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Yamaha Unveils 2015 YZF-R3: Goes Big With 321cc Parallel Twin

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Was it Mike Metzger who coined the phrase “Go big or go home”? Regardless, that seems to be Yamaha’s attitude as it enters the small displacement sportbike category with an all-new R3 featuring a 321 cc parallel twin engine that will likely top the category in terms of power and flexibility.

Priced at $4,990, the new R3 gets fuel injection, a six-speed transmission, disc brakes (including a single 298 mm disc up front) and a claimed wet weight (with 3.7 gallons of fuel) of just 368 pounds.

With sensibly sized 17″ tires, including a 140/70 in the rear and a 110/70 up front, the new R3 should be exceedingly nimble. A relatively low seat height of 30.7″ means this bike will be friendly to novices and females. The three available colors are pictured in this article, and all will be available in U.S. dealers in March, 2015

Here is the press release from Yamaha, followed by a fun video featuring Mr. and Mrs. Colin Edwards.

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Cypress, CA October 16, 2014 –Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. is proud to announce the newest member to join the acclaimed R-Series, the all-new YZF-R3.

Bred from the ground up using Yamaha R Series DNA the YZF-R3 features a 321cc, liquid-cooled, in-line two-cylinder, DOHC, fuel injected engine tuned to deliver excellent power and performance throughout the powerband.

Legendary R-Series styling with a full fairing gives the YZF-R3 that destined for the racetrack look and the low seat height of 30.7” make it available to a wide variety of riders looking for their first motorcycle or just prefer a lightweight, nimble machine.

The YZF-R3 features top notch components like KYB front suspension, lightweight aluminum 10-spoke wheels and a newly designed compact LCD instrument panel that displays all the important data at a glance.

The YZF-R3 will be available in three color options—Team Yamaha Blue/Matte Silver, Rapid Red and Raven––and will retail for just $4,990, with bikes available in dealerships beginning in January 2015.

For more information on all Yamaha models please visit www.yamahamotorsports.com.

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Yamaha 2015 YZF-R3 Features

Top Features:
  • Large 321cc twin-cylinder engine offers excellent performance whether navigating cross-town traffic, hitting the twisties, or on the racetrack.
  • Yamaha supersport inspired styling with a full fairing in a chassis that makes it perfect for first time riders or experienced riders who prefer a lightweight, nimble machine.
  • Forged pistons just like the R1 and R6 are both lightweight and provide strength while the offset cylinders reduce friction for more power.
  • The YZF-R3 offers a riding position that is very comfortable and the clip-on handlebars deliver a sporty rider position.
  • With a seat height of only 30.7 inches and a flat seat design on the YZF-R3, it’s easy to get both feet firmly on the ground and inspire confidence, especially for beginner riders.
  • Three beautiful livery options are available which means there is a color choice that is right for you.
Engine:
  • Newly developed 321cc, liquid-cooled, in-line 2-cylinder DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, fuel-injected engine delivers excellent power and performance throughout the powerband.
  • With a compression ratio of 11.2:1 the engine develops maximum power at 10,750 rpm for an exciting ride.
  • With a 180 degree crank design the machine provides a compact engine design and superior feeling when accelerating through the rpm range.
  • Downdraft induction fuel injection provides easy starts and smooth performance in all conditions.
  • Yamaha’s all-aluminum DiASil cylinder is used to ensure excellent heat dissipation and the unique design reduces horsepower loss.
  • Forged aluminum pistons, same technology used for the R1 and R6 means lighter weight and excellent strength at higher temperatures while the offset cylinder helps reduce horsepower loss at the point of combustion.
Chassis/Suspension:
  • Newly designed steel frame and swingarm.
  • Powerful 298mm floating mount front disc brake ensure excellent stopping power while a 220mm floating disc handles the braking performance on the back.
  • 41mm KYB® front suspension offers 5.1 inches of travel for rider comfort and control.
  • 10 spoke cast aluminum wheels are both strong and high in style while reducing unsprung weight.
  • The multi-function meter informs the rider of gear position, fuel capacity, real time and average fuel economy, water temp, clock, two tripmeters and an oil change indicator light.
Additional Features:
  • Legendary R-series styling and performance are inherent with the YZF-R3. Great styling matched to excellent engine performance and chassis design are the hallmarks of Yamaha’s R-series and YZF-R3 carries on the heritage with great results.

