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2020 Yamaha MT-03 Coming to U.S. Market

Available in Europe for several years, the Yamaha MT-03 will debut in the U.S. market for 2020. The MT-03 has been revised for all markets for 2020, including new styling and graphics, as well as LED lights. The MT-03 is powered by the same 321cc parallel-twin found in the R3. Yamaha says to expect the bike in U.S. dealers beginning in February of next year. U.S. MSRP is $4,599, and both available colors are pictured.

Here is the full press release from Yamaha:

MARIETTA, Ga. – October 2, 2019 –  Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA, today introduced the 2020 MT-03 as an all-new entry-level model in the company’s Hyper Naked motorcycle segment. With its easy-to-ride engine character, lightweight handling, and aggressive styling, the all-new MT-03 fully embodies the signature Yamaha MT (Master of Torque) family design.

The Dark Side of Japan
Many see Japan as a traditional and respectful society where conformity is the norm, but behind this stereotypical image lies a vibrant sub-culture where new fashions and ideas are constantly emerging. These same creative forces that drive the darker and unconventional side have inspired and shaped the unique MT motorcycles, giving every rider the chance to experience thrilling torque, outstanding agility and provocative design from the Dark Side of Japan.

With the global introduction of the MT series in 2013, Yamaha clearly showed the intention to create a new type of motorcycle aimed at riders searching for a new way to express themselves. The Hyper Naked motorcycle segment was quickly developed to grow in range, offering riders the chance to step up in experience and performance through the complete MT lineup. The Hyper Naked segment is in constant evolution, as evidenced by the all-new MT-03.

All-New MT-03: Dark Lightning
With a radical and aggressive look, the all-new MT-03 hallmarks advanced design and an overall high-quality specification. Equipped with a 321cc liquid-cooled twin-cylinder engine that produces smooth and easy-to-ride power delivery, and optimized suspension settings for precise handling and outstanding agility, it is the ultimate full-sized entry-level motorcycle.

Aggressive next-generation MT design
Yamaha’s introduction of the MT-09 in 2013 brought a radical and dynamic new look to the streets. With its naked bodywork, mass-forward design, thrilling linear torque, and outstanding agility, the first Yamaha Hyper Naked motorcycle was an overnight success that proved to be the start of a whole new movement.

Created using the same DNA that made its 847cc triple-cylinder MT-09 sibling one of the best-selling Yamaha models of all time, the all-new MT-03’s aggressive next-generation design strengthens the iconic MT look.

Dynamic mass-forward body design
With a unique design that features a ‘tightly-packed’ look around the engine area, Yamaha’s MT models project a  powerful and aggressive character that distinguishes them from other motorcycles. This mass-forward look is taken to the next level on the all-new MT-03 with a wide-shouldered fuel tank cover and lightweight air scoops that reinforce the strong family links.

Dual-position lights and an LED headlight
The all-new MT-03 sports an aggressive face featuring dual angled position lights that convey an aggressive look and underline the pure MT DNA running through its veins

While the dual position lights are the main focus of attention and provide a dramatic and menacing stare, a small but powerful LED headlight is positioned centrally and inconspicuously beneath the front cowl assembly. This minimalist design creates a unique and charismatic look that reinforces the bike’s bold and futuristic style while projecting a brilliant beam of light.

LED turn signals perfectly complement the position lights and headlight and integrate well in the aggressive MT style.

Sophisticated 321cc twin-cylinder engine
At the heart of this next-generation Hyper Naked motorcycle is one of the smoothest powerplants in the class, featuring a balanced twin-cylinder configuration that delivers a much smoother feeling at lower rpm when compared to some single-cylinder models.

Its high-tech internals include carburized connecting rods and lightweight, heat-resistant forged pistons whose low reciprocating weight reduces vibration and enhances throttle response. All-aluminium DiASil cylinders offer excellent heat dissipation properties for reduced horsepower losses.

