It's time to heave a sigh of relief. Yamaha has finally launched the much awaited and heavily rumored Yamaha R3. The R3 would be the successor to Yamaha India's flagship sport bike – the R15. Although there are no plans for R15 production to be halted, the Yamaha R3 should serve as an upgrade for those who would want to experience the thrill of being in a proper performance bike. Now that the R3 has been launched, it would be a fierce contender against Kawasaki's Ninja 300 and the KTM Duke 390. Let's take a look at what Yamaha has put on offer:
First off, the engine. Although Yamaha was initially confused about which bike to bring to India (R25 or R3), they eventually decided that the R3 would fare better as a competitive product with respect to the current market scenario and also because the Indian market policies were favorable. The engine on the new Yamaha R3 is a twin-cylinder 321cc, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke engine that develops 42 PS of power and 30 Nm of Torque. Yamaha has designed the engine to be high-revving to add to the premium feel of a performance bike, while the engine receives a 6-speed transmission to transfer power from the engine to the wheels. However, Yamaha hasn't yet given the R3 any special treatment like the addition of a slipper-clutch or quick-shifter to complement performance, further. Yet, Yamaha's new engine is designed to be friendly while in the low and mid RPM ranges, proving it to be a daily bike.
The bike has been designed by taking inspiration from the band of brothers in the higher performance range viz. R6, R1 and the R1M. With a twin-headlight cluster up in the front, the whole front fascia looks staggeringly aggressive and equally sporty. The sharp and edgy lines further adding to the sportiness of the bike. The split-seats and aggressive riding posture should help in giving the rider that premium feel. Clip-on handlebars, sporty-exhaust unit, analog-digital instrument unit, large 17 inch tires, 110/70 in front and 140/70 at the rear, all add up to make it exceedingly desirable. The bike would be made available in two colors – Midnight Black and Racing Blue. A diamond frame has been used to house the engine and all the other essentials together; a dry weight of 169 kg and Yamaha's claims of a perfect 50:50 power-to-weight-ratio should see the R3 through to many track days.
In terms of safety, Yamaha seems to have given India the cold shoulder. Earlier reports of ABS being made standard for the soon-to-be-launched R3 were put to rest after Yamaha announced that the R3 would only receive standard braking, for now. They reasoned that by bringing the ABS, it would further increase the already competitive price to undesirable heights. Yamaha, though, mentioned that the ABS is an option under consideration for the future. Currently, the R3 would receive a full disc-brake set up to alleviate braking concerns.
Now for the price, the Ninja 300R is at Rs 3,50,000 and the KTM Duke 390 at Rs 2,05,523. Yamaha has given the R3 a price tag of Rs 3,25,000. It is certainly competitive but is it affordable? The strong reason for this price is the fact that Yamaha is bringing the R3 via the CKD route from Indonesia. Once localization improves, we might able to see a considerable reduction in prices. However, Yamaha currently has no plans of creating an assembly line just for the premium bike. Also in the pipeline is R3's naked sibling – the MT320, another beautifully crafted bike. It is slated for launch in India by next year.
Yamaha finally puts to rest the long string of rumors and launches the R3. Priced at Rs 3.25 lakhs.
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