Yamaha has already registered a record sales volume of nearly 10,000 for the new MT15 in April 2022
Yamaha launched the updated version of MT15 more than a month ago. The naked streetfighter has always lived under the shadows of its fully-faired sibling which holds high regard among the Indian motorcycling community. Based on the fourth-gen R15 that was launched in September last year, the new 2022 Yamaha MT-15 comes with a series of updates over its predecessor. So is the latest iteration of MT-15 able to establish its own identity this time? Let’s find out.
2022 Yamaha MT15 Review – Design, Quality
On the styling aspect, there isn’t any significant change in the new MT15 in comparison to its outgoing version. However, subtle updates like addition of gold anodised front forks have enhanced the bike’s visual appeal. It also gets an interesting palette of colour options including Racing Blue, Metallic Black and new additions like Ice Fluo-Vermillion and Cyan Blue.
Our test bike was wrapped in the Cyan Blue paint scheme which we personally felt was eye-grabbing and suited well with the bike’s personality. The colour-coded alloy wheels further accentuate the sporty contrast of the motorcycle. Visual updates on the street naked motorcycle end here. It gets the same front face with single pod LED projector headlamp and twin eyebrow-shaped LED DRLs.
Although the design remains largely intact, Yamaha has certainly made some improvements in quality and fit and finish when compared to the older model. Although not very premium, quality of switchgear is acceptable and the instrument console is clearly legible even under sunlight. More importantly, there are no panel gaps and the quality of plastics and rubber used in the bike is better.
Ergonomics & Comfort
As far as ergonomics go, the new MT-15 gets slightly rear-set footpegs that enable a committed riding posture. If the older and new models are kept side by side, one would notice that the updated MT-15 gets a slightly lower stance due to repositioning of the handlebar that has been set lower. This results in a slightly more aggressive riding position but is still fairly comfortable for city commutes.
The rider’s seat is broad and comfortable, however, that is not the case for the pillion where real estate is limited and even a few minutes more than half an hour could be painful. If you are looking to carry a pillion regularly for your commutes we suggest you look somewhere else.
Yamaha has made some small updates to its equipment. For instance, the instrument cluster is now compatible with Bluetooth connectivity and the Y-Connect mobile app that offers features like call, message, email alerts on the console. That said, we would have liked Yamaha to offer the more advanced X-Connect mobile app that comes with turn-by-turn navigation. It also benefits from a side stand engine inhibitor switch.
Ride & Handling
The new MT-15 is underpinned by the same delta box frame as its predecessor but gets linked with a new aluminium swingarm instead of a box-section unit. More importantly, it gets new 37mm upside-down front forks which brings some noticeable change in its dynamics. While the MT-15 was always a good handler, its latest version is a lot sharper and handles more precisely, thus offering more confidence to new riders.
At 139 kilos, the naked streetfighter is extremely nimble and easy to flick around corners and maneuver through tight spaces in bumper to bumper traffic. In addition, a wide and low handlebar offers a good purchase for lock-to-lock turns and quick direction changes. Thanks to the new aluminium swingarm, rear end of new MT-15 feels a lot more stable and offers more confidence while leaning into corners
The outer tube has been bolted to the chassis for rigidity and balance. A flip side to this is that the entire suspension setup now feels a lot firmer which is great in terms of handling but loses out on a plush ride. Each and every undulation on the surface including bumps and potholes is felt quite sharply when seated on top. A softer setup considering Indian roads might have been more welcome.
Engine & Performance
Powering the latest iteration of MT-15 is the same 155cc liquid-cooled, four-valve engine with Variable Valve Actuation (VVA0 technology. However, this time it has been tuned slightly differently for friendlier city usage and as a result output is down by 0.1 bhp and peak torque has been bumped up by 0.2 Nm. The motor now cranks out 18.14 bhp at 10,000rpm and 14.1 Nm at 7,500rpm.
The most prominent update in this motor is how tractable it has become at city speeds. One can easily crawl at speeds of 20-25 kmph in the fourth gear without the fear of engine stalling. This also helps in extracting better fuel efficiency. Even in higher gears there is enough torque to play with and no matter which gear you’re in, you just need to open the throttle hard to extract all the juice.
The best highlight about this VVA motor is not its top-end performance but how easily it builds up speed from the bottom end. That said, Yamaha has kept the high-revving nature of this engine intact and you instantly feel the boost kick in thanks to VVA after 7,000rpm till a red line of 10,000rpm. However, significant vibrations are felt in the handlebar and footpegs once you go past 5,500rpm.
Also, the engine starts sounding very coarse when taken close to the rev limiter. While we didn’t get a chance to test its performance figures, the motorcycle does feel strained at around 100-110 kmph. A smooth and quick-shifting gearbox complemented by a swift clutch action with slip and assist makes it a very likeable city bike. However, an optional quick-shifter might have resulted in a more engaging experience.
One disappointing aspect is its braking which needed more bite, especially for the rear wheel. Also, for a bike that would easily cost about Rs 1.80 lakh (on-road), it misses out on dual-channel ABS which we are unable to wrap our heads around.
Priced at Rs 1.60 lakh (ex-showroom), the new 2022 MT-15 is around Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000 dearer than its predecessor. For the additional premium, one gets significant updates but also misses out on a few crucial ones. It certainly feels more engaging to ride, thanks to its updated hardware and is also easy to handle for any amateur rider.
However, lack of a dual-channel ABS and an optional quick-shifter hurt its value for money proposition. Given the updates R15 V4 has received, we feel Yamaha has missed a crucial opportunity by being a little too conservative in its approach towards MT15 V2. Should you consider it? Surely, especially people who are looking for a fun-to-ride, compact and fast motorcycle primarily for city commutes will love what the new MT-15 has on offer.