I’m a huge fan of small displacement motorcycles, particularly sporty machines like naked and sportbikes. And so when Yamaha pulled the covers off the Yamaha YZF-R15M here in the Philippines back in 2022, I was quick to head over to the press event and take it for a spin.

It’s one of the most popular little sportbikes here, as well as the rest of Asia, and occupies the so-called premium entry-level segment. And for the 2024 model year, Yamaha Taiwan has pulled the covers off new liveries for this little sportbike, suggesting that these new colorways will soon make their way to other parts of Asia.

Yamaha Should Bring The YZF-R15M Sportbike To The US

More specifically, the R15 will be made available in three variants—with an additional ABS version for those looking for more traditional colorways. Of course, the top-tier M package is still offered. In fact, it’s been freshened up for 2024, with a revised colorway inspired directly by the final edition of the YZF-R1M.

That’s to say, with a blacked-out front fender and lower fairing.

Yamaha Should Bring The YZF-R15M Sportbike To The US

MotoGP aficionados can opt for the Monster Energy colorway, inspired by Team Yamaha’s MotoGP livery. Last but not least, the standard ABS variant introduces three colorways reminiscent of other models in the Yamaha stable: Blue Dark Gray, Black, and Red Dark Gray.

As for specs and features, most of the previous year’s componentry is carried over to the new bike. It’s still rocking the same 155cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected thumper with Yamaha’s Variable Valve Actuation (VVA) tech—an engine I’ve become very familiar with over the years, and one I consider to be one of the best in its class.

Yamaha Should Bring The YZF-R15M Sportbike To The US
Yamaha Should Bring The YZF-R15M Sportbike To The US
Yamaha Should Bring The YZF-R15M Sportbike To The US

But it’s with the R15M where the fun’s really at. It gets gold anodized front forks, Y-Connect phone connectivity, and a quickshifter as standard. Talk about punching above its weight class.

In the Asian market, the Yamaha R15 carries a price tag starting at about $3,500—quite a steep price for what’s essentially a sporty commuter. But hey, one can’t deny the charm of what can best be described as a miniature YZF-R1.

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Performance-oriented small-displacement machines are a relatively new thing in the Asian market. I remember not too long ago, premium features like inverted forks, a TFT display, and a quickshifter were offered only on premium mid- to large-displacement machines. And so it’s clear that manufacturers are leaning on the aspirational side of things when designing entry-level products.

Beginners getting a taste of fancy technology on entry-level machines means that manufacturers set the stage for these folks to upgrade to bigger, better, more performance-focused machines. It’s the perfect illustration of the trickle-down effect when it comes to technology, and quite frankly, it’s what keeps the industry’s wheels turning.

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