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2015 Yamaha YZF-R3 Specifications

MSRP* $4,990 – Raven – Available from January 2015
$4,990 – Team Yamaha Blue/Matte Silver – Available from January 2015
$4,990 – Rapid Red – Available from January 2015
Engine
Engine Type 321cc, liquid-cooled 2-cylinder DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke 68.0 x 44.1mm
Compression Ratio 11.2:1
Fuel Delivery Fuel Injected
Ignition TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission Constant mesh; 6-speed transmission
Final Drive Chain
Chassis
Suspension / Front 41mm KYB® telescopic fork; 5.1 in of travel
Suspension / Rear KYB® single shock; 4.9 in of travel
Brakes Front Hydraulic, 298mm
Brakes / Rear Hydraulic, 220mm
Tires / Front 110/70-17M/C 54H
Tires Rear 140/70-17M/C 66H
Dimensions
L x W x H 82.3 x 28.3 x 44.7 in
Seat Height 30.7 in
Wheelbase 54.3 in
Rake (Caster Angle) 25°
Trail 3.7 in
Fuel Capacity 3.7 gal
Fuel Economy** N/A
Wet Weight*** 368 lb
Other
Warranty 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)

*Prices and specifications subject to change without notice. Please read your Owner’s Manual and all labels before operation.
**Fuel economy estimates are based on US EPA exhaust emission certification data obtained by Yamaha. Your actual mileage will vary depending on road
conditions, how you ride and maintain your vehicle, accessories, cargo, and operator/passenger weight.
***Wet weight includes the vehicle with all standard equipment and all fluids, including oil, coolant (as applicable) and a full tank of fuel. It does not include
the weight of options or accessories. Wet weight is useful in making real-world comparisons with other models.

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100 Comments

  1. Toddo says:

    I don’t get why everybody cares so much about what they “look like” on a motorcycle? I am 53 years old and have several motorcycles. I even still ride my pocket-bike! It is the most fun I ever had for $300 on two wheels! I don’t care if I look like a circus clown cause I am all about having as much fun as I can..Isn’t that why we ride? Just saying..

  2. dad says:

    so many dudes care what they “look like.”

    to who?

    jeez, i thought biker men were supposed to be rebels and toughs, not fashionistas (obligitory ducati exemption).

    i ride a ninja 250 and i look great passing the big bikes in the turns with a smile.

  3. George Krpan says:

    Twin cyclinder, fuel injected, 6 speed, $4995, and it’s a Yamaha, great deal. I hope to see an adventure version.

  4. Kagato says:

    that was a great vid : – ) I’m very happy to see some small(er) scoots coming in to the US market–now if everybody who has one will ride to work JUST when it’s nice out, we’ll get the petrol prices down some more!

  5. billy says:

    I wish the styling wasn’t so dated. Kinda looks just like an ’03 R6. Oh well, neat bike anyway.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I wish the styling wasn’t so dated. Kinda looks just like an ’03 R6.”

      if it’s any consolation, dig the chain guard. as has been down with rear huggers, they shaped the plastic to create the illusion of a modern braced swingarm.

    • todd says:

      Dated? It’s the bikes themselves that define current styling. To me this looks exactly like a 2015 Yamaha.

  6. Don Fraser says:

    Just a few words from an old(64), fat(280lbs), tall(6’3′) guy. Just ride the frikkin’ thing, quit worrying about how you look, 48K on my ’08 250 Ninja, was thinking about 390 Duke, but the R3 might just do the trick.

