For nearly a decade, boy racers have worshipped the Yamaha R15, and not without reason. The R15 has gained cult status, and why not? After all, it revitalised Yamaha in India and, over the years, has only become better – like fine wine perhaps.
Its latest iteration, the R15 V3, is a phenomenal machine, courtesy of its superior powertrain, impeccable chassis, and mini-sport-bike look. However, as incredible as it is, the R15 is not for everyone because of its racy nature. Now, to address this issue, Yamaha launched the MT-15 earlier this year – the naked version of the R15 V3.
The MT-15 gets all the goodies from the R15 V3 – the frame, brakes, and, most importantly, the 155cc engine that comes with variable valve actuation (VVA). It develops 19bhp and 14.7Nm of torque, and, long story short, this is a peach of an engine! It’s a free-revving unit that offers strong mid-range performance and goes ballistic at the top of the rev range. Needless to say, it’s very addictive! Plus, the MT-15 gets a bigger rear sprocket than the R15’s, and this means that it pulls harder in lower gears, making it perfect for city riding.
The goodness of the R15’s Deltabox frame is evident when you ride the MT-15 around corners. However, thanks to its shorter wheelbase and revised suspension geometry, it’s much quicker to steer, can be easily flicked from one corner to another, and has the reflexes of a cat. Simran, however, felt that the MRF tyres didn’t inspire confidence at the limit, and, with better tyres, the chassis could do a lot more.
So, the MT-15’s engine is a gem, and the handling is impeccable. Plus, with its alien-face and stubby dimensions, it looks very cool too. However, there are a few drawbacks – the quality of the plastics isn’t the best, and we don’t get inverted forks in the Indian version.
It also misses out on an aluminium swingarm and dual-channel ABS when compared with the R15 V3, which only costs ₹5,000 more! There’s no denying that the MT-15 is a very practical and enjoyable pocket-rocket, but it does miss a few tricks.