Yamaha MT-15: An otherworldly streetfighterMT-15 marries both comfort and performance into a compact package.
Yamaha knows a thing or two about making motorcycles. The Japanese company has been making motorcycles since 1955. Fast forward a few decades and they have seen tremendous success with its FZ and R series.
While the FZ series is renowned for its comfort and muscular design, the R series is especially popular among enthusiasts looking for performance and who are willing to sacrifice some degree of comfort.
So if you wanted to buy a Yamaha motorcycle, and you had to choose, just like Neo had to in the Matrix movies, would you take the red pill (comfort and muscular design) or the blue pill (performance with slight discomfort)?
The all-new MT-15 throws all of that out of the equation and offers both comfort and performance.
It gets muscular elements like the sculpted fuel tank, stubby tail section, plastic belly pan, front winglets and radiator side fins. But the most striking design element is in the front. The single projector LED headlight is adorned by two daytime running lights (also LED) which gives it a distinctively Transformer-like look. Yamaha has integrated both the low and hi-beam into a single compact unit and it offers excellent illumination at night unlike the LED headlights on the R15 v3.
You can think of the MT-15 as the naked sibling of the faired R15 v3. Both motorcycles share many components such as the engine, digital console, alloys, brakes, tyres and exhaust.
Powering the MT-15 is a 155cc liquid-cooled engine that generates over 19 PS of power and 14.7 Nm of torque. It is an engine that loves to be revved but the best thing about it is the Variable Valves Actuation (VVA) technology. Think of VVA as power profiles on your laptop, balanced and high performance. The engine also has two camshaft profiles, one for low- to mid-range rpm and another for high rpm. The engine shifts between each other at the 7,400 rpm mark to ensure good power and torque throughout the rev range.
However, Yamaha has gone one step further and put in a larger rear sprocket (52 teeth vs 48 on the v3) which means a quicker initial acceleration while sacrificing top speed.
This combined with the lack of weight on the front means that the MT-15 likes to pop the front wheel.
The MT-15 is also capable of hitting triple-digit speeds without breaking a sweat and I observed little to no vibrations throughout the rev range. But the most amazing thing that I noticed was that for a performance-tuned engine, I was getting mileage of close to 50 kmpl. This means that one could cover nearly 500km on a full tank.
Riding in the city is where the MT-15 comes to life, with tractable power low in the rev range and enough juice to get your blood pumping. You sit upright in the saddle and the handlebar is wide. This combination makes riding the MT-15 extremely comfortable. However, due to the stubby tail section, the pillion seat is on the smaller side. So if you are riding with a backpack, your pillion will not have enough space to seat. At the back of the motorcycle, there are grab rails on either side for the pillion to hold onto.
It tips the scale at just under 140kg and is easy to manoeuvre. This streetfighter is light and nimble which makes weaving in and out of traffic effortless. Throttle response is on point and the fuel-injected motor does not heat up at all even during heavy traffic. The motor is mated to a 6-speed gearbox which comes with an assist and slipper clutch as standard. According to Yamaha, this setup reduces the weight of the clutch pull and makes for smooth, enjoyable downshifts.
The LCD instrument cluster panel constantly highlights the digital speedometer, bar-style tachometer along with gear position and fuel gauge. And when you rev the MT-15 high enough, the multifunction instrument cluster will display the VVA indicator, urging you to go even faster. Additional information such as odometer, Trip 1, Trip 2, clock and others can be selected for display as well.
The suspension is on the stiffer side so you will feel the bumps and undulations in the road. But that allows the MT-15 to tip into a corner and maintain its line to perfection. The motorcycle gets Yamaha’s patented Deltabox chassis which is one of the best in the business and offers immense feedback. In a Deltabox frame, the top and the bottom of the head pipe and pivot points form a triangle, giving the chassis excellent rigidity balance.
Even though the MT-15 has disc brakes on both wheels, it only gets single-channel Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) on the front unlike the dual-channel ABS unit (front and back) on the R15 v3. The front brake performed well thanks to the Bosch ABS whereas the rear brake felt mushy and did not inspire confidence.
But let’s talk about the biggest elephant in the room, the price. The MT-15 is priced at just over Rs420,000. That is expensive for a sub-160cc motorcycle and is even costlier than your typical 200cc motorcycle.
But if you think about it, it’s priced just about right.
Let’s look at Yamaha’s stable.
If you add Rs30,000, you can pick up the R15 v3 which has better equipment such as dual-channel ABS and the supersport styling that few can match. But you do sacrifice comfort.
For Rs35,000 less, you can also opt for the FZ25 which arguably has better power and torque figures and offers a similar riding position. But it misses out on ABS, liquid-cooling, six-speed transmission and much more. And the fact that it looks just like any other FZs.
On the other hand, the MT-15 is a breath of fresh air with its bold and aggressive look. It marries both comfort and performance into a compact package.
The choice is yours, do you take the red pill or the blue pill?
- 155CC Liquid cooled, 4-valve Engine with Variable Valves Actuation technology
- Max power 19.3 PS
- Max torque 14.7 Nm
- Bi-functional LED headlight
- Muscular tank
- Negative LCD display with gear shift indication
- Seat height 810mm
- Stubby tail section with LED tail light
- Fuel tank 10L
- Mileage 50 kmpl
- Single-channel ABS by Bosch
- Assist and Slipper Clutch
- Wide 140mm rear tyre
- Tubeless tyres