With new inverted front forks and radial! tires

2019 YAMAHA YZF-R3 ABS: First Ride Review from Japan to check radial tires as standard

  • 2019/8/22

As one of the YZF-R series, the 2019 YAMAHA YZF-R3 has just received a similar full model change after that of the R25 about 3 months later. I had a test riding on the R3, especially focusing on standard-equipped radial tires that had not been adopted to the R25. These radial tires brought me an overwhelming benefit. I felt a sense of safety while braking hardly and a high-performanced grounding while banking after braking. It would have been just a right choice to decide to equip radial tires.

Text by Yuichi OHYA, Photo by Hiroshi OKA

Impressive grounding feeling by the effect with inverted forks.

The YZF-R3 started selling in the domestic market in April 2015, equipped with a 320cc liquid-cooled inline twin cylinder engine with a bore 8mm wider than that of the YZF-R25 on the common chassis with the R25. The 2019 model has gone through a similar minor change to the R25. Any engine specification such as the maximum output power of 42 ps has not been changed from the former model. But it is quite different from the R25 to equip radial tires originally. Both the new R3 and the R25 are 32,400 yen higher than the former, so that the R3 might have a high cost performance.


2019 YAMAHA YZF-R3 ABS [Specification] Overall length: 2090, Overall width: 730, Overall height: 1140, Wheelbase: 1380, Seat height: 780 (each mm), Curb weight: 170kg, Engine: Liquid-cooled 4-stroke Inline Twin cylinder DOHC 4-valve Displacement: 320cc, Transmission: 6-speed return, Fuel capacity: 41L, Front brake: Disc, Rear brake: Disc, Front tire: 110/70R17, Rear tire: 140/70R17

As for the engine, the R3 had an exhaust sound at idling which seems to be slightly stronger than that of the R25 by the added displacement of 71cc. With a fast start dash and a subsequent surely-strong acceleration performance, I felt the effect of increased engine displacement. It got strong torque from 4,000 to 7,000 rpm, quite often used in streets. That was why the R3 coulf run sharply with one higher gear than that of the R25 by the help of throttling. And with a throttle widely open, the engine revved up pleasantly up to the beginning of red zone of 12,500 rpm. Compared to the R25 with an engine increasing its power from around 7000 rpm, the new R3 had less changes in its engine characteristic. Nevertheless, it would be obvious to take an advantage by the actual torque performance.

As a matter of concern for handling. I had once compared the former and the current R25 in rough winding roads, to evaluate the former with a smoother ride by upright front forks. I rode the new R3 with such an impression, but I felt an advantage of rigid inverted front forks, even though the increasing in displacement might cause its increasing in speed naturally. In addition to this, an overwhelming advantage was given by its radial tires. It would be no exaggeration to say to feel the superiority of inverted front forks by a sense of safety at a hard braking and by a strong grounding feeling of banking after braking.


The Φ37 mm inverted cartridge front forks are equipped instead of the former Φ41 mm upright ones, which contributes to the reinforcement of undercarriage, working with radial tires. The DUNLOP GPR-300 radial tires are newly used as standard, which has the same size with the former bias MICHELIN Pilot Street.

The R3 marked the 3rd highest sale in the 400 cc class in 2018. It has an attractive styling which reminds us of the MotoGP YZR-M1 or the flagship YZF-R1 in the series, that would cause the YZF-R3 more sales success.


The YZF-R3 has a liquid-cooled, Inline 2-cylinder 320 cc engine, larger than 249 cc of the R25, which generates the same maximum output power of 42 ps as that of the previous model. It weighs nominally 170 kg, just the same weight as that of the R25 with ABS. Also it has a same steel tube diamond frame as that of the previous.


The handlebars are mounted 22 mm lower than those of the former, which does’t cause so much hard forward posture. It could be used for multi-purpose. The 780 mm seat height brings an excellent foot grounding.(Rider in the photo: height 175 cm, weight 62 kg)


The punched top bridge like the YZR-M1 or the YZF-R1 makes me feel its strength. The LCD meter is common to the R25.


(Photo-left) The headlight contains a light source with LED instead of filament and the new air duct reminds me of the YZR-M1. (Photo-right) There equips helmet holders on the reverse of the tandem seat. There’s little space for storage as shown in the photo.


(Photo-left) The new inner tank with resin cover has a 20 mm lower surface but keeps its capacity of 14 L by expanding 31.4 mm in the left and right maximum width. (Photo-right) The maximum speed has increased by 8 km/h in the test ride by the effect of its characteristic layered cowling with improved aerodynamic performance.

Differences between the R3 and the R25

Regarding the engine characteristic, I had an impression that the R3 had the one enough to enjoy its strong torque with early shift-ups, in contrast with the R25 which couldn’t help me revving up. As for the handling, the R3 made me feel a good match for its output power, against the R25 that gave a little over-spec impression due to the inverted front forks.


2019 YAMAHA YZF-R25 ABS [Specifications] (within [ ] is non-ABS) Overall length: 2090, Overall width: 730, Overall height: 1140, Wheelbase: 1380, Seat height: 780 (each mm), Curb mass: 170 [167] kg, Engine: Liquid-cooled 4-stroke Inline 2-cylinder DOHC 4-valve, Displacement: 249 cc, Power: 35 ps / 12000 rpm, Torque: 2.3 kg-m /10000 rpm, Transmission: 6-speed Return, Fuel capacity: 14 L, Front brake: Disc, Rear brake: Disc, Front tire: 110/70-17, Rear tire: 140/70-17, Price: 642,600 yen (Non-ABS 599,400 yen), Color: Blue, Matte Black, Matte Red

Disadvantages: More displacement might be required against rivals.

The R3 is also successful now in the SSP300, a lower class of SBK started in 2017. Against some rivals in this class like the Ninja 400 and the RC390R with an outstanding progress, a little more displacement might be required in response to its body capacity.

Conclusion: It is just a correct decision to equip radial tires as standard.

As is the case with the comparison between the KAWASAKI Z400 and Z250, I realized once again that the performance of tire, the only one to contact with the ground, made a significant change of riding impression. The R3 would be obviously superior to the R25 with its extra 71 cc displacement. I understand the reason why the YZF-R3 keeps good at selling.


Related post