Yamaha YZF-R3 First Impressions

After putting a few miles on the new R3 project bike, we'd like to share a few our initial impressions on Yamaha's new entrant into the lightweight sportbike arena:

  • The 320cc parallel twin is SMOOTH. Power is adequate but the delivery and throttle response are fantastic
  • The ergonomics are perfect for a 5'10" rider.  Very comfortable with decent wind protection on the highway
  • The chassis setup is very impressive for a budget bike. Damping is a little on the low side but not a bouncy ride at all.  Front end feel is great and inspires confidence.  Turn in is a little slow but the bike is very stable.  Overall quite a nice change stepping off a FZ-07 which is a bit twitchy and vague up front
  • Brake feel at the lever is excellent but the power is less than expected
  • Low seat and low weight means it's very easy to keep the bike planted at stops
  • Gearing is a little low and freeway cruising means the bike is revving over 7000rpm
  • Looks great, until you see the skinny rear tire it's easily confused for a R6

Overall, it's a fantastic lightweight that's a blast to ride and should appeal to new riders and veterans alike. Yamaha is on a serious roll.  Can't wait to compare to the new KTM RC390 in the near future.