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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Yamaha YZF-R25 - The Lull before the Launch!

The news of a new bike launch is always a matter of excitement for anyone who loves motorcycles. People await any further information about the launch of their “favorite-bike-that-is-yet-to-be-launched” with baited breathes! Depending on various specifications of the bike, the excitement either dies down or turns into a complete bliss.

As it seems, motorcycle enthusiasts in India are on the verge of experiencing something truly remarkable as we wait for Yamaha’s YZF-R25 to come on our shores. The bike that we hope and expect will redefine the 250cc category of “beginner sport bike”! 

“Beginner sport bike”, a phrase that should be taken in the right context as these motorcycles could very well be the stepping stones for anyone getting into the superfast world of high capacity and extremely powerful sport bikes. These are motorcycles that are fun, forgiving, and fast enough for city riding and allow riders to develop and hone their riding skills required to handle similar but much more powerful motorcycles.

The 250cc segment has seen a revival in recent years. While Kawasaki enjoyed massive success with their Ninja 250 with mostly zero competition for many years, Honda opened all flood gates when they unveiled the CBR250R in October 2010, a single cylinder 250cc motorcycle styled on their VFR1200. In the years to follow, it became pretty clear that the 250cc segment has become the hottest arena for many motorcycle manufacturers. Since then, Kawasaki has updated their Ninja 250R and also launched its 300cc variant in some markets including India. Honda is also updating their CBR250R with new styling which resembles their Fireblade and a 300cc variant of the same.

Yamaha is finally entering the hot battle of the 250cc beginner sport bikes with their parallel twin YZF-R25.

It is said that the European version of the same will be a 300cc called the YZF-R3. It is still unclear what India will get but we are speculating it will be the R25. Also, we believe that the R3 will be visually same as the R25, it makes perfect business sense for Yamaha to have maximum parts sharing between the two variants.

Yamaha first teased the world with the R25 in a video where none other than Valentino Rossi is seen approaching his YZR-M1 MotoGP bike. As he approaches the bike, the camera moves further ahead and reveals a similar looking motorcycle parked besides Rossi’s MotoGP machine. Rossi goes past his bike and sits on the yet-unknown bike and goes for a spin. It is eventually revealed that the bike is a parallel twin 250cc prototype that Yamaha is working on. No other specifications are revealed then. However, a tube frame could be seen. 

Rossi’s famous quote from the video “This bike really packs a punch” is still ringing in many ears.

The internet was abuzz with discussions and speculations on forums and auto websites as people speculated on the unknown specifications of the motorcycle.  Earlier this year, Yamaha showcased this prototype 250 in the Indian Auto Expo at Greater Noida near the national capital Delhi. No details on the specifications were made available even then. Spy shots kept on coming over the internet on the days to follow.

Last month, Yamaha Indonesia finally unveiled the motorcycle as YZF-R25 at a press launch. Any more doubts and speculations were finally given a rest as the actual specifications were revealed – parallel twin 250cc, DOHC, 8 valve power plant generating 36PS of power at 12000rpm and 22.6NM of torque at 10000rpm. Fuel injection, a 6 speed gear box and mono suspension at the rear are a given. At the front, there are 41mm forks doing the duty while also giving a beefier look. The bike has an impressive ready-to-ride weight of 166kgs. The fuel tank capacity is 14.3 liters and the engine is mounted on a steel tube diamond type frame, something similar to that found in Ninja 250/300 and the CBR250R.

While as the prototype this 250cc resembled the M1 more, in production form the design cues are similar to the current road going R-series motorcycles of Yamaha. The twin headlight design, though typical, looks unlike any of their other R-series motorcycles and provides a fresh overall design to the front. The exhaust can looks closer to the one on the R6.

There is no word from Yamaha on when the R25 will come to India, but let’s have a look at the competition that this new 250cc will face once it’s here. India, a market where the 200cc+ segment is as hot as it can be right now. And the things are only looking even brighter for the future.

Kawasaki Ninja 300: The more powerful variant and the successor to the highly successful Ninja 250R. The Ninja 300 has a very sweet parallel twin 300cc motor with 8 valve churning 39PS of power at 11000rpm and 27NM of torque at 10000rpm. It has a 17 liters fuel tank and 172kgs of ready-to-ride weight. It clearly follows the design cues of its bigger siblings – the ZX-6R and ZX-10R.

Honda CBR250R: The motorcycle that gave a new birth to the 250cc segment. This Honda comes with a single cylinder 250cc DOHC engine generating 26bhp at 8500rpm and 22.9NM of torque at 7000rpm. The bike has a 13 liters fuel tank and 167kgs of kerb weight. While the specs clearly doesn’t make it a challenge to the Ninja 300 (or the Yamaha R25) in the performance department, the low price and low ownership cost combined with very good performance for city riding has made the CBR250R an extremely successful motorcycle in its segment easily beating the Kawasaki to the cash registers. This quarter liter CBR has created its own segment within the 250cc class.

Hyosung GT250R: The bike that looks bigger than it should. This 250cc from the Korean manufacturer has a v-twin engine, DOHC, 8 valve generating 28bhp at 10000rpm and 22.07NM or torque at 8000rpm. The USP of this bike are the inverted forks and twin discs at the front adding to the big bike appeal. However, at 188kgs ready-to-ride it’s the heaviest as well.

Then there are also the smaller Dukes from KTM. While the Dukes are completely different motorcycles by their looks and intent, the performance and the price bracket always leads to some inevitable comparisons in the mind of the buyer. However, the upcoming RC series from KTM will be more appropriately pitted against the other full faired motorcycles in the 200cc – 400cc segment and the ones that the R25 will have to compete against.

Among the above, it is quite clear that the Ninja 300 is the closest competitor to the yet-to-be-launched Yamaha R25 in India. While the Yamaha is 50cc short, the overall intent in the design, engine architecture and specifications make it pretty clear what Yamaha is targeting or intend to beat. And as motorcycle enthusiasts, we are extremely happy that there is finally a manufacturer who didn’t take the easy approach by creating a basic 250cc that would cater more to the casual biker rather than someone who is more interested in the performance. While the CBR250R can only beat the Ninja 300 in sales, we are expecting the R25 to give the neck to neck competition to the mighty Ninja on the road and on the track and in sales as well.

Both the Kawasaki and the upcoming Yamaha are very high revving parallel twins; in fact the Yamaha generates its peak power at 1000rpm higher than the Kawasaki. Both are inclined more towards the handling and the performance aspect of motorcycling compared to the Honda CBR250R.

Since the R25 is yet to arrive in India, we can only make some educated speculations on the real world performance of the Yamaha against its competition. What we can surely say is that Yamaha has certainly created a worthy challenge to the undisputed Ninja 250/300 with their R25/R3 and we can only look forward to it. It is always good to have options and Yamaha has finally provided a motorcycle that appears worthy to challenge the best in its segment.

Bring it on Yamaha, we are waiting…

Text by: Sachin Sen
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  1. Excellent article.. very well written. Keep it up guys!


Item Reviewed: Yamaha YZF-R25 - The Lull before the Launch! Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Sajal
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