Yamaha R15 M vs MT-15: Comparison

By Dhruv Paliwal | on July 18, 2022

While the R15 M and MT-15 share a lot in common, they are two very different motorcycles in the real world.

When we first decided to pit the Yamaha R15 M against the new Yamaha MT-15, I couldn’t help but wonder if it would be a fruitful endeavour – after all, they have the same chassis, the same engine, and the same transmission. But when I looked at them side-by-side, I remember thinking that they couldn’t look any more different. So, what is it, are they different or the same? Well, the only way to settle it was to live with them and see for myself. And that’s exactly what I did.

Yamaha MT 15 And R15 M Static

I started with the R15 because I like the way it looks. That’s not to say that the MT-15 is not a head-turner or an eye-grabber – it very much is, but, I think the R15 in its special 60th World Grand Prix livery is simply captivating. Also, it kind of makes the R15 look bigger than it really is. The MT-15, on the other hand, despite its muscular styling, looks ever so compact, which is interesting because it is the longer, wider, and taller of the two motorcycles. But hey, we all have our preferences, and you already have my two cents on it; so, let’s move on.

Acceleration or Top Speed?

Without any delay, the R15 began to show me its tricks. It likes to dart ahead into gaps with the same alacrity that the engine exhibits as it revs towards the redline – a perfect combination. I must add that R15 doesn’t ask you to muscle it into corners or gaps – instead, it likes to flow into them with the grace and elegance of a ballerina. The MT-15, on the other hand, has a completely different approach, despite having the same propensity for redlining. It likes to be pushed into corners because of its more upright riding posture and flat handle-bars. Another reason for this is the fact that the MT-15 has a torquier mid-range – it just pulls with slightly more enthusiasm than the R15 in city traffic from lower in the rev-range. But that’s not to say that the R15 lags behind – not at all. Its engine offers enough grunt to deal with slow-moving traffic at lower revs (VVA for the win!), but it comes into its own as the motor revs past 6,500rpm. When the MT-15 feels like it’s starting to lose steam towards the top-end, the R15 continues the frenzy. These differences, however, are not big enough to warrant an outright disregard of any of the two motorcycles. They both are brilliant machines in their own rights, and it’s only when they are pitted against each other that you notice the difference. 

Good for the Grind?

Now, both of them are small-capacity motorcycles, which means that they will be used mostly for commuting and touring. In other words, they both have to be practical as well. On that front, the R15 M and MT-15 offer very little in terms of under-seat storage – space enough for a toolkit and registration papers, that’s it! But, then, that’s the case with most motorcycles in this class.

Yamaha MT 15 Static Side View

In terms of riding posture, the R15 is quite aggressive; however, the MT-15’s pegs are quite rear-set, which means your lower body is as aggressively positioned as on the R15. If you want to tour on either of the motorcycles, tank bags will be your best friend. The MT-15’s tank is smaller than the R15’s, so you won’t be able to strap on a bag as big as you can on the R15, but the former offers better grab-rails for the pillion rider and a slightly larger seat too.

Yamaha R15 M Instrument Cluster

'The R15’s instrument cluster is highly customisable and also has a track mode that allows you to measure lap times among other things'

Tech Takeover

In terms of features, the R15 has an edge over the MT-15. It’s a good ₹26,000 more expensive than the MT-15, and for the premium, you get a larger instrument cluster with increased functionality, traction control, and ABS on the rear wheel. There’s also a track mode, which reconfigures your cluster to be more track-specific and allows you to time your laps as well. The traction control is switchable, but ABS always remains on – a bit of a bummer, frankly. There’s also a quick-shifter, which the MT-15 also gets, and it is quite smooth to use high in the rev-range, and so is the slip-and-assist clutch. In both motorcycles, the gearbox is a breeze to use, with its quick and snappy shifts. The MT-15 has a negatively-lit cluster, which is smaller, but it is legible and gives you a lot of information. You can even pair your smartphone with it to get your phone notifications, like the R15.

'The  MT-15’s engine feels more torquey in the lower part of the rev range as its rear sprocket has more teeth than the R15’s, but that means it has a lower top speed'

Verdict

So, which of the two is for you, and why? Let’s start with the R15. It’s a small capacity motorcycle in its fourth generation that’s good for all kinds of roads, but it is at its happiest around a corner. Its riding position is quite aggressive, which can be a bit daunting for some. And then, there is the pesky traction control, which sometimes cuts into your wheelie time, and the non-switchable ABS is basically the R15 telling us that it’s not in the mood for games. In short, the R15 is a motorcycle that asks you to become a better rider, so that it can reward you with sheer performance.

Yamaha MT 15 And R15 M Side View Dynamic

The MT-15, on the other hand, is a bit rowdy. Sit on it, and you immediately feel the hooligan inside you waking up. Don’t get me wrong, it won’t outrightly scare you, but there is something about it that just makes you not want to go easy on the throttle. Narrow spaces suddenly turn into an invitation on the MT-15, and honestly, it’s not demanding – it doesn’t require you to be the most gifted rider. It offers you that riding fun for a substantially lower price than the R15. The MT-15 can be rewarding as well if you want it to be, but it’s not on the same level as the R15.

Yamaha MT 15 And R15 M Side View Motion

So, if you desire faster lap times, the R15 M is definitely what you should go for, as it will not only make you a better and a faster rider, but it is an able tourer as well and has the chops to hit the road for long trips. However, if your idea of motorcycling is to grin from ear to ear every time you get on your motorcycle, well, then you should look no further than the MT-15, as it’s a very easy motorcycle to get used to. It is also better for ferrying around a pillion and as a city run-about a well.


  • Yamaha R15 M
  • Yamaha MT-15

Engine: 155cc / Single-Cylinder / Liquid-Cooled

Transmission: 6-Speed

Power: 18.1bhp @ 10,000rpm

Torque: 14.2Nm @ 7,500rpm

Price: ₹1.89 Lakh (Ex-Showroom)

X-Factor: Despite being a 155cc motorcycle, the R15 M has serious head-turning abilities.

Pros           
• Powerful top-end
• Progressive braking

Cons
• Committed riding position
• Non-switchable rear ABS

Engine: 155cc / Single-Cylinder / Liquid-Cooled

Transmission: 6-Speed

Power: 18.1bhp @ 10,000rpm

Torque: 14.1Nm @ 7,500rpm

Price: ₹1.63 Lakh (Ex-Showroom)

X-Factor: Packs in the same hardware as the R15 for a substantially lesser price.

Pros           
• Upright upper-body position
• Pulls hard from low revs

Cons
• Weak top-end performance
• Under-seat storage access

Read more: 

Yamaha Aerox 155 vs Aprilia SXR 160: Comparison 

Yamaha MT-15 Review: First Ride
 

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Tags: Yamaha MT-15 Yamaha r15

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