There's a wide variety of options for beginner naked bikes in the Philippines. These low displacement motorcycles are perfect for learning the clutch and getting your feet wet with manual transmissions.
Two of the most compelling options in this segment come from competing Japanese manufacturers. The Yamaha MT-15 and Suzuki GSX-S150 share some commonalities, but they also differ starkly on many levels. So, we're taking things to the spec sheet to see which of the two is the better buy.
Power figures are nearly identical for these two bikes, but with a few caveats. The Yamaha MT-15 features a 155cc liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, SOHC engine that makes 19 hp and 15 Nm of torque. The power plant connects to a 6-speed gearbox. It has a 10L fuel tank, which feels a bit low, but is understandable given the bike's size.
The Suzuki GSX-S150 packs a 147cc liquid-cooled engine capable of 19 hp and 14 Nm of torque and pairs with a 6-speed transmission. It also has an 11L gas tank, a liter more than the MT-15. Looking at the raw power figures, we see that the MT-15 gets the edge here with a slightly bigger engine and a bit more torque, but that's not all.
Yamaha put a Variable Valve Actuation (VVA) system on the MT-15, which it claims is the first such system that provides added torque in low to mid-range revving situations. While neither bike will send you flying when you hit the throttle, the MT-15 at least has a feature that ultimately gives it the edge in performance.
Winner: Yamaha MT-15
As entry-level naked bikes, almost no one expects Yamaha or Suzuki to pack their models with the latest and greatest features. That's not to say that they can't, however, as both the MT-15 and GSX-S150 pack some nifty equipment.
Diving first with the Yamaha MT-15, it gets bright bi-LED headlights and a mono focus projector headlight. Its cowling design is impeccable, too, evoking its larger siblings in the MT range. In addition, the MT-15 gets an LED taillight to complete its modern lighting package.
The MT-15 also features an LCD instrument panel that displays a range of riding information, including the speedometer, RPM gauge, engine temperature, fuel level, and a shift timing light. The display also lets riders know when the VVA system is engaged.
It doesn't end there, as the Yamaha MT-15 also gets inverted forks and a link-type monocross swingarm rear suspension to ensure a stable and comfortable ride. More than that, the bike gets an assist and slipper clutch, a feature that should be well above its price range. The slipper clutch helps prevent slippage in high-rev conditions while preventing the rear wheel from locking during aggressive downshifts. Its other features include single disc brakes for the front and rear, a pass switch, and an engine immobilizer.
As for the Suzuki GSX-S150, its features are a bit tamer but not lacking in any way. It gets full LED headlights, a basic digital instrument panel, and a handy keyless ignition system. It also features front and rear disc brakes to ensure safe stopping. Apart from its practical equipment, there's not much to see with the GSX-S150. While that may be disappointing for some, you'll understand its lack of advanced features when we get to its price point.
Overall, the Yamaha MT-15 takes this category for its full-LED setup, more advanced LCD instrument panel, and a few added safety features.
Winner: Yamaha MT-15
While the Yamaha MT-15 and Suzuki GSX-S150 are both pegged as entry-level machines, there's some price disparity between the two. The MT-15 is available for P159,000, which isn't cheap by any means but is justified by its modern features and signature MT styling.
The GSX-S150 is priced at P112,800—or P46,200 less expensive than the MT-15. With that kind of money, you'd be able to level up the GSX-S150 with aftermarket accessories and equipment.
However, the MT-15 has features that you just can't buy in the aftermarket. For one thing, the VVA system is exclusive to Yamaha. While you can theoretically install a slipper clutch on the Suzuki, it's a complex endeavor and can be more trouble than it's worth.
Still, the Suzuki GSX-S150 is cheaper, and there's no arguing on that front. So, for this category, Suzuki takes the win for its more affordable price tag.
Winner: Suzuki GSX-S150
The Yamaha MT-15 and Suzuki GSX-S150 are both aggressive-looking entry-level streetfighters that many beginner riders won't regret buying. The MT-15 gets the edge for its larger engine, torquier ride, VVA system, modern creature comforts, and safety features. Meanwhile, the Suzuki GSX-S150 is a more basic motorcycle that's emphatically more affordable than the Yamaha.
If you're budget-conscious and aren't looking for the latest features, you can't go wrong with the Suzuki GSX-S150. Now, if you want something that's more future-proof, go with the Yamaha MT-15. Its advanced engineering and technology are invaluable, and you may find that the added convenience they bring is well worth the added cost.
As we've mentioned, both bikes deserve a second look, but ultimately, there's a clear winner—and it's the Yamaha MT-15.