Yamaha YZF-R3 Bike Overview
The 250-400cc class used to be big in the sportsbike world, when Japanese licensing laws kept many riders on sub-400cc machinery. But in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the sector died off a bit, with the demise of the two-strokes and most riders going to a 600cc sportsbike as soon as they could.
But over the last decade or so, the class has come storming back, and bikes like the Yamaha R3 are now proper, fully-formed mini-sportsbikes, built down to the capacity and budget required.
Yamaha’s based the R3 around a well-engineered parallel twin motor, based on the earlier R25, with liquid cooling, four-valve heads, fuel injection and DOHC layout. It puts out a decent 42bhp – putting it into the A2 licensing class – and gives the R3 enough urge to top 110mph with ease. It’s also very economical: Yamaha claims around 60mpg.
The engine is mounted in a cheap-yet-effective steel tube frame, with fairly basic suspension front and rear. The front brake is the only real quibble: Yamaha’s fitted a sliding two-piston caliper, where a more effective four-piston unit (and one more disc) would make a big difference.
The R3 is fairly compact, so if you’re very tall, you might find it a bit on the cramped side. But if you do fit, you get a decent view from the cockpit, with a smart LCD dash packed with useful info.
The R3 is made in Indonesia, which helps explain the low price, but the build quality is good – and much better than no-name Chinese-built competition.
Finally, it’s an attractive little bike, which manages to do that trick of looking like its bigger siblings – the R6 and R1. The bodywork and design is spot-on, with attention paid to the smallest details.
Check out the Yamaha YZF-R3…
Yamaha YZF-R3 Bike Spec
- Seat height780mm
- Weight (kerb)169kg
- Engine8v parallel twin, DOHC, liquid cooled
- Top speed110mph
Yamaha YZF-R3 Bike Insurance
Comfortable position with a sports looks. Power probably unsuitable to carry a pillion, but long day rides are fantastic on this bike.
Fantastic built quality, mechanically absolutely perfect but bolts and nuts are prone to rust.
Brakes aren't the best on the R3, only one front calliper which whilst standard, does mean the front brake isn't as powerful. Both brakes can feel spongy, although the back brake is great at slow speeds.
Super light weight bike, which means it can makes most of it's power. Flips itself in corners and nice low seat, making it comfortable when stopping in awkward places.
42BHP, perfect for the road, but does get boring after a couple of years, but the handling makes up for it. Quick off the line, and very impressed with it being able to manage a top speed of 120mph for such a small engine.
Really economic bike, depending on how it's ridden of course. A 300+ mile day can be done on two and a bit tanks, and that's with motorway riding and keeping a high speed throughout.