Does Honda’s newest naked have an edge over its rivals?
Honda Indonesia recently launched the 2021 Honda CB150R Streetfire in the country. It goes directly against the Yamaha MT-15 and the Suzuki GSX-S150. Of the three, only the MT-15 is available in India, albeit with slightly different specifications. So to keep things fair, let’s take the Indonesia-spec version of the MT-15 into consideration and see how the three fare on paper:
The Yamaha MT-15’s bigger engine has the obvious advantage of being the most powerful and the torquiest of the trio. That said, the Suzuki GSX-S150’s engine output figures are impressive considering it has the smallest engine displacement. The VVA tech in the MT-15 should help maintain a good balance of low-end grunt and top-end drive whereas the other two bikes are devoid of such modern technologies. The MT-15 also gets the advantage of an assist-and-slipper clutch. The assist function reduces the lever effort whereas the slipper clutch prevents the rear wheel from locking up while downshifting aggressively. An interesting tidbit is that even though the India-spec MT-15 makes less power and torque than the other two bikes (18.5PS and 13.9Nm), it complies with the more stringent BS6 emission norms.
The Suzuki GSX-S150 is not only the most sober-looking bike here, but it also gets the most basic underpinnings. Thankfully, the Honda CB150R has upgraded from traditional forks to inverted ones for 2021. The MT-15 has always had inverted forks in the international-spec version. Only the India-spec model gets a conventional fork to keep costs in check. Inverted fork enhances the handling of the motorcycle by offering better handlebar feedback.
The MT-15 also gets the fattest tyres that should help improve cornering confidence, at least theoretically. The petal discs in the Honda and Suzuki have a larger surface area compared to a conventional disc of the same size, and hence, offer superior cooling. None of the bikes get ABS as the safety norms in Indonesia don’t warrant one for bikes in their segment.
Dimensions And Features
The 2021 Honda CB150R Streetfire’s bigger fuel tank means it should offer better range than the Yamaha MT-15 or the Suzuki GSX-S150. It also gets the highest ground clearance, a boon for riding on bad roads. The MT-15 gets a fairly tall seat as well, whereas the CB150R and the GSX-S150 are short rider-friendly. The extra long wheelbase in the MT-15 should keep it stable on the highways, whereas the shorter wheelbase in the other two bikes should make them easy to manoeuvre in tight city spaces.
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All three motorcycles get an all-LED headlamp and tail lamp. While the Honda CB150R gets LED indicators, the other two bikes manage with bulb units. The three motorcycles come with an information-laden fully digital instrument cluster, complete with a gear position indicator. Additionally, Suzuki offers an illuminated key slot with a remote key (optional) in the GSX-S150 for extra convenience. Overall, it’s safe to say all three bikes are pretty modern and up-to-date in the features department. However, we’d have liked it if they offered smartphone connectivity with turn-by-turn navigation, at least as an optional fitment.
Price & Verdict
Despite being the most affordable bike of the lot, the Suzuki GSX-S150 manages to be almost at par with the MT-15 in terms of performance. However, its conservative looks and traditional underpinnings may not appeal to everyone. The 2021 Honda CB150R Streetfire offers a great balance of looks and features. But if you’re looking for an out-and-out performance-oriented bike, the Yamaha MT-15 is the one for you.
All prices on-road, Jakarta.