  7. carl says:

    My last sport bike was ZX14 before moving on to finally a touring bike for comfort. I have been looking at a small sport bike for putting around. Mainly the new KTM RC390 but finding it hard to pay these prices when there are so many great slightly used 600’s going for the same price or less in the used market. Although I think these would be great fun to scrape the knee again on.

  8. Harold says:

    Wow,

    Yamaha absolutely nailed it. I’ll take a red one !

  9. Gronde says:

    I was all set to buy the KTM RC390, but now I’m definitely getting the Yamaha R3. I could care less
    if the KTM makes a little more HP or weighs a bit less. The R3 will be more reliable with better reliability, no question and be fast enough with enough agility to satisfy your truly. I think I’ll get the red one.

  10. Kentucky Red says:

    You think it will put down more power than a CB500? It wouldn’t surprise me…

    I wish I had been born in 1998. Now would be an excellent time to get into motorcycling with so many usable, reasonably priced rides from the Japanese OEMs (aside from Suzuki, who continues to stagnate).

    • MGNorge says:

      In Europe the R3 is being listed as developing 42ps (41.4hp) while the CBR500 dynos at just a smidgen below 45hp. Being that the 500 has substantially more displacement it probably has a wider power band. Torque development shows where the extra displacement comes in. The CBR500 dyno numbers show about 28.9 lb/ft while the R3 is being advertised as developing 21.8 lb/ft. The R3 will need to spin much higher than the CBR500 to attain its horsepower.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “Being that the 500 has substantially more displacement it probably has a wider power band.”

        now that “the race to 500cc” has begun in earnest, the CB’s the one shining example of Honda product planners getting something right.

        • Dave says:

          “the engine develops maximum power at [edit: only] 10,750 rpm”

          That ^ is interesting for a small engine.

  11. Lenz says:

    Light and nimble works fer me. Be interesting to hear how it rides with a 200lb rider.

    • Glen says:

      I’m thinking the dimensions are just too small for us grown-ups. I wish they’d make these small displacement bikes full-sized. As far as I know, the only one that’s built for “real” adults is the (smaller displacement) new Suzuki GW250F. But had this one had a longer wheelbase, I would have gladly chosen it. (I am of average size, at 5’10”, 175 lbs)

      • Curly says:

        You’ll probably fit this bike well. Making a small displacement bike big enough to fit all of us old guys really misses the point of the bike. You know, it’s for the kids.

      • Curly says:

        Wait, did you check the specs? This bike has a tad longer wheelbase than the R6 at 54.3″ vs. 54.1″ but it has a lower seat height of 30.7″ vs. the R6 33.5″. It’s a bit larger than it’s spiritual ancestor the RD350 which had a 52″ wheelbase, 30″ seat height and weighed in at about 358 pound full up. This bike should be just right for a lot of small to average sized riders.

        • Glen says:

          I don’t know, Curly, I keep hearing/reading about how pint-sized the wheelbase is on, for instance, the Ninja 300, yet this one is even shorter. The same for most other small displacement bikes. I had my daughter photograph me sitting on a few, and I look ridiculously big on them, yet the reality is that I’m not large at all. I really liked the little Yamaha V-Star 250 cruiser, (with much longer wheelbase and overall length than most other small displacement bikes) yet even on it I still looked like a gorilla sitting there on that otherwise very nice-looking cruiser. If someone can steer me toward a small cc bike that will not make me look like a Sasquatch on it, please let me know. So far, only the Suzuki GW250F fits the bill.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “I had my daughter photograph me sitting on a few, and I look ridiculously big on them”

            you and the daughter might wanna swap places. she on the seat and YOU behind the lens. these are “girl bikes” bro, no slate.

            what was true BEFORE kawi updated the facade of the 20 year old nin250 is still true.

            re: “If someone can steer me toward a small cc bike that will not make me look like a Sasquatch on it, please let me know.”

            yeah, i got nothin’.

          • Dave says:

            Re: “If someone can steer me toward a small cc bike that will not make me look like a Sasquatch on it, please let me know.”