37mm KYB upside-down front forks
High-specification KYB upside-down forks deliver enhanced handling performance during braking, acceleration, and cornering, and make the all-new MT-03 one of the strongest and most exciting performers in its class. Featuring black-colored outer tubes and 37mm inner tubes, these forks – together with the aggressive new front cowl and dual position lights – give this premium lightweight all of the presence and stature of a much larger capacity MT.

Long swingarm with Monocross rear shock
Yamaha first introduced the long swingarm concept on its YZF-R1 Supersport model, and the same technology is used to good effect on the all-new MT-03. The 22.6” long asymmetrical swingarm pivots close to the machine’s midway point and reduces the variance in the bike’s angle with the road surface to give a high level of controllability during braking, cornering, and acceleration. A seven-step preload-adjustable Monocross rear shock further refines the bike’s overall handling performance.

Lightweight and compact diamond-type frame
The lightweight diamond-type tubular steel frame is constructed to give the optimum balance of rigidity and contributes to the bike’s agile handling and lightweight feel. By mounting the engine as a stressed member, Yamaha’s designers were able to keep chassis weight to a minimum. With the added fitment of 37mm upside-down forks paired with a street-tuned rear suspension, the all-new MT-03 is built to deliver a thrilling and sporty ride.

Ergonomic riding position
A wide-shouldered fuel tank paired with compact bodywork achieves the optimum riding position and enables riders to experience the highest levels of comfort and control in different situations. The slim center section allows the rider to mold their body closer to the bike, while the low seat height, higher-mounted handlebars, and a compact frame guarantee a natural and ergonomic riding position that creates a special feeling of rider/machine unity.

High-tech LCD instruments
Stylish instruments convey the quality that characterizes this lightweight Hyper Naked motorcycle. The attractive meter panel features a negative LCD layout with all data displayed in white on a black background, and the multi-function design is convenient to operate.

Signature MT family look and high-quality finish
With its dramatic looks, mass-forward bodywork and 37mm KYB upside-down forks, the all-new MT-03 has a look and feel of Yamaha’s larger capacity MT models. From the aggressive dual-eye face to the LCD instruments, LED turn signals and cast aluminum upper triple clamp, this dynamic lightweight is packed with premium features and advanced Yamaha technology, making it one of the most sophisticated models in this category. 

2020 MT-03 Key Features

  • Aggressive next-generation MT design
  • 321cc twin-cylinder engine with easy-to-ride engine character
  • 37mm upside-down KYB front forks
  • Long swingarm with Monocross rear shock
  • Lightweight diamond-type frame layout
  • Ergonomic riding position
  • LED headlight and turn signals
  • Dual-position lights
  • LCD instrumentation
  • High-quality big-bike look and feel

Colors, price, and availability

  • Ice Fluo and Midnight Black
  • $4,599 MSRP
  • Arrival at authorized Yamaha dealers beginning in February 2020

To learn more about the 2020 Yamaha MT-03 visit

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  1. Cedric says:

    I’m a little too old now and I can’t deal with the heavy weight bikes over 500 lbs. I have had 71 motorcycles of all types and sizes in my career. Recently I bought a used like new Honda PCX150 scooter with 2470 miles and some good accessories for $2500. This is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I had forgotten how great smaller machines are. Instant off the line acceleration and a top speed of 65 + and 102 miles per gallon isn’t bad. It is not a freeway bike but is good anywhere else. Smaller bikes under $5000, seems to be the sweet spot for motorcycles. If I’m going on the highway anywhere I will take my KIA Sedona van and be comfortable all the way and so will my passenger (s)

  2. RYAN Seavey says:

    Kawasaki Z-400 anyday $4799.00 more power and torque ! $200.00 difference in price .No brainer…….

    • todd says:

      Then there are the people who would rather not buy a Kawasaki.

      • TimC says:

        Why? Objectively I think they are 3rd tier for Japanese bikes (Honda at top then Yamaha, then Kawasaki/Suzuki) in terms of quality/reliability but I think they’re all so good that the difference is largely academic. I.e. buying a Kawi is still fine – my N250 was perfectly great for instance – vs (say) a KTM or Ducati, or even a BMW for that matter.

