8. Yamaha R3

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The beginner bike market is a big one, and though it took a long time for other manufacturers to latch on to the gold mine Kawasaki had to itself with its Ninja 250/300 series, we’re glad Yamaha’s finally jumping on board with the R3. Sure, KTM’s RC390 is stealing some of Yamaha’s thunder in 2015, but the R3’s 321cc parallel-Twin is reported to put out 42 hp and 21.8 lb-ft, according to Yamaha Europe, on par with the 43 hp and 25.8 lb-ft. KTM claims for the 373cc Single. That should put it well clear of the smaller Kawi and Honda CBR300R.

Discuss this at our Yamaha R3 Forum.

Small bikes are incredibly fun to race, and Yamaha is rewarding those who do by offering contingency for racers who shine on the R3, making its appeal that much greater. Factor in the $4,990 price and it’s an easy bike to be excited about.