URBAN bikes. You know the ones, practical, full of torque, and stripped raw of fairings and flashy plastic bits. There’s a bunch of them around, and the market is every expanding as more and more brands throw new models into this space.
Yamaha for example, has one of the better ranges of offerings, and has further expanded its model stable with the introduction of the MT-03. The MT-03 is a 321cc parallel twin and offers the first step into the wide range of urban bikes, brining with it a bunch of style and functionality.
Natural ergonomics are designed to give high levels of comfort. The seat/handlebar/footrest relationship is designed to create an upright seating position to suit riders of different sizes, while the sculpted fuel tank and knee grip area allow the rider to feel at one with this attractive all rounder.
The upright handlebars also offer a wide lock-to-lock steering angle of 68 degrees, giving the MT-03 rider plenty of manoeuvrability in slow traffic, and this feature also makes the bike easy to move around when wheeling it in and out of garages or parking spaces.
The two-level seating arrangement features a low 780mm high rider’s seat that gives a feeling of sitting ‘in’ and not ‘on top of’ the bike, and enables the typical rider to get both feet on the ground during stop/start riding. The raised passenger seat gives plenty of space for a passenger, and features aluminium grab bars for added comfort.
This unique MT look is achieved by the use of horizontal design lines as well as minimal front and rear overhang. The mass-forward look is reinforced by the centrally located muffler, while the forward inclined engine as well as the sculpted fuel tank and air scoops contrast with the bike’s slim and minimalist tail to accentuate the ‘ready to pounce’ mass-forward stance.
Developed from the YZF-R3 unit, the liquid-cooled 4-stroke DOHC 4-valve inline twin cylinder engine has been designed to deliver excellent power and responsive torque characteristics. The enjoyable engine running character inspires a high level of riding emotion that sets the MT-03 apart from other models.
The chassis is based on the sporty YZF-R3 design, and has been developed using the latest structural analysis technology, enabling Yamaha’s designers to create a compact and lightweight frame for the new MT-03 that delivers an excellent rigidity balance.
The straightforward design features very little bending, welding or crimping of the tubes, creating a minimalist and attractive structure whose compact dimensions and low weight contribute significantly towards achieving light and agile handling performance.
The frame’s two main pipes are made from 35mm steel tube, and by utilizing the engine’s crankcase as a stressed member of the chassis, Yamaha’s designers have been able to minimise overall weight.
Yamaha was one of the first manufacturers to exploit the handling and traction-related advantages gained by using a long swingarm design, and the new MT-03 features the same swingarm to wheelbase ratio as the 2014 YZF-R1.
The MT-03 is equipped with YZF-R3 type lightweight 10-spoke cast aluminium wheels that have been designed to give an optimum balance of strength and rigidity. These attractive wheels are fitted with wide section rubber, with a 140/70-17 rear tyre, and a 110/70-17 front tyre that give good traction and confident road holding.
It comes with a 24 month unlimited kilometre warranty, in three colours – Lava Red, Midngight Black, Race Blue. It hits the road at $5,699 (plus on-roads).