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Yamaha MT-03: First Ride Review

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Pratheek Kunder

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Introduction

Yamaha MT-03 Right Side View

Over the last few years, the premium street bike segment has become as aspirational as the fully faired one. As a result of this, many brands are introducing new bikes in the former division with a lot of first-in-the-segment features. With the MT-15, Yamaha has made a good presence, but it now wants to entertain the more expensive segment – the 300cc. For that, it launched the new MT-03 – a motorcycle that shares most of its cycle parts with the YZF-R3 but still distinguishes itself with a striking and aggressive design. We had the opportunity to test this Yamaha in Thailand over a period of three days and made sure to make full use of it.

The Visuals

Yamaha MT-03 Right Side View

Unlike the R3, the MT-03 has a lot of aggressive and sharp design lines throughout. The front, with its angry-looking headlamp unit, reminds you of an Autobot. Then, the combination of the muscular fuel tank with angular shrouds, split seats, and blue wheels makes the MT-03 look highly aspirational. The tail section of the motorcycle is precisely like its fully faired sibling, but it seems far better on the MT due to the naked bike styling. Yamaha offers this motorcycle in two colours – Cyan Blue, our favourite, and the black paint scheme. However, the latter doesn't look very interesting on the bike.

The Package

Yamaha MT-03 TFT / Instrument Cluster

The MT-03 is built around the famous diamond chassis and inside that, there's a 321cc, parallel-twin, liquid-cooled engine. Like the R3, the MT-03 also gets 37mm KYB USD forks up front and a monoshock at the back. The instrument console is an LCD, and the layout of the ride data is easily readable. However, there isn’t much besides the usual readouts, like the odometer, trip meter, and real-time fuel consumption.

Yamaha MT-03 Front Headlamp Cowl

Yamaha has equipped the MT with LED lights and projector headlights, making the motorcycle look aggressive. Japanese bikes are known to have a fantastic fit and finish, and the story is no different with the MT-03.

The Ride

Yamaha MT-03 Right Side View

The MT-03 offers a fantastic and fun ride. The roads of Thailand, known for their long and fast twisties, revealed the light and agile nature of the bike. Doing triple-digit speeds on those roads was easily possible. The motorcycle was composed and didn't throw any drama. The MT-03 managed to churn out a confident ride in terms of the overall balance – be it at low speeds or high. The only issue I faced during the ride was those protruding tank shrouds. As a result, it got difficult to hold onto the bike. However, shorter rides won't have this issue. Then, the brakes, too, need some work. There's barely any feel on the levers, and a motorcycle that can do high speeds easily needs this braking aspect.

Yamaha MT-03 Right Side View

Also, due to the lack of a windscreen, hitting high speeds on the MT-03 takes more effort. Regarding the ride quality, Thailand's fantastic roads cannot give you a good ride quality perspective.The suspension doesn't really have to work that hard. Thus, we will come to know about the MT-03's performance in detail when we get the bike in India for a road test.

Should I Buy One?

Yamaha MT-03 Right Side View

The Yamaha MT-03 is a fun bike to ride. It handles well, is agile, and can easily keep the rider excited for a longer duration. The performance, too, is well taken care of by that 40bhp engine, which has excellent refinement. Yes, the brakes need some work, and the lack of features on the MT-03 makes it less aspirational, but this bike puts a big smile on your face every time you ride it. The feeling you get from the ride is something only an actual motorcyclist would understand. But sadly, Yamaha has priced the new MT-03 at Rs. 4.60 lakh (ex-showroom), which makes the bike quite expensive for the Indian market. Thus, the brand is unlikely to sell decent numbers of the MT-03 at this price point.

Photography by Kaustubh Gandhi

Gallery

Yamaha MT-03 Oil Cap/Dipstick
Yamaha MT-03 Front Wheel
Yamaha MT-03 Handle Bar
Yamaha MT-03 Silencer/Muffler
Yamaha MT-03 Number Plate Lamp
Yamaha MT-03 Monoshock Absorber
Yamaha MT-03 Horn
Yamaha MT-03 Clutch Lever
Yamaha MT-03 Front Brake Lever
Yamaha MT-03 Kill Switch

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