The recently launched Yamaha MT15 street fighter motorcycle has begun outselling its prime rival: the KTM Duke 125. Yamaha sold 3,823 units of the MT15 in April 2019, which was almost double that of what KTM did with the Duke 125, which sold 2,199 units. The Yamaha MT 15 is about Rs. 12,000 pricier than the KTM Duke 125, with its price tag of Rs. 1.36 lakhs. The Yamaha bike does offer a lot more power and torque, unique looks when compared to the Duke’s resemblance to other, bigger engined models in its line-up, and also the famed reliability and refinement levels of the R15 platform. The Yamaha MT15 is essentially the naked, more comfortable version of the R15, and is meant for city streets rather than the race track.
This explains the MT15’s wider and higher-set handlebars, easier seating position and lack of fairing. What bikers will miss on the MT15 is a dual channel ABS, which is standard on the R15, a bike priced just Rs. 3,000 more than the former. As for the engine and gearbox, the MT15 borrows its mechanicals from the R15. The engine is a 155cc single cylinder unit with liquid cooling, four valve head with a single overhead camshaft, variable camshaft timing that’s a high tech way to boost low end torque, and fuel injection. The engine is paired to a 6 speed manual gearbox with a slipper clutch. Peak power is rated at Bhp while peak torque is Nm. The MT15 is a lot more powerful than the KTM Duke 125.
The Duke 125 uses a 124cc four stroke engine that makes 14.5 Bhp of peak power at 9,250 rpm and 12 Nm of peak torque at 8,000 rpm. The engine gets a twin overhead camshaft, four valves, liquid cooling and fuel injection. A 6 speed manual gearbox comes standard with this engine but there’s no slipper clutch on offer. Overall, the Duke 125 is less powerful than the MT15, and this probably explains why the latter is selling much better.
As for braking, the Duke 125 gets single channel ABS but disc brakes on both wheels. It has a higher-spec suspension than the MT15, with upside down front forks compared to telescopic units on the Yamaha bike. At the rear though, both motorcycles get gas charged monoshock units. While the Duke 125 uses a trellis frame borrowed from its bigger sibling, the Duke 200, the Yamaha MT15 shares its highly acclaimed Deltabox frame with the R15.
Over the past few months, the premium motorcycle segment has seen a steep drop in sales as buyers tighten up purse strings thanks to the slow Indian economy. Both the Yamaha MT15 and the KTM Duke 125 have been affected by this sales slump. Recovery could be protracted if the economy does not get back into full steam quickly.