            The Hyuosung 250 is a pretty average size bike. The Yamaha WR 250 is also a big 250 but it’s a particular style.

            I’m 6’4″ and fit well on the Honda cb500’s. They’re not “small cc” bikes buy they behave like them (less power, great gas mileage).

          • Curly says:

            Glen, it’s plain to see that you like the Suzuki 250 and that its size appeals to you. I can think of another Suzuki that is almost identical in size but would be cheaper to buy and will easily out perform even the R3. It’s the GS500E. One of the best first bikes ever and still plentiful on the used market. It’s one pound lighter than the GW250 but makes about double the power with a simple but reliable air cooled engine. Check it out.

          • todd says:

            Plus one on the GS500E. Excellent bike.

          • Chris says:

            ” will easily out perform even the R3. It’s the GS500E”

            The GS is a very good beginner bike and good size for bigger riders, but it won’t out perform the new R3.

      • Bump says:

        Don’t y’all know that Colin Edwards is a tall man!

        • Glen says:

          Yeah, he’s also a beanpole, in case you haven’t noticed!

          • billy says:

            Kind of a silly comment wishing the bike were bigger. You want a 500 pound 300cc bike? I don’t get it.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “Kind of a silly comment wishing the bike were bigger. ”

            billy…? he no silly.

            most big guys I know go through great pains to AVOID the whole “Russian bear on a tricycle” look.

  12. ABC says:

    Although I must say that This R3, although a great bike is my dream crusher!
    I was expecting a 300 TRIPLE! I thought Yamaha would stick with The YZF’s racing roots… Well, Twin is good too but still…
    Oh I almost forgot to mention Honda. Honda, Why you’re all about BREAD, BUTTER & COOKIE CUTTER now??? You made XX and CB750, remember? Both were game changers… Please, learn something from your glorious past…

  13. ABC says:

    RC390, CBR300R, GW250F and now THIS… Looks great. And engine displacement is just about right. Although a 350cc would be even better considering KTM’s 375cc Single has still an edge in Torque figures.
    Ninja 300 have busted all its competitors in all shootouts I came by…
    But now, I think it’ll have a 3rd place. Right behind KTM and Yamaha…
    Yamaha is on fire lately with Bolt, FZ9 and FZ07… I’m glad Yamaha has finally arouse from the ashes… Suzuki, now its your turn… GW250F? I don’t think you’ll sell ‘many’ if ‘any’ of them!

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Although a 350cc would be even better considering KTM’s 375cc Single has still an edge in Torque figures.”

      “no replacement for displacement”.

      oh wait, kawi says…

      “production forced induction”.

    • Glen says:

      Not sure how one can find much fault with the new GW250F. Granted, it weighs quite a bit, but to date it is the only “real” full-size small displacement bike for us grown-ups to actually fit on. Has a lot going for it, and all for under $4,500. I believe they will sell just fine in the North American market.

      • Curly says:

        Something tells me that the $500 lower price of the GW250F won’t be enough to overcome the 17hp deficit, porky weight and not so compelling styling. The engine looks like it’s large enough to grow into a 400 and that would make it a lot more appealing.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “I believe they will sell just fine in the North American market.”

        you won’t be able to get arrested on that thing.

        • Glen says:

          It’s quite capable of 140kph. Of course one can get arrested on it. Do you have anything at all of value to add to these discussions?

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “It’s quite capable of 140kph.”

            still in it’s crate on the back of a lorry doesn’t count.

            re: “Do you have anything at all of value to add to these discussions?”

            ahh, you’re new… welcome. (AOL voice)

          • Tom K. says:

            Some folks, while walking down a country lane, will see a rattlesnake or stick of dynamite or porcupine on the side of the road, and will walk to the other shoulder to give it a wide berth.

            Other folks, well, they just have to pick up a stick….

  14. J. Drumeller says:

    Needs the Yellow,black and white bumble bee paint!

