say living on the edge is to live dangerously but for me it means to ride at
the edge of a rumble strip. For those who don’t get it, it means to corner hard
on a race track. One fine August morning, Motown’s bike crew was called out to
do a test review of the recently launched Yamaha YZF R3. We were getting a go
at this race pedigree bike on the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) in Greater
Noida. While it seemed like an excess of adrenaline was pumping through my
veins, I maintained my composure. The R3 is Yamaha’s answer to competition in
the 300cc segment and will take on contenders like the much in demand KTM RC390
and the mighty Kawasaki Ninja 300.
321cc, 2-cylinder, liquid cooled, 4 stroke, DOHC, 4-valve
6-speed, constant mesh
Front: 110/70 R17 Tubeless
Rear: 140/70 R17 Tubeless
Front: 298mm Hydraulic Single Disc
Rear:220mm Hydraulic Single Disc
Rs. 3,25,000 (ex-showroom Delhi)
R3 is powered by a 321cc liquid cooled, in-line, 2-cylinder engine which puts
out 41.4bhp @ 10750rpm and an impressive 29.6Nm of torque @ 9000rpm. The red
line begins at 12,500 revolutions per minute and this monster just loves to hit
that line. As soon as I hopped on the R3 and hit the ignition, I knew this was
no ordinary machine. The exhaust is a two into one pipe with a shorter muffler
which makes a distinct low rumble. The in-line, 2-cylinder is a rev happy motor
and going through corners was a real treat. We hit a top speed of about 168kmph
on the back straight at BIC but I’m sure we could have gone faster. The engine
is mated to a 6-speed, constant mesh transmission. Shifting is quick and the R3
will go through gears in a jiffy. However the 6th gear is an
overdrive gear for a higher top speed. The flow of power on the R3 is quite
smooth while this bike felt more oriented for road conditions. Its track
performance was admirable. The engine does not jerk too much while down
shifting but what you do find missing is a slipper clutch which would have made
things much better.
R3 has been set on a diamond type tubular frame which aids weight reduction.
The bike sits on 110/70 R17’s in the front and 140/70 R17’s in the rear. The
suspension set up is a non-adjustable telescopic fork in the front and a swingarm
in the rear. Braking is facilitated through a single 280mm hydraulic front disc
and a single 220mm hydraulic rear disc. The brakes are quite accurate with the
front discs rendering precise stopping power. The suspension set up is more on
the softer side and there is sufficient feedback to determine weight shifting. The
MRF Zappers provide good grip on tarmac and we had ample of confidence while
going through corners. The rider seat height has been set at 780mm which I felt
was quite comfortable for most riders. The bike has a broad split saddle which
could take some getting used to but is comfy none the less.
R3 is definitely a head turner but we feel there could have been additional
colour options. The Black Lightening version is subtle and will not really set
you apart from the other not-so-performance-oriented sports bikes out there.
The Racing Blue version looks much better and would be an obvious choice for
most. The bike comes with Split Reverse Slant headlamps which give it an
aggressive look while the rear end has a crisp and pointy tail furnished with
an LED stop lamp. The fairings add to the aggressive looks of the R3 and
optimise aerodynamics of the bike. The switch gear on the bike has been
ergonomically designed and is of good quality. The instrument cluster features
an analogue tachometer on the left with a digital speedometer on the right. It
also displays an odometer, two trip meters, water temperature meter, fuel
gauge, a clock and fuel consumption.
R3 will set you back by Rs. 3,25,000 (ex-showroom Delhi) and in terms of price
it sits between the Ninja 300 and the much cheaper RC 390. It definitely has
more power than the Ninja 300 but not as much as RC 390. The R3 scores more
points over the Ninja 300 thanks to a better engine output and a better price
point while we feel it beats the RC 390 in terms of build quality and brand
value. The Ninja on the other hand comes with ABS and a slipper clutch which
for some may be worth the additional cost and the RC 390 is cheaper and has
better performance figures. The RC 390 however has a single cylinder engine while
the R3 has a dual cylinder. After a comprehensive track test we felt that the
Yamaha R3 is definitely a strong contender in the market and has a few points
over its competitors. It has been engineered from a pedigree of race spec bikes
with proven track records and is precisely perfect for its segment striking a
fine balance between cost, performance and engineering standard.
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