Yamaha Motor India have launched the aggressively-styled MT-15 streetfighter, signalling their entry into the fast-evolving sporty naked segment. Let’s see what this sharp looking motorcycle is all about.
Story: Anosh Khumbatta
Photography: Saurabh Botre
Taking styling cues from Yamaha’s international MT range, it looks like nothing else on our roads
Yamaha’s Dark Side of Japan campaign took off in 2014 with the international launches of the twin-cylinder MT-07 and MT-09 triple, and indicated a shift in the Japanese firm’s design language across their ageing streetfighter line-up. Their naked FZ-badged bikes had been around for a while, and were looking a little long in the tooth, while the new MT series featured edgy, futuristic designs and sharp lines, making it amply clear that Yamaha were attacking the naked segment with renewed aggression.
The eye-catching MT-15 follows the same bold design ethos of the entire MT range, with that compact, angular tank, transformer-esque face and dark persona. Dummy air scoops lead down to stylish radiator shrouds on either side, holding the visual mass towards the front of the motorcycle, while the stubby tail section terminates in an attractive LED tail lamp. The slant-eyed LED daytime lights give this bike an unmistakeable countenance, and below them is the single projector-style LED headlight. The comfortable seat, relaxed footpeg position and wide handlebar put the rider in commanding riding position over the bike, befitting an aggressive roadster.
Mechanically identical to the R15 V3.0
Under the skin the MT-15 is basically an R15 V3.0 minus the fairing and supersport riding position. Both bikes share the Deltabox chassis, and the 155-cc, slightly-undersquare, liquid-cooled motor is in the same state of tune, making 19.3 PS at 10,000 rpm and 14.7 Nm of twist at 8,500 rpm. The four-valve SOHC head gets the same VVA (Variable Valve Actuation) treatment that makes this motor so flexible across the rev range in the R15. The precise six-speed gearbox has also been carried over, however Yamaha have shortened the final gearing by going with a larger 52-tooth sprocket at the rear, opposed to the R15’s 48-tooth unit. This will reduce top speed, but will make the MT quicker off the line and much more responsive at low speeds while carving through city traffic. The MT also shares the R15’s suspension and braking components.
Extremely agile, and great fun around Buddh International Circuit
Although the track is an environment more suited to the sportier R15, that’s where Yamaha unveiled the MT-15, before letting us out onto the circuit to experience the bike for the first time. Although the MT-15 features a 10-mm longer wheelbase than the R15, I found it very nimble and agile around the track especially at the two chicanes through which I was able to carry surprisingly high speeds, helped along by the leverage offered by the wide handlebar.
The bike’s slim profile and light, 138-kilogram kerb weight made it extremely easy to ride, while the shortened gearing endows it with instant acceleration and a wheelie-friendly nature. I imagine this motorcycle will make short work of city commutes, and I can’t wait to ride it on the streets to test out this theory.