Yamaha YZF-R3 – Test Ride Review


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Yamaha introduced the much awaited YZF-R3 in India and marked its entry in to the middle-weight Supersport bike’s category or a category mainly known as a quarter litre sportsbike’s segment. We already had the Kawasaki Ninja 300 and the KTM RC390 in this segment but the new entrant, YZF-R3 in this segment by the Japanese company is nothing less than a game changer for the company. The R series of the Yamaha has always been loved by many petrolheads and now a middle-weight Supersport YZF-R3 is officially available in India in a single variant of non-ABS.

Price of Yamaha YZF-R3 – Rs. 3.25 Lakhs (Ex-Showroom, Pune)

Its Styling: Gorgeous, sharp and durable are the words which define the build quality and styling of the YZF-R3. This quarter litre motorcycle gets many of its styling cues from its elder R-series siblings. The reverse-slant dual headlamps which are slightly tucked inside its fairing simply look killer and outstanding. The front kinda resembles the Shark fish. Between these headlamps is an air vent and above the headlamps is a daytime running light which is not very bright. The windshield provides clear vision and is rattling free and is very strong too. The tank is tall and is also well scooped to fit in the riders of all sizes. The rear is iconic with its sharp looks and the LED taillight is well designed too. The boomerang inspired side fairing looks very neat and it looks very beautiful too. The exhaust is short in length yet mesmerizes everybody with its sweet exhaust note. The overall front, side and rear profiles of this motorcycle simply end up in making it look like Yamaha’s elder R-series and Moto GP bikes.

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Its Switchgears and Instrument Cluster: The instrument cluster gets all the essentials and is both digital and analogue. The speedometer is digital with an analogue tachometer alongside. The screen also hosts two trip meters, two fuel economy readings, odometer, gear position indicator, fuel gauge and a water temperature gauge too. The fuel and temperature gauges are incorporated in the tachometer only. The R3 also tells the rider of how long it has been since its oil change and alerts the rider when there is a next oil change due. The handlebars are clip-ons and they are mounted a little higher for more comfortable and upright seating position. The switchgears are same as that of the R15 but as the R3 has a full time running headlight there is no headlight on/off switch. The quality of the switchgears is acceptable but it is not that great. And yes, the horn of this motorcycle could have been even better but you can avoid honking by just revving the bike.

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Its Ergonomics: The riding position of the R3 is upright and you don’t need to duck down much for riding it. You can cruise comfortably through the traffic and on highways with that proud sitting position.  The bike is aerodynamically stable and so is very nimble to handle to. You can zip zap through the traffic, cruise normally, race or lean on the tank and get behind the windshield for a pleasant and silent ride. The rear view mirrors offer a great view and are placed well for rider’s comfortable view. The pillion seat is small and is not very comfortable but gets a strap to hold as there are no grab rails on this bike. The pillion however has to lean on the rider or has to sit holding the rider tight. The foot pegs are properly placed and offer decent resting position for the foot. The tank is also scooped well to fit in the riders of all sizes, as said before.

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Its Engine and Performance: The Yamaha YZF-R3 is powered with a fuel-injected 321 cc, 2-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valves engine. The engine is well refined and feels smooth while on the move as there are no knockings. The engine produces 41.42 BHP of power at 10750 rpm and 29.6 Nm of torque at 9000 rpm. The power values are pretty nice and all of these are meshed with a 6-speed manual gearbox. The gear-shifts do happen smoothly. The R3’s engine uses much from Yamaha R1 and R6. It gets lightweight forged pistons that are 10% lighter than those cast materials/items and so work stronger for increased reliability at higher revs.

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It being a Yamaha excels in the terms of performance as performance is in the genes of this motorcycle. Its lightweight design and both of its combustion chambers which are fed with 4 valves make it responsive and quicker when throttled. The torque can be felt in the first gear and the ingenious gearbox’s gear ratios are so well designed that the torque can be felt in every gear. The twin cylinders do offer great level of refinement and the 0-60 km/h and the 0-100 km/h sprints are achieved in 2.5 seconds and 5.5 seconds respectively. It does a top speed of 176 km/h and so it is a fast motorcycle. When you throttle hard and get off the line, the bike just pops up with a wheel-spin and it goes very fast!

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Its Riding Dynamics: The R3 weighs 169 kgs and its lightweight diamond type frame chassis helps it to perform very well. The handling is predictable on twists and turns and the bike feels stable at corners too. The torque which is present in the mid-range and high-range helps a lot in entering and exiting the corners at whatever the speeds maybe. Our test ride vehicle was equipped with MRF tyres which did provide decent amount of grip but power slides did happen because of those untamable 42 horses which were not capable of to be taken by those MRF tyres. The suspensions are well tuned and they soak up bumps with an ease. You can cruise comfortably, corner hard or race on the same suspension settings. Be it a road or a track, the bike is stable all the way and is not at all stubborn. The suspension properties are good and so are the brakes on this motorcycle. The R3 gets a 298 mm hydraulic disc brake at the front and a 220 mm hydraulic disc brake at the rear. Both the discs provide good braking response at both low and high speeds. But the lack of ABS can be felt on this powerful vehicle as it sometimes leaves its line and drags a bit while braking. The aerodynamic and race inspired bike’s design helps in the easy maneuvering of the motorcycle through city traffics, quick turns and on speedy sprints. There are a few vibrations near the tank but they do not irritate you much while speeding. The seating is upright and comfortable and lack of cushioning on the seats does make you to take many halts during your long distance rides.

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Its Verdict/Conclusion: The Yamaha YZF-R3 is a beautiful quarter litre motorcycle. It is fast, it is powerful, it is attractive, it is stable and it is comfortable too. But there are also three issues which I have with this motorcycle and they are – lack of ABS, the MRF tyres and the price for which it comes at. The ABS should have been offered as an option atleast but what’s not there today will be there tomorrow for sure. The YZF-R3 is a thorough pocket rocket though and it also has a heart which is well refined and causes no knocking. It surely does impress those loyal Yamaha R-series fans out there and the R3 is a terrific motorcycle.

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Yamaha YZF-R3 Technical Data:
* Engine: 321 cc, 2-cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-valves, fuel injected
* Power: 41.42 BHP @ 10750 RPM
* Torque: 29.6 Nm @ 9000 RPM
* Transmission: 6-speed
* 0-60 km/h: 2.5 seconds
* 0-100 km/h: 5.5 seconds
* Top Speed: 176 km/hr
* Fuel Consumption: 22-25 km/l, 23.68 km/l (certified)
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Frame: lightweight Diamond type
* Suspension: Telescopic (Front), Adjustable Monoshock (Rear)
* Tyres: 110/70 R17 (Front), 140/70 R17 (Rear)
* Brakes: 298 mm Disc (Front), 220 mm Disc (Rear)

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Yamaha YZF-R3 Dimensions:
* Length: 2090 mm
* Width: 720 mm
* Height: 1135 mm
* Wheelbase: 1380 mm
* Ground Clearance: 160 mm
* Seat Height: 780 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 14 litres
* Oil Tank Capacity: 2.4 litres
* Kerb weight: 169 kgs

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