Eh? Why are we looking at these two at the same time? Sure they share a 150cc sized stump puller within, but other than that they couldn’t be much more different. The short answer is that we thought it might be interesting. They are two very different approaches to the entry level market after all. So let’s see what we’ve got.
In the red corner, weighing in at 133 kilograms and setting you back around six-grand, we have the new Honda ADV150 ‘adventure scooter’. No, I didn’t know that was a thing either, but apparently it is. And in the blue corner, weighing in at 138 kilograms dripping wet and full of fuel we have Yamaha’s updated YZF-R15. Team blue’s littlest brother to the R1. From another mother.
Let’s start with the ADV scooter. Honda describes it as being ‘Adventure Ready’ but I think the marketing team might have gotten a little carried away (they also describe it as having tough, muscular styling.. just saying). For a scooter – which I tend to associate with quick, convenient shorter trips, it has a rather complicated and confusing key fob system with three buttons and a start-up process that involves a push-and-turn dial on the bike as well as requiring the side stand be up and the brakes on to start it. A simple key would have probably been more convenient… but once you figure it out and get used to it, it’s quick enough.
Anyway. On the go it’s a nice thing actually. Quite refined, auto clutch take-up is seamless, engine is smooth and quiet, ABS stoppers feel up to the task. It has quite a nice, nimble lightness to it that I think a lot of folks would find appealing. In traffic it’s able to hold its own against most cars from the front of the lights.
Out on the highway? Well after only 40 kilometres of boring highway work I was already feeling it in my lower back and hips. I got used to it with some more time aboard, but its worth noting that the seat is quite firm and there’s not a lot of soaking up of serious bumps going on for longer trips. It was fine on another full day of riding that was more dynamic. Stop starts, corners etc. But boring highway work is not really it’s forte.
So, fine for around town and shorter jaunts, and certainly the slightly bigger than average sized wheels (for a scooter) help navigate rougher urban roads, potholes and tram tracks etc. But I wouldn’t want to spend extended hours touring on one out in the countryside.
An eight-litre fuel tank is going to force you to stop fairly regularly anyway I guess. I was averaging around 3.5L per hundred kays overall, but was seeing 4.5 – 5L/100ks on the dash while holding it pegged at 110 down the freeway (tucked in behind the slightly adjustable screen), so don’t expect to be getting any more than 200ks per tank. I’d suggest it’d get better mileage than that on full time urban work. Especially with the auto start enabled via the simple switch on the RHS.
And speaking of dash.. It has a display that shows you the day and month once you figure it out (and it also shows you ambient temp’).. But doesnt show you engine temp. I can’t explain it either. And where I was expecting a tacho is instead replaced with an ‘Inst. Fuel Cons’ readout.
Styling wise it seems nicely executed if a little busy, with lots of intricate surface details. That said, they’re all quite nicely finished with good quality materials. Plenty to look at while you’re sipping your latte. I did seem to have to keep wiping the bike down in that colour scheme, the footrest areas in particular just kept showing up dirt.
Although there’s plenty of useful storage space, note that the underseat storage didn’t fit either of the two full faced helmets I tried which I thought was weird. It was about an inch short of closing. Probably would have if I forced it, but I’m not going to do that to a helmet with venting on it… I’d expect its made for open faced helmets.
The centre-stand is easy to use on such a light weight bike for even the most physically challenged amongst us. Super easy to put on and off the stand. It also has a great price tag at a bit over 6k ride away with a 24-month warranty. And for that sort of money you can ignore some quirks in the dash etc. I actually think it’s a pretty solid offering. Plenty to like.
Now on to the Yamaha YZF-R15
The ‘R-15’ that Yamaha are dubbing version ‘3.0’ (yes I can’t help but think of the vegemite thing either), is quite a different pot of seafood. It certainly looks the biz. Clearly some resemblances to its bigger brothers for those more sportily inclined amongst us. Controls are all quite simple and traditional. Clutch and brake feel is good, seating position pretty comfortable too (I was more comfortable after the initial 45mins on this than I was on the scooter). It does a decent job of soaking up bumps and it actually steers surprisingly well for a bike that’s sub 5 grand new.
The achilles heel with this one though is the engine. While it’s new variable valve actuation might have seen a 20 per cent increase in power over the previous model with it now churning out 18 horsepower (incidentally that compares to the scooter’s 14 ponies), its character is.. well.. let’s just call it a little agricultural due to mechanical engine noise that’s not especially pleasant in the upper revs.
A vibe sets in as the variable time thing gets all variable to the point that it almost sounds as though it’s pinging and generally not having a good time. Character perhaps? You do sort of get used to it… The younguns might love that little reminder that they have it pegged and are in boy-racer mode. And the bike does look the biz for your social media selfies and the like…
Fuelling is fairly abrupt in the transition from off to on and back again, and it’ll have the occasional hesitation here and there as well. It doesn’t really like going up hills at speed very much though. And you’ll see the shift-light come on in top gear at about 135 km/h if you have a long enough straight. And some assistance from a downhill.
On the road it’s a fun enough little thing to punt along though once you start to ignore the engine noise. Everything else works pretty well. The little R15 teaches you to maintain momentum. You can certainly hold some corner speed on a bike that weighs around 130 kilos… It’s actually good fun and a bit of a giggle. Suspension and brakes seem up to it with no obvious weaknesses there.
Single front disc only, but it does the job. Nice dash too. Simple. Easy to read. But again – no engine temp? Is that a thing now? Apparently you can customise the ‘Hi Buddy’ greeting so it says your name on start up too…
Turns out this is the number one selling sports bike on the planet. Sure – mostly in markets where they aren’t competing against bigger sportsbikes, but it’s worth taking that into context. Should it have a better engine in the Aussie/Euro/US market? Yes it probably should. Especially if it wants to have the YZF-R name on the side, but it’s built to a price point and I dare say it’ll sell here too. It looks as though it is doing 100 mph standing still and that certainly adds a lot to the appeal.
Although if Yamaha wanted to really have something for the lower end entry level market I do wonder why they haven’t brought in the MT15 yet – or even instead of. It’d be cheaper again and probably take the expected drops from beginners a lot more robustly without as many fragile plastics on it. But again, I guess it is all about the look. It’ll be interesting to see how the new R15 sells compared to its slightly bigger R3 brother that sports a much nicer engine. That price though… less than 5 grand. For a new Yamaha road bike with a factory warranty? Albeit only 12 months due to its small capacity compared to the 24 months warranty on a larger Yamaha motorcycle but still, hard to argue against. Amazing value.
Consider the YZF-R15 if..
You see yourself getting out on the open road and finding some corners to explore
You want to learn to ride with a clutch and gearbox
You aren’t going to have anyone on the back
You see yourself maybe getting a bigger sportbike one day
Consider the ADV150 if..
You’re all about buzzing around town
Twist the throttle and go is your thing
You don’t see yourself doing big kilometres on the open road
You fancy something with a bit of in-built storage
Yamaha YZF-R15 and Honda ADV150 spec’ sheets compared
Wayne loves all things motorsport, but lives for two wheels. Mountain bikes, dirt bikes, adventure bikes, road bikes, race bikes, the lot.
An ex riding coach and road racer wannabe who simultaneously ran out of talent and money.
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