3. Yamaha R3

2015 Yamaha R3 After the success Kawasaki has had with its Ninja 250, and now Ninja 300, frankly I’m surprised it has taken the other OEMs so long to tap into the beginner sportbike market. Honda’s line of small displacement sportbikes, starting with the CBR300R (formerly CBR250R), CB300F, and the 500 models are great choices for the newb rider, but I’m really looking forward to Yamaha’s entry into this field: the R3.

AIMExpo 2014: 2015 Yamaha YZF-R3 Coming To America

It’s weird to consider there’s a displacement contest taking place in a class meant for riders learning their craft, but since I’m long past the days of waddling through a parking lot, trying to impress my MSF instructor, the 320cc parallel-Twin in the R3 should be the class of the field (save, perhaps, for the KTM RC390). It has more displacement than the Kawi or Honda, looks better than the other two, and promises a sporting personality typical of Yamaha sportbikes. What’s not to love?! Like the FJ-09 at the number-8 spot, if it weren’t for the R1 and R1M stealing the headlines, the R3 would likely get much more buzz.