The Yamaha MT-15 and KTM Duke 125 are sporty street-fighter motorcycles with moderate performance for the price.

Yamaha MT-15 vs KTM Duke 125
The Yamaha MT-15 has a significant power and torque advantage

Yamaha recently launched the much anticipated MT-15, the street-fighter version of the hugely successful YZF-R15 V3. How does it fare against the lightest KTM motorcycle in India, the Duke 125? Find out with this quick spec comparison.

Design – The Yamaha MT-15 looks completely in line with its elder MT siblings. The design is really aggressive throughout the length of the motorcycle. The front of the MT-15 makes it very recognisable and unique. It gets twin-LED lights followed by a single projector lamp under it for the headlight that make the front of the motorcycle look quite mean. Body panels are minimal with no fairing whatsoever. The Duke 125, on the other hand, looks exactly like its elder sibling, the Duke 200. Every element looks familiar, to say the least. The narrow headlight, slim LED indicators and LED tail-lights are all the same. Overall, both the motorcycles look like true blue street-fighters. While the MT-15 brings something new to the table, one cannot ignore the muscular design of the Duke 125.

Engine – The Yamaha MT-15 is powered by the same engine as the R15. It uses a 155cc, liquid-cooled, four-valve engine mated to a 6-speed gearbox. The setup produces 19.3 PS of peak power and 14.7 Nm of peak torque. However, Yamaha has tuned the final drive to provide more initial acceleration at the cost of a reduced top speed. Nevertheless, the MT-15 feels punchy in city riding conditions while it does struggle to maintain its momentum past 110 km/hr on the highway. Refinement levels are top-notch like any other Yamaha motorcycle. Having said that, there is a little bit of vibration that creeps in near the redline through the handlebars and footpegs.

Conversely, the KTM Duke 125 is powered by a 124.7cc, liquid-cooled, four-valve engine mated to a 6-speed transmission. This helps the motorcycle develop 14.5 PS of power and 12 Nm of peak torque. This engine is by far the most refined engine from KTM’s stable. It is a lot calmer than say its elder siblings. However, it does negatively affect its ability to be quicker off the line. Performance isn’t that great but it does have the ability to do short sprints. With just 14.5 PS and 12 Nm on offer, the engine fizzles off post 106-107 km/hr. Subsequently, the engine offers good fuel efficiency with figures north of 40 km/l, this surely helps the Duke 125’s case in its own way.

Price – The Yamaha MT-15 retails at Rs. 1.61 lakhs while the KTM Duke 125 retails at Rs. 1.39 lakhs (both prices, OTR, Mumbai). This makes the MT-15 about Rs. 20,000/- costlier than the Duke 125. You get a bigger engine, better performance, Assist and Slipper clutch along with a lighter motorcycle for the extra bucks that you pay for the MT-15. The MT-15 offers more than the Duke 125 in almost every possible field. However, one cannot ignore the fact that both these motorcycles could’ve been more value for money. With competition being really strong in this price bracket, maybe both these motorcycles are a bit too late to the party.

Verdict – While both these motorcycles have really strong points going for them, it’s the price factor that unfortunately doesn’t make them value for money. The MT-15 is a really capable machine, however, Yamaha’s very own R15 offers dual-channel ABS, an aluminium swingarm and a fairing for just about Rs. 4000/- more. The KTM Duke, in contrast, offers the Duke experience in a very compact and manageable package and is aimed at people who find the Duke 200 very fast and expensive. Both motorcycles are fun to ride but could very well offer much more for how much they cost. Despite KTM having the price advantage here, it is Yamaha’s MT-15 that makes more sense in this case. If you plan to get one of these and don’t mind spending another Rs. 20,000/-, get the MT-15 but we will still choose the R15.

Yamaha MT-15 Hindi Video
The Yamaha MT-15 looks very unique and aggressive
KTM Duke 125 Orange
The Duke 125 is identical to the Duke 200 in terms of design