her throttle up. 3:30AM I started from Kolkata and touched Kharagpur (130kms away) in just less than 1 hour 15 minutes. The headlights did a pretty good job, however being a nocturnal rider, I’d be upgrading soon to HIDs. On the speedometer it showed me the highest of 138kmph, where as the GPS registered 132kmph. There could be a slight margin of error here it seems. The bike handled well in straights and stuck to the ground with oodles of grip on the curves. Even under hard breaking, when a dog jumped in front, the bike stayed in control. So far, so good.
The challenge post Kharagpur was the stretch of bad roads all the way to Jamshedpur, another 150 odd kms. Around close to 60% of this stretch will put the surface of moon to shame. Craters, Red Dust, and if it rains Red Slush is what I call it. I wanted to see how well a bike designed for the track handles in such conditions. The ground clearance amazed me. I went half expecting a blow onto the engine cowl at some point or the other. The suspension, albeit on the stiffer end, behaved well and made handling the bike a pleasure. Bums did ache, however I was expecting worse. Due to this stretch I managed to reach Jamshedpur in 4 and a half hours, the fastest train on this stretch does it in 3hrs 55mins.
This was also the first time my mother saw the bike, and what is the first question she asks me? Do I get a stool to climb onto the pillion seat? On my return I did the same route in 4hours. I hope to beat the train one day.
The bike is also my daily commute to and fro my workplace, with a daily run of around 30 kms. The absence of a main stand did prick at times, but not much. She returned me a mileage within the range of 37 ~ 47kmpl, depending on the way and the conditions in which I rode. As always the bike was an eye candy, so much so that some jealous prick even scratched the tank with his key.
Today I complete 6000kms and I must say that Leader Yamaha in Kolkata is a lovely place to get your bike serviced in, with return times of less than 2hours; with a very able set of service technicians. I must add the performance of this bike makes up for every small issue I might have pointed out so far. Now the best part of my day is the time I spend riding her. GodSpeed!!!