Austin Texas, ranked as number 1 on the Cities of the Future list by Forbes and recognized as the most rapidly rising American city, also known for its friendly people, live music and ‘weirdness’, was the perfect media launch location to introduce Yamaha’s newest release from the Masters of Torque (MT) family; the Yamaha MT-03. A full-sized entry-level Yamaha motorcycle modeled from its cousin the YZF-R3, offers full size fun with 17-inch wheels, a 30.7-inch seat height and high mounted handlebars. Yamaha expects big things from this small displacement (321 cc) naked sport bike built from the R3 platform. Will the MT-03 be the bike of the future? The R3 is the best-selling model in the US now. With that in mind now that the MT-03 is launched in Canada at an affordable price ($5,899 MSRP), could it follow in its footsteps?
After receiving a review and intro to the bike, myself and 17 other riders mixed with journalists, photographers and Yamaha staff took off from the heart of Austin’s Rainey Street Historic District on the Colorado River each riding our own MT-03. It was a perfect ride day with a start temperature of 25 degrees Celsius as we followed the river northwest out of the city heading towards Sandy Creek Park. Desert like landscapes filled with Live Oak and Cedar Elm trees and limestone brick houses lined the roadway as we climbed our way up to Oasis on Lake Travis for a lunch stop.
Just like Austin Texas, the MT-03 is a friendly ride with an upright ride position lent from the handlebars placed at 19 mm back and 39 mm higher than the R3 model. The only weirdness the MT-03 has in common with the city however is the way Yamaha was able to disguise this small displacement motorcycle with mass-forward body work design eluding to a larger displacement motor. The aggressive design along with the Ice Fluo colours turned heads as we parked the bikes for lunch. After some nachos, tacos and iced tea were consumed we headed out on what I call the Texas wind up - Lime Creek Road, a twistie road snaking alongside the Colorado river favoured by the local motorcyclists.
The MT-03 is available now at Canadian dealers with a price tag of $5,899 in three colour choices: Midnight Black, Yamaha Racing Blue or Matte Light Metallic Grey Ice Fluo ($100 more). Read the full review and my impressions in the next issue of Inside Motorcycles.