The world is obsessed with the cell phone, right? More people around the world have these ‘flat’ phones than fresh running water, a terrible statistic but not for the magnates who produce and sell them though. But I believe these irritating but necessary things have even more to answer for, in the form of distraction from anything else around the user. Oh yes, many ‘users’ would rather own these ‘poised thumb’ disposable items than own a car, or in this case a motorcycle.
I can’t say ‘all’ people, so I’m talking about attracting the younger rider to a bike such as this new 2019 Yamaha YZF-R3, or just R3 as it’s more commonly referred to, instead of dreaming about the inevitable 12th version of said item. Impossible you say, maybe, but this new Yamaha is one hell of a bullet to aim at the cell phone ‘youth’
However, I might be a bit hypocritical here, because if anyone of any age says this new R3 is perfect for the entry-level ‘new’ rider, lady rider, or doorway to owning a larger capacity superbike in the future, I’ll gladly deposit my right foot into their reproductive area. Why? Well this highly impressive second version of the R3 is a fantastic motorcycle on all counts and will suit anyone of any age because of its practicality. I’m certainly not a ‘youth’ and enjoyed every moment during the week I spent on the R3, and not once did I think it’s only for the younger generation.So why is it so good then, for any age, you ask? Well it’s just such a nice place to be, whether going to work or having a country blast at the weekend, the 2019 R3 soaks it up and deposits it into your pleasure receptors. Not only that, the new bodywork that resembles the R6 and indeed the new 2020 R1, with its MotoGP M1 styling, is gorgeous. As is the overall finish from this Indonesian made motorbike, so attractive in fact that I had a slight ‘eyegasm’ on many occasions, as the sun illuminated the thick blue paintwork, and the birds ‘tweeted’, not from a cell phone though.Enough of the romantic collaboration from the 2019 R3 and more of what’s new, I think, and there’s quite a lot. Yamaha say the frame is the same as the first model from 2015, nothing wrong with that, with the major chassis updates coming from the new KYB (not associated with bedroom lubricant) suspension. New upside down 37mm forks appear at the front and revised spring and damping rates at the rear. The ‘bars have been lowered slightly and they aim you towards the new digital ‘R1’ like clocks with a handy gear position indicator, and the usual information from this type of display.I mentioned a handy gear position indicator because this liquid-cooled, parallel-twin, 321cc, DOHC, fuel-injected engine with forged pistons is a rev machine of note. Yamaha say the engine is the same as the 2015 model but I don’t agree. It seems to be smoother, picks up harder after 7,000rpm, and then takes off like a stabbed gerbil after 10,000 to its 14,000rpm red-line (actually 12,000rpm on dyno). And, on our Dynojet dyno, the 2015 bike made 33hp, this so called new/old motor makes 37hp (claimed 41hp), and therefore my mature skinny butt is correct about the more powerful engine.Buttock bliss is dominated by the touring-like thickly padded seat and many hours can be spent aboard with no complaints, confirming the outright practicality of the R3. Not only that, the new fairing is the best in class and highly efficient due to its curvy and relatively tall screen. 120km/h on the highway sees 7,000rpm on the rev-counter and no buffeting. Get tucked in for top speed entertainment and you’ll swing past 180km/h, even at our 1,500m Joburg altitude, feeling like a MotoGP pilot.That’s the most impressive attribute about the 167kg (wet) 2019 R3, is the MotoGP type handling, it’s that good. In fact the new R3 has one of the best ‘feeling’ and stable front ends I’ve ever come across, on any motorcycle, it just makes you attack corners for the sake of it. No wonder the new R3 is so competitive in the World SSP300 class.So the R3 certainly belongs in the ‘R’ garage and then some, but let’s not forget this 321cc is also designed for economy and low cost servicing bills. Claims of 350km from the 14-litre tank aren’t far off, and maybe less if you try hard not to thrash, I couldn’t do that so I’ve no idea, or cared, about fuel consumtion, besides being excellent.That about sums up the R74,950 (bargain), R3, an excellent motorcycle on all counts, and not just for track day action. I’m sure if you let a ‘youth’ ride it and told her/him it’s the price of two extra-posh new phones they might be torn from the ‘dark side’ of irrelevant social media and would rather swing a leg over, and own this. I most certainly would and I’m far from ‘youth’ status.
Go to www.yamaha.co.za to locate your local dealer.
Yamaha bLU cRU Africa Cup.
Oh yes, Yamaha are going to begin a new R3 race series throughout Africa, not just SA, with riders from all over the Continent competing for a sponsored ride in the 2021 SSP300 Series in Europe. Up to 20 bikes will be on the grid, which will be an exciting spectacle for sure.
Images by Gareth Davidson