2019 Yamaha R3 Preview

Ryan Adams
by Ryan Adams

Yamaha updates the R3 to join the R World

Prior to the company’s presentation at AIMExpo, Yamaha released details of a revised 2019 Yamaha R3. A welcome upgrade for the smallest R in the lineup, as the model hasn’t undergone any major revisions since its inception in 2015. Though we weren’t surprised to learn Yamaha had stuck with its 321cc Twin, rather than going nose-to-nose in the displacement wars with its green rival. Thanks to our staff super sleuth, we were expecting the R3 to undergo some significant changes for the new model year.

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Most noticeable from first glance of course, is the styling. The YZF-R3 has received a new fairing and windscreen said to be derived from Yamaha’s M1 MotoGP bike and YZF-R1M sibling. Though the redesign isn’t just for looks. Yamaha claims, “The new fairing and windscreen reduces aerodynamic drag (CdA) by seven percent, enabling a decrease in air turbulence around the rider’s helmet when in a tucked position and a top speed increase of five mph during Yamaha tests.” The center air duct is also said to provide increased airflow to the radiator for better engine cooling.

The new fairing, windscreen, tank cover, and inverted fork more closely resemble the R3’s bigger siblings, giving the littlest R a sportier, more aggressive look.

We also see a new 37mm KYB inverted fork fitted to the 2019 R3, coupled with a new triple clamp with R World styling. Naturally, we’ll have to wait until we get a ride on the new R3 to say whether or not the fork is an upgrade from the previous traditional unit. Inverted forks don’t always equal performance gains, though they do help the little R to look more grown up. The R3’s clip-on handlebars are now 0.8-inch lower which, coupled with a reshaped gas tank, should allow sport-focused riders more room to move around when slaying apexes. Fuel tank capacity remains at 3.7 gallons.

New LED lighting helps lend an up-to-date look to the R3 and a new LCD instrument panel provides the rider with a large display to view pertinent information. Also new for 2019, YZF-R3s will come outfitted with the Dunlop Sportmax GPR-300, a tire we were pleasantly impressed with during our time on the street and track during the Kawasaki Ninja 400 launch.

As mentioned previously, the 321cc Twin engine powering the smallest Yamaha R remains unchanged as does the frame, rear shock, and braking components. The 30.7-inch seat height also remains unchanged for 2019. Thankfully, 2018 pricing is also unchanged with the 2019 YZF-R3 ABS ringing in at $4,999, available in Team Yamaha Blue and Matte Black, while the ABS version will run $5,299, and be available in Matte Black and Vivid White. Expect both variants in dealerships beginning December 2018.

Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams

Ryan’s time in the motorcycle industry has revolved around sales and marketing prior to landing a gig at Motorcycle.com. An avid motorcyclist, interested in all shapes, sizes, and colors of motorized two-wheeled vehicles, Ryan brings a young, passionate enthusiasm to the digital pages of MO.

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  • StreetHawk StreetHawk on Oct 12, 2018

    I'll be curious to see if the changes are actually for the worse on the littlest Yamaha R. I've ridden the original and it struck the right balance between being comfortable and somewhat sporty.It was one of the few bikes I could ride with minimal helmet buffeting and a somewhat upright riding stance. I'm concerned the new fairing and lower clip ons have biased track performance in the "300" racing class over all around suitability. The claim of 7 % less drag in a (racing) tuck is usually not slang for more comfortable. My hope now is the unfaired and upright MT03 is on the horizon as this little engine is just too good to not spread around. Or pie in the sky ADV version perhaps ?

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    • Gabriel Owens Gabriel Owens on Oct 12, 2018

      Well I think it's assumed that Kawi will introduce the z400 to the US market, perhaps Yamaha will too.

  • Vrooom Vrooom on Oct 12, 2018

    I was considering this for my girlfriend, but lower clip ons won't help.