Yamaha YZF-R25 Design Review and First Impressions

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Yamaha R25 clear official images (3)

So this is it. Yamaha Indonesia has kept their word and finally unveiled the YZF-R25 to the public. We have already covered the R25 in exhaustive detail before, bringing you the first updates from our Indonesian friends as and when they happened. But now that the time for spy shoots, grainy cellphone images, and speculative calculations are over, let’s take a closer look at what the Yamaha R25 brings to the table.

First things first, the motor. The R25 is powered by a liquid-cooled, fuel-injected 8 valve DOHC twin-cylinder engine producing 36PS of peak torque at 12000 rpm and 22.1Nm of peak power at 10000rpm. True to the YZF family tradition, the engine is a 60.0 x 44.1 mm high-revving unit, also incorporating the DiASil forged piston cylinder that we first saw in the R15.

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There were groans of disappointment from some quarters when it was first announced that the R25 wouldn’t be getting the perimeter frame that has almost become a signature for Yamaha’s supersport bikes, no matter the displacement. The R15 gets it, and so does the R125, both smaller machines. In contrast, the R25 employs a traditional diamond frame, with the engine being a stressed member of the frame. This type of construction is common in small to mid-engined motorcycles thanks to its simple structural design, serviceability, and light weight. Yes, it is not as good as the track-honed perimeter frame, but it will do very fine for a 250cc. And keep costs down too.

41mm telescopic forks upfront and a Monocross suspension at the rear handle suspension duties. Monocross is basically what Yamaha calls their monoshock suspension systems, just like Honda with their Pro-link and Kawasaki with their Uni-Track.

It is again not as advanced as the link-type Monocross suspension on the R15, which offers a uniform ride quality regardless of the load and prevents the bike from bottoming out on tricky bumps. We really would have loved it if Yamaha had given us upside-down forks (USDs) in place of the conventional telescopic forks. The 2014 R125 has got it, so keep your fingers crossed for this one.

Yamaha R25 official production images (1)

Keeping in mind the fact that Asians are shorter on average, Yamaha has kept the seat height at a manageable 780mm. Wheelbase is 1380mm, and the entire bike weighs in at 166 kgs (kerb).

Braking is via 298mm floating disc, dual piston calipers upfront and a single 220mm at the rear.

Design is a deeply personally thing, and what works for one might not work for the other. As they say, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

The production-spec Yamaha R25 has changed substantially from the prototype that we first say at the Tokyo Motor Show last November and the Indian Auto Expo earlier this year. Back then, it looked like a meticulously scaled down version of the M1 racebike, even down to the livery and that sweet Akrapovic exhaust can. The absence of lights and other accessories also helped.

The Yamaha R25 prototype at the Tokyo Motor Show in Nov. 2013

PIC: The Yamaha R25 prototype at the Tokyo Motor Show in Nov. 2013

In its transition to the street, the R25 has lost some of the smooth lines of the prototype that we saw earlier. The floating side panels are still classical Yamaha and they do it better than any manufacturer out there. From the front, the twin headlamps resemble the ones on the Ducati 1199 Panigale, brooding and staring down at you. The difference here is that the R25 also has a centrally mounted pilot lamp. I initially hated the Panigale’s headlamps, considering it to be less beautiful than the 1098’s, but it has grown onto me over time. Maybe it will be the same with the Yamaha r25 too, but it is something that I am in two minds about for now.

We always knew that the clip-on handlebars mounted directly to the forks that we saw in the prototype wouldn’t make it to production. In their place are taller clip-ons mounted on risers, for a less demanding riding posture.

The instrument console employs the traditional analogue tacho/digital everything else layout that we see in almost all sportbikes on the market right now. It is a bit too angular and slash cut for my tastes, and I wish that the lines would have been a bit more smoother, like the rest of the bodywork. But that’s just nitpicking to an extreme, right?

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The 14.3 litre fuel tank has also been redesigned, and now it rises up like a dome from the front of the seat. Although it appears very ergonomically contoured, with ample knee recess to hug the tank, there’s just something about it that makes us wish Yamaha had stuck with the fuel tank from the prototype.

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If you’re riding the Yamaha R25 in India, that rear end is going to be the view that most road goers will be seeing of your ride. The LED tail lamp is beautiful and minimalist and complements the pillion seat very well. But practicality be damned, we wish that the rear mudguard and number plate holder be shorter though. The flashy Akrapovic titanium end can has been replaced by a more conventional stubby exhaust, mounted as close to the engine as possible for better weight centralization. It is more subdued and sober, but if you prefer some more visual and aural oomph, Akrapovic has you covered.

I know swingarms aren’t a design element and are meant to be functional but Yamaha again designs the best looking swingarms, and the R25 is right up there with the best.

110/70 and 140/70 tyres upfront and rear respectively, mounted on gorgeous five-spoked spiderweb alloys round up the supersports look. Yamaha also does livery exceedingly well. All the three colour options, Racing Blue, Black Predator, and Diablo Red, on offer in Indonesia right now look gorgeous. Of course, the Racing Blue factory colour has that certain appeal to it.

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Yamaha Motor Indonesia has commenced bookings for the R25, with a sticker price of 53 million Indonesian Rupiah. No, that’s not a typo, it’s just how devalued their currency is. In India, that translates into roughly INR 2.7 lakh, which is a reasonable price for such a stellar package.

Yamaha Motor India hasn’t announced an launch date for the YZF-R25 but we believe it will be here sometime late this year or early next year.

When it is launched here, the closest competition to the Yamaha R25 in terms of performance and dynamics will come from the Kawasaki Ninja 300. Price-wise, we believe it will be fielding off the Honda CBR 250R (the 2014 version is coming later this year), the KTM Duke twins, and the yet-to-be-launched Pulsar 400SS. Take every price speculation you read online about the R25 with a pinch of salt, because no one absolutely has any clue right now of how Yamaha is going to price it. For all we know, it could very well be priced below 2 lakhs, or it could even nudge the 4 lakh mark if they decide to go the CKD route, no matter how unlikely that is.

Yamaha R25 official production images (9)

The Kawasaki Ninja 250 Mono with its 250cc single-cylinder engine produces 28PS and 22.6Nm, while the bigger Ninja 300 (INR 3.62 lakh, ex-Mumbai) produces 39 PS of peak power and 27Nm of torque. The KTM 200 Duke (INR 1.38 lakh, ex-Mumbai) makes 25PS and 19Nm, while the 390 Duke (INR 1.91 lakh, ex-Mumbai) produces 44PS and 35Nm of power and torque respectively. Bajaj is also planning to launch the fully-faired Pulsar 400SS later this year and we expect them to break the price barrier again as they’ve done many times earlier.

The Honda CBR 250R (1.56 lakh to 1.92 lakh, ex-Mumbai) produces 26PS and 22.55Nm from its single cylinder engine, making it a distant competitor to the R25. It is also more of a sports-tourer in the lines of Honda’s VFR range than the super sports category that it shares its name with.

Then there’s the upcoming Hero MotoCorp HX250R that reportedly is good for a whooping 31PS. That is quite a lot of power from a single cylinder engine, and should ruffle a few feathers if it makes it into production soon. Triumph’s entry-level Daytona has also been spotted testing in India, so the market is quite ripe for a quarter litre showdown.

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Images courtesy: iwanbanaran.com

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