  15. Michael Watts says:

    Another great choice! Good job Yamaha!

  16. brod says:

    I have R25 I have N250 this is only for my accessories and style, i never ride more 120km/h.

  17. If I am paying 5k for a bike of this size, I would have least expected ABS!

    All the best,
    Aaron Lephart

    • Dave says:

      Why? It’s $500 more in the Ninja 300 and cb500’s.

      • David Duarte says:

        According to Honda’s website, the CBR300 is $4399 with ABS $4899. According to Kawasaki’s website, the Ninja 300 is $5199 with ABS $5299. Have to agree with Aaron on that one. Still a tasty little bike though.

        • Dave says:

          The Ninja “SE” (upgraded/priced graphics) is $5,199. In MY14, the non-abs bike was $4,799. They don’t seem to offer equal trim levels of bike in abs/non-abs any longer. When they did, it was $500.

          The Ninja 300 with ABS is still $310 more than the Yamaha without. Closer, but still not even money.

  18. Dan W. says:

    25+ years of Kawasaki quietly selling dozens of container-loads of Ninja 250s every year and the industry has FINALLY noticed, whoda thunk it ? About time, guys.

    • yamaha guy says:

      You read my mind lol. Think my R1 needs little sister. Yamaha makes the best engine heads (valves never need adjustment). Yamaha rules !!!!!!!!!!

  19. Jdilpkle says:

    I like it!!!!!

  20. Glen says:

    Nice bike, but I just wish they would make it “full-size”. It needs a longer wheelbase, and and more length overall, to keep even regular-sized guys like myself from looking like gorillas on these things. This is why I am leaning more toward the Suzuki GW250F… underpowered next to this one, but at least it’s full sized for us grown-ups, rather than yet another three quarter size bike.

    • Glen says:

      Am I really the only one wishing these small displacement bikes were built a little larger? Most regular sized riders look disproportionately large on these smaller-framed bikes.

      • Joe Bogusheimer says:

        Unfortunately, in this market bikes like this are marketed towards beginners and women, for whom the small size is probably a benefit. And in the major world markets where they sell tonnes of bikes like these, India, China, SE Asia, the average man is not so tall as in Europe or North America.

  21. OM Dude says:

    Wow! I am SO old! I bought my used CB77 305 Super Hawk for $350 in 1964. It had about 28 hp and weighed about 320 lbs. Even so, I rode it from coast to coast and from border to border loaded with camping gear, and it never so much as hicupped.

    • Hot Dog says:

      I thought I was a old dog but anyone who camps has got it right. I rode a Super 90 but never was exposed to the brutal 305’s horsepower. That was quite a machine. I’d like to see Yamaha put this engine in a adventure style bike with racks all over it. The older I get, the more camping I want to do. My riding partner “Ramrod” of the last 30+ years, says that nothing is better than waking up in a tent, knowing that you don’t have to go to work that day.

  22. Tank says:

    Nice motor. Now make an SR300 with cast wheels and electric starter. The SR400 is a little “too” old school for me.

    • Curly says:

      By Yamaha naming conventions (if there is such a thing) that would probably be an “FZ-03” for a liquid cooled sport naked. An SR300 would be an air cooled single that they don’t have an engine for.

      • Dave says:

        Re: “that would probably be an “FZ-03″ ”

        While there’s probably not enough room in the US assortment for it, that’d be a great little bike.

      • johnny ro says:

        They could put together an SRX350 motor out of their parts bin. Weigh maybe 5 lbs more than SRX250 motor?

        • Curly says:

          I did just that with my SRX250. Took an TT350 motor, cut off the swingarm pivot boss from the cases and mounted it into the SRX frame. Makes a bit over 30hp and no electric start but a nice amount of torque and 95+mph. The R3 will be a much better bike and probably do over 110.

  23. Marty O says:

    Oh heck yeah!

  24. Don Fraser says:

    Nekkid Springs, who knew?

