The Yamaha R15 has proven to be one of the best ways to introduce yourself to serious motorcycling. Be it the engine, the chassis, or even the looks, the R15 got everything spot on. Just that it’s old now, and while not any lesser in terms of appeal to the rider, the bike can be outshone in terms of looks. But then there’s always the option of sprucing up your bike, and that’s what we’re looking at. With five examples of how an R15 can be modified, we show how the bike can’t just look heart-achingly good but perform as well, too.
Custom gen-1 R15
This one’s by a bloke called Bevin Abraham. The bike – gen-1 R15 – might look similar to the original, stock version at first, but look closely and you’ll notice a massive difference. Look at the rear seat height, the exhaust (or the lack thereof), and the rear wheel – don’t they all look a bit different? Okay, the swingarm comes off an FZ (a downgrade from R15 but helped the owner fix a fatter rear tyre – a Pirelli Diablo); the exhaust has gone under the seat now (looks very impressive!); and up front, there are two discs to ensure better braking. Both rims are from the FZ as well, while other bits like the projector headlamps and new mudguards look good, too. On the whole, it’s certainly not the perfect solution to a problem that R15 didn’t really have, but the whole setup doesn’t look bad.
Yamaha R6 replica
Almost an R6 rather. Based on an R15 and proudly flaunting its real name as well, the R6 lookalike appears to be well made, apart from the fact that it’s bound to stop you and take notice. The wider fairing, the fatter tank, a new paint job (gunmetal grey and blue), meatier tyres, and a whole lot of CF-like stickers. Sweet (except the last part, of course).
Yamaha R1-like headlamps
Headlamp conversions don’t get any more good looking than this, do they. The mod brings R1’s (previous generation) looks but with enough individuality to ensure that your bike doesn’t look like a copy if its litre-class sibling. The projector units are smaller but look really mean, and the LED light guide strip adds to it.
Dirt liveried R15
The R15 has reached a legendary status, and the same could be said about the popular video game franchise Dirt. And if you’re a fan of both, this is what you get – a Dirt liveried R15. The dual tone paint job and the R1-like projector headlamps help the vehicle stand out. As far as paint jobs go, there are a lot of other interesting choices available, including manga-inspired ones and race liveries.
ECU and performance upgrade
While programmable ECUs for the R15 are abundant in South East Asian countries, Race Concepts is one of the few providers in the country. Not just that, one can turn his/her R15 into an out and out track tool, like the race bike above. The performance kits were are available in stages, which helps the customer decide what he wants – everyday utility or outright performance gains.
Red Rooster Performance – the well-known tuning firm – was also working on a turbocharger kit for the R15. It required the fairing a bit, but the company hasn’t yet released more info about it.