Yamaha YZF-R3 in the PS driving report

Yamaha YZF-R3 in the PS driving report

Pretty little racer

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Performance fanatics have to be strong now: There is a life this side of 200 HP! Possibly not quite as spectacular, but also very humorous. First contact with the little sweeper Yamaha YZF-R3.

Since Yamaha woke up from its slumber around a year and a half ago, the Japanese have hit the bull’s eye after another. It all started at the end of 2013 with the MT-09, a lively naked woman with a fabulous three-cylinder. Shortly afterwards came the MT-07, also a first-class middle-class joy donor. Two months ago, the long-awaited superbike YZF-R1. With the Yamaha YZF-R3, the brand with the three crossed tuning forks in the logo is now landing the next coup. Now that Kawasaki, Honda and, most, KTM are serving this increasingly popular segment, Yamaha is now also involved. The YZF-R3 is intended to close the gap between the R 125 and the R6. 

Yamaha YZF-R3 in the PS driving report

Pretty little racer

YZF-R3 a front-heavy look – order fulfilled!  

The thing with the easy access

On the engine side, the completely newly developed 321 cubic two-cylinder also completes the model range and could attract new customers to the dealerships. "The target group are primarily those who have just gotten up from the A1 driving license," explains Yamaha Germany boss Jorg Breitenfeld. “But returnees and women are also an issue.” All of them find their way around the extremely comfortable, not too sporty seating position: handlebar height and width, distance to the driver, seat height, knee angle – everything is wonderfully arranged. The Japanese call this "Easy Access" very aptly. The fly in the ointment is the slightly soft and thin seat pad of the Yamaha YZF-R3. After two hours in the saddle at the latest, the very best demands a break.

In addition to the sitting position, the drive also allows Easy Access. The Yamaha YZF-R3 also hits the nerve of experienced rabbits. The charming bubbling and pleasant vibrations of the row twin, which works with a 180 degree crank pin offset, creep gently into the brain, and its fine elasticity makes even performance-spoiled attackers gracious. They are also happy about the soft throttle response and the way the two-cylinder roars through the rev range. Even around the bottom, the little engine generates enough power for quick deposits, and at around 7500 rpm it surprises with an extra portion of thrust. Theoretically, the little twin yodels up to an adventurous 13,500 / min, but from 11,500 he runs out of breath. It delivers the maximum output of at least 42 hp a little below this mark. The bottom line is that the 321 is an extremely personable fellow.

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Fine drive, cool design and comfortable chassis

Fine drive, cool design: Will the chassis of the Yamaha YZF-R3 also conquer the tester’s heart? Yes, because the fork and shock absorber are comfortably matched, but still don’t capitulate when you pace quickly. At least not on the country road. However, the braking effect of the single-disc system diminishes somewhat on winding, longer downhill sections – not earth-shattering or even critical, but still noticeable. 

The handling, on the other hand, is divine. As is usual with bikes in this category, the R3 storms through the meandering like a whirlwind. Suitable for the little athlete, Yamaha chose the area around Reus in northern Spain for the presentation. With its winding streets, the area offers the perfect playground for the grinder, which weighs only 169 kilograms (factory specification) with a full tank. High-quality rubbers provide the necessary grip for sporty activities. The Michelin Pilot Street in 110 / 70-17 and 140 / 70-17 go perfectly with the Yamaha YZF-R3. As a special treat, there are two turns on the nearby “Circuito Calafat”. Contrary to what was expected, the Yamaha also offers plenty of entertainment there. She threatens to starve to death between the bends, and the chassis is also reaching its limits on the last groove. And the brake could also bite a little harder when spinning. But the little athlete is always good for a few fun laps this side of the limit. This is also what sets the R3 apart. And qualifies them for the next direct hit in the Yamaha program.

Technical data Yamaha YZF-R3


The Yamaha YZF-R3 is intended to close the gap between the R 125 and the R6.



We especially like the uncomplicated nature of the little Yam: sit up, ride, feel good.

The important target group of the Yamaha YZF-R3 of driver license climbers, returnees and women can look forward to it. The Yamaha is a pretty racer with a fine drive that marches bravely even at low and medium speeds. We particularly like the uncomplicated nature of the little Yam: sit up, ride, feel good. So she’s sure to get a big slice of the lower middle class pie.

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