In November last year, Yamaha finally answered the prayers of enthusiasts worldwide when they unveiled the prototype of their much awaited and rumored YZF-R25 at the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show. The bike was first released in a video that featured ‘The Doctor’ himself. This video clip displayed a supersports motorcycle prototype in the early stages, with styling reminiscent of its bigger and sportier siblings like the R6 and the R1, as well as design cues connecting it to everything from the mighty M1 to our very own R15.
For Yamaha, it couldn’t have come at a sooner time, as they’re the only major motorcycle manufacturer missing from the quarter litre game internationally now. Kawasaki threw down the gauntlet with the fourth-gen 250R in 2008, and the market responded, with Suzuki, Honda, KTM, and even Hyosung coming up with their own offerings soon after. Despite many of these new motorcycles never having made their way to India, they saw widespread success abroad, especially Europe. Over there, bikers between the ages of 19 to 24 are restricted to a peak power output of 47bhp and power-to-weight ratio below 0.27bhp/kg under the A2 license regulations.
However, we fear that it may be a case of too little, too late, when the Yamaha R25 finally makes its way onto showroom floors worldwide. About a month ago, they created a teaser website with a countdown timer that many assumed would give us the first peek at the production version of the R25. On the anointed day, what we got instead was a first look into a tricycle concept that very few were interested in the first place.
What’s even a bigger test of our patience is the fact that there’s still no info, not even a hint, of the Yamaha R25 India launch. So far, Yamaha India hasn’t let out a single concrete detail about the Yamaha R25 India launch. There’s no doubt that the YZF-R25 will be a stellar machine that will stay true to Yamaha’s ethos of fun and excitement but will it be worth all the wait?
Below, we outline some of the reasons why we feel that the R25 won’t be worth all the hype and hoopla surrounding it right now.
1. Premium Pricing
There’s no doubt that the R25 will be priced at a premium to its peers, like most Yamaha models are in India. To give credit where due, their pricing strategy is usually backed up by excellent build quality and reliability, but this factor will still become magnified when we are talking about a bike that will retail for around the 3-lakh mark.
2. Crowded Market, Worthy Competition
Okay, the market isn’t exactly crowded right now although the R25 will most definitely have to contend with more competition that the Ninja 250R had to when it was first launched here. Triumph is hard at work with their 250cc offering, which will be made in India and have a competitive price tag, not to mention the allure of a true-blue English brand. Suzuki’s Inazuma/GW250 is already here, although we fear it’s not in the same league as the rest of the super-sporty machines here, and has priced itself out of the reckoning. The biggest thorn in the R25’s paw will undoubtedly be the fully-faired Pulsar
400SS that is coming sometime late this year, and the KTM 390 Duke. The former will retail at a price point that we doubt Yamaha will even try to beat. It also boasts of a much larger and powerful engine. Also, the upcoming Hero HX250R will have at least some effect on the Yammie’s upcoming quarter litre motorcycle. Then there’s the Kawasaki Ninja 300, which is also overpriced, but hey, the Ninja 250 Mono might very well have been developed to counter that exact problem. Honda is also following in Kawasaki’s footsteps with the recently unveiled CBR 300R while closing the other end with the trio of 500cc engines, although it is unclear if and when they will be launched here. Wait and watch.
3. No Upside-down Forks
Yamaha recently fitted 41mm USDs to the European R125, but we have no indication that the production model R25 will be getting those. USDs are superior to conventional telescopic forks, both visually and technically, so it’s a wonder why Yamaha has scrimped on this, considering that they known for their sport derived advancements like the link-type monoshock on the R15. Yes, they’re more expensive than conventional telescopic forks and not exactly necessary for a quarter-litre bike, but still, its inclusion would have made the R25 an irresistible package.
4. No ABS
There’s no denying that Anti-lock Braking System is a lifesaver, especially on our less-than-ideal roads, and that’s why more and more manufacturers are incorporating them even into their smallest offerings. As far as we know, Yamaha isn’t offering ABS on the r25, not even as optional equipment.
5. Too little, too late (capacity, expected power)
For such a highly anticipated motorcycle that has been in the making for this long, 250cc might not just cut it. Thanks to Honda and Kawasaki, and now KTM, the game has now moved from 250s to 300s and beyond. Power and engine capacity will be the R25’s Achilles Heel no matter now good a handler it turns out to be, though we are sure that ought to be very good.
6. Too close for comfort (to the R15)
We have all seen the videos and detailed shots from the Indian Auto Expo by now. It is only expected that the R25 and R15 will look and feel so similar but still, this might be off-putting for potential customers who want something to differentiate their more powerful (and, more expensive, of course) bike from its little sibling. Sure, the R25 doesn’t look exactly like the R15 but come to think of it, both are fully faired sportsbikes that take enough design cues from the same set of machines!
7. Too track-focused
While being track focused is a huge part of the appeal for the R25, it is also a downer for many. Just look at the number of people who stayed away from Version 2.0 of the R15, thanks to the more focused ergonomics and pillion seat. There is a huge chunk of people who want the tuning fork logo on a moderately big, powerful bike, but not with ergonomics and power delivery designed for a cast member of The Expendables 3.0.
8. Yamaha’s lethargy
Yamaha has been terribly lethargic with their R&D and marketing in the country and it doesn’t seem like things will change with the arrival of the R25. It is almost as if they don’t know where they want to go in the market and this is the reason why many frustrated fans has finally, reluctantly, even, made the shift to other brands. They had a good run in 2008, taking the country by storm, but I don’t know where that team disappeared, to leave us with stickers and minor cosmetic changes for the last five years. Bajaj-KTM-Kawasaki, TVS Motors, Honda, and even Hero Moto Corp, in its own floundering, bumbling way, are more attuned to the market than Yamaha is now. The only bigger culprit in this department? Suzuki!
9. No Deltabox frame
Barely an hour after they unveiled it, the blogosphere and social media was awash with incredulous questions wanting to know just why did they see it fit to exclude the Deltabox perimeter frame from the R25. Yamaha’s Deltabox frame has been a signature statement for all their new track oriented bikes, so why is the R25 getting the step-brotherly treatment here? IS it only because of cost cutting or is there something else theyre not telling us? When even the R15 features a perimeter frame, why doesn’t the R25 get it? We don’t get it…
10. Not Made-In-India
This one is on the 50/50 fence. If they do decide to manufacture the YZF-R25 here, that should bring down the costs by a huge margin, but there’s an equal chance that the R25 will be imported as CKDs from one of the South-East Asian countries, maybe Indo-“Semakin Di Depan”-nesia.
But then again, we keep hearing rumors of how Yamaha is readying single and twin-cylinder versions of the R25 and that gives us reason to hope that at least one of those will be manufactured indigenously here.
Do you agree with our views here? Do let us know by sharing your thoughts in the comments section below. And make no mistake, we are as eager to lay our hands on the production spec R25 as you are. Our only worry is that it might be too little, too late for Yamaha India.