Yamaha MT-03

Yamaha has garnered a global cult following due to the impressive performance and handling capabilities of its motorcycles. The high-revving machines from Yamaha create an unforgettable riding experience that makes it challenging to settle for anything else. In India, the MT-15 has been a popular choice, but until recently, there was no direct successor. Now, the spotlight is on the MT-03, aiming to cater to the preferences of Yamaha loyalists.

However, there’s a potential hiccup. While the MT-03 boasts robust hardware, the brochure might seem a bit light compared to the competition. The bike shares its mechanicals with the Yamaha R3, known for its high-revving nature. The question arises: can the MT-03 deliver an exceptional riding experience that compensates for the lack of features, and is it the  misbehaving playmate you never knew you needed?

Design: Yamaha MT-03

Yamaha MT-03

The design of the MT-03 is distinct, drawing inspiration from Yamaha’s MT series. In comparison to its counterparts like the MT-07, MT-09, and MT-10, the MT-03 shares similarities with the MT-15 available in India. It features a central projector headlamp surrounded by sharp LED DRLs, giving it a sleek and aggressive appearance. The bike has a dynamic look enhanced by small spoilers on either side of the projector.

The overall silhouette resembles the MT-15, but the MT-03 stands out with broader shoulders and a wide fuel tank. The tank, holding 14 liters, contributes to the bike’s larger and more robust feel compared to the R3.

Comfort and Ride: Yamaha MT-03 

Yamaha MT-03

The Yamaha MT-03 shares the same seat and tail section as the R3, along with similar footpeg placement. The key distinction in the riding position comes from the flat handlebar, which provides a more upright stance. While an upright position is generally preferred for longer rides, interestingly, taller riders on this particular ride favored the R3 for extended durations.

The MT-03’s fuel tank shape plays a role in this preference, offering better leg locking and reduced chances of movement. The upright position, however, creates a more significant pressure point on the seat, causing discomfort after about an hour.

Despite this, it’s essential to note that the MT-03 is a larger and more spacious bike than the MT-15. While not perfect, the overall comfort factor is reasonable. This is expected as the bike shares the same suspension setup, chassis, and wheelbase figure as the R3. Additionally, the 321cc parallel-twin engine produces identical output figures, with the only notable difference being a two-kilo weight reduction in the MT.

Performance and Handling: Yamaha MT-03 

Yamaha MT-03

As expected, the Yamaha MT-03 shares both the strengths and weaknesses of the R3. The engine is composed at low speeds and provides a thrilling experience when revved up to the 12,000 rpm redline, delivering a sense of speed and capability.

While the name “MT” stands for “Master of Torque,” originally fitting for the MT-01, it may seem a bit of a stretch for a bike that generates 29.5 Nm at a high 9,000 rpm. However, the motor’s flexibility in urban environments could justify renaming it as the “Master of Tractability.”

In terms of handling, there’s a slight sacrifice in front-end feel due to the more upright riding position. Yet, when you start leaning into corners and adopting an aggressive riding style, the MT-03 offers just as much fun as the R3. However, in aggressive riding situations, you might feel that the MT’s brakes could have had more bite, and the absence of a slip-assist clutch might be noticeable.

Price and Final Verdict: Yamaha MT 03

Unfortunately, potential customers might be deterred by the MT’s expected high price. Like the R3, it is imported as a completely built unit (CBU) from Indonesia and is anticipated to be priced between Rs 4 lakh- Rs 4.5 lakh, ex-showroom. 

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Similar to the R3, the MT-03 may face challenges in the Indian market until Yamaha localizes production, reducing costs. Despite this, the MT-03 is recognized as a well-engineered, easy-going, and endearing machine, much like its sibling.

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