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Old 25th December 2021, 13:02   #1
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Default My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review

Hello Team-Bhp! I see a few mentions of this bike in the motorcycle sections, but no reviews, so I thought I will put in some of my thoughts on the MT15.

Basics on the bike – The MT 15 a street oriented naked bike introduced to the Indian market in March 2019 at 1.36L in a bs4 guise. I have owned the bike for a little more than a year now and if I were to describe it shortly – It’s a simple, enjoyable bike that’s optimized for the city. It’s basically the more accessible version of the R15, the R15, minus the committed ergonomics.
The bike has done a little over 12.5K kms now, and my usage patterns have always been ~90% in the city, but with the work from home routine now, the MT has gone on a bunch of short trips on the weekends too.

Key specs (BS4)
  • Displacement 155cc
  • Max power – 19.3ps @10000 RPM
  • Max torque – 14.7nm @8500 RPM
  • Engine type – liquid cooled, 4stroke SOHC, 4 Valve.
  • Compression ratio – 11.6:1
  • Saddle height 810mm
  • Ground clearance 155mm
  • Kerb Weight 138kg

Likes and dislikes -

The engine – I like the dual nature of the 155cc engine. It feels effortless puttering around 40kmph in 6th gear at 3 to 4k rpm in the city with no fuss or lag or any complaints whatsoever - very commuterish. At the same time, this engine has a bit of a wild side. It is rev-happy. On the highways it pulls cleanly to it’s 10k indicated redline when pushed. So there's this mild mannered engine in the city, and at the same time a fun loving engine in the highway.

Variable valve actuation (VVA) is activated at 7.4k on paper, but I see it activate as soon as the RPM hits 7k. and when it hits, the little Yamaha is a different animal. Responsiveness is sharpened, making overtakes on the highways easy. It is a small engine that feels happy cruising at speeds of 80 to 90’s at 6.5 to 7k rpm in this band, you feel very little vibration, and there is power left in reserve if needed. It will do triple speeds, but the lack of wind protection and the sprocketing does not feel set up for it. Like I said before, the MT is optimized for the city.

Looks – what a looker! The MT15 must be one of the most unique looking 150cc bikes in the segment. The little MT takes its inspiration from the older MT 09 and MT07. Minimalistic, compact, and so, so sharp. Look at those drl’s made to resemble eyes in a samurai’s headgear. That sculpted tank, the midsection that looks like a ribcage, that minimalistic tail cowl with that nice long fender, & those 10 spoke alloys. It all comes together so well. It even looks good with a crash guard. I’ll let these pictures do the talking.

My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review-yamaha_mt15_black_80.jpg

My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review-drl.jpg


Hardware - The MT15 comes with liquid cooling, fuel injection, Variable valve actuation (VVA), a 6-speed gearbox and disk brakes with ABS (single channel), LED headlights and taillights. (indicators are halogen though). It does miss that fancy rear swingarm that the V3, V4 get, but in my opinion it does not matter one bit.

Light weight – The MT is featherlight at 138 Kilos wet. Moving it around while trying to park is easy, with low weight you put little to no effort while riding the bike, and long city commutes / long rides don’t feel tiring at all.

Slipper clutch – The assist and slipper clutch makes life so much easier. The clutch is very easy to operate, and downshifts can be made easily at will. You must go out of your way to stall the engine in the city. Think you are going a little too fast for that corner? Down 2 gears, slow down without any complaints from the bike.

Gearbox – One of the slickest gearboxes I’ve operated on a bike. False neutrals are rare. Finding neutral is not a pain. The gearing is short, making things easy in the city. I could be wrong, but i feel gear 1 and 2 are short, gear 3 is long, 4 is short, 5 is a long gear will take you to near the top speed of the bike and then there's the fabled 6th gear. I’m very glad there’s a 6th gear. It helps the engine breathe a little easier when the rpms are high.

Handling – The same Deltabox frame that is present on the R15 services the MT too, and boy it’s fun to ride. The MT is very nimble and can change directions easily. While it does not inspire confidence at the same level of its faired sibling, be reasonable and plan a line before taking a corner, lean over and the MT will corner flawlessly.

