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Yamaha MT-15 Review: Image Gallery

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  • Jul 25, 2019
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We put the Yamaha MT-15 through its paces and here’s how it fared in real-world conditions.

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The only proper performance-oriented bike from Yamaha in the entry-level segment came in the form of the YZF-R15 V3.0. However, the bike's aggressive riding posture requires one to be as fit as a fiddle while its razor-sharp handling could get a bit unnerving for novice riders. What was needed was a naked streetfighter that would blend the R15 V3.0's engaging performance while being easy on your back. That's where the Yamaha MT-15 comes in. We put the Yamaha MT-15 through its paces in real-world conditions and here’s how it fares. 

Design and Build Quality:

To begin with, the front is designed as a samurai warrior’s mask with bright white pilot lamps and a round LED headlight. Though the design involves a lot of creases in the mask itself and looks quite busy, it only adds to the drama.

From the side, the MT-15 gets a lot of muscular elements like the 10-litre fuel tank, sharp tank extensions which look like air intakes, and radiator covers. With these, the bike looks compact but powerful.

The wheels on the India-spec MT-15 gets fluorescent highlights which are in sync with the MT logo, but the fluorescent green alloy wheels found on the international-spec bike are surely missed here.

The negative LCD display has bold readouts for all possible information you’d need. But because the console is placed so close to the handlebars, you will have to tilt your head to read it.

The exhaust has been carried forward from the R15, but we feel a redesigned unit would have been more in sync with the bike’s sharper appeal.

The small LED tail lamp looks smart, but we really think a tail tidy for the number plate holder would make the bike look even sportier. 

On the flipside, the fit and finish of these body panels don't do justice to the design, or to the strong reputation for quality that the Yamaha brand has garnered. The plastics feel flimsier than the R15 V3.0’s, and that’s a bike which already got some flak for the quality of its compromised plastic. 

Also, the new switchgear can get quite confusing as the horn and indicator switches have been interchanged. Their awkward placement means you have to leave the handlebar grip when you want to reach them.

Compared to its faired sibling, the MT-15 misses out on a cast aluminium swingarm, which has been replaced by a steel box-section one, and you only get single-channel ABS.

 

Engine and Performance:

The MT-15 uses the same redefined 155cc motor from the R15 V3.0. Also thanks to Variable Valve Actuation (VVA), the engine revs cleanly all the way to its 12,000 rpm redline and nowhere in between does it feel like it's lacking drive. However

The bike managed a 0-60kmph time of 4.21 seconds while reaching 100kmph took 12.08 seconds.

However, these numbers are marginally slower than that of the R15 due to the lack of a fairing and a larger rear sprocket.

On the highway, the MT feels stress-free till 95kmph, but you can still cruise easily at low triple-digit speeds. Beyond the 6500rpm mark, however, you will feel a buzz on the handlebars and footpegs. Stay south of 100kmph and the MT manages to return 48.58kmpl.

 

Ergonomics:

The MT-15 is a lot more comfortable than the R15 V3.0. The tall and flat handlebar means you sit upright with a slight forward tilt, keeping you in a commanding position. The pegs are set slightly backwards as well.

The seat, on the other hand, is fairly hard and would start to numb your backside over long highway rides, though it’s quite manageable even during extended city commutes. 

The pillion seat, though small, should be comfortable for an average-sized pillion

At 810mm, the seat height is 5mm lower than the R15 and should be accommodating for most.

 

Ride and Handling:

The bike feels light on its feet and can be easily flicked in between traffic. And combined with that ever-energetic motor, the MT darts for every gap that opens up.

That said, with the shorter trail and lighter front, the bike is very quick to tip in, which can be unnerving.

Moreover, when leaned over, the front end feels a bit vague and doesn't offer much feedback.

The suspension as well as been retuned. While it's still stiff and will let you feel every bit of the road surface, the ride never gets jarring, even over larger bumps. The rear suspension’s rebound damping is a bit on the aggressive side, and sharp bumps will give you an occasional jolt, but it never feels overly stiff. 

The 282mm front and the 220mm rear disc offer good progression and the bike remains stable under hard braking. However, braking with the single-channel ABS, though, leaves a bit to be desired. It lacks bite and the ABS feels a tad bit intrusive.

 

Price and Verdict:

While the MT-15 is impressive, it's not without its flaws. The recalibrated switchgear is unnecessary, the seat is a bit too hard for our liking and the build quality isn't upto the mark either. The MT-15 also tips in way too quickly, which can be a bit unsettling for novice riders. That said, it packs one heck of a motor which feels refined, polished and precise. 

On the downside, despite several cost-cutting measures like the lower-spec mechanicals, fewer plastics and low fit-finish levels, the MT-15 is still an expensive proposition. Priced at Rs 1.36 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), it's just Rs 4,280 less expensive than the R15 V3.0. 

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