2020 Yamaha MT-03 Video Review

John Burns
by John Burns

A perky and attractive little package

One nice thing about the motorcycle market’s troubles is a resurgence of the kind of fun little cheap bikes the codgers are always pining for. Case in point: the MT-03, the naked version of Yamaha’s sweet little YZF-R3, and the newest member of its “Masters of Torque” naked-bike family – here to take the fight to the KTM Duke 390, Kawasaki Z400, BMW G310R…

Packing the same 321 cc parallel twin into almost the same steel frame as the R3, and using almost the same everything else but for a sit-up straight handlebar instead of clip-ons, the whole package weighs in at right around 373 pounds. That light weight means 35 horsepower at the rear wheel (what our last R3 made) are plenty for bombing around town, and even better for unwinding Texas backroads – which is the focus of today’s exciting video. (The written test went up a couple weeks ago; this kind of quality takes time.)

2020 Yamaha MT-03 Review – First Ride

What do you want for $4,699? The Kawasaki and the KTM make more power; the Yamaha counters with a surprising amount of comfort, especially for a small bike, including a nice set of suspenders that complement its broad, cushy seat while keeping things nicely lined up even when flogging the little engine for all it’s worth out of every bumpy second-gear corner on Austin’s Lime Creek Road.

That’s Master of Torque, not Monster, and even if the newest MT doesn’t have tons of it, that’s part of the beauty of small things. Riding it swiftly and well is going to require a little rider participation and frequent use of the really good six-speed gearbox and light clutch, good for the soul. Its light weight makes it easy to hop onto, easy to lift off the sidestand, easy on gas… easy to ride and to live with. And though beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I dig the Ice Fluo with red wheels. You?

John Burns
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3 of 12 comments
  • Yerkle Yerkle on Apr 07, 2020

    Hey John- was really cool meeting y'all out on Lime Creek the day you were shooting. Took me a minute to finally run across your review. You got to experience the last normal ATX before the shut down! Hope you got some good BBQ and enjoyed yourselves!

    • John burns John burns on Apr 07, 2020

      ZRX110? We got some excellent bbq that night at a place next door to the Hotel Van Zandt, looks like it's closed now DAMMIT! Great to meet you also. Come back again.

  • J. R. Boedeker J. R. Boedeker on Apr 07, 2020

    What do I want? I want an XSR300. IMO the XSR155 is the best looking of Yamaha's retro bunch. Don't anyone bother looking. It's not available in the US, for 155 reasons.
    Anyway, maybe a 300 would look good too. And it's perfect for what I need right now. Commuting and "bombing around town".