Mileage – Arai figures are 52.02 kmpl. The console shows that average fuel consumption on the panel is 1.8L / 100kms. Comes to around - 55kmpl. I’ll be honest. I haven’t tried a tank to tank, realistically the worst it could be is 40. But there are instances on youtube where people claim to get numbers close to high fifties. These VVA engines are quite efficient.

Dislikes -

3k service intervals – When you see some bikes that have a service interval of 6k, some at 10K, Requiring an oil change at 3k feels too short.

Ride quality – The ride quality is stiff. That rogue pothole will rattle you. You will have to go easy on the off roading sessions.

NVH – I do admit I am very sensitive towards vibrations and this engine is a little buzzy. The bike lets you know that you’re riding an IC engine. You tend to notice this on the highway. It’s not at a level that puts you off, but it’s there, and it’s restricted to the pegs and the handlebars.

That said, there are sweet spots. At 4.5k on 6th the bike does 55 to 60 - no vibes. Similarly the bike is quite smooth at 6.5k to 7k in 5th gear where the bike is at 85 to 90 kph. Above those speeds, you feel that slight buzz. I've read that the older R15’s have refinement levels so high that you don't notice the engine being on at speeds of 80? Where did that go I wonder.

The mudguard or the lack of it – a small puddle will leave streaks of mud under the seat of the bike.

The stock seat – The stock seat is hard & there’s an uncomfortable incline which gives you a wedgie. It’s not comfortable at all. It reminds you of the hard benches of school. Torture.

The switchgear – Inverted positions for the horn and the indicators on the LHS switchgear - till this day I get confused between the two during emergencies.

Fragile fork seals – Although my bike had a hard life before me (more about that below) I feel the fork seals are fragile. I’ve had fragile seals on the V3 too. An overhaul of both fork seals costs Rs2500.

Other notes

Headlights are OK. Typical LED projector that you can’t notice in the city, but I’ve found it to be functional on dimly lit highway rides at night. The throw is pretty good on the high beam. With the cruising speeds you really do on the MT `80 to 90s, it’s manageable.

Brakes- The brakes are ok too. The bite is lacking but stops happen without much drama. Even though the bike comes with single channel ABS, I haven’t been faced with issues because of this. No fishtailing, no instances of the rear stepping out, nothing of that sort yet.

Instrument console- The negative LCD console has all the basics – Speed, tachometer, fuel gauge, 2 trip meters, time, gear position indicator, a neat shift light that blinks when VVA is activated. No complaints.

The rear seat is small, and the bike is best enjoyed solo. If you wear a bag, the bag will take up half the pillion seat.

Ok, Story time!

How did I get one? I take you to the pre-pandemic good old days of early 2019 when the mood was great, the weather was nicer, and roads were um, just as bad as they are now. I had been riding an R15 v3, a bike that was on my bucket list on bikes to own and as much as I loved it, there’s always that thought that pops at the back of your head “if only the handlebars were a little higher, this bike would be so much nicer” after long rides after feeling sore on the shoulders and elbows. Learn how to grip the tank with your waist Grimlock!, don’t use your arms to support your weight Grimlock! Is probably what you are thinking, but you can’t do that in B2B traffic!

Traffic was a boon! You get to straighten your back! It just wasn’t meant to be. It's not as if i am unfit or anything. It just seemed like its too much to put up with for a 155cc bike. You need a much faster bike to put up with that level of strain. Or maybe you need to be a teenager. That works too.

The MT made a lot of sense to me back only then. Same engine, but without the committed ergonomics.

After wave one, when restrictions were eased, I was window shopping on the classifieds and came across this ad where the guy wanted to sell his MT, - the bike was a 2019 model with single channel ABS, had run 95xx kms – about 1K lesser than my bike. The ad mentioned that the guy was looking to buy a V3 – a classic grass is greener on the other side scenario!

