Pictured above is the Yamaha YZF-R15, a 155cc sportbike recently announced for the Indonesian market. The third iteration of the R15, like its predecessors, is unlikely to come to North America, but some of the updates introduced on the V3 may be coming to the Yamaha R3.

While the R3 is relatively new, only introduced for the 2015 model year, the YZF-R15 was first introduced overseas in 2008, receiving an update in 2012. The latest version increased the single cylinder’s bore by a millimeter, pushing the displacement from 149.8 cc to 155.1 cc.


More notably, Yamaha added its Variable Valve Actuation (VVA) technology, a feature previously introduced in the NMax scooter for Indonesia. VVA uses different cam lobes for engine speeds below and above 7400 rpm to improve efficiency. While Yamaha has made VVA part of its “Blue Core” technologies for improving engine efficiency in Indonesia, it’s unlikely to make its way to larger-displacement models bound for North America.


The Kawasaki Ninja 300 and KTM RC390 each have an assist & slipper clutch. With the R15 now getting one, we expect the R3 to receive a slipper clutch as well for 2018.

But two other changes may be coming to the R3: an assist and slipper clutch and an upside-down fork. Neither feature is available on the current R3, though they are offered on some of its competitors. The Kawasaki Ninja 300 received an assist and slipper clutch in 2013 while the KTM RC390 launched here in 2015 with an inverted fork and more recently gained a slipper clutch.

What’s a Slip-Assist Clutch Anyway?

While nothing has been confirmed as yet, chances are high the Yamaha R3 will gain both an inverted fork and assist and slipper clutch for 2018. These updates will not only help the R3 keep pace with its competitors, it’ll also keep step with its little sibling, the R15. While the R3 isn’t offered in Indonesia, Yamaha does offer the R25 which is nearly identical but for a larger engine. It’s unlikely Yamaha would offer an inverted fork and slipper clutch on the R15 but not the R25 in the same market.

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