        Now, if “styling” – ok I can accept that.

        • austin zzr1200 says:

          Agreed. Aside from a few parts on a few Suzuki models, the big 4 are ridiculously reliable. All it takes is spending time in Japan and you will not buy anything else. I have found plenty of soulful Japanese bikes (tell me an SV / Vstrom has no soul). I have still not found a Yamaha that I like (fueling is always snatchy) or a Honda that was not boring.

  3. Rod says:

    Unless I’ve overlooked it, there is no mention of ABS available for this bike. Having experienced the usefulness of ABS on a BMW I once owned… I would not buy a new bike that lacked this life saving technology.

    • Dave says:

      Other articles about the bike address this. They say the bike cannot be purchased without ABS. The photos may be mock-ups, as there is no ABS hardware evident on the brake rotor.

  4. johnny ro says:

    I am glad to watch this site, that is my vote. First on my list of motorcycle links to review. I then skip quickly to Kevin Cameron, also known as Cycle World.

    This bike, looks like could have been cast in the old movie, I Robot. Good bones, but I am not in favor of modern styling.

    No a 490 does not compete with a 325. Unless same price. Even then, ppl may want a nicely balanced 35 hp. KTM is OK though.

    I want an R3 with a vintage fairing kit. It is on my list but not high on the list.

  5. Ken Howard says:

    Some have remarked about the relative lack of content here, lately. I want to thank Dirck for producing such an attractive website with useful, realistic reviews and beautiful, large photos. I hope he’s OK. This website has been a pleasure to visit for so many years, especially compared to all the other obnoxiously commercial sites.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Thanks for your thoughts, Ken. You probably realize we are not a corporate site, and we focus on protecting the reader experience (rejecting some advertising inconsistent with this goal). Internet advertising has changed dramatically in the last decade. Some larger competitors have simply closed shop (Motorcycle USA is one). Having said this, my goal is that the volume of MD posts will increase back to previous levels.

      • todd says:

        It’s ok to take a vacation once in a while or maybe put in some extra time at your day job! I appreciate your efforts.

      • ApriliaRST says:

        I check this site every day, but I try not to comment if I have nothing good to say, which is something I wish more people would do. Currently, this manufacturer is dragging its feet on one bike I’d love to own. Right now I’m a two-time owner of another one of its bikes from at or near the top of its line. MD cannot magically pull manufacturer announcements from the air.

    • Reginald Van Blunt says:

      You’re doing it right when people want more.

    • bmidd says:

      Always leave them wanting more…

    • TimC says:

      Nicely put, it’s a unique spot on the web for sure. Heck, Dirck didn’t even ban me for disagreeing about riding position and such.

      I still miss Norm and wonder what the hell happened to that guy. I fear it probably wasn’t good.

  6. Jeremy says:

    I personally think it is a good-looking bike with a nice price point. I like it.

    • steveinsandiego says:

      hey, jeremy, i agree. tho i’ll never throw m’leg over another mc, due to minor health issues. fun to look at the pix and read dirck’s commentary, however.

  7. Tom R says:

    So, a new article does not appear here every single day. Oh well.

    As David Letterman used to occasionally say to the studio audience when a joke fell flat: How much exactly did you all pay to get in?

  8. Kevin says:

    Nice little bike. KTM is about to introduce a range (5 models) of 490cc twins into this segment which will make these smaller bike look like weak sauce. they will replace the 390 single and have been fitted into a modified version of the same frame. There will be different versions of this engine, one electronically restricted to meet A2 license requirements in the EU, and full power versions with 55-60hp. I bet the singles will be sold by Husky with the twins (490 + 790) will be KTM exclusive. This will force other mag’s to react, small bike engine inflation is about to kick into high gear!

