Dec 8, 2020

Model Overview: 2016 Yamaha YZF-R3 Reviews and Specs

Jo Kelley

Looking for a beginner bike with some hutzpah? Check out this Yamaha R3 review.

Beginners, do you find yourselves feeling a little stir crazy putzin’ around on the same bike you’ve had since your MSF Basic RiderCourse? I may have found your solution: the 2016 Yamaha YZF R3.

Review of the 2016 Yamaha YZF-R3

Generally, I prefer to ride cruisers, but every now and then I like to test out a sportbike, keep things interesting. And the stars aligned the day I came across the 2016 Yamaha YZF R3. Nimble and confidence-inspiring, this particular model is the cream of the starter bike crop, offering up to 42 horsepower via a 321cc, liquid-cooled parallel twin.

Video Source: RR Rob919 YouTube

I took this model out for a test ride recently, and was pleasantly surprised at just how in control I felt, especially since I took mostly unpaved backroads. I’ll admit, a seat cushion would’ve been nice at times because some of the bumps got pretty gnarly, and preload adjustment doesn’t exist at the front. Then again, the YZF was bred to race, so I might have to hold my tongue as far as suspension goes.  

The R3 is one nimble son-of-a-gun, though. I eventually made my way out to some of the city roads in my area and found the clutch to be light, shifting a breeze, and handlebar control so thorough that weaving was about as second nature to this bike as butter is to popcorn. In hindsight, that’s where most of the enjoyment came from, because stylish as this small displacement bike is, it is by no means fast. Capping out at a mere 55 mph, the R3 isn’t a bike you’d race in a serious competition, but it will still get the blood pumping on any normal day. (I’m not much of a racer anyways, truth be told.)

Video Source: Motorcycle Experience YouTube

I also appreciated the R3’s forgiving seat height. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to pass up on a bike because I couldn’t comfortably put both feet on the ground.

Overall, if you're looking for one of the best motorcycles for beginners, the 2016 Yamaha YZF R3 is a great motorcycle to get your bearings on. It’s designed primarily for beginner motorcyclists, so keep that in mind if you have any degree of riding experience under your belt; chances are, you’ll grow weary of it quickly. As far as learning how to harness power and build confidence goes, though, the YZF R3 is a homerun.

Yamaha YZF-R3 Specs

  • Engine Type 321cc, liquid-cooled 2-cylinder DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
  • Bore x Stroke 68.0mm x 44.1mm
  • Engine Stroke 4-Stroke
  • Compression Ratio 11.2:1
  • Fuel Delivery Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI)

  • Transmission Type Manual
  • Number of Speeds 6, cable-actuated wet clutch
  • Primary Drive Chain (rear wheel)

  • Suspension / Front 41mm KYB® telescopic fork; 5.1 in of travel
  • Suspension / Rear KYB® single shock; 4.9 in of travel

  • Front Tire 110/70 17 54H
  • Rear Tire 140/70 17 66H

  • Front Brake Type Single 298mm disc w/ 2-piston caliper
  • Rear Brake Type Single 220mm disc w/ 1-piston caliper

  • L x W x H 82.3 in. x 28.3 in. x 44.7 in
  • Seat Height 30.7 in
  • Wheelbase 54.3 in.
  • Wet Weight 368 lb
  • Fuel Capacity 3.7 gal

2016 Yamaha YZF R3 | Photo Source:

Photo Source: Rider Magazine

What the Yamaha YZF-R3 is…

  • A confidence-inspiring starter bike.
  • A smooth ride on smooth pavement.
  • Something you can really hone your riding skills on.

What it isn’t…

  • A Ninja, so choose your racing match-ups wisely.
  • Shock-absorbent; avoid road anomalies when possible.
  • A bed on wheels (it’s comfortable for a sports bike, but it is by no means a cruiser).

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