As I ride north from Belleville Ontario, I’m reflective on just how good new riders have it today. Beneath me is the kind of bike I should have started riding some 25 years ago. Instead I went through three bikes in three years before I found the right alignment and connection with a 1988 Yamaha FZ750.
Through the ‘90s and most of the 2000s the small displacement sport bike was nowhere to be found. They were made and marketed to other places in the world but not in North America. Over the last ten years most of the major manufactures have jumped on board to what is now a very exciting segment of the marketplace.
Inside Motorcycles has been invited by Yamaha to sample the 2019 YZF-R3, with a morning street ride followed by some track time that has been arranged in the afternoon on Shannonville Motorsport Park.
The new Yamaha YZF-R3 totally looks the part; as a fellow moto-journalist rides around a blind curve toward me I’m stationary at the side of the road and I need to have a second look to confirm that it is in fact the 320 cc machine and not an R6 or R1. Visually the R3 looks like a bigger bike, with 37 mm upside down forks and 2,090 mm (82.3 in) of length – 50 mm to 35 mm longer than the current R1 and R6. The cast aluminum 10 spoke 17-inch mag wheels also look big bike. From the seat the LCD display is modern with all the usual indicators including a gear indicator, something a new rider will greatly appreciate.
The morning ride is comfortable even for this 6-foot two-inch tester, I’m pleasantly surprised. The power of this relatively small engine is also “enough.” Enough to be inspiring and back to the freedom of motorcycle riding provides. A relief from the complicated electronics of the leading-edge performance machines and their hyper horsepower. Shocking I know. And I have further revelation, maybe it’s not just for new riders…
Watch for Steve Hoffarth’s complete review of the 2019 Yamaha YZF-R3 in an upcoming issue of Inside Motorcycles.