Yamaha today announced the latest addition to its Hyper Naked lineup, the 2020 Yamaha MT-03. The announcement of a new, baby MT to round out the family really shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who’s taken a close look at the company’s three current offerings – the MT-10, MT-09, and MT-07. Providing an entry-level MT model opens up the possibilities of a rider entering, and staying, within the Yamaha family as they progress up the riding ladder.
What’s the sweet spot for small displacement motorcycles? Is it 250cc? Perhaps 400cc? Ask any internet forum and you’ll likely hear some BS like, 600cc sportbikes are the smallest I would EVER recommend for a beginner. Idiots. Darwinism at its finest. What do we think? We think there are a lot of variables to consider for this question, but the 300cc category is still filled with solid options of bitchin’ motorcycles. Many look at these small-displacement bikes as great options for beginners as well. Which motorcycle is best for a beginner? It all depends on what kind of riding you’d like to do. Any of the options on this list provide a great starting point for new riders. What’s even better is that there are plenty of great bikes in this category that spans multiple genres of motorcycling such as sportbikes, adventure motorcycles, and naked bikes. If you’re interested in entering the world of two wheels check out these great starting points.
Having grown up around motocross, and with a couple of years on the road on two wheels some 13-plus years ago, throwing my leg back over a motorcycle this past summer was anything but starting from scratch (thankfully). Sure, I was a little rusty to say the least, but the essence of riding isn’t something easily forgotten. After a few quick jaunts, I was back in the swing of things. Though the mechanics and principles remain the same, the new motorcycle market for more novice riders is a completely different beast than it was the last time I was on two wheels. A veritable boom of larger, and frankly more appropriate “starter bikes” is well underway in the form of the 300cc class. These more approachable and rookie friendly rides aren’t like the undersized and underpowered 125s and 250s that have been around for decades, which is a fantastic thing – a serious win for new riders who are on the taller side. Throwing my 6’1 frame over a CBR 125, well, can you picture the bear riding a minibike in a Russian circus? You get the idea.
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.
Did you hear it? That sound was the U.S. motorcycle industry show season clicking into first gear. Today, in Las Vegas, the season starts off with the with the AIMExpo in its debut visit to Sin City. While mostly an industry show, motorcyclists in the Vegas area will have the opportunity to take a look at what the show has to offer on Saturday and Sunday. Today and tomorrow, however, are industry days where manufacturers of all stripes try to catch the eye of the individual dealerships. So, in the same venue as many of the major motor manufacturers, you’ll also find the booths for people with a good idea (and a shoestring budget) who are just waiting for their big break.
Yamaha has registered a design for an updated YZF-R3, revealing a new look inspired by the R6. Prototypes of the redesigned bike (or, at least, the Asian market equivalent YZF-R25) were spotted in Indonesia earlier this year , but the photos were too blurry and dark to show much detail. The registered designs, filed Aug. 28 with patent offices in Australia and Turkey, offer us a much clearer look at the entry-level sportbike.
There seems to be much doom and gloom in the motorcycle industry surrounding the state of sportbikes these days. We keep hearing about dropping sales and shifting consumer interest, which will combine to turn the sportbike as we know it into a museum piece one day, gone the way of the Dodo bird.
Lucky us/we/I got the invite up to Buttonwillow Raceway in California to get a look at what Chuck Graves and Yamaha have in store to conquer MotoAmerica’s new Junior Cup series, which replaces last season’s KTM 390 class. KTM s are still welcome, but now they’ll be duking it out with Kawasaki Ninja 300s and 400s, Honda CBR500Rs, Suzuki GSX250Rs – and nine teenagers receiving factory-ish support from Graves Motorsports.
Vehicle recalls are an unfortunate, but necessary part of the industry. Nearly every manufacturer goes through it at some point or another, usually to correct problems before they become life-threatening problems. And sometimes, manufacturers conduct recalls because someone just f**ed up. This is one of those.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2017. Since then, a number of other good beginner motorcycles have hit the market, so we’ve decided to update this post with some of the newer options available for new riders. The list of is available below.
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.
The International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) and promoter Dorna announced a new entry-level racing class that will join the World Superbike Championship in 2017. The new Supersport 300 World Championship will open a new avenue for developing young racers while also giving manufacturers a venue to showcase their small-displacement sportbikes.
It’s a question we’re asked all the time: “What’s the best motorcycle for a new rider?” It’d be great if we could give the same answer every time, but in reality the answer depends on many factors – rider size, competency, wants, needs, and desires among them. Small displacement bikes are generally a good place to start, but read enough forum commenters and before long you’ll find someone who shares their tale of how they started on a literbike and lived to tell the tale.