Yamaha YZF-R3 & MT-03 initial impressions: Motorcycles for purists

Yamaha Motor India was once known for being a brand that wanted to sell motorcycles that enthusiasts would want. The manufacturer used to sell the YZF-R3 but it was then discontinued when the BS6 emission norms came into effect. Since then things have been slow and cold. However, earlier this year, Yamaha announced that they would be launching the YZF-R3 and MT-03 in the Indian market. This sparked a lot of hype around the brand once again. So, when Yamaha invited us for a few laps of both motorcycles on the Buddh International Circuit (BIC), we could not say no.

By: Paarth Khatri
| Updated on: 20 Dec 2023, 17:57 PM

The MT-03 and R3 use the same underpinnings.

It is important to note that we only rode both motorcycles for just 15 minutes which is 4 laps of the race track. So, these are only our initial impressions and not a full review.

Yamaha R3 and MT-03: Looks and ergonomics

Yamaha R3 Yamaha MT-03
Both motorcycles look quite impressive and high quality.

In terms of looks not much has changed since the last time, the R3 was on sale in the Indian market. It now comes with all LED lighting, a fairing and a design that is inspired by its elder siblings. The golden forks do add a bit of character and premiumness to the looks of the motorcycle. Being a sportbike, the R3 comes with slightly rear-set footpegs and clip-on handlebars. Having said that, the ergonomics are not as committed as one would imagine. In fact, they are more accommodating than the R-15 which was quite surprising for me.

Then there is the MT-03 which has a transformer-like front-face and looks like a larger version of the MT-15. The motorcycle just gets twin slim LED Daytime Running Lamps and a projector headlamp. The one thing that is a bit of an eyesore is the fact that the horn is placed right below the headlamp. Being a naked streetfighter, the riding triangle on the MT-03 is more upright and comfortable than the R3. However, because there is no fairing, the wind blast on the MT is a lot more than the R3.

Yamaha R3 and MT-03: Smooth engine

Yamaha R3
The ergonomics of the R3 are more accommodating than the R15.

Both motorcycles are powered by a 321 cc, parallel-twin engine that is very smooth and delivers power in a very linear fashion. The engine dishes out 41 bhp at 10,750 rpm and a peak torque of 29.5 Nm at 9,000 rpm. The engine comes mated to a 6-speed gearbox which unfortunately does not get a slip-and-assist clutch. Because of this, under aggressive downshifting, the rear would start to hop. Moreover, the gearbox would get stuck while shifting from 4th to 5th and then from 5th to 6th. The engine can pull cleanly even at higher gears and slow speeds and speaking of speeds, it can stay all day long at 100 kmph doing 6,000 rpm. We were able to clock a top speed of around 172 kmph on the R3 whereas the MT-03 did 169 kmph.

Yamaha R3 and MT-03: Features

Yamaha MT-03
The MT-03 looks striking. The only eye sore is the placement of the horn which is directly below the projector headlamp.

There are no fancy features on the R3 and MT-03. It just comes with a digital instrument cluster that shows various information including a temperature gauge and a gear position indicator. There is no Bluetooth connectivity or USB port to charge mobile devices. Fortunately, the motorcycles do come with all LED lighting and dual-channel ABS.

Yamaha R3 and MT-03: Who should get one?

Well, this is where things get a bit interesting. Yes, people have been waiting for these motorcycles for a long time now but Yamaha is bringing them to India through the CBU route. What this means is that they are priced high. The MT-03 costs 4.60 lakh whereas the R3 is priced at 4.65 lakh. Both prices are ex-showroom. The recently launched Aprilia RS 457 is priced at 4.1 lakh ex-showroom and it does look more exotic, offers more features and is more powerful as well. But, if you are a purist, someone who just wants a pure basic motorcycle without any of the fancy features then your heart will deviate towards Yamaha’s motorcycles.

First Published Date: 20 Dec 2023, 17:57 PM IST

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