I took my shot and asked the guy if he wanted to attempt an exchange and then began the negotiations. The MT being a newer model with ABS, I had to pay the guy a reasonable amount of money as I was too the second owner of the V3, and the guy would have to be the third owner of the bike. We both shared some pics and decided on a day to meetup for the first meeting.

D day – It was a sunny Saturday afternoon when we first met up and exchanged bikes for a short ride. Boy, I felt right at home on the MT. The engine felt a little bit more refined, and the upright posture felt good.

The bike had fancy handguards that lit up on one side. There were a couple of red flags
1) The forks were leaking oil.
2) minor scratches on the left side of the tank, & the rear tire hugger
3) Battery was weak.

There were a couple of other bits I failed to notice then. But in my defense, it was the first time I had ventured out in months. I had stepped out just for this.

Me not wanting the deal to fall apart went forward with this. It was a gamble, I didn’t know what I was getting into, but I did it. My only expectation was to have a comfortable bike to ride around the city in, I thought I would ride it slowly anyway. My other options were to sell the V3 eventually, (complicated because the next guy was going to be the third owner and I’d have to deal with the many Ed Bolians and Rick Harrisons on the classified sites) or buy a new bike eventually and sell this bike to a dealer where I’d get peanuts as well. The costs of buying a new bike were going to be 6 to 7x more expensive than what this swap deal costs.

We decided to meet another day, exchanged papers and I said goodbye to the V3, a bike that had ferried me through some difficult times. The owner of the MT too said that he didn’t anticipate that he’d let go of the bike so soon too. Fate I suppose.

My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review-v3.jpg

Last edited by Grimlock : 26th December 2021 at 12:11. Reason: I needed to add pictures, some points.
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Old 25th December 2021, 14:42   #2
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Default Re: Yamaha MT 15 Ownership review

The second impression was bitter-sweet. As soon as I got on the MT, I was greeted by the check engine light. The seller insisted that nothing was wrong with the bike but I was wondering what kind of mess I had gotten myself into now.

So, I rode the bike home slowly and there was nothing I could do myself other than transfer papers and get rid of the handguards, and the yellow rim tape. Priority was to see what the check engine light was for, get new fork seals, the battery checked, & the oil changed. This is how she looked post the first service –

I left the bike for a full service the next day. The mech identified the bike and said that it was in an accident not too long ago. He had the crash guard fixed and repainted the handlebars and the grab rail on the left himself. This bike has been through some bad days.

A diagnosis for the check engine light showed that results were normal on the engine front. They think it was due to those fancy handguards with the lighting. A few wires had to be tampered at the front behind the headlight for these, which have caused the system to flash the light. The battery was probably weak due to this too. They reset the same and the light hasn’t appeared since. Later that day I got a new battery installed since I only rode the bike on weekends and didn’t want it failing due to low charge. This is how the bike looked after the first service.

My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review-mt-day-1.jpg

With this service, the MT got
  • New oil - Yamalube Synthetic oil
  • New Oil filter, a new oil strainer
  • Coolant top up
  • New fork seals and oil for both front forks.
  • Chain cleaning and lubrication
  • General polish & wash

This service costed me 5k - The fork overhaul costing 2.9k including labor.

In the next service, the following were done -
  • Throttle cable replacement
  • Clutch yoke
  • Air filter assy
  • Coolant - 1L

This costed 1.6K including labor.

Next service I hear the front brake pad needs a change (Rs 428) and the chain set (Rs 2k) might need a replacement. Downsides of a pre owned bike huh.

Mods done

Seat – Initially I got a layer of thick foam installed at one of those friendly neighborhood seat shops. It turned out to be too soft on long rides as I sank into the foam causing distress. I got that removed and installed the gel layer from Sahara. It is expensive, and not 100 percent comfortable, but it gets the job done. The jolts of the road are softer now.

Handlebar risers – After the seat got installed, I felt the stock handlebar was set a little too low. I sourced a 1.5-inch raiser from Amazon from nexus gears priced at 1.1K. This Is probably the best comfort mod made to the MT.

My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review-hbar-risers.jpg

Upside- The wide raised handlebars feel like a million bucks.
Downside – Increased vibrations. Accelerator cables were a little tight when the handlebar was turned completely to the left.

