Yamaha YZF R3 Real-World Review; Good Motorcycle But Too Expensive For Its Own Good

The Yamaha YZF R3 is fast, looks good and is a hoot to ride as well. But the price is where all the good work comes undone. Only if there was a way for Yamaha to price it right!

By Kingshuk Dutta


1 mins read


Published on March 28, 2024

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  • We ride the Yamaha YZF R3 in the real world
  • It is an excellent corner-carving machine
  • Great motorcycle but let down by its price

Photography: Arvind Salhan


The Yamaha YZF R3 needs no introduction! After all, it won the Performance Motorcycle of the Year (under 500 cc) at 2024 car&bike Awards, fending off tough competition from the Triumph Speed 400, TVS Apache RTR 310, KTM 390 Duke and its own sibling, the MT-03. While we did ride the motorcycle on two occasions before, first at Buddh International Circuit for the media ride and then at Madras International Circuit for the two-wheeler jury round of car&bike Awards and the motorcycle did well to impress us with its on-track performance and handling. But I recently spent some time with the R3, riding it on traffic-laden roads of Delhi to see how it does as a daily ride. And well, it’s been a revelation. Read on to find out why. 

The R3 is a sharp-looking machine. But at first glance, you may mistake it to be the R15


Also Read: Yamaha YZF R3 Wins Performance Motorcycle of The Year (under 500 cc) at 2024 car&bike Awards


Yamaha YZF R3: Design & Ergonomics

The YZF R3 is a true blue supersport, with sharp bodywork and a sporty, forward-biased stance. While it was launched in India barely months ago, but the motorcycle itself has been around for three years now. Some of you eagle-eyed viewers may notice that the R3 does not get the same front end as its siblings, with a centrally mounted projector headlight! But the design is sharp enough to not miss that. 

Few design cues on the R3 remind you of the venerable R1


The fairing on the sides and the Yamaha tuning fork logo on the fuel tank remind you of the venerable R1. The bike also gets 37 mm USD fork, in place of regular telescopic fork on the older model which help add more appeal to the looks. It would have looked premium if the fork tubes were done in golden colour, like you get on the R15M. The overall fit & finish on the bike is high-quality, as expected from a premium Yamaha motorcycle. 

The ergonomics on the R3 isn't too sporty, unlike on the R15


Despite being a supersport and having a rider triangle that is hunkered down, it isn’t as severe as on the R15 or even the Hero Karizma XMR for that matter. The low 780 mm seat height, mid-mounted footpegs and a relatively comfier riding position means that you can ride the bike for long commutes, and maybe long distances too. And here’s a pro-tip, if you do end up buying this motorcycle, just slap on tankpads, so that there’s enough purchase for you to grip the tank while riding and your riding gear doesn’t scruff up the finish on the tank. 

Slapping on tank pads will be a good idea! It helps you grip the tank better


Also Read: Yamaha YZF R3 Track Review


Yamaha YZF R3: Engine Specifications & Performance 

The R3 gets a 321 cc parallel-twin engine which is liquid-cooled and high-revving at the same time, with engine hitting a maximum of 12,000 RPMs. The R3 is an analogue motorcycle with the right wrist being the only connection between you and the bike. If you want features like traction control, riding modes, quick-shifter and the likes, best to look somewhere else, because the Yammie gets none of it, not even as an option. All it has is plain old ABS. And honestly, you don't miss any of it!

The 321 cc parallel-twin motor is high-revving and vibey


But what the motorcycle does have is oodles and oodles of power and performance! High-revving, fast-accelerating, torque-laden performance which tempts you to open up the throttle as soon as you see a gap ahead of you. The R3 has a linear power delivery and likes being ridden above 5,000 rpm for you to extract maximum performance. But the parallel-twin motor is tractable too and one can ride at speeds of 40-50 kmph in the 5th gear as well. 

The Yamaha R3 builds up speed quickly and loves to be ridden hard


The only fly in the ointment is the fact that the engine is not as refined as you would expect a Japanese parallel-twin motor to be. The motor becomes vibey, especially post 6,500 rpm going up all the way to 12,000 rpm. And the vibrations, they become more intrusive as and when the revs climb. But apart from that, the engine also heats up enough for you to take notice, when you ride in peak traffic. 


Yamaha YZF R3: Ride & Handling

Show it a corner and see how it makes you smile under the helmet


Where the R3 scores really high is the agility and its handling prowess. The R3 eats corners for breakfast doesn’t even burp! The lightweight diamond-frame chassis, the 37 mm USD fork and the overall stiff setup on the bike instils the rider with confidence when tackling corners and even when filtering through traffic. 

The Dunlop Sportmax rubber is good for the road but for track days, you could look at grippier rubber


Adding to that is the light weight of the motorcycle at 169 kg. The grip from the tyres is Dunlop Sportmax tyres is good too but for track duties you could switch to grippier rubber. The brakes on the R3 are quite good and offer a really strong bite and they do a commendable job if you want to drop the anchor in a jiffy. What is also good is the fact that the ride quality on the R3 is not overtly stiff and not too plush either. It is the right mix and regular potholes and undulations will be taken care of very easily. Its just the big potholes and bumps that will be noticeable to you. 


Yamaha YZF R3: Features 

The black and white LCD console looks and feels old-school


The instrument console is a black and white LCD unit, which looks dated and out of place amidst the current crop of colour TFT screens, and there’s no smartphone connectivity either. These are features that are available on few rival motorcycles. We would have appreciated a quick-shifter or a slipper clutch at the least if nothing else. Funnily enough, the R15M gets a colour TFT console, traction control and a quick-shifter. Make of that what you will! 

The R3 does have some solid rivals in the segment


Yamaha YZF R3: Prices & Rivals

In terms of rivals, the Yamaha R3 goes up against the likes of the Aprilia RS 457, Kawasaki Ninja 400 and the KTM RC 390. Expect KTM to launch the new-gen RC 390 in India this year itself. Now the RS 457 is priced at Rs. 4.10 lakh while the current RC 390 is priced at Rs. 3.18 lakh, both of them significantly more affordable than the R3’s asking price of Rs. 4.65 lakh and offering similar specifications and more features.

If only Yamaha could price the R3 better!


Yamaha YZF R3: Final Say

The Yamaha R3 is a hoot to ride and is a solid corner carving machine despite its lack of electronics. But the shocker is its huge asking price of Rs. 4.65 lakh, which is because of the fact that Yamaha imports this machine as a CBU from Indonesia. Huge asking price and lack of features become difficult to justify when there are other and probably better options available in the market at significantly lower prices.


SpecificationsYamaha YZF R3
Displacement321 cc
Engine Liquid-cooled parallel-twin
Max Power41 bhp at 10,750 rpm
Peak Torque29.5 Nm at 9,000 rpm
Chassis TypeDiamond frame
Seat Height 780 mm
Ground Clearance 160 mm
Front Suspension37 mm USD fork | 130 mm travel
Rear SuspensionMonoshock | 125 mm travel
Fuel Capacity14 litres
Kerb Weight169 kg
Front Brake298 mm disc (ABS)
Rear Brake220 mm disc (ABS)
Front Tyre110/70-R17
Rear Tyre140/70-R17
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