Yamaha MT-15 Vs KTM 125 Duke Vs Bajaj NS200 Vs TVS Apache RTR 200 4V
The newly launched MT-15 poses a serious threat to not only the KTM 125 Duke but also larger 200cc nakeds. We compare them on paper to find out which one’s the best
Yamaha has launched its 150cc street naked, the MT-15, at Rs 1.36 lakh (ex-Delhi). Like the Yamaha R15 v3.0, the MT-15 blurs the lines for entry-level performance motorcycles, offering 200cc levels of performance with a smaller but technologically advanced 150cc motor and high-spec frame. The new bike not only faces off against 200cc bikes like the Bajaj Pulsar NS200 and TVS Apache RTR 200 4V but also the smaller KTM 125 Duke that packs premium underpinnings in a compact form. So, let’s compare the four bikes on paper to find out which one offers the most value for your buck.
Also read: 2018 Yamaha YZF-R15 V3.0 Road Test Review
Yamaha’s new range of MT nakeds have impressed enthusiasts with their aggressive design and the MT-15 is no different. Like the larger MT-09, the MT-15’s insect-like front headlamp is bound to get you noticed on the road. It gets all-LED headlamps and tail lamps. While the floating tail section is similar to the R15, its single seat design seems to be inspired by the MT-09. The all-digital instrument console is similar to the R15 but is a negative LCD unit.
The KTM 125 Duke too is quite the looker. Although it packs a smaller 125cc heart, it borrows body panels and underpinning from the larger KTM 200 Duke. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to differentiate both bikes if they passed you on the road. While the 125 Duke misses out on LED headlamps, it does get LED tail lamps and turn indicators. The all-digital instrument console is borrowed from the 200 Duke and it does feel a little congested because of the small fonts.
Despite being on sale for quite some time, the Bajaj Pulsar NS200 still manages to look fine thanks to its well-balanced proportions and sharp lines. It, however, disappoints in terms of features. It gets a halogen headlamp, bulb-type turn indicators and a semi-digital instrument console that misses out on a gear shift indicator.
The Apache RTR 200 4V sports aggressive lines but is overshadowed by the competition around it. It is a mixed bag when it comes to features as it misses out on LED headlamps and turn indicators but gets a full-digital instrument console that offers the most comprehensive information here.
The MT-15’s motor might be lower in capacity but it is the most advanced here. The 155c liquid-cooled motor gets variable valve timing that allows for usable performance throughout the rev range. It also has a higher rev ceiling compared to the others and that should make it fun to ride on the racetrack.
The KTM impresses as well with its technologically advanced liquid-cooled motor. However, there’s no replacement for displacement and the smaller engine makes the least power in this company. However, this very trait gives it a friendly nature and a fantastic motorcycle for beginners.
Like the MT-15 and 125 Duke, the Pulsar NS200 gets a liquid-cooled motor but misses out on fuel injection. Nevertheless, it makes the most power and torque here. The motor is based on the KTM 200 Duke’s unit but is less frantic and more refined.
Out of the four, the Apache RTR 200 4V is the only bike here to get an air-cooled motor with oil-cooling. However, owing to its larger engine capacity, it makes the second-highest amount of power and torque here. And most of it is generated lower down the rev range, which should make it a hoot to zip through traffic. It is the only bike here to offer fuel-injection and carburettor as an option.
If outright power is what you want, the Bajaj Pulsar NS200 is the one to go for. On the other hand, if you crave for a fine balance of power and tech, the MT-15 should be able to satisfy you.
The MT-15 gets a deltabox frame similar to the R15 V3.0 but features a steel box-type swingarm instead of the aluminium swingarm of the R15. It also loses out on a lot of features like the upside down swingarm seen on the international-spec MT-15 (Read Yamaha MT-15: India Vs Indonesia-spec Comparison) Another disappointment is that it gets a single-channel ABS when its cousins, the R15 V3.0 and FZ25, get dual-channel units. However, it is expected to handle as sharply as the R15 it is based on.
When it comes to underpinnings, the KTM impresses thanks to its high-spec suspension components and brakes. It is also the only bike in this comparison to get a trellis frame and radial tyres.
Like the MT-15, the Pulsar NS200 gets a perimeter frame but with cost-effective underpinnings. Its gas-charged rear shock absorber offers a stiff but planted ride and overall, all these components make for a bike that is fun to ride without breaking the bank.
Despite its split cradle frame and conventional suspension setup, the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V should be able to keep up with the others featured here. It is the only bike here to feature a dual-channel ABS setup. You also have the option to choose between TVS Remora tyres or stickier Pirelli rubber.
In terms of dynamics, it is the KTM that impresses the most. But we have high expectations from the MT-15 as it uses almost the same underpinnings as the R15, a bike that proved to be a hoot to ride, be it out on a race track or on the hills.
Pricing and Verdict:
The Yamaha MT-15 has turned out to be a disappointment due to its high asking price of Rs 1.36 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) which is just around Rs 3,000 less than the R15. However, it does impress in the looks department and technologically advanced motor. If you are one of those riders who love the performance that the R15 offers but were put off by its committed riding position, you should definitely take a look at the MT-15.
Also read: Yamaha MT-15: Same Price, Other Options
Next up is the KTM 125 Duke. Despite its small motor, it impressed us with its high-spec kit and dynamics. Priced at Rs 1.18 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), it is not only more expensive than other 125cc counterparts but also 200cc offerings like the Pulsar NS200 and the Apache RTR 200 4V. The 125 Duke is a great entry-level KTM and you should definitely consider getting one if you find the 200 and 390 Duke a bit frantic.
The Bajaj Pulsar NS200 looks good even today and offers impressive performance at just Rs 1.12 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). It, however, is due for an update and could do with features like an LED headlamp and a full-digital instrument console.
At Rs 1.11 lakh, the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V is priced similar to the Pulsar NS200 but offers better kit in the form of a digital instrument console and dual-channel ABS. It might lose out to the Pulsar by not offering a liquid-cooled motor and perimeter frame. However, it is as quick as the Pulsar NS200 and comes quite close as far as dynamics are concerned. At the end of the day, if you are on a budget but do not want to compromise on performance and features, you’d be happier with the TVS Apache RTR 200 4V.