Road 95 air grips – An attempt to control handlebar vibes when riding without gloves. Highly recommended. Vibrations reduced by 95% in city rides. Feels great on the highways too.

My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review-rd_95_grips_64.jpg

Homemade splash guard – It is originally for cycles and was sourced from AliExpress before it was banned. It is a combination of 2 thin plastic front mudguards placed end to end, held together by staplers and zipties, connected securely to the front and the rear mudguard assembly. It is quite flexible, makes little to no noise, and It has saved me lots of time cleaning up the under-seat area because the stock setup did not work at all. I have gone off-roading on rough roads a couple of times since it was installed, and it has surprisingly not collapsed anywhere yet.

My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review-splashguard_80.jpg

Racing boy auto chain tensioner – This was an impulse buy. Known to increase the life of the chain, this little CNC part has a little rubber roller that supports the chain near the rear sprocket that helps reduce chain slack. It does its job, it makes very little noise, has improved tractability in low speeds, and sometimes there are no vibrations on the left foot peg at all. It seems well built, but I don’t know how long it will last.

My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review-racing-boy-chain-tensioner.jpg

NGK iridium plugs – Another attempt at increasing refinement on the MT since this one mod did make life better on one of my older bikes. I think it works. The bike does feel more refined at times now.

My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review-spark_plug_64.jpg

Tank pad - This Misano 2015 inspired tank pad. I love the symbolism behind it. Via via via - “Go away, try to escape.” Riding for me in general has been a very good way to escape everyday troubles for a little while. Takes me away from the tensions of the job and those pesky conference calls and whatnot. Carrying out minor maintenance and installing mods etc for me has kept me busy though this pandemic and I relate to this image very much. Oh, It's a neat tribute to the doc too.

My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review-via_via_via_64.jpg

Last edited by Grimlock : 26th December 2021 at 12:06. Reason: Additional points added.
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Old 25th December 2021, 19:18   #3
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Default Re: Yamaha MT 15 Ownership review

Overall, the ownership experience has been good, Things could have gone a whole lot worse than it did. and The MT hasn’t let me down yet. *touch wood*.

Bigger bikes zooming past you on highways tempts me to upgrade to a faster bike, but a commute of ~42kms a day when the offices open again brings me down to earth quickly. Besides, the MT is a joy to ride on the smaller scenic arterial roads of our country.

Here are some pictures from some of them -

My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review-mt_pic_3_63.jpg

My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review-mt_pic_4_63.jpg

My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review-mt_pic_5_63.jpg

My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review-mt_pic_6_63.jpg

My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review-mt_pic_7_63.jpg

My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review-mt_pic_8_63.jpg
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Old 27th December 2021, 05:03   #4
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Default re: My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 27th December 2021, 08:28   #5
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Default Re: My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review

Good review. MT-15 I presume is a cheaper and more reliable option to the Duke 125 ? It’s quite popular where I ride currently but even more popular is the CB150r - Honda’s liquid cooled small capacity bike - which I wonder why it’s missing in India. Makes more power than the Duke 125 and MT-15 too.
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Old 27th December 2021, 10:10   #6
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Default Re: My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review

That's a great and a much needed review, there is a dearth of Yamaha reviews in this forum and this should take care of the MT side of things.
As an R15v3 owner i agree with most of them too and find my bike to be an fantastic all rounder with nothing wrong going against it at all.
Be it looks, performance, braking, mileage, price, handling and excellent high speed stability (Done speedo indicated 150+ with bike staying absolutely planted) they are all great, apart from the buzzing engine at some rpms there is no real downside but even i wanted to switch to MT because of my bike's inherent committed posture but then your deal required a fair deal of sacrifice, so for the time being it is what it is.
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Old 27th December 2021, 10:51   #7
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Default Re: My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review

The weak link in Yamaha's chain appears to be their forks and wheels. Even from the days of the original R15, there's been a lot of reports of leaky forks. I was dilly dallying on getting the MT for exactly this. To hear that the seals cost 2500 is a double whammy.

