With growing preference for naked performance machines that can seamlessly double up as commuter bikes, Yamaha has launched MT15, priced at Rs 1.36 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). Yamaha MT15 derives its design and styling from sub-litre class MT09, whereas most mechanicals and features are borrowed from YZF-R15 V3.0.
MT15 comes with a 155 cc engine, but if we consider its price, it will be taking on higher capacity bikes such as TVS Apache RTR 200 4V ABS and Bajaj Pulsar 200NS. KTM 125 Duke can also qualify as a rival, since it too is a performance oriented naked bike and is close to the price range of MT15. Here’s a quick comparison between Yamaha MT15 and rivals to understand which one would be most appropriate for you. Yamaha MT15 vs TVS Apache 200 vs Bajaj Pulsar 200NS vs KTM 125 Duke vs R15 V3.
Design – Yamaha MT15 makes an intimidating stance and comes with Bi functional LED headlight that closely resembles the mask of a Samurai warrior. Upright forks, front winglets, sculpted tank, short rising tail, and radiator side fins render a sense of deep aggression. KTM 125 Duke also has an aggressive design and it derives inspiration from 200 Duke. However, it’s not as stunning as international-spec 125 Duke that is based on 390 Duke. That also means Indian customers will be missing out on LED headlight and fully digital TFT instrument panel. Higher capacity rivals Apache RTR 200 4V and Pulsar 200NS follow a relatively toned down approach to their styling and offer a more comfortable riding position. That said, none of the four bikes will force you to bend forward to grab the handlebars. You will be able to sense the minor differences in seating ergonomics only when you are riding over long distances.
Powertrain – Yamaha MT15 is powered by a 155 cc liquid-cooled, fuel-injected engine, the same unit used on YZF R15 V 3.0. However, performance could be a bit aggressive, as Yamaha has introduced relevant changes to the ECU. The 155 cc engine delivers max power of 19.3 hp at 10,000 RPM and max torque of 14.7 Nm @ 8,500 RPM. Engine is mated to a 6-speed transmission and comes with an A&S (assist and slipper) clutch that ensures seamless downshifts during rapid deceleration. A&S clutch also reduces rider fatigue and minimizes vibrations on the engine and chassis. MT15 is also equipped with Variable Valve Actuation (VVA) that supplies torque even at low RPM. VVA system comprises dual intake cams; one meant for low to mid-range RPM and a second unit for high RPM. The cams automatically switch at 7,400 RPM, which ensures adequate power and torque output at various stages of acceleration.
With their higher capacity engines, both Apache RTR 200 and Pulsar 200NS deliver more power and torque than MT15. Pulsar 200NS leads in terms of power with its 199.5 cc, single-cylinder engine that delivers 23.5 hp / 18.3 Nm. Engine is mated to a 6-speed transmission. Next is Apache RTR 200 with a 197.75 cc, single-cylinder engine that outputs 20.5 hp / 18.1 Nm and comes mated to a 5-speed transmission. KTM 125 Duke is powered by 124.7 cc, single-cylinder engine, but it still manages to deliver a decent 14.5 hp / 12 Nm. Engine is mated to a 6-speed transmission. If we look at power to weight ratio, MT15 comes at second spot with 139.85 hp/tonne.
Chassis – MT15 utilizes ‘Deltabox’ perimeter frame, which is lightweight and ensures efficient handling and balance. At 138 kg, MT15 has the least weight among the four bikes. However, there are some things missing in Indian-spec MT15 such as USD fork and aluminium swingarm. These are available in international-spec MT15 and also on R15 V3.0. These changes have apparently been introduced to reduce the cost of the bike. KTM 125 Duke utilizes a trellis frame, which has been designed for agility and improved manoeuvrability. Pulsar 200NS has a twin-spar frame and weighs 154 kg, making it the heaviest in this group. However, with its higher capacity engine, its power to weight ratio is highest in the group. Apache RTR 200 utilizes a unique split double-cradle frame wherein the engine functions as a stressed member. At 149 kg, it is the second heaviest bike in the group.
With the exception of KTM 125 Duke that comes with USD forks, all bikes have standard telescopic fork at the front. However, rear monoshock suspension is the same for all four bikes. MT15 comes with single-channel ABS, which is offered with 125 Duke and 200NS as well. RTR 200 4V offers dual-channel ABS in select variants.
Price – At Rs 1.36 lakh, Yamaha MT15 is the costliest among the four. Most affordable is Apache RTR 200 at Rs 1.11 lakh, followed by Pulsar 200NS at Rs 1.12 lakh and KTM 125 Duke at Rs 1.18 lakh.
Verdict – Which one should you buy? – All four bikes are designed to impress and can be used for daily commute. The feature list is largely common across the group with the exception of few items such as ABS and front suspension. You will have to choose based on your specific needs, for example, if you are focused on power, you can choose Pulsar 200NS or Apache RTR 200. If you are targeting improved and reliable performance, you can go for Yamaha MT15. In terms of price, your options would be Apache, 200NS and 125 Duke.