A street fighter takes on the urban jungle.
Ever since I wrote about the Yamaha MT-15, after putting it through a rigorous road test in 2019, I’ve been waiting for it to join our long-term fleet. You see, this little street fighter left a lasting impression on me and the team, especially with the ease with which it tackled Mumbai’s infamous traffic. Yes, commuting in Mumbai can get on one’s nerves, so what better way to ease the pain than use a focused tool to cut through the chaos, right?
Reverse LCD instrument panel looks great, especially in the dark.
Our test bike is the BS4 version, dressed in a matte blue shade with contrasting fluorescent yellow stripes on the rim – it is my pick over the full black option. The first thing I did after taking charge of the motorcycle was take it to the Yamaha service centre in Borivali for a good check up, as the bike looked a little worse for wear. It received fresh oil (Rs 430) and a new oil filter (Rs 175). The chain was adjusted and lubed, the coolant was topped up (Rs 250) and the brake pads at the front (Rs 428) and rear (Rs 960) were replaced. The total cost, including labour (Rs 1,180) and taxes amounted to Rs 3,423. That’s quite high for a 150cc motorcycle, but keep in mind that a majority of that money was spent on the brake pads which aren’t part of the regular service. We’ll be keeping an eye on how fast these new pads wear, because 7,000km is too short a duration for worn pads, but there’s no telling what this media bike has been through before it made its way to us. Nevertheless, I’m happy to see the bike back in the pink of its health and ready to log miles.
Engine is smooth and delightfully rev-happy, all the way to its 11,000rpm redline.
During service, I also got rid of the ugly, tubular grab rails that stick out like a sore thumb. Along with that, we’ve removed the tyre hugger/ saree guard too, and this has helped improve the rear three-quarter’s appearance to quite an extent. The bike looks cleaner, weighs a couple of kilos less, and I’m already getting ideas about installing a tail tidy as well!
Lack of rear ABS is unacceptable at this price point.
Most of my time with the MT is spent commuting to office and back, and each ride has been better than the last. The bike’s shorter gearing – compared to the Yamaha YZF-R15 that it’s based on – makes it easy to crawl through dense traffic at 20-25km in third gear. And when I get the space to wring the throttle, the MT-15 is quick to gather speed. But the best bit is that the low kerb weight, and the leverage that the wide handlebar offers, makes my commutes effortless. The way this bike filters through traffic is entertaining; I can’t think of the last time I actually looked forward to riding in traffic, just for fun!
Tight ergos cause my size-10 boots to brush against the pillion footrest hanger.
For the next couple of months, the intention is to find out if the tiny pillion seat is any good. In fact, the tight riding position too could be a bother over long distances. It’s best to head out for a long overdue road trip to test this. Time to dig out that holiday calendar.