Much has been said about the price of the Yamaha MT-15 since its launch a few months ago. For what is essentially an R15-based motorcycle – minus some of the cost-intensive bits like the aluminium swingarm, fairing and rear-wheel ABS – the MT-15’s Rs 1.36 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) asking price was simply absurd. That’s just Rs 4,000 short of the R15’s price tag.
But, there’s no point in writing off a bike simply on the basis of the sticker price, right? After all, even as our road test reveals, there’s more to the Yamaha MT-15 than meets the eye.
The 41mm upright fork and the link-type monoshock setup offer the right balance between ride and handling. Whether it was minor bumps, potholes or undulations, the MT-15 remained composed throughout. However, the defining aspect of this little Yamaha is the way it handles in the city. The sharp steering, tight turning radius and the extra leverage provided by the handlebar, all result in a motorcycle that’s super-reactivate to inputs – even more than the KTM Dukes. It makes light work of negotiating city traffic and really keeps the rider involved.
MRFs offer good grip and feedback, even on rain-soaked tarmac.
On the flip side, this over-eager steering and light front-end dampens confidence around a set of winding roads. This – along with the fact that you sit so far forward with the handlebar right in your chest – makes hanging off the bike in a corner feel quite awkward. The trick then, is to ride the MT-15 like a supermoto; and that turned out to be quite a lot of fun.
The brakes have good progression, but just like on the R15, there’s a lack of initial bite. Our test revealed that the bike comes to a stop from 60kmph in 17.42m, which is a little longer than the R15 – probably due to the reduced weight over the front end, thanks to the upright riding position.
The front brake lacks initial bite, but modulation is good.