  25. TF says:

    Awesome! The first mod I would make is to add a bright yellow 46 to the front!

  26. Mike says:

    “A relatively low seat height of 30.7″ means this bike will be friendly to novices and females.”

    I don’t think so. My wife, at 5’4″, is officialy of average height for women and that seat height will cause her problems in flat footing on level ground (let alone uneven ground). I get that most men will be fine with that seat height, and that men like me (at 6’3″) will find it very cramped. But if the manufacturers want to build a non-cruiser that will actually be friendly to “novices and females”, that seat height needs to be under 30″, and by more than a 1/16″. Try 28.5-29.0 This really is a situation where they can’t satisfy all riders and need to specialize. Trying to build a bike that fits everyone from “novices and women” to tall men just doesn’t work and they shouldn’t try. Build a bike for smaller stature people and they will buy it – I know one women who is continually frustrated by the lack of anything non-cruiser that gives her a confident seat height.

    • Dave says:

      Unfortunately there isn’t enough volume to build motos in sizes. This is a case where lowering links and a fork-tube drop is in order. It messes with the handling of the bike but everything is a compromise. I have your problem (6’4″), even mid-size bikes need some tweaks for me to ride comfortably.

      • Joe Bogusheimer says:

        I hate the idea of lowering bikes. I had a V-Strom recently and we forever getting people on there looking to lower it, and I always wondered why. The V-Strom is a fairly tall bike, and if you lower it you make its already marginal off-road abilities even less. Find a more suitable bike.

        The bikes that are really confounding are race-replica type sport bikes (CBF/R/ZX/GSXR), which have seats too tall for shorter people, and pegs too high for taller people. I suppose somewhere in the middle there may be people who they fit perfectly.

    • Brian says:

      Certainly in an ideal world bikes would come in “sizes,” but I agree with Dave that it’s probably not gonna happen. And if height is truly a problem, the solutions he mentions–and the low seats that are sometimes offered–provide some options.

      That said, I sometimes wonder if more emphasis should be put on getting people comfortable with the weight/balance of the motorcycle when they’re getting started. Granted, people who aren’t as physically strong may be at some disadvantage here…but nowhere is is written that you have to have both feet flat on the ground at a stop. In my experience, one foot solidly on the ground, plus the other on the peg works perfectly well in most cases, and better than tip-toes…and doesn’t require huge amounts of leg strength.

    • Joe Bogusheimer says:

      I think they could pretty easily build bikes to fit a wider range of rider sizes – just need a little adjustability. How hard is it to make some sort of seat mounting arrangement with a couple of inches of adjustment? Or bars that can adjusted over a range of several inches? Doesn’t seem like it should even cost very much to do.

      • Dave says:

        Re: ” How hard is it to make some sort of seat mounting arrangement with a couple of inches of adjustment? Or bars that can adjusted over a range of several inches? Doesn’t seem like it should even cost very much to do.”

        Apparently it’s pretty expensive. These features usually only exist on very expensive bikes. Aftermarket solutions are often pretty expensive too.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “These features usually only exist on very expensive bikes.”

          see entry for KTM’s RC8. adjustability in spades iirc.

  27. Blackcayman says:

    I think we may be seeing Yamaha’s new design language for it’s “R” bikes… Look for the new R1 to be significantly meaner in it’s demeanor. (see what I did there?).

    I think its a step in the right direction.

    Anyone see an ode to the Panigale in the shape & angle of the headlights?

  28. Bones says:

    Bet you never see a CBR300 or Ninja 300 at Naked Desert Springs…

  29. frank says:

    Great looking bike..

  30. Hot Dog says:

    Whoa! Great looking and priced right too. I’d love to ride one, although the old “Monkey and football” analogy may come to mind. I like that the manufacturers are building small displacement machines. Small bikes rule!

  31. SausageCreature says:

    I have to admit, Yamaha completely nailed the styling. It looks fantastic, and I especially like the blue one, even though that usually isn’t one of my favorite colors for a bike.

