Bajaj V15 – First ride review
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It all started in way back in 1971 at the Indo-Pak war when India’s 1st air craft carrier the INS Vikrant took to the seas to defend our country. Its legendary battles made every Indian proud to have her defending our shores. Unfortunately it had to be scrapped in 2014.
But the legend lives on as Bajaj has bought scrap metal from the INS Vikrant and used it to make their new motorcycle – The Bajaj V15.
Pros – Looks good, offers a sense of pride, bright headlight.
Cons – Low top end power, engine vibrations.
Stand Out Features – Removable rear cowl, café racer styling
Design and Features
Now the INS Vikrant is a legendary war hero and Bajaj want to give their customers the feeling of owning and riding a part of that rich heritage. They’ve made sure that the V15 stands out from the crowd. Up front you have a massive headlamp unit which houses a bright 60W bulb along with a set of pilot lamps.
The design looks like an inverted image of the aircraft runway on the INS Vikrant. It gets a large muscular 13litre fuel tank with and some bold graphics and even an INS insignia on the fuel filler cap. The side panels blend in well with the contoured seat but what’s impressive is the design at the rear. Bajaj has finally done something new and given us a very classy rear end with a neat LED tail lamp.
As far as features go, the V15 gets an all new semi-digital instrument console. It looks quite compact but shows you all the information that you need. One new feature that we liked was the digital fuel gauge.
It glows green when full and changes to red colour as the fuel level drops in to reserve. It’s not a great feature but looks pretty cool. The switchgear and ergonomics are typical of a Bajaj discover and the rear view mirrors are those from the Avenger series.
You also have the option of removing the rear cowl which transforms the motorcycle from a single seat café racer to a two-seater commuter. The bottom of the key has an Allen key bolt attached to it which you have to use to unscrew the rear cowl. It’s a pretty neat feature and I’m sure it will be a big hit.
Engine and Performance
For a muscular looking motorcycle like this, you’d expect it to be powered by a big engine. But Bajaj has used their new long-stroke 150cc engine. It churns out 12bhp at 7500rpm and 13Nm at 5,500rpm. The engine has good bottom and mid-range grunt but suffers at higher speeds. As you take off from the stand still, the V15 reaches 60km/h quickly. Unfortunately as you climb higher, vibrations kick in. This isn’t something we expected because the engine actually sounds refined. It’s a torquey engine and is nestled on an all new double-cradle chassis. We didn’t get the time to do a fuel efficiency run but Bajaj claims the V15 should return 55km/l.
Ride, Handling and Braking
Right from the get go you can feel the eagerness of the engine. Even though it may look like a café racer, the riding position is upright like that of a commuter motorcycle. Slot it into first gear and the motorcycle takes off but its short gear ratios will have you shifting up quickly. Bajaj has given a heel and toe shifter with a traditional all up shifting sequence. Cruising up to 60km/h is where the V15 excels. Try to push it more than that and you’ll feel the vibrations kick in. We found an open stretch of road to test out the top speed and saw 105km/h on the speedo.
Even though the vibrations are a lot at that speed the V15 still holds steady. The new double-cradle chassis works well in combination with the beefy 33mm front forks and the rear gas charged shock absorbers. The rear did feel a little stiff but the front suspension worked really well. Now even though the V15 has a slightly longer wheelbase, it felt stable while cornering. The new on-off road Eurogrip tyres offer good grip and make sure you stay planted on the road. The Bajaj V15 will come in only one version and we’re thankful that it gets a disc brake up front. The front disc brake isn’t very progressive but brings to a halt quickly.
Now Bajaj plan to start deliveries of the V15 later this month and have priced it at Rs 62,000 ex-Delhi. It’s difficult to compare this motorcycle to others, well simply because it’s a one of its kind. It’s a part café racer, part cruiser, part commuter. It is an odd combination but for now we do know that it’s got a torquey engine, looks stellar and there’s a part of the legendary INS Vikrant somewhere in there.