My impulse sprung another leak yesterday and sprayed some fork oil over wheels, brakes and even my leg before I could notice the leak. But fixing the forks is so much cheaper in comparison. Seals cost around 250 rupees. Just what space age tech is Yamaha using in their fork seals that they'd cost 2500? I'm just scared to imagine how things will go with the upside down forks of the R15V4.

Great write up, I love that tank pad, and this thread was much needed on these talkboards.
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Old 27th December 2021, 11:46   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drt_rdr View Post
My impulse sprung another leak yesterday and sprayed some fork oil over wheels, brakes and even my leg before I could notice the leak. But fixing the forks is so much cheaper in comparison. Seals cost around 250 rupees. Just what space age tech is Yamaha using in their fork seals that they'd cost 2500?
Coincidentally from what i was able to find online,even Yamaha's fork oil seal for R15v3/MT15 costs ₹250 and is imported from Indonesia, why it costed so much to fix it is surprising to me too.
Attached Thumbnails
My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review-0fdee2cdde4b4235a088ffbd28314d27.jpeg  

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Old 27th December 2021, 11:54   #9
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Default Re: My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review

Congrats on the ownership! Finally, another nice 150cc bike review on the forum; we were lacking it severely. Hoping you’d keep updating the thread as and when required. Thanks for including the lovely mods too, I can see myself adopting some of them!

P.S: couldn’t properly enjoy the thread as I am outside.

Last edited by TheHelix0202 : 27th December 2021 at 11:57.
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Old 27th December 2021, 12:42   #10
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Default Re: My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review

Comprehensive review, mate!

Though it’s out of topic, I would like to mentioned a few aspects I come across. I did have hard time choosing between MT-15 and R15 V3.

The reason I avoided in MT-15:
- Single channel ABS
- Too short seat for pillion rider
- Traditional swing arm
- Almost useless LED headlamp

Why did I go for R15,
- Aluminium swing arm (excellent stability, light weight, way lighter when you push the bike from any declined surface)
- Dual channel ABS
- Dual LED headlamps (but, still useless when you cruise at 90-110kmph which I realised post purchase)
- Plan to upgrade to Ninja 650 in a couple of years.

It would be great, if someone can suggest me the best coverage LED headlamp for R15 V3, please.
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Old 27th December 2021, 14:10   #11
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Default Re: My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocketscience View Post
Coincidentally from what i was able to find online,even Yamaha's fork oil seal for R15v3/MT15 costs ₹250 and is imported from Indonesia, why it costed so much to fix it is surprising to me too.
Repairs are done for both fork tubes even if only one is leaking. Cost for two seals, two units of fork oil and springs and all other consumables into two. And then labour to undo the front end to disassemble the fork and put it all back together. And the usual ASS premium on prices. It can all add up.
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Old 27th December 2021, 14:28   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narayan View Post
Good review. MT-15 I presume is a cheaper and more reliable option to the Duke 125 ? It’s quite popular where I ride currently but even more popular is the CB150r - Honda’s liquid cooled small capacity bike - which I wonder why it’s missing in India. Makes more power than the Duke 125 and MT-15 too.
Thanks narayan! I think the duke 125 would cost equal or slightly higher to maintain than the MT. I hear the cost of bills were ~1.8K (pre gst days) during the free service period with just a routine oil change + chain maintenance. With labor costs included, It should be higher nowadays.

Agreed about the missing bikes from Honda. The CBR 300r, CB 150, CRF 250's and that CRF 190L look to be a good fit here. Hopefully they launch them here someday.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocketscience View Post
That's a great and a much needed review, there is a dearth of Yamaha reviews in this forum and this should take care of the MT side of things.
As an R15v3 owner i agree with most of them too and find my bike to be an fantastic all rounder with nothing wrong going against it at all.
Be it looks, performance, braking, mileage, price, handling and excellent high speed stability (Done speedo indicated 150+ with bike staying absolutely planted) they are all great, apart from the buzzing engine at some rpms there is no real downside but even i wanted to switch to MT because of my bike's inherent committed posture but then your deal required a fair deal of sacrifice, so for the time being it is what it is.
Thanks! That's one of the things I do miss about the V3 nowadays. You feel nothing behind that fairing doing triple digit speeds, and the handling. I don't think I'll trust any bike to handle corners the way the V3 did.


