Yamaha MT-15 First Ride Review: Pricey Performance
The Yamaha MT-15 has been waited for by a lot of people as it promised to be the everyday R15 we all wanted, but now that it is here, is it really all that exciting?
Yamaha MT-15. (Photo: News18.com)
If we were to tell you about some of the most happening motorcycle segments in India then we have got to talk about performance-oriented commuter motorcycles, something that was made popular thanks to Yamaha R15, which has been the segment benchmark for years now. But there is a new competitor in the form of its own sibling called as the MT-15, or as Yamaha calls it – the dark side of Japan. And if you think about it, a street-naked version of one of the most popular full-faired motorcycles on sale in India sounds like a sure shot a recipe for success.
And to let us sample the Yamaha MT-15, the company called us over to the Buddh International Circuit. A track that was meant to have Formula 1 cars screaming past 300 km/h, a track that can surely bring to light the chinks in the armour of any motorcycle that you bring here, let alone a 150cc motorcycle. So how did the MT-15 fare?
The Yamaha MT-15 is pretty similar to the Yamaha R15 but it approaches things a little bit differently. But if the R15 is anything to go by, the MT15 should be an exciting motorcycle to ride.
But let’s start with the way this motorcycle looks and boy does it look great. The MT-15 follows the unmistakable design language of sporty streetfighter motorcycle with a compact headlamp unit, a stubby tail and a muscular fuel tank. The highlight, of course, is the LED headlamp unit that gives the motorcycle an angry face that will be instantly recognizable wherever you see it.
Then, the high-rise fuel tank is complimented by the tank shrouds and the radiator fins which make it look butch. I also really liked the way the short tail looks with the neatly integrated LED tail lights. With a tail tidy in place, it should look even better. The wheels come with highlights on the rims that look fantastic but I do miss the contrasting rims that the international model gets as that would have really hit it out of the park. Also, you have to give it to Yamaha for giving a neatly designed rear grab rail as it does not look out of place.
Another thing that we appreciate is the LCD instrument cluster that is easy to read and has decent visibility as well.
And now that we have seen the motorcycle up close, it is time to find out how it rides and on that front, it has borrowed the R15’s biggest weapon – the engine. Although, in the MT-15, the same engine is in a different state of tune. What Yamaha has done, essentially, is that the engine compromises a bit of top speed for better mid-range acceleration.
Oh, and speaking of the Yamaha R15, well, we did test it last year and were left thoroughly impressed with its race track potential but what it lacked was an ABS system. But now, Yamaha is offering dual-channel ABS on the R15 and we tested that too. Now, the R15 now feels a lot more complete.
Speaking of ABS, well, the MT-15 gets only a single channel ABS system. And also, it does not have the option of Metzeler tyres that the R15 gets and no sportier exhaust option either for the MT-15.
Thankfully, the fantastic 155cc liquid cooled, single cylinder engine is still there. It’s still one of the best 150cc engines out there and since the MT-15 gets a bigger sprocket, it feels a bit quicker through the gears at lower RPMs. The slip and assist clutch further helps with a lighter feeling clutch and allows for aggressive downshifts as well.
The biggest difference is in the riding posture.
The seat height of the MT-15 is lower than the R15 and the rake and trail has been altered for better agility. As a result, the bike feels a lot more comfortable for everyday riding conditions and it feels very responsive for those quick turn-ins. Having said that, the motorcycle still has great mid-corner stability even if it’s a bit keen on leaning into it in the first place.
As for the suspension, it felt plush on the smooth surface of the Buddh International Circuit, but we will have to test it out on the open roads because well, let’s be honest, most of the riders will ride the MT-15 on city roads and highways and if the first impressions are anything to go by, it is definitely going to be an exciting motorcycle.
The big problem with it, however, is not the motorcycle itself. It is the price that it comes at. At an ex-showroom price of Rs 1.36 Lakh, it is not aggressively priced in any way and the biggest question you would have to ask yourself is whether to spend Rs 3,000 more and get the dual-channel equipped and full-faired R15 Version 3.0. And, if it is a street-naked that you are looking for, then there’s also the Yamaha FZ25 which is a lot cheaper than the MT-15.
So to sum up our experience with the Yamaha MT-15, well, we did not have a lot of time to spend with it but it was enough to tell us that this is a properly exciting motorcycle to ride. Yes, at a price tag of Rs 1.36 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) it is not priced aggressively in any way. So, it makes sense for those who are looking for a motorcycle with a bit of sportiness or a motorcycle with the performance similar to the R15 but in a more relaxed package – and budget isn’t a problem.
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