Yamaha YZF-R15 Gets Updated with Variable Valves

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What you see here is the very unassuming 2017 Yamaha YZF-R15, a 155cc single-cylinder sport bike that was designed with the Asian market in mind – as such, the bike will debut in Indonesia in April 2017, and the rest of the ASEAN market later this year.

Hold on before you click through though, as while the R15 might be too small by our Western market standards, the new Yamaha YZF-R15 packs some interesting technology, namely Yamaha’s variable valve actuation (VVA).

Because of this technology, Yamaha says that the 2017 model of the YZF-R15 achieves a 18% increase in power output (19hp in total), and a 4.7% increase in fuel efficiency, all from its 3% engine displacement increase and with the VVA technology.

For those who aren’t familiar with Yamaha VVA, you can consider it a very basic version of variable valve technology. Yamaha’s design uses a mechanism to shift between intake lobes for low-rpm engine speeds, and another lobe for high-rev engine speeds (check out the video below).

This has the benefit of not only changing the valvetrain characteristics, but it also allows Yamaha to use a SOHC cylinder head, instead of a DOHC arrangement, which means the cylinder head is more compact.

Other changes for the 2017 model year include bigger brakes up front, and upside down forks for the suspension. The 2017 Yamaha YZF-R15 also continues the use of a slipper-assist clutch, as we’ve seen on the previous model years.

Why would Yamaha invest so much technology in its bargain basement sport bike model? The answer is in the numbers. As we know, the motorcycle market in Indonesia alone is 5.6 million units.

As such for the first year of sales, Big Blue expects to move only 50,000 units of the 2017 Yamaha YZF-R15  – which happens to be more bikes than Yamaha North America sells in the United States each year.

Video of Yamaha Variable Valve Actuation (VVA):

Source: Yamaha