Quote:
Originally Posted by drt_rdr View Post
The weak link in Yamaha's chain appears to be their forks and wheels. Even from the days of the original R15, there's been a lot of reports of leaky forks. I was dilly dallying on getting the MT for exactly this. To hear that the seals cost 2500 is a double whammy.

My impulse sprung another leak yesterday and sprayed some fork oil over wheels, brakes and even my leg before I could notice the leak. But fixing the forks is so much cheaper in comparison. Seals cost around 250 rupees. Just what space age tech is Yamaha using in their fork seals that they'd cost 2500? I'm just scared to imagine how things will go with the upside down forks of the R15V4.

Great write up, I love that tank pad, and this thread was much needed on these talkboards.
Thank you drt_rdr!. Break up of the bill regarding the forks was so -
  • Fork seals 250x2 - Rs.500.
  • Labor - Fork inner tube replacement x2 - Rs.500
  • Misc. labor (they had ran them through that machine (forgot the name) that straighten them to ensure that there are no bends) - Rs.1500
  • Yamaha TFF fork oil - 500 ml. - Rs.376

I didn't know that the fork seal issues were an ongoing thing with Yamahas. Hopefully the USD's help with this issue, repair costs for them are probably higher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHelix0202 View Post
Congrats on the ownership! Finally, another nice 150cc bike review on the forum; we were lacking it severely. Hoping you’d keep updating the thread as and when required. Thanks for including the lovely mods too, I can see myself adopting some of them!

P.S: couldn’t properly enjoy the thread as I am outside.
Thanks, TheHelix!, glad it helps.
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Old 28th December 2021, 02:04   #13
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Default Re: My Yamaha MT 15 Ownership Review

Congrats for the bike. A thoroughly unbiased and a beautifully written review.
This is indeed a beautiful machine. Barring the R15, the MT15 is the best 150 cc available in today's market.
Yamaha is making a full utilization of this wonderful engine with the Deltabox frame. All the three, a fully faired sports bike (R15), a naked street bike (MT15), & a maxi scooter (Aerox) are all desirable products.

I own a Fz25 with nearly 7,000 km on it's odo. It looks like the accelerator cable, chain set, front brake pads & the front shock-absorber oil seals suffers an early wear & tear in the MT15 too. These are common issues reported on the Fz25 groups too.
In these 7,000 km, I had to change the accelerator cable once. Rest my bike is running niggle free.
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Old 29th December 2021, 10:46   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samba View Post
Congrats for the bike. A thoroughly unbiased and a beautifully written review.
This is indeed a beautiful machine. Barring the R15, the MT15 is the best 150 cc available in today's market.
Yamaha is making a full utilization of this wonderful engine with the Deltabox frame. All the three, a fully faired sports bike (R15), a naked street bike (MT15), & a maxi scooter (Aerox) are all desirable products.

I own a Fz25 with nearly 7,000 km on it's odo. It looks like the accelerator cable, chain set, front brake pads & the front shock-absorber oil seals suffers an early wear & tear in the MT15 too. These are common issues reported on the Fz25 groups too.
In these 7,000 km, I had to change the accelerator cable once. Rest my bike is running niggle free.
Thanks Samba! Hopefully Yamaha brings the WR155r now in the interest of fully utilising the platform

Those parts as you've rightly mentioned are the usual suspects up for replacement every other service or so. I think its time for me to lookup for DIY tutorials for things like brake pads, so that they can be taken care of at home.
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Old 5th January 2022, 10:36   #15
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Exceptional, unbiased & detailed reviews of motorbikes that don't have an official review have started going to our homepage reviews box. It's the ultimate stamp of trust from Team-BHP (as a platform) because lakhs of visitors every month check out reviews from there & make purchase decisions.

Your review has also gone here. Thank you so much for sharing .

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