After almost a year-long wait, Yamaha has finally launched the 2018 R3. But how does it stack up against some of the best entry-level motorcycles on paper? We pit it against its rivals to find out.
The updated Yamaha R3 now comes with a BSIV-compliant 321cc parallel-twin, liquid-cooled engine, which produces 42PS of power and 29.6Nm of torque at 9000rpm, mated to a 6-speed gearbox. Powering the Benelli 302R is a 300cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin engine with dual overhead camshafts. It churns out 38PS of power at 10,000rpm and 27.4Nm of torque at 9000rpm, mated to a 6-speed gearbox.
The TVS Apache RR 310 packs the same engine that is seen on the BMW G 310 R. This 312cc single-cylinder liquid-cooled engine produces 34PS of power and a peak torque of 27.3Nm. The 2017 KTM RC 390, on the other hand, packs a now BS-IV compliant 375cc single-cylinder liquid-cooled engine. This powerplant churns out 43.5PS of power and 36Nm of torque. Lastly, the Kawasaki Ninja 300 uses a 296cc DOHC parallel-twin engine which punches out 39PS of power and 27Nm of torque.
From the numbers, we can say that the KTM RC 390 is easily the punchiest of the lot, closely followed by the Yamaha R3 and the Kawasaki Ninja 300. But bear in mind, the latter two motorcycle offer only marginally more power than the TVS bike, despite having an extra cylinder.
In terms of features, the Yamaha R3 carries on with the semi-digital instrument console of the older model along with clip-on handlebars. Just like the Ninja 300, the R3 still continues to house halogen headlamps, instead of LED ones. The motorcycle also misses out on a slipper clutch or ride-by-wire throttle, which are offered as standard on the KTM RC 390. However, ABS is offered as standard now, which we must say is a welcome addition. The Benelli 302R comes equipped with an analogue cum digital instrument cluster, which offers only basic readouts. The motorcycle also gets switchable ABS developed by Bosch, as standard. While the 302R doesn’t get an LED headlight, the halogen bulbs do come with LED DRLs.
The Apache RR 310 is the first TVS motorcycle to get LED headlamps. The pointy tail at the back houses unique LED taillamps shaped like devil’s horns. It also gets a fully digital, vertically laid out instrument cluster that displays the speedometer, tachometer, odometer, two trip metres, fuel gauge, fuel consumption, clock and a 0-60kmph timer, top speed recorder and lap timer. The Apache RR 310 also comes equipped with raised clip-on handlebars for a comfortable, yet sporty riding position. For safety, dual-channel ABS is standard here which is a welcome addition.
KTM has retained the same LED DRLs and headlamp along with LED tail lights setup from the older RC. Along with it, the RC 390 also retains the same LCD display unit from its predecessor. However, the 2017 model received a host of features like a slipper clutch, for aggressive downshifts and ride-by-wire throttle technology for enhanced throttle control. The KTM bike is the only motorcycle in this segment to feature ride-by-wire technology. It also comes with ECVAP (Evaporative Emission Control System), which prevents fuel vapours from the tank from escaping into air, thus helping reduce fuel loss. In terms of safety, ABS is standard here as well.
The Ninja 300 comes with an assist and slipper clutch, which results in a lighter lever pull while operating the clutch. However, it misses out on ABS, which is offered as standard on its competition.
Yamaha continues to use a steel diamond type frame for the R3, suspended upon traditional telescopic forks at the front and a monoshock at the back. Braking duties are handled by a 298mm disc at the front and a 220mm disc at the rear. And as mentioned earlier, it also gets ABS as standard now. Another major update includes a switch from MRF tyres to Metzeler Sportec M5 tyres (110/70-17 - front 140/70-17 - rear). A saddle height of 780mm makes the R3 approachable for riders of every height and size. After the update, it now weighs 173kg (kerb), making it 3kg heavier than its predecessor.
Benelli has equipped the 302R with a steel trellis frame. Suspension duties here are handled by 43mm telescopic forks at the front with preload adjustment and a rear hydraulic monoshock unit. Braking is handled by dual 260mm petal discs at the front and a single 240mm petal disc at the rear. Its 17-inch alloy wheels come wrapped in sticky Metzeler (110/70 front and 150/60 rear) tyres. Its saddle sits 785mm high, while the bike tips the scale at 198kg (kerb), making it the heaviest of the lot.
Along with the engine, TVS has also employed the same trellis frame that is seen on the BMW G 310 R. However, the rear subframe is modified to suit the RR 310's sporty riding posture. The suspension duties here are handled by KYB inverted forks at the front and a preload adjustable monoshock unit at the rear. Braking is taken care of by a 300mm front petal disc and a 240mm rear petal disc. The RR 310's 17-inch alloys are wrapped with Michelin Pilot Sport tyres (front - 110/70 R17 and rear - 150/60 R17). The saddle of the Apache RR 310 sits at 810mm, with the bike tipping the scale at 169.5kg of kerb weight.
The KTM RC 390 utilises a trellis frame chassis as well, just like its predecessor. The suspension duties here are handled by WP USD forks at the front and WP monoshock at the back. In terms of braking, the RC 390 uses a 320mm front disc brake and a 230mm rear disc. KTM has used (110/70 ZR17 - front and 150/60 ZR17 - back) Metzeler tyres for the RC 390. Due to the side-mounted exhaust, thanks to the BS-IV compliance, the 2017 RC 390 now tips the scale at 170kg (kerb), with a saddle height of 820mm.
Kawasaki has employed a diamond type steel frame for the Ninja 300. It misses out on inverted forks and instead opts for 37mm telescopic front forks and a gas-charged monoshock unit at the back, which is 5-way preload adjustable. The braking here is handled by a 290mm petal disc at the front and a 220mm petal disc at the rear. The wheels of the Ninja are wrapped with IRC tyres (front - 110/70 17, rear - 140/70 17). The saddle of the Ninja 300 sits the lowest at 785mm.
The TVS Apache RR 310 has been priced at Rs 2.05 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), with bookings schedule to start in the next couple of days. The KTM RC 390, on the other hand, is priced at Rs 2.29 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). The Kawasaki Ninja 300 carries a premium price tag of Rs 3.60 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
Thanks to the much needed upgrades, the 2018 Yamaha R3 has received a price bump of Rs 23,000 and now costs Rs 3.48 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). The Benelli 302R is also priced exactly the same at Rs 3.48 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
However, if its an in-line parallel-twin motor that you have your heart set on, then the Yamaha R3 ranks on top of the scoreboard. It not only offers top-spec features but also is the most powerful 300cc twin on sale in India, feeling at home on track as well as in the urban jungle.
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