After riding Yamaha’s spectacular YZF-R1 and YZF-R1M, stepping down to something like the R3 might seem a bit dull in comparison. Fortunately, that’s not the case with Yamaha’s latest entry into the beginner bike market. As I noted in my first ride review following the R3’s press intro in Northern California, the R3 is a bike gentle enough for a new rider, yet entertaining enough for an experienced rider to still have some fun.

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Though there wasn’t a dyno on hand to verify this, according to my butt dyno the 321cc parallel-Twin felt more powerful across the entire rev range than the motorcycle Yamaha used as a benchmark: Kawasaki’s Ninja 300. It’s light, nimble and entirely unintimidating to ride, too – attributes any new rider will appreciate.

2015 Yamaha YZF-R3 First Ride Review

With the benefit of more power, the Yamaha’s initial standing over the Kawasaki shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Also consider the fact the R3 weighs in under 370 lbs. (according to Yamaha), uses forged aluminum pistons and offset cylinders, and it’s clear that, like the literbike category, the Tuning Fork company is also aiming to conquer the littlebike category, too. Better still, at $4,990, it slightly pips the $4,999 Kawasaki and comes in about $500 lower than the $5,499 KTM RC390, its real rival in the class. Also consider the KTM comes with ABS at that price, which is an option unavailable for the R3.

Skidmarks – Slow Bikes Fast

In case my written word wasn’t enough to sate your curiosity, here, now, is my spoken word about the R3, shot immediately after my last track session aboard the bike. If it appears as though my mouth is having a hard time processing what my brain is trying to tell it, know this: the R3 is good. How good? Stay tuned, as we’re gathering the main protagonists in the class to discover exactly that.

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  • thm4855

    Why are turnsignals “clumps” on american imported mc.s?
    I just bought a scooter where the turnsignals are integrated in the “body” – see photo.
    In US they do this on mopeds,scooters and motorcycles.

    • denchung

      The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires a minimum width of 16 inches between motorcycle turn signals (measured at their center line, not the closest edges). They must also be at least four inches (edge-to-edge) from a motorcycle’s headlights.

      • thm4855

        Thank you “denchung”.
        I live in Norway and I knew about this, but I had a hope that these regulations had come a little further. Here,s my scooter denchung –
        as you see the turnsignals are integrated both at front and rear.

    • Josh

      As an everyday rider in the US that’s a trade-off I’m happy with–i.e. visibility vs. aesthetics.

      • thm4855

        Visibility can depend on how far is it placed from the front, and how low, – you can even have turnsignals in your mirrors, but “the hatman” dont see you even then.

    • Raine Heartily

      That is beautiful, why the hell we don’t get this in Indonesia. Instead we got this, It’s too fussy and not classy.

      • thm4855

        I dont see any un-classy here RH? If it was up to me, I would have the turnsignals integrated in the mirrors – like you can see they offer at Harley Davidson.

  • You know what would be great? If I could WATCH the video rather then get “Embedding not allowed” errors!

    • denchung

      Sorry about that. We noticed an error in the original video and just re-uploaded a revised version to correct it.

  • Backroad Bob

    It looks to be a winner. Street bikes in this size, weight, and power
    range are a hoot to ride. Flickable, forgiving, and capable of three
    lines in any turn and most of all fun. It could be another home run