The Yamaha MT-03 is the baby of the MT range (with the exception of the MT-125 in some markets). If you stand an MT-03 next to the bigger MT-07 you will struggle to figure out which one is which at first glance and that is no coincidence.
Yamaha has gone out of their way to ensure the MT-03 shares the bigger MT bikes aggressive nature and has built it to big bike specification.
Yamaha’s ‘dark side of Japan’ line has taken over the streets, you would be hard pressed not to spot an MT at any gathering of motorcycles, on a ride, outside a bar, or indeed any city’s streets.
On its release the MT-03 quickly rose to the front of the pack in its segment and deservedly so.
Let’s take a look at the 2023 Yamaha MT-03 and figure out why it is such an awesome motorcycle great for both new riders and those looking for something a bit smaller for the daily commute through the tight city streets.
MT-03 Design & Style
Arguably the factor that makes the Yamaha MT-03 so great is that it looks an awesome naked bike.
The whole MT line is part of the Hyper Naked motorcycle segment that you could argue Yamaha started in the first place. Identifying factors include sharp angles, components placed carefully to display the sheer power radiating from the engine, along with modern materials for a premium-style construction.
Yamaha’s design team have gone to great lengths to make sure the Yamaha MT-03 follows suit with the bigger bikes in the line, with premium design features and quality components that far exceed its price tag.
Let’s start at the front of the bike with the aggressive front light assembly, think a killer wasp in a bad mood, matching the style you get a powerful led headlight that manages to provide brilliant illumination.
As you work your way back a little bit you see the bike’s aggressive nature continues with a sculpted fuel tank cover, a narrow seat is completed on the back by a sharp tail piece – the wasps sting.
The engine is housed in a blacked out frame, with a compact exhaust system tucked into the side.
On the front you get KYB inverted forks which are pretty conventional front forks but they do offer excellent handling, feel and feedback which is all a rider can really ask for out of a set of forks.
At the back Yamaha have used a long swingarm (a concept first seen on the Yamaha R1) with a monocross rear shock. This pairing gives a great level of control when braking, cornering and accelerating.
The aggressive and powerful design is a mass forward body design which means the bikes handling is brilliant, precise and easy to manage on the twisties while the extremely light clutch feeling makes commuting around the inner city a breeze.
2023 Yamaha MT-03 Engine & Performance
When it comes to the engine the MT 03 has great overall engine performance, built to boost rider confidence with easy to manage power.
The latest generation ensures a confident and smooth ride, with a refined engine character.
For those who grow into the motor you will notice it has a strong high rpm power which makes for great fun in sweeping bends and accelerating from stop lights. It also makes you work to unleash the power at the top end which is part of the fun of smaller capacity machines.
The engine’s cylinders are constructed of Aluminium which make for excellent heat dissipation and essentially aids the reduction of any power loss.
Carburized connecting rods and lightweight forged pistons perfectly complement each other by being low in weight, reducing vibrations and in the end providing a smooth throttle response.
In fact the overall layout minimizes vibrations so extended rides are more than doable on the Mt 03 in relative comfort.
The upright ergonomic riding position also feeds into rider comfort.
The position puts the rider in command of the motorcycle for maximum visibility of the road ahead and for confident handling in all situations.
New riders will benefit greatly from the riding position, and experienced riders will enjoy the flexibility the position offers for them to test their limits.
Excellent stopping power on the MT 03 comes in the form of an anti lock braking system using a hydraulic single disc brake on the front and rear. ABS helps prevent wheel lock ups when braking harshly – a great safety feature.
Overall the bike’s high specification copied from the dynamic MT family makes the MT 03 an exciting ride with plenty of usable power in a chassis capable enough to handle anything you can throw at it.
2023 Yamaha MT-03 Specs
Engine and Transmission
Engine – Four stroke, parallel twin, four valve cylinder heads
Capacity – 321cc
Bore x Stroke – 68 x 44.1mm
Compression Ratio – 11.2:1
Cooling System – Liquid cooled
Starting – Electric
Induction – Advanced fuel injection system
Transmission – Constant mesh 6 speed
Final Drive – Chain
Clutch – Wet, multi-disc
Max Power – 41.4 horsepower at 10,750rpm
Max Torque – 29.6 Nm at 9,500rpm
Chassis and Dimensions
Frame – Deltabox, lightweight diamond frame
Front Suspension – 37mm non-adjustable KYB inverted forks
Rear Suspension – Preload adjustable KYB shock
Front Brakes – Single 298mm disc with ABS
Rear Brakes – Single 220mm disc with ABS
Rake – 25 degrees
Trail – 93.9mm/ 3.7″
Wheelbase – 1,372.9mm/ 54.3″
Length – 2090.4mm/ 82.3″
Height – 1,133mm/ 40.7″
Width – 718.8mm/ 28.3″
Seat Height – 779.7mm/ 30.7″
Fuel Capacity – 14 liters/ 3.7 Gal
Is the 2023 Yamaha MT-03 good for beginners?
The MT 03 makes a good case for being the best beginner bike currently available, it certainly needs to be included in any top ten list of beginner motorcycles.
The seat height is not super high and the saddle narrow so even shorter riders will be able to manage the bike, furthermore, the bike’s light weight will guarantee confidence as there is no heavy mass to handle.
The innovative offset cylinder design and forward mass makes the weight easy to handle, as it is right in the area where the rider has the most control.
Ultra responsive handling mated with an easy to use engine with plenty of useable power and more on the top end if you work for it means new riders have something to grow into.
A stylish LCD meter on the front has easy to absorb information displayed so beginner riders can take a quick glance and get everything they need to know, leaving them with more time to focus on the road ahead.
Something really cool about the MT 03 is that if you ride up to your first bike night you won’t look out of place next to much bigger and more powerful machines.
MT-03 vs its Competitors
Aggressive big bike looks, serious street presence, sporty performance arguably makes the MT-03 the most dynamic ride beating off all of its competition.
The KTM 390 Duke and the Honda CB300R are the two closest to the Yamaha.
The Duke 390 is an extremely aggressive motorcycle, built to be the fastest and most performance focused model in the 300cc range.
It is not a bike for the faint-hearted and while still relatively small capacity, the torquey powerful motor doesn’t naturally lend itself to newer riders the way the Yamaha MT does.
The Honda CB300R is a naked cafe racer styled 300. It is far less aggressive than the MT and the Duke focusing on sophistication, ease of use and a more mellow approach to the class.
I would argue that the MT 03 is not only best looking out of the three but is also the one that combines the best of both worlds being easy to master but with solid performance when and where needed.
How much does a 2023 Yamaha MT 03 cost?
In the US the 2023 Yamaha MT-03 costs $4,999 and in the UK the MT-03 is priced at £6,000.
For 2023 the MT-03 is available in 3 colours, Team Yamaha Blue, Matte Black Stealth and Cyan Storm.
Without a doubt the MT-03 is an excellent all round motorcycle, one that has plenty going for it and one that all riders of any experience can enjoy.
I love all the Yamaha naked bike range – from the MT-125 to the king of the liter bikes and bonkers MT-10, it has been one of the most exciting things to happen to motorcycling in modern times and the MT-03 fits right into that lineup.