The first time I rode the Yamaha YZF-R3 was at the Buddh International Circuit and after a couple of laps around the track, this bike completely bowled me over with its excellent handling capabilities and power delivery. While it was fun riding this 321cc bike on the track, these conditions don’t really give us a complete picture of the R3 - like how it would actually fare in city riding conditions. So while it may have entered our long term fleet in January, I only got my hands on our long term R3 now. And the first task was to find out how it actually behaves in the city.
Riding the R3 in start-stop traffic was fairly straight forward and effortless, thanks to its decent low end grunt. Even though the 6-speed gearbox has short throws, you can easily negotiate choc-a-block traffic in second gear, and if the road clears up then up shift to third and blast past slow moving vehicles. Apart from responsive power delivery, the R3’s riding stance is also a major plus, especially if you are commuting everyday on the bike. To our surprise, as aggressive as the R3 looks, its seating posture is very comfortable and accommodating - same can’t be said about the KTM RC390 or the R3’s sibling, R15. Though what’s disappointing is that it doesn’t come with anti-lock braking system (ABS), not even as an option. Also the R3 needs better tyres as the rear tends to lose traction, especially when you open the throttle hurriedly. But other than that, it’s very hard to find flaws in the R3.