Here’s why we think the lovely retro-looking Yamaha XSR155 would be ideal for the Indian market
Yamaha surprised enthusiasts when it launched the deliciously retro-looking yet tech-laden Yamaha XSR155 in Thailand back in August 2019. Word around the town is that it will soon launch it in India and here’s why we think it’d be the perfect fit in our market:
Why does it make business sense?
The small-capacity retro segment in the country is single-handedly dominated by Royal Enfield. Sure, Jawa entered the fray but it couldn’t make an impressionable dent in this category. What’s currently lacking in this space is an old-school motorcycle tempered with Japanese technology and reliability. Hence, it would bode well for Yamaha to exploit this segment with the launch of the XSR155. Moreover, at present, there isn’t a single 150cc liquid-cooled motorcycle that’s got the looks and is comfortable enough for everyday use. With the Yamaha XSR155, the Japanese brand would be able to conveniently hit two birds with a single stone.
Since it’s based on the already-existing Yamaha R15 V3.0, it would be even easier for Yamaha to manufacture in India with part sharing. Sure, the brand could compromise on certain aspects and might replace the aluminium swingarm with a box-section unit and the inverted front fork with a traditional one, as it did with the Yamaha MT-15. Even then, it would make a compelling proposition as these measures would only make it more affordable.
How much is it likely to cost in India?
Back in Thailand, the price difference between the faired R15 and the retro XSR155 is an equivalent of Rs 14,281, with the latter being more affordable. Expect the delta to be slightly smaller for the Indian market, and with that in mind, the India-spec Yamaha XSR155 could cost around Rs 1.42 lakh (ex-showroom). At this pricing, it would be dearer than the Yamaha MT-15 by around Rs 4,000 and go squarely against the Royal Enfield Bullet 350 ES, priced at Rs 1,39,948 (ex-showroom Delhi).
What makes the Yamaha XSR155 so special?
Apart from being the only 150cc retro bike in India (if launched), it will also appeal to a much wider set of audience than the R15, thanks to its easy-going ergonomics with the wide easy-to-reach handlebars and bench seat. Its classic looks are complemented by a properly modern liquid-cooled 155cc single-cylinder engine with Variable Valve Actuation (VVA). This clever technology helps in maintaining a good balance between low-end grunt and top-end drive. The motor makes 19.3PS and 14.7Nm, linked to a six-speed transmission with assist and slipper clutch.
Other notable features include an LED headlamp and tail lamp, bulb indicators, and a fully digital instrument cluster. The India-spec version could pack dual-channel ABS as standard. In a true retro scrambler fashion, the 17-inch alloy wheels are wrapped with 110-section front and 140-section rear tubeless block pattern tyres.
All in all, the Yamaha XSR155 seems to be promising enough to hog Royal Enfield’s limelight in the small-capacity retro segment. It’s got the right set of features, a very likeable design, and a performance-packed powertrain. What more could you possibly want?