  32. TheUsual says:

    Too bad they didn’t let us hear the engine, as usual.

  33. Jeremy in TX says:

    Nice go at it, Yamaha. Seems like a lot of bike for the money.

  34. sliphorn says:

    Nice bike! I bet they sell a boat load of ’em. Well done, Yamaha.

  35. todd says:

    I really, really want to trade in my old Monster for one of these. I’d probably ride it a lot more like I do with my other Yamahas. I don’t think I’ve ever ridden a Yamaha that I didn’t like – well, I’ve never ridden a Virago…

  36. Norm G. says:

    sold American, it’s the GCE…

    GREATEST COMMERCIAL EVER…!!!

    • mickey says:

      Was a cute commercial. I liked Colin’s face at the wine tasting place.

      Men are from Mars…women are from Venus. This commercial shows that quite well.

      I’ll bet after riding MotoGP bikes, this was akin to getting hit in the rump by a marshmallow for Edwards.

      • Norm G. says:

        one phrase that should never originate from any man’s mouth… “I’m going ANTIQUING”. 🙂

        (disclaimer)

        unless said while enroute to BARBER or an AHRMA race.

  37. James says:

    What does “destined for the racetrack look” mean? Will this thing be rideable without back surgery to follow?

    • todd says:

      I doubt it would be much of a reach to the handle bars. Back surgery?

    • Neil says:

      With the short wheelbase, yes, no back surgery. Could be a little taller for people like me who are 5’10, but still comfortable. Same extact dimensions as the CBR300 but with a few extra beans in the motor and and an extra cylinder.

  38. Neil says:

    Stop the presses! Yamaha is all in! Nice little machine that beats the Honda and Kaw for displacement and looks the part. A mini R1 that looks like a blast. Having owned first gen Ninja 250, I know these small bikes are a lot of fun.

    • Joe Bogusheimer says:

      That’s what I was thinking – looks like Yamaha has eaten Honda’s and (especially) Kawi’s lunch in the 300 class. Unlike the Kawi, the engine in this bike doesn’t trace its roots back to the mid-80s. They may have made a mistake putting a sensibly sized rear tire on it, though – I mean, sure, it will handle better with it, but it won’t look as cool on the dealership floor without a fat rear tire. Actually, truth be told, even a 140 is probably more tire than a 300 needs.

      • Don Fraser says:

        You do know that the top end was completely changed on the 250 Ninja in ’08 and the entire engine was done over when the 300 came out, still basically indestructible, like most Kawasakis. And the tires are fine, smart to go to 140 on the rear because there are many more options.

        • Joe Bogusheimer says:

          I thought I wrote reply to this earlier today…
          Yes, I see the R3 only has a few HP over the Ninja 300, so I guess Kawi has managed to massage good power out of that design, which even though it was heavily refreshed, does still have a basic design and architecture that goes back 30 years.

          Bike of this power probably doesn’t really need much more than a 110 or 120 sized rear tire (my XS400D had pretty near the same tire sizes front and rear). The 140 is probably a good compromise between handling, what the bike really needs, and styling. My DL1000 V-Strom, a bike that weighed around 500 lbs (+ accessories) and had more than twice the RWHP, only had a 150 on the rear, to the benefit of its handling. My Fazer 8 has a 180 rear and it has a noticeable tendency to stand up in corners, especially at lower speeds.

      • MGNorge says:

        “Actually, truth be told, even a 140 is probably more tire than a 300 needs.”

        Just to offer a little perspective, my 1984 VF700F Interceptor uses a rear 130! I have no complaints about it’s effectiveness. It’s handling somewhere north of twice the power the R3 develops.

        But in today’s market…

        • Gronde says:

          Everything has to be “super-sized” these days. Same thing with sports being “extreme”.

          • Curly says:

            “Everything has to be “super-sized” these days.”

            Including the riders that complain the R3 is to tiny for them to be seen on.

            I predict a large order of R3s and FZ-07s with extra chicken strips.