My Yamaha MT15 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.

BHPian Grimlock recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

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 km 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 commuter-ish. At the same time, this engine has a bit of a wild side. It is rev-happy. On the highways, it pulls cleanly to its 10k indicated redline when pushed. So there's this mild-mannered engine in the city and at the same time a fun-loving engine on 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 ’90s at 6.5 to 7k rpm in this band, you feel a 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 sprockets 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.
  • 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.
  • Lightweight – The MT is featherlight at 138 Kilos wet. Moving it around while trying to park is easy, with the 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 as 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 km/l. The console shows that the 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 the high fifties. These VVA engines are quite efficient.


  • 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 that 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 happening 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, Storytime!

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 it's 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 km – 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 meet up 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 defence, 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 Bolinas 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.

Continue reading BHPian Grimlock's Yamaha MT15 review for more insights & information.

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