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Old June 23rd, 2022, 02:56 PM   #1
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[cycleworld.com] - 2022 Yamaha MT-03

The Yamaha MT-03 is the beginner-appropriate machine for new riders looking to get into the popular MT lineup.

Click here to view on their site.


“Your entry to the Dark Side” is not a Darth Vader quote. It’s Yamaha’s marketing hook for the approachable MT-03. (Yamaha/)Ups
  • Powered by the same sporty engine as the R3
  • Great handling for a budget-friendly bike
  • Roomy ergos for such a compact bike
Downs
  • Brakes are uncommunicative when the mood gets aggressive
  • Heavier clutch pull compared to its competition
Verdict

New riders wanting a taste of Yamaha’s MT range get exactly what they want with the fun and spunky MT-03. The bike’s R3-sourced engine and chassis promise sporty behavior, while MT-inspired ergos provide more comfort for around-town riding.

Overview

There have always been high expectations for Yamaha’s MT-03. Not only was it riding on the success of the MT-07, -09, and -10, but it had to be approachable for the young, so maybe not so reckless. So Yamaha took the sporty engine and chassis from the respected YZF-R3, emphasized comfort with upright ergonomics, left the bike bare bones with sinister styling, and then tested the waters in Europe. Obviously it was successful, as three years later the machine made its way to the US as a 2020 model.

Cycle World tested the MT-03 at the press launch, then got it in-house for dyno testing and a second round of road testing, and concluded that the machine is a great entry point to the renowned MT lineup. The engine is entertaining for all, the handling is pretty impressive, the ergonomics are comfortable for such a compact bike, and the brakes… Well, the brakes could use some refining. Still, the low price point really brings it all together.

The MT-03 is appropriate for riders with limited experience and engaging enough to entertain riders with plenty of miles behind them. And it does it all with MT flair.


The glare and stare from the MT-03’s LED headlight cluster. (Yamaha/)Updates for 2022

2022 is only the MT-03?s second year of availability in the US market, so no major changes have been made.

Pricing and Variants

The MT-03 is available in three colors: Cyan Storm, Team Yamaha Blue, and Matte Stealth Black. All have the same $4,799 MSRP.

Competition

Today’s lucky new riders get a wide selection of small-displacement naked bikes to choose from. The MT-03 is in the company of the BMW G 310 R, Kawasaki Z400, KTM 390 Duke, Honda CB300R, and Husqvarna Svart/Vitpilen 401.


The 321cc parallel twin recorded 37.1 hp and 20.2 pound-feet of torque on the dyno. (Yamaha/)Powertrain: Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The MT-03 is powered by a 321cc DOHC parallel twin, the same engine used in the sporty and capable YZF-R3. This powerplant loves to be revved, and riders will find that it’s most entertaining above 6,000 rpm.

If there’s one standout issue with the MT-03, it’s the relatively stiff clutch pull. While it may not go easy on rider forearms, the clutch does have decent feel, and it’s easy to launch the MT-03 from a stoplight. This engine produced 37.07 hp at 10,590 rpm and 20.22 pound-feet of torque at 9,010 rpm on our in-house dyno. It doesn’t have a ton of torque, but its power is engaging for all riders.


The small MT weighs in at a mere 375 pounds when measured on Cycle World’s scales. (Yamaha/)Handling

Riders of any and all experience levels have to agree that the MT-03 is a light, flickable machine. Cycle World commented that it “tips into the corners quickly and easily without requiring much input from the rider” and later mentioned that its “54.3-inch wheelbase and light 375-pound weight (measured on the CW scales) made maneuvering a breeze, nimbly strutting around like a prize-winning show dog.”

The superb handling goes beyond just lightweight steering, as the MT-03?s 37mm KYB inverted fork and shock deliver impressive ride quality. The front does not feel excessively soft, despite its springs being softer than the R3, and provides good feel when tackling rougher sections of pavement.

The MT’s rigid tubular steel frame is designed for twists and turns. It communicates solidly and does a fine job at keeping the bike stable when hitting apexes.

Brakes

A pull on the front brake lever means a two-piston caliper takes hold of a 298mm disc. Feel at the lever is translated well and the front brake does a decent job bringing this bike to a stop. However, under more aggressive braking, it feels wooden and underpowered. If ABS engages, it is not as noticeable as when the system engages at the rear. Hard pushing on the rear brake lever results in the same mushy underpowered sensation. When the rear caliper clamps down hard on the 220mm rear disc, ABS engages but does not chatter.


Ergonomics are upright and comfortable, although the tank shrouds did warrant complaints from one of our test riders. (Yamaha/)Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

Yamaha claims that the MT-03 is capable of 56 mpg.

Ergonomics: Comfort and Utility

The MT-03 has a roomy, open riding position. The tall bar allows ample elbow room and the slightly rearward peg position is a nice balance between sporty and comfortable. The tank’s flared sides meant legroom was slightly cramped for our 5-foot-10 test rider, but taller test riders found they still had space to tuck in and use the tank for added grip in turns.

The seat is flared and wide for nice support, but narrows toward the tank for easy foot-down stops. The measured 31.1-inch perch is average for the small naked bike category, and makes the MT-03 a relatively easy bike for all riders to throw a leg over.

Electronics

As it’s designed for casual trips through town rather than aggressive rides through the canyons, the MT-03 doesn’t get a full electronics suite like its bigger siblings. The LED headlight and two angled position lights give the MT a menacing face; turn signals and taillight are LED as well. Its LCD dash is nothing to write home about, but it’s tidy and easy to read.


The MT-03 in Matte Stealth Black. (Yamaha/)Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

The MT-03 comes with a one-year, limited factory warranty.

Quality

Whether you like the styling or not, the MT-03 has admirable fit and finish. The only minor grievance we have is that the fuel cap’s keyhole cover was flimsy and held on only by a pin.


The MT-03 is available at an easy-to-swallow $4,799, regardless of color choice. (Yamaha/)2022 Yamaha MT-03 Claimed Specifications

MSRP:$4,799Engine:321cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled inline-twin; 4 valves/cyl.Bore x Stroke:68.0 x 44.1mmTransmission/Final Drive:6-speed/chainCycle World Measured Horsepower:37.1 hp @ 10,590 rpmCycle World Measured Torque:20.2 lb.-ft. @ 9,010 rpmFuel Delivery:Fuel injectionClutch:Wet, multiplateEngine Management/Ignition:N/AFrame:Diamond-type tubular frameFront Suspension:37mm KYB inverted for; 5.1 in. travelRear Suspension:Single shock, 7-step preload adjustable; 4.9 in. travelFront Brake:298mm hydraulic disc w/ ABSRear Brake:220mm hydraulic disc w/ ABSWheels, Front/Rear:17 in. / 17 in.Tires, Front/Rear:110/70-17 / 140/70-17Rake/Trail:25.0°/3.7 in.Wheelbase:54.3 in.Ground Clearance:6.3 in.Cycle World Measured Seat Height:31.1 in.Fuel Capacity:3.7 gal.Cycle World Measured Wet Weight:375 lb.Contact:yamahamotorsports.com
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