Yamaha R3 – A 320cc Entry Level Sportsbike?

Rumor has been circulating now for a few days that Yamaha’s soon to be unveiled R3 entry level sports bike will trump Kawasaki’s Ninja 300, by displacing 320cc from it’s parallel twin engine.

Earlier this year, Yamaha officially unveiled the R25, another entry level sports bike that’s specifically for markets that have a 250cc limit for learner and beginner motorcyclists.  That leaves the majority of the world waiting on the R3.

The rumor has originated from a number of sources, but most recently on Indonesian website tmcblog.com, which seems to have a presence in most of the Indonesian motorcycle factories.  If true, one might ask if its necessary?

The Yamaha R25.  Given the R25 and R3 won't be sold alongside each other, they may end up looking identical

The Yamaha R25. Given the R25 and R3 won’t be sold alongside each other, they may end up looking identical

This all began when Honda entered the market with its CBR250R.  For years, Kawasaki had it all their own way with the Ninja 250, and while it was still a quicker bike, Honda did make a large impact on the little Ninja’s sales.  Subsequently, the Ninja 300 was released in 2013 and Honda is returning fire with the release of their CBR300R in a few months time.

So, if the R3 rumors are true and the bike will have a 320cc capacity engine, are we seeing the start of an entry level bike displacement war?  And if we are, will we be getting away from the main purpose of these low capacity bikes?  That is, a bike that you can wring the neck out of on the streets, hitting redline in 4th gear without fear of losing your license?

Of course 20cc extra will not make much of a difference at all in comparison to a 300cc engine.  But it would mean we’ll already be 70cc more than the Ninja 250, which kept the same capacity for nearly two decades.  Will we have a Ninja 400 and CBR400R in a little while longer?  Let’s hope the manufacturers focus on quality rides rather than ever increasing displacement.

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