The 2015 Yamaha YZF-R3 is now available in both U.S. and European markets. It is an entry-level bike that offers simple but sporty style and impressively modern tech equipment. Entry-level motorcycles have mushroomed in recent years to a major sector of the biking industry. The R3 is up to par with its competition, but it is the bargain $5,000 price tag that gives it an edge.
The new Yamaha R3 is not fancy in appearance by any stretch, but it nevertheless has a sports-like look about it that runs from its twin front headlights to its race-styled tail. It ranks among the lightest bikes in its class at only 368 pounds, and yet, it manages to react quickly to the rough spots and bumps without any tendency to lose control.
Ergonomically, the R3 is extremely comfortable to ride. The seat and cockpit are spacious, and the windscreen protection is more than adequate. The seat is long and thin, but not uncomfortable, and beginners will appreciate a 31-inch seat-height that makes it easy for their feet to touch the ground.
The dashboard gives you plenty of help, including current fuel economy indicators and a trip meter that tells you how much further you can drive before refueling. Additionally, you get an adjustable shift light, a gear-position gauge, and an analog trachometer.
Engine, Brakes, and Mechanics
Admittedly, the 321cc engine is as entry-level as the rest of the bike, but it performs exceptionally well for what it is. It has a great range of power output and torque. It is fuel-injected with smooth power delivery and up to 10,750 rpm. It starts up fast and easy in first gear, and accelerates well as it rises into the higher gears. It is not the fastest motorbike on the market, but it keeps up good momentum at reasonable speeds and turns corners well.
The brakes are floating disk, both front and rear, and are quite capable of slowing down or stopping the bike. They do not have the stopping power of some larger models, which sometimes may require that you push the pedal down fairly far, but they are more than adequate and are certainly safe.
This bike is very maneuverable due to its lightweight chassis and cast-aluminum wheels. Its steel frame, while adequate, is not as tough as some other models, however. The cue to take from that is to avoid “overdoing it” and riding “too aggressively.” The R3 performs well for what it is, an entry-level bike, and it has enough power to cater somewhat to more experienced riders, but it really shouldn’t be pressed to the extent you can press a larger bike.
A few last things should be mentioned. First, the bike has a 3.7-gallon fuel tank and gets an impressive 56 miles per gallon. Second, it is available in three colors: Blue and Silver, pitch black, and “rapid red.” Third, it is compatible with a large array of Yamaha accessories, the most important of which, perhaps, is a Yoshimura exhaust cover that will make you emissions compliant.
In the final analysis, the 2015 Yamaha YZF-R3 will help beginners greatly improve their riding skills without requiring them to spend a fortune. It is a street bike, not so much an off-road bike. It is, arguably, the best in its class, but the user has to appreciate it for what it is and not try to make it be what it’s not.