Yamaha YZF-R3 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 Spec
- Seat height780mm
- Weight (kerb)169kg
- Engine8v parallel twin, DOHC, liquid cooled
- Top speed110mph