Yamaha had recently launched the Yamaha R3, a powerful 321cc entry-level sport bike, designed to attract many Yamaha enthusiasts, besides beginner riders. Priced at Rs 3.25 lakh, the bike has been receiving a lukewarm response owing to the absence of ABS at such a price and lack of additional equipment upgrades/customization options. However, Yamaha had clearly emphasized its commitment towards bringing in the stripped version of the R3 itself, the MT-03. Now, Yamaha has officially announced that the MT-03 would be brought to India via the CKD route.
Take away the M1 styled fairing and add an elegant looking headlamp cluster, reminiscing the Yamaha FZ, the MT-03 Street Fighter is born. Frankly, Yamaha must have decided that the two new offerings (R3 and MT-03) were branded as upgrades from the existing R15 and FZ, two astounding bikes that achieved milestones in Indian motoring history. Powering the MT-03 is the same engine as found on the R3, a 321cc, two-cylinder engine, producing 41.6 PS of power and 30 Nm of Torque, mated to a 6-speed gearbox. The headlamp cluster gets twin LED pilot lamps, a small visor to complement the looks and a neatly styled handlebar that should make things comfortable. Initially, Yamaha launched the MT-25, the 250cc variant of the same, in Indonesia. Rumors of Yamaha contemplating on a premium product began since then, further increasing the expectation of a product that would be offered at a sub-3 lakh range. However, the pricing is an issue that Yamaha would have to deal with, if it has to emerge victorious in terms of sales. KTM did its magic quite cleverly, and everything fell into place automatically. Unfortunately, no other manufacturer has been able to replicate the kind of success that KTM is currently enjoying. All said and done, the MT-03 should contend with the KTM 390's, given that the bike is well received by the masses.
Since Yamaha had mentioned that the bike would be brought via the CKD route, pricing should be a bit of a downer for the company, unless, of course Yamaha tries to add something to the bike, say, personal customization or mechanical upgrades. This certainly deserves to be left alone, given ample time, and maybe then the dust might settle to let us get a clearer picture of the scenario. Expect the bike to be launched by the end of 2015 or early next year.
Naked variant of the R3, highly anticipated as an upgrade from the Yamaha FZ.
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