    • Dave says:

      The only articles I can find speculate different parts of that. None assert that the 490 will replace the 390’s. These articles were between 3 and 5 days old, based on unsubstantiated information from an Indian source. Sounds like they’re planning to release bikes, but aren’t “about” to release them.

      The existence of more powerful, more expensive bikes doesn’t diminish the value of lower priced, less powerful bikes. We’ve always been able to spend more to get more power.

    • Gary says:

      I have not heard about the 490 range. Will these bikes re released to North America? KTM has a habit of making us wait.

      • ApriliaRST says:

        > KTM has a habit of making us wait.

        Every damn manufacturer makes us wait until we decide if we’d actually buy something after complaining “it has a beak,” “it’s too powerful,” “the tank has a seam,” “looks like an insect,” “what, no cruise control,” “no ABS,” “it has ABS and I can’t defeat it,” “cheap suspension,” “too pricey,” “tubeless tires,” “spoked wheels,” “high fender,” “low fender.”

        Meanwhile actual motorcycle use wanes from an already low level.

    • todd says:

      Well, they had the Austrian built 690s (73-75hp, 330 lbs), not sure why they would down-grade unless they think a 390 and a 690 is way too many part numbers to manage.

    • TimC says:

      Weak sauce? Maybe in terms of performance – which it can be observed is basically at the 500cc level so what was once old is new again (e.g. Ninja 500). But certainly not in terms of reliability – which is way important to me than whatever spice (from Austrians – eh?) these guys put in their recipe.

    • Dave says:

      I just saw a teaser video on another site from KTM titled, “Get Duked”. It depicted a bike being assembled from the frame up. The site speculates that it’s a new 899 duke that’ll replace the 790. I wonder if it’s instead this 490 that’s being reported? Says the release is November 5.

  9. Spiderwatts says:

    Amen. The lack of regular daily content is disappointing. I’ve switched to for my daily fix. I hope the content improves here.

  10. Kent says:

    Wish Yamaha would have brought over the original MT-03 about ten years ago…

  11. Bill says:

    Looks like a fun bike. I personally would rather see a XSR300, but I would like to demo that headlight at night.

  12. skortch says:

    That headlight cowl thing looks disproportionately small, like they shrank it 50%. That’s probably so it won’t collide with the fake air scoops on the front side of the tank at full steering lock. Yamaha has such an illustrious history of fake air scoops…

    Regardless, I’m not sure how this can compete against the larger Kawasaki and KTM in the class. Out of all of them (naked and faired) I’d go for the Ninja 400: decent comfort, wind protection, and good engine performance for mountain roads and (small) track days.

  13. Tom K. says:

    I never forgave Yamaha for not bringing the MT-01 to the U.S. (and not the Euro one, I wanted the 1600cc, 2003 Tokyo show concept bike). Had that photo as monitor wallpaper for the longest time.

  14. fred says:

    It’s great to see more choices in the small-displacement/inexpensive/beginning rider/commuter category. I still like the Z400 better, but this should be a fun motorcycle.

    Smaller bikes can be a great deal of fun, and not just for beginners. I’m having just as much fun on my quarter-liter bike as I did for years on my liter+ bikes. Excessive power is nice, but a cheerful playfulness is great also.

  15. SeTh says:

    ” behind this stereotypical image lies a vibrant sub-culture where new fashions and ideas are constantly emerging.” Blah just blah.

  16. Ronald says:

    Nice bike, but it is hardly a “Hyper Naked” as the ad copy say’s haha. Give me a break. I own a Suzuki GSXS-1000, I’m not even sure if it qualifies as a hyper naked compared to the Super Duke, Tuono etc….

  17. gpokluda says:

    Great. We needed another bike that looks like a bug.

  18. Dave says:

    Sounds like some are convinced that this bike has no value in a market occupied by the Kawasaki z400. It’s $300 less expensive, makes about 2 fewer up and has better suspension-r3 suspension is supposed to be superior, assume it’s the same difference.

