Narendra Sharma of MotorOctane took the Bajaj V15 for a ride and here are his impressions
Bajaj V15, the latest motorcycle from Bajaj Auto's stable was unveiled just before the Auto Expo 2016. We took this motorcycle and spend some time with it to explore and bring out what it is all about. The V15 was revealed amid much fanfare and hype due to the fact that India's naval warship INS Vikrant is one of the forces behind this bike. Bajaj Auto has used the metal from the Vikrant and used a bit of it in the V15 in order to relate it to strength. Hence the name V, which denotes Vikrant, India's first aircraft carrier. While this can be attributed to more of a marketing wizardry by Bajaj Auto thinktanks, our ride revealed some interesting aspects of the V15.
Bajaj V15 design:
At first glance, the V15 looks attractive. In fact, it looks much more premium than it actually is and easily seems to be from a segment or two higher. One can also easily make out that this commuter bike has taken inspiration from a cruiser and looks like a concoction of the commuter and a cruiser. The design is mainly retro and is curvaceous all around. The tank is muscular, big one a that that and easily stands out in the overall design. As you relate this to what Bajaj has been advertising, the tank is made from the metal of INS Vikrant, India's first aircraft carrier. How much percentage of it is used, the company has refused to answer that question. The tank has a prominent V logo on it along with red coloured graphics.
There is a large headlamp in the front with a curious design, however, I found it quite flattish and slightly out of place as compared to the styling of the rest of the bike. The bikini fairing around the headlamp has a chrome bezel and a short black shield on top. The handlebar is short but wide enough and is fitted at the ends with good quality switchgear and grips. There are the headlamp and horn switches on the left and the start button on the right.
The bike though misses out on an engine kill switch. The tank extends to the trapezoidal side panels with graphics that continue from the tank. The contoured seat is a slim one and has an interesting hard cover on the pillion part, that makes it look like a single seater. This cover can be easily removed to provide access to the pillion. The tail of the bike is also quite interesting and made in a retro fashion. The tailpiece tapers towards the end and has an oblong tail lap on it with a thick chrome surround that has a waterfall effect. The lower part of the tail has a mudguard which is well integrated. The bike has twin five-spoke alloy wheels in black colour that have a sporty look.
The instrument cluster is a simplistic one with a large dial on the left that is for the speedometer and built-in odometer and on the right side are the tell-tale lamps, indicating the neutral gear, turn indicators and high beam. There is also a fuel gauge present. The ignition key slot typically positioned in the centre of the handlebar. The mirrors are borrowed from the Avenger and are treated in black colour, like the Avenger Street. The V15 comes in two colours -- black and white -- and both have red graphics on them. The exhaust pipe tilts upwards and is black in colour with a chrome shield and chrome tip. The wheels are different in size as the front ones are 18-inch in diameter while the rear ones are 16-inch ones. The V15 is 2044mm in length, 780mm in width and 1070mm in height. The wheelbase is 1355mm and the bike weighs 135.5kgs.
Bajaj V15 engine and performance
The V15 comes with a 150cc Twin Spark DTSi, single-cylinder engine. Bajaj Auto says that this is a completely new engine and has no resemblance to the 150 cc units from the company. This 150cc engine and churns out 12bhp at 7500rpm and has a peak torque of 13Nm at 5500rpm. It is mated to a five-speed gearbox that has an 'All Up' gearing pattern. Press the starter and the V15 fires up quickly to a soft note.
Blip the throttle and the engine note you hear is not shrieky but a refined and deep one that sounds mature. After you straddle the bike, it feels pretty wide especially the seat portion, something that you generally do not get on a Bajaj. It does not feel comfortable initially and takes a little time to get adjusted to.
Upshift into the first gear and the bike starts off smoothly while the engine revs smoothly. This 150cc engine from Bajaj is quite a refined unit; similar to what we had also experienced while riding the Avenger 150. It didn't feel coarse at all and will get smoother after the initial running in. The vibrations are very well controlled. The V15 accelerates in a silky way and the gearshift is also pretty smooth.
The bike does not send in vibrations even at high rpms, which we feel is a commendable job by Bajaj engineers. The acceleration is pretty brisk for a 150cc engine and this makes it easy to ride in the city. The reason for this is the 13Nm torque that sets in pretty early and the bike has sufficient torque for its engine size. This also translates into lesser gearshifts. This bike is designed for everyday commuting within the city and that's what it does best. In slow moving traffic, it provides that extra thrust to keep it going without jerks and also without putting in too much effort. The gear lever also has a heel shifter so one can ride easily even wearing formal shoes. The clutch lever has a soft action and is easy to operate. The V15 that we rode was brand new, without any running in, yet the engine felt pretty free.
Bajaj V15 mileage:
We haven't done an extensive test on the Bajaj V15, however it should return about 60-65km/l on a normal riding cycle within the city.
Bajaj V15 ride and handling:
The stance while seated is an upright one and the handlebar is set a bit low. This makes commuting within the city very easy. The foot pegs are also not set too high hence you don't squat while being seated. This applies to a medium-heighted rider like me (5'10”). The handlebar is wide and hence it aids in maneuvering the bike without flexing your muscles. The V15 is designed mainly for commuting and do not expect it to handle like a sports bike, because it won't. The bike is pretty stable even at reasonably high speeds of close to 100km/h, which is its limit. However, its not very agile while changing directions. It doesn't feel heavy but just that it is a bit stiff. The V15 is meant to be ridden under 80km/h where it finds its comfort zone.
One thing that is appreciable is the ride quality. It doesn't come as a surprise as Bajaj has kind of mastered the suspensions on their motorcycles to suit Indian terrains. In the same manner, the V15 has a pliant ride and can also tackle bad roads with ease, without unsettling the rider. It has conventional 33mm telescopic front forks and the rear has dual shock absorbers, unlike a monoshock that is found in Discover 150. As per Bajaj, customers in semi-urban or rural markets prefer dual shock absorbers as it gives them a feeling of the bike being tough.
The Bajaj V15 comes across as a fresh product in the crowded motorcycle segment. The styling of this motorcycle is radical and hence it may appeal to some and some may not be too attracted towards it. During our ride we noticed a lot of heads turn and also get inquisitive about the V15. Also, most people who came to us to enquire about the bike thought it to be a premium segment motorcycle. The build seems quite tough and one which can handle our semi-urban and rural conditions pretty well. Even the fit and finish is very impressive.
Bajaj is trying hard once again to establish their dominance in the 150cc commuter bike segment that once the Discover enjoyed. The product is overall good and if priced right, can make a dent in the market immediately. We expect it to be priced around Rs 72,000 (on-road). Let's see to what extent will buyers accept this one.
Bajaj V15 launch date:
The Bajaj V15 will be launched in India by mid-March and the deliveries will commence end of March 2016. The Bajaj V15 has already been revealed on February 1, 2016, just before the 2016 Auto Expo started. The V15 was ideated four years ago and after several yes and nos, the bike's design was finalised. This is a commuter segment bike.
Bajaj V15 price in India:
The pricing of the Bajaj V15 is about Rs 67,000 to Rs 72,000 (on-road), depending on the city you live. The bookings for the bike have started and dealers are accepting them at Rs 5,000. The bikes have or are reaching various dealerships for display purpose and to start taking bookings.
New Bajaj V15 specifications, colours, dimensions, features and other details
Bajaj V15 engine details:
Bajaj V15 colours:
Front gets 240-dia disc
Rear has 130 dia Drum
Front: 90/90 – 18-inch
Rear: 120/80 – 16-inch
Bajaj V15 key features
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