Yamaha MT-15 Track Ride Review

18 March 2019, 06:21 PM Pratheek Kunder

Introduction

The YZF-R15 now has a cousin in India. It goes by the name MT-15 and has been brought to India to do things that the R15 couldn’t do comfortably – give out a practical city riding experience. So the MT-15 promises to keep the lower back happy, along with the pillion rider, who doesn’t have to flex his/her entire body just to get into that pillion seat. Yamaha says the MT series is all about fun, agility and great styling. All this could result in a hardcore fan following for the MT-15, just like the FZ and the R15. But will it? We rode it at India’s prestigious F1 track – Buddh International Circuit to find out.

The Numbers

Compact and fun! Two words to describe the Yamaha MT-15. The compact dimensions, 138kgs of kerb weight and upright ergonomics makes the MT15 a perfect tool for the city (even though it was tested on a race track). The lower seat height means it’s easy to mount and unmount for a majority of Indians. 

Yamaha MT 15

Yamaha MT 15

  • Displacement155 cc
  • Max Power(bhp)17.9 bhp
  • Kerb Weight138 kg
  • ;

Ex-showroom, Mumbai

 1,38,900

The MT-15 is quick off the start line. The bike felt energetic and responsive throughout the 25 mins ride at BIC. The tall first two gears will make sure you have attained the best positions and the speed is good enough to get you through the corners. The 155cc engine is refined, revs smoothly, and provides great low and mid-range performance. The top-end though, misses out on some fun, due to the change in final drive. But just like in the R15, the engine on the MT-15 continued to impress us. At higher rev range, it neither feels strained nor does it feel crude. The six-speed gearbox which also comes with assist and the slipper clutch is super slick, which enhances the overall experience. The light clutch will be a boon for city dwellers. 

Just like its fully-faired sibling, the MT-15 is a great handler. This bike wants to be played with around every corner, thanks to its lightness and compact dimensions. It’s very easy to steer the MT-15 into corners, and it kept on doing that willingly. But the lack of space on the seat makes it difficult to move around quickly. While the MT-15 happily obeys to easy inputs, the sudden shift in weight makes the bike a bit uncomfortable. 

One place that the MT-15 needs some improvement is in the braking department. The 282mm disc at the front and a 220mm disc at the rear have been carried forward from the R15. This setup doesn’t inspire confidence, blame the lack of bite and feel on the lever. Plus, the MT-15 gets a single-channel ABS which is disappointing in a bike at this segment and price point. 

The Rest

The MT-15 is loaded with some decent features but misses out on hardware that its supersport counterpart has. So the aluminium swingarm has been replaced with a box-type model which is cheaper. There’s a negative LCD instrument cluster which does a decent job. But the one on the R15 is much better due to its white backlight. 

One of the major highlights of the MT-15 is its bi-functional LED headlights. It definitely adds a bit of aggression to the striking design. But the ugly and long grab rail plays a spoilsport. It lacks the finesse that usually comes with most of the Yamahas. While the Indian variant manages to grab the attention, it lacks the proper MT-15 character due to missing golden upside-down forks. 

Our Take

The MT-15 is a fun machine to ride. No doubt. It shares most of its DNA with the highly successful YZF-R15. The engine is potent and the gearbox is slick. The bike enjoyed all the BIC corners. However, for Rs 1.36 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi), it misses out on a few things. But it is a fun bike to go around corners with. And, if it can deliver the same amount of fun along with everyday practicality in our gruelling city life, it might just be worth the high asking price. We’ll get you that detailed review once we experience the MT-15 for a few days back home. 

 Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi

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