2023 Yamaha YZF-R15M (bike review)

Positioned at the entry point to Yamaha’s super sport range, you will find one of the hottest looking learner legal motorcycles on the market. The YZF-R15M takes inspiration from the iconic YZF-R1M, tones it down and bundles it into a cool, affordable package.

The aggressive styling and graphics make it look like it’s not to be messed with, while the compact single bi-functional LED headlight and position lights combine nicely into the aerodynamic body for an almost race bike feel.

Powered by a fuel injected 150cc liquid cooled SOHC single cylinder VVA engine producing 13.5kW and 14.2Nm, it’s not going to set any speed records. It’s also not meant to because let’s face it, this bike is for entry level riders.

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The engine is smooth and punchy and when combined with the well-geared 6-speed gearbox and quick shifter, the bike is fun to ride. It’s a hoot doing seamless 100 per cent throttle shifts too.

While it does rev a little on the freeway, it’s not annoying and there’s no buzz through the seat. A slipper clutch gives the rider a light clutch lever pull, while there’s added safety from a rear wheel lock during aggressive down shifts. It’s a great feature for newer riders.

2023 Yamaha R15M
2023 Yamaha YZF-R15M

The traction control system detects rear wheel slippage and steps in to adjust ignition timing and fuel injection settings to reduce engine power for added safety. That should prevent the uninitiated from getting into dangerous situations in wet weather.

In true Yamaha style, you can turn traction control on and off too. Suspension comes in the form of a KYB 37mm telescopic fork with 130mm of travel on the front, and a link swing arm on the rear. The latter offers 97mm of travel.

The ride is on the firm side, but thankfully the handling is very good. Stopping power comes from a 282mm disc with dual piston ByBre callipers on the front, and a single 220mm disc with a Nissin single piston calliper at the rear.

The brakes are not super sport spec though and require some effort to pull up in a hurry. That said, we actually thing that’s a good thing, particularly for inexperienced riders. Panic braking on a race spec brake setup could do more harm than good.

Combined with ABS, this braking package provides good feel for the inexperienced rider. MRF Nylogrip Zapper tyres provide lots of grip in all conditions, and are fitted to signature Yamaha Blue 17-inch 10-spoke alloy rims.

2023 Yamaha R15M
2023 Yamaha YZF-R15M

The digital dash is well laid out and easy to read, with plenty of features. Among them are two trip computers, average fuel, coolant temp, fuel gauge, traction control status, riding mode and smartphone connectivity.

The shift lights across the dash are a really cool feature and add to the racer-inspired persona of the bike, especially when revs high and smashing through the gears. There’s full connectivity with Yamaha’s Y-Connect app too.

The app will allow phone notifications straight to the bike’s display and you can utilise it on your phone for such things as live diagnostics and the service schedule. It will even show you where you last parked your motorcycle.

The seat height of 815mm allowed us to have both feet flat on the ground when stopped. It’s comfortable, and a pillion seat and foot pegs are standard. All-in-all it’s a nice looking ride that will get you noticed, and to the untrained eye, looks just like its big brother.

People are genuinely surprised when they hear it’s a 150cc motorcycle. It has a responsive engine, and while it won’t set the world on fire, it is great for a learner. That’s particularly so for anyone who’s just starting out.

2023 Yamaha R15M
2023 Yamaha YZF-R15M

For those with a decent amount of riding experience, the YZF-R3 or R7LA offer more punch. With that said, fun can be had on this motorcycle. It carries good momentum through corners, and it’s a breeze to ride.

At 140kg, and featuring a tight turning circle, you can easily manoeuvre it around without too much effort. Fuel efficiency is excellent and you will see upwards of 400km in range form its 11-litre fuel tank, making it perfect for the peak hour commute. 

Build quality is really good too, and we liked the extra detailed touches, like anodised blue fork caps and a stitched YZF-R15M emblem on the front of the pillion seat. Priced from $6,299 ride away, it comes with a 2-year warranty.

The first service is due 1000km and every 6000km thereafter. There are but two colour choices – the 60th Anniversary World Grand Prix colours of white and red, and Icon Performance (as tested).

Our test bike was supplied by Yamaha Motorcycles Australia. To find out more about the 2023 YZF-R15M, contact your local Yamaha dealer.

2023 Yamaha R15M
2023 Yamaha YZF-R15M


Ride experience
Style and comfort
Braking and handling
Overall bike performance
Value for money


Pros – styling; handling; value for money.
Cons – non-adjustable fork; no 12v power outlet.
Mathew Probert
Mathew Probert
Motorcycling has been in Mathew Probert's blood for more than 30 years, which explains why there are three bikes in his garage. He says there's one for every occasion, but it's dirt bikes that are his passion. He also enjoys the adrenaline rush of taking on some of the best roads in Australia aboard anything with two wheels.


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<strong>Pros –</strong> styling; handling; value for money.<br> <strong>Cons –</strong> non-adjustable fork; no 12v power outlet.2023 Yamaha YZF-R15M (bike review)