Yamaha India launched their much awaited R3 motorcycle in the Indian market after a long wait and it has quite successfully created a stir in the Indian motorcycling segment. Till date, very few manufacturers have been present in the quarter litre motorcycling segment namely Kawasaki Ninja 300 and the Honda CBR250R. Undoubtedly, the Ninja 300 has been most popular motorcycle in this segment however its exorbitant pricing at Rs. 3.65 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi) has kept many potential buyers at bay. Priced at Rs. 3.2 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Yamaha R3 has managed to grab the sweet spot between the Ninja 300 and the KTM RC 390 which retails at Rs. 2.2 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi). One of the key reasons behind the premium pricing of the Ninja 300 and the R3 is that the Kawasaki and Yamaha are building these bikes via the CKD route whereas Bajaj is manufacturing the RC390 almost locally.
Like the Kawasaki Ninja 300, the Yamaha R3 is powered by a 321cc, 4 stroke, liquid cooled, DOHC, 4 valve, parallel twin engine producing 42 PS of power and 29.6 Nm of torque. It is mated to a 6 speed manual gearbox sending power to the rear wheels. However, unlike Ninja 300 getting the slipper clutch for super smooth and quick shifting, Yamaha has decided to go ahead with the regular multiplate type. Both the bikes are not equipped with ABS braking technology, which is definitely a drawback considering the fact that the RC390 offers ABS as standard and is almost 1 lakh cheaper too at the same time. Rumour is afloat that Yamaha is looking into offering the ABS kit as an option however; it is going to be a wait and watch game.
The Ninja 300 and the R3 share the same seat height of 785mm and 780mm respectively while the ground clearance is kept at 125mm and 160mm respectively. Yamaha has clearly taken into consideration the Indian driving conditions while designing the R3, thus the high ground clearance. However, they have achieved a lower kerb weight of 169 kg whereas its 172 kg for the Ninja 300. This clearly makes the Yamaha R3 a more agile motorcycle at corners and the high ground clearance with the similar saddle height making the driving posture quite sporty. Both the quarter litre motorcycles get telescopic forks at the front and an adjustable mono-shock suspension at the rear. Braking duties are done by a single petal 290mm disc at the front and 220mm disc at the rear in the Ninja 300 whereas the R3 gets a 298mm disc at the front and 220mm disc at the rear.
Honda motorcycles also offers its CBR250R in the quarter litre segment which however has been quite popular among bike enthusiasts due to lack of updates and nimble performance. The CBR250R is powered by a 249cc, single cylinder engine producing 26 PS of power and 22.9 Nm of torque and it mated to a 6 speed manual gearbox.