New Bikes

First impressions: Yamaha R3

Yamaha's new R3 is heavily revised with new suspension, bodywork and variable valve timing

WE SPENT TODAY riding the new 2019 Yamaha YZF R125 and R3 on track, and the R3 on the road, and we’re on the road with the 125 tomorrow. The R3 has been tweaked for this year, with new suspension and updated bodywork, while sticking to the same 42bhp 321cc parallel twin engine as before.

On the road, the new suspension works a treat. The USD front fork is nicely damped and although a teeny bit soft, was great on the roads up in the hills behind Valencia. The Dunlop rubber also does a top job, even on the rather chilly asphalt first thing this morning. There’s plenty of grip and they got some nice warmth in them fairly quickly. What’s not so hot is the brakes. The front caliper is a pretty basic sliding two-piston job, and you need to haul on the lever pretty hard to get stopped.

We spent the afternoon on track, and the R3 was a hoot there. The softish suspension let you bounce your way round a bend, the pegs scraping like hell, and the little motor doing its best to haul you out down the straight. Having limited power means you need to work harder at stuff, and I was giggling after every session.

More on the R3 and R125 after the road ride tomorrow…

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