    Maybe the z400 will be a touch faster, but if that’s your thing, a 15 year old 600ss will beat either of these in every measure for much less $…

  19. John says:

    The original is ugly, but not this ugly.

    I would seriously be interested in an Tracer 300 or an XSR300, certainly a Tenere 300, but this is just a kids’ bike.

  20. Demoed the z400 the other day…one of the most fun bikes I have ever ridden and should smoke this MT3

    • todd says:

      …in a straight line.

      • mickey says:

        Depends more on the rider than the bike and how tight the not straight road is

      • Jeremy says:

        I think the Z400 is light enough that, given the power advantage, it will smoke the Yamaha in any line assuming comparably skilled pilots. I doubt the Yamaha has any braking or suspension advantages to make up for that, but I could be wrong.

        Regardless, I’m not really sure getting smoked matters much with respect to this displacement class. What does that mean in the world of 40hp bikes, anyway? “Winning” bike a bike length or two?

    • MGNorge says:

      In the end, as long as you’re having fun! Not that I don’t understand but I don’t measure a bike solely on its maximum acceleration. I truly don’t care if one bike “smokes” another, it’s all in fractions of seconds.

      • austin zzr 1200 says:

        Let me rephrase then…the z400 has enough power to keep things interesting, especially if you were to track day. The extra 10 hp on a bike this light makes a huge difference. Susp is easily tuned/upgraded whereas extra hp is hard to come by in this class. What I like about it is that it is Kawi which will make it more reliable/durable than the KTM which I have not ridden but is prolly better track-suited out of the box. Cant get much more out of the Yammy 325 cc…. If you haven’t experienced the z400/ninja400 mill, its a gem. Will be great in any platform. I hope to see a z400rs and versys 400 soon.

      • steveinsandiego says:

        FUN…was always the top mc priority for me. most every rider i jaw with agrees.

  21. Shoeman says:

    MD is my favorite site, especially this time of year, for learning about new models, and reading the viewer comments. Yet there were only 13 posts in the news section during the 30 days of September. Here are some missed opportunities: Harley’s 2020 models, including the new Low Rider S, Zero’s 2020 lineup, including a new dual sport model, Kawasaki releasing two teaser videos for a Supercharged naked bike, Ducati introducing a 25th anniversary replica of the 916, Triumph teasing the new Street Triple RS, Honda’s 2020 CBR1000 replacement debuting in October, Indian’s new touring bike named Challenger. What better way to start each day then a new MD post to get the comments flowing!

    • Gary says:

      True. I’ve been thinking lately that my favorite site for all things motorcycle should be renamed Motorcycle Weekly.

  22. Gary says:

    I love the renewed interest in small, affordable & fun small displacement motorcycles. I like this bike even more than the R3, it’s a motorcycle in its purest form. With that said…it’s gonna be tough to keep up (figuratively and literately) with the Z400.

    • Clb says:

      Not if wu a betta wida!


    • fred says:

      If you are regularly in group rides where you can’t keep up, or where the group splits dramatically, you just may be in the wrong group.

      Or maybe I’m just old. I prefer group rides that have reasonable spacing, and nobody is bored, and nobody is terrified.

    • GT says:

      The Kawie is only the winner until you need service or parts. I visited this local dealer to price a tire which they’d have to order in as they have none for any bike what so ever. (Too busy selling camper trailers) Parts guy was too lazy to even look up a price quote. Instead told me to go cross town and visit the Suzuki shop. I knew they only keep cruiser 130/90-16 tires in stock. The Yamaha dealer is 45 min away but is actually a “bike” guy and sees honest customer service as a way to future sales. Guess which bike wins the local Z400 vs MT03 comparison.

      • steveinsandiego says:

        about 5 yrs into my 20 yrs of mc’ing a riding friend recommended a nearby private mc mechanic. they (multiple employees) did fine on my bikes. servicing was reasonably priced. when i wanted tires, i was able to bargain on the price…less than ordering online, a little less than whatever the shop had originally quoted. good enuff for me.

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