2024 Yamaha MT-03 Road Test Review

  • Jun 9, 2024
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Is the Yamaha MT-03 a little too late to the party?

Most enthusiasts were disappointed when Yamaha had pulled the plug on the R3 in India years ago. Everyone awaited the return of this motorcycle because it was one of the most potent offerings in the segment. The bike was discontinued because there weren't too many sales owing to the hefty price tag. In December 2023, the new generation MT-03 was launched in India for the first time alongside the R3. We felt that the only logical option for Yamaha was to price these motorcycles competitively. That unfortunately did not happen as the bikes made their way to our market as CBU imports from Indonesia. 

We recently got to put the Yamaha MT-03 to the test after spending a week astride the motorcycle and here are our impressions.


The styling of the Yamaha MT-03 is sharp. The bike gets sleek LED DRLs and a projector headlamp at the front. The muscular tank and sharp bodywork all around give the bike aggressive streetfighter styling. When looking at the bike from afar, it does look exactly like the MT-15 and that is also because of how compact it is. Additionally, our review unit was sporting the matte black colour scheme which is stealthy for sure, but we feel that the blue colour option makes the bike stand out better.

Engine, Mileage, and Performance

Powered by the same 321cc, parallel-twin engine which we also get in the R3, the MT-03 delivers a thrilling riding experience with ample power and torque for city commutes as well as for cruising on the highway. The power delivery is smooth from the get-go and there is a slight surge once it crosses the 6000rpm mark and rushes to the redline. In our tests, the bike did a 0-100kmph run in just 6.14 seconds. The clutch action is a bit heavy but the gear shifts are slick. What would have sweetened this whole experience is the addition of a quickshifter.

The MT-03 can chug along at around 45kmph in sixth gear without any juddering, making this an extremely tractable motor as well. There is ample power in the mid-range rpms to make quick overtakes in the city but it does feel more lively in the higher rpm range, which makes it great fun to push the engine hard on twisty roads. Further adding to this engaging ride experience is the exhaust note that’s growly and very satisfying to the ears. 

We were able to get an indicated fuel mileage of 25 km/l which makes it a bike that you can use on the daily. Overall, this is a versatile and fun engine. Considering it is a Yamaha, we can also expect it to be very reliable. 

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The handlebar of the MT-03 keeps the rider upright, but the bike's footpegs are rear set just like on the R3. We do feel that the handlebar could have been wider for better leverage as it is quite narrow. The 780mm seat height is easily accessible but riders will feel slightly cramped while in the saddle of the MT-03 thanks to its compact proportions. It is obviously a bike that's not made for touring long distances, but it gets the job done for daily commuting or weekend rides in the twisties.

Handling and Ride Quality

One of the main updates to this generation of the MT-03 and R3 was the addition of inverted forks. The suspension setup is on the stiffer side to keep in tune with the sporty theme of the motorcycle. With the same chassis as the R3, it feels really light once it is on the go, quickly tips into corners, and is also really good fun while flicking from one side to the other. But with this stiff suspension setup, it is not the best at soaking up undulations and sections of bad roads that we encounter in our day-to-day commutes. Although, the compact proportions and nimble handling abilities make maneuvering through traffic a breeze. 

The Dunlop tyres are good enough for daily commuting but I would suggest swapping them out if someone wants to exploit the full potential of this chassis in the twisties. The braking department is where the MT-03 excels again. The feel from the lever is sharp which gets the bike to a halt in a predictable manner. There is minimal intervention from the ABS, allowing riders to get on the brakes later and also feel safer if they need to grab  the brakes in case of an emergency. 


Unfortunately, when compared to many of the other offerings in this segment, the MT-03 is pretty basic in terms of features. It gets dual-channel ABS and a fully digital LCD screen. While this is a simple dash, it has a clean layout, giving riders all the important information at a quick glance. The switchgear is pretty basic and because of the placement, will be an issue or just take some getting used to; The horn button and indicator switch have been flipped, and to add to that, the horn button is really small. This did make it a bit of a hassle as my thumb was left searching for the horn button at many instances.

In my opinion, every motorcycle does not need to have a host of electronic rider aids or features to be a great motorcycle, but the issue here is that the current generation models of the R15 and MT-15 do get a lot more on offer. Considering this, and the hefty price of the MT-03, it is difficult to justify to a Yamaha MT 15 owner looking to upgrade their ride. 


Overall, the Yamaha MT-03 is a fantastic choice for riders looking for a compact and agile naked bike. Additionally, what you also get is the bulletproof reliability of a Japanese engine. Unfortunately, the Rs 4,59,900 (ex-showroom) price tag is going to keep it out of reach for many enthusiasts. 

In 2024, there are a ton of motorcycles in our market that are offering a lot of bang for your buck with competitive prices and all the features they have on offer. If Yamaha wants to make waves with the R3 and MT-03 in India, they are going to have to do something about their hefty price tags. 

That being said, if price isn't a factor for  prospective customers and they are set on owning the MT-03, it surely provides a rewarding and enjoyable riding experience. 

Yamaha MT-03
Yamaha MT-03
Rs. 4.59 Lakh
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