Monday, Aug 08, 2022

Yamaha MT-15 vs KTM 125 Duke: Spec Comparison

Can Yamaha’s R15-based naked bike hold its own against KTM’s smallest hooligan?

The newly launched Yamaha MT-15 has left our jaws on the floor, and not for a good reason. For its fairly expensive price tag, the MT-15 misses out on quite a lot (which we will delve deeper into). This raises the question, are you better off buying the KTM 125 Duke instead? How about we stack them against each other on paper to find out?

Design & Features

While the India-bound MT-15 may have seen a lot of changes internally, things are quite the same on the outside compared to the international-spec model. It gets the same MT-09 inspired design, with muscular features and a streetfighter look. The headlamp design is also quite unique and something that we haven’t seen before on any other 150cc offerings. The features list here consists of LED head & tail lamps, a slipper clutch and a fully digital instrument cluster. Additionally, while the layout remains the same, Yamaha has swapped the premium-quality switchgear found on the international bike for a more affordable one.

Unlike the MT-15, the KTM 125 Duke looks drastically different from its international counterpart. While the international-spec model gets the 2017 390 Duke-inspired design, the India-bound model looks almost indistinguishable from the 200 Duke. The only thing separating them visually is the ‘125’ sticker plastered across the fuel tank. In terms of features you get an all-digital instrument cluster which showcases speedometer, tachometer, odometer and fuel gauge. It also features real-time and average fuel efficiency, service indicator and distance-to-empty. While LED headlamps are given a miss here for a halogen setup, it does get LED tail lamps and indicators.


Since it’s based on the R15 V3.0, the MT-15 gets the same 155cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine with Variable Valve Actuation (VVT). Yamaha has confirmed that the MT-15’s engine will feature a different state of tune for more street-friendly riding than the R15 V3.0. Not to mention, it also gets a 6-speed gearbox aided by a slipper clutch. We are reserving our thoughts on this for our comprehensive road test review.

The India-spec 125 Duke gets the same engine as the last-generation European 125 Duke. Hence, the ride-by-wire throttle has been given a miss here, like the current-gen international 125 Duke. In our review, we found the power delivery here to be quite linear and easy to manage. You do get a minor surge in torque at around the 7000rpm mark, and the bike pulls cleanly till its redline of a little over 10,000rpm. But don’t expect to win any drag races on this soon, unless you’re going up against bikes in the same cubic capacity bracket.


Yamaha has cut corners quite a bit here. For starters, the MT-15 misses out on the cast-aluminium swingarm and USD forks offered on the international bike and even the R15 V3.0 on which it is based. Instead, what we get here is a conventional telescopic setup and a box-section swingarm. For its rather expensive pricing, the MT-15 misses out on dual-channel ABS. Which is surprising, considering even the more affordable FZ-25 gets it. However, the MT-15 does get the Deltabox frame just like the R15, which should help it retain brilliant riding dynamics.

The KTM 125 Duke, though, gets premium components like fat 43mm upside-down front forks and an adjustable monoshock, both from WP. It also employs a steel trellis frame which should offer better handling capabilities. Additionally, the baby Duke features the fattest tyres in its segment: 110-section up front and 150-section at the rear.


Yamaha’s pricing of the MT-15 is certainly eyebrow-raising. It is only Rs 3,350 cheaper than the Yamaha R15 V3.0 while missing out on a whole lot of stuff. Why? We honestly don’t know. But if we were to take a guess, here’s what we think. For now, all we can say is that it’ll be interesting to see how our price-conscious market reacts to it.

Yes, the KTM 125 Duke does fall on the expensive side. But it doesn’t skimp out on the important stuff, like the MT-15 does. Not to mention, it serves as a perfect offering for riders who might find the 200 or 250 Duke a little too intimidating.