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Bajaj V15 First Ride Review .pdf

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Author: Nitin Upadhyay

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Bajaj V15 First Ride Review
Bajaj got the marketing spot on with the new V15 motorcycle. But can the new 150cc
motorcycle deliver similar performance on the tarmac?

The 150cc segment of motorcycles is an intriguing space in the Indian two-wheeler market.
From street bikes to full-faired motorcycles to cruisers to semi-faired motorcycles there are
tonnes of options for a prospective buyer. The undisputed king of the 150cc segment is Bajaj
Auto and it has maintained its dominance in the form of four offerings- Discover 150S, Pulsar
150, Pulsar AS150 and the Avenger 150. Despite the above options, Bajaj feels there’s space
for more and have ridden in the new Bajaj V15. The new motorcycle is the first offering from the
new premium commuter brand that Bajaj plans to kick-start in the near future. It pulled off a
marketing genius with the V15 as it marketed it as bike made from the steel (only fuel tank
assembly) of INS Vikrant – India’s first aircraft carrier that was scrapped recently. By playing the
patriotic tune, the V15 was a rage on social media when it was unveiled prior to 2016 Auto
Expo. But we aren’t here for our marketing lessons but to ride and find out whether the new
Bajaj V15 is an able competitor in the executive commuter segment.

Design & Features:
The styling of the Bajaj V15 is confusing to say the least. It seems as if two design teams were
employed to work on a single project as it looks like an unusual combination of a cafe racer and
a normal commuter. The trapezoidal headlight which is claimed to be the brightest in the
segment looks oddball on the bike owing to its form. In profile, the V15 is more pleasing on the
eyes with the sculpted fuel tank, megaphone style exhaust muffler and the multi spoke alloy
wheels. The fuel filler cap with the INS Vikrant logo is a neat touch while the pearl white paint
job on our test bike with metallic flakes looked good. The rear section of the motorcycle is well
proportioned with a contrast coloured grab handle and the petite LED tail lamp unit.

However the overdose of chrome on the rear suspension springs, exhaust muffler and the
headlamp housing look tacky. While we aren’t impressed by the design of the Bajaj V15, it
seemed to have appealed to the masses as many people stopped to click pics of the bike and
bombard us with queries regarding it. We though suspect it was the bright red and white paint
scheme that played a significant part in grabbing their attention. The instrument console is a
basic analogue unit with speedometer and trip meter while the fuel gauge bar changes from
green to red when the bike hits reserve.

Switch gear quality is average while engine kill switch has been a given a miss to save cost.
The rear seat cowl, larger grab rail and crash guard are optional extras and cost Rs 999. The
cowl can be removed easily with the help of an allen key that has been embedded into the key
fob. Talking about build quality, the Bajaj V15 looks and feels like a motorcycle that has been
built to a cost.

Engine & Performance:
The Bajaj V15 is powered by a 149cc, single-cylinder motor that produces 12PS of peak power
at 7,500rpm and 13Nm of peak torque at just 5,5000rpm. The powerplant has been mated to a
five speed transmission which in typical commuter fashion is “all down”. Bajaj officials had
briefed us before the ride to not expect shattering performance from the V15 and by the end of
the test ride I couldn’t agree more with their words. The Bajaj V15’s performance is
disappointing for a 150cc displacement motor. The bike struggled to reach three digit speeds
while vibrations were felt from the footpegs and fuel tank. Mid-range performance though was
good with the torque coming in handy while overtaking in traffic.

Special attention was given to the exhaust note which is a bit throaty but nothing exceptional.
The Bajaj V15 feels comfortable cruising at speeds around 70kmph in fifth gear. Talking about
gearbox, the gear shifts aren’t as crisp as it Japanese rivals while the clutch action felt sticky.
Performance isn’t the forte of the Bajaj V15 as the motor feels a generation old in company of
modern 150cc powerplants and we feel that the Avenger 150’s engine should have been used
on the new bike. Being a short ride we couldn’t test the mileage figures, but the company claims
that the V15 will return 55kmpl in real world conditions.

Ride, Handling & Braking:
Low saddle height, centre-set footpegs and wide handle bar echo its commuterish DNA
and the riding posture is upright and comfortable. But I found the foam density of the
seat too soft as after spending a considerable time on the bike you feel like you have
“sunk into” the saddle. Also the fuel tank isn’t easy to grip with your thighs owing to its
form. The Bajaj V15 isn’t a motorcycle that you would go corner hunting and that show
in its neutral handling dynamics. Manoeuvrability though is something that is vital for
any commuter and the Bajaj V15 shines on this aspect as its agility helped me in
negotiating the torrid Pune traffic rather effortlessly. Braking is done by a disc unit at the
front and drum brake at the rear.

Braking performance was satisfactory with good bite from the front disc but they lack feel and
progression. Telescopic front forks and gas charged twin shock absorbers at the rear handle
suspension duties. The bike is well damped as it rode over broken roads and undulations
effortlessly. The plush ride quality is among the highlights of the motorcycle and given our poor
road conditions it’s a boon.

Among the strong point of the Bajaj V15 is its cut-throat pricing of just Rs 62,000 exshowroom Delhi with the optional accessories. At the above price point, it offers
tremendous value for money proposition for a 150cc displacement motorcycle. Sadly it
doesn’t evoke the same emotions with respect to performance. Also the flamboyant
styling isn’t to our taste but gauging from the response of the onlookers, it seems to
have worked with the masses.

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