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2024 Yamaha MT-03 Road Test Review: Fun But Quite Expensive

Modified On May 26, 2024 11:01 AM By Nishaad Joshi for Yamaha MT-03

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Can the Yamaha MT-03 justify its high price tag?

2024 Yamaha MT-03 Road Test Review

Yamaha big bikes (anything bigger than the Yamaha R15 V4) have eluded our market for the longest time, and only we know how desperate we’ve been for them to come here. And when the Yamaha R3 and MT-03 were finally launched in India, their price tags were a shocker. But then they say some riding experiences are such that you cannot put a price tag on them. So is the Yamaha MT-03 such a bike or is its high price a dealbreaker? Let’s find out: 


2024 Yamaha MT-03 Design

Now, the Yamaha MT-03 is a good-looking bike. The headlight is sharp and aggressive, giving it a mean look. But when you sit on it, it actually doesn’t feel much bigger than the Yamaha MT-15. So when riding through the city, it’s actually surprisingly subtle. The compact size coupled with this Midnight Black paint scheme meant that when parked in public places, the MT-03 wasn’t exactly turning heads. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not small by any means, but it’s not substantial either, like say the KTM 390 Duke. So if you want an absolute head-turner, the MT-03 might not catch your fancy.  

Yamaha MT-03 Switchgear And Brake Lever

Another department where the MT-03 definitely doesn’t give big bike feels is in the switchgear. Get on the bike and the switchgear feels like it came from a low-speed electric scooter that costs one-tenth the MT-03. Even the brake and clutch levers are not only non adjustable, but they feel cheap and don’t have any sort of premium finish. 

 Yamaha MT-03 Left Switchgear

Quality aside, the switchgear feels weird even ergonomically. The buttons are quite small and my large hands with gloves on, had no feel as to where the switches were. What’s worse is that Yamaha decided to flip the placement of the horn and the turn indicator switch. On our roads, where we honk to communicate with others and let them know we’re near them, this is a nightmare. And if this wasn’t enough, the horn is placed so far from where your hand rests on the handlebar, even my long fingers struggled to reach it. It often happened that I had to awkwardly feel the switchgear all over, and by the time I found the horn, the obstacle (at which I was supposed to honk) had already passed.  

Engine, Mileage And Performance  


Yamaha MT-03


321cc liquid-cooled parallel-twin engine

Maximum Power

42PS at 10,750rpm

Maximum Torque

29.6Nm at 9000rpm 



The MT-03’s highlight is undoubtedly its engine. The parallel-twin makes its power higher up in the rev band but is easy and tractable to ride in the city. 5th gear, 20kmph and the engine just chugs along without any juddering. And the good thing is that it’s not extremely peaky and it has just enough grunt in its lower revs to execute quick overtakes and you don’t need to keep changing the gears. 

2024 Yamaha MT-03 Engine

But where this engine is truly happy is in the higher revs. Drop a gear and and get going and you’ll feel the laidback engine come to life. Post 6000rpm especially, the way the bike revs to its 13,000rpm redline is very involving. That said, the pull all the way to the top is still quite linear and there’s no major step up in the rev band, and that means even newer riders can ride the bike hard without getting intimidated. So yes, this bike does 20kmph in the 5th gear just as easily as it does 120kmph in the 6th gear. 

2024 Yamaha MT-03 Exhaust

And it does both things with an incredible exhaust note in the background. I usually don’t really talk about exhaust notes but this one is special. It has that typical screamy note when you’re revving it out, but the moment you roll off the throttle, it settles into a deep roar and there are even pops to be heard. Yes, pops on a stock exhaust on a 300cc bike, that too in the post BS6 era! Riding it up and down the twisty roads and hearing the exhaust reverberate in the ghats was an absolute treat for my ears. 

Handling And Ride Quality 

2024 Yamaha MT-03 Handling

The MT-03 is built on the R3’s chassis and hence it’s not surprising that it handles brilliantly as well. It tips into corners effortlessly and maintains a line beautifully. And the power delivery is so linear, opening the throttle will not scare you, no matter what your skill level is. Taking the MT-03 through a set of twisty roads feels easy and very inviting.

2024 Yamaha MT-03

The ride quality though, is where the MT-03 takes a backstep once again. The suspension has an overall firm feel to it…a bit too firm. And while that made the bike feel nice and planted on the near flawless ghat roads, it felt quite uncomfortable on the bad roads we face in our city everyday. 

2024 Yamaha MT-03 Handling

And what wasn’t helping was the MT-03’s compact dimensions. Its footpegs are quite high and the handlebar is super narrow. Combine that with its small seat and it meant that once I was locked in, my 6’0 frame had absolutely no room to move around. My 68kg body just tossed all over the place every time I encountered bad roads and it wasn’t a pleasant experience. And no, it wasn’t just me. Riders shorter than me found the bike cramped and guys heavier than me found the bike’s suspension firmly sprung too. 


2024 Yamaha MT-03 Features

This won’t be long because dual-channel ABS and a fully-digital LCD console is all that the Yamaha MT-03 has, in terms of features. And honestly I am okay with that…kind of. The MT-03 isn’t a demanding bike to ride and if you’re relatively smooth with your inputs, even newer riders should be able to ride around safely without the suite of electronics. On the whole, the lack of features makes for a slightly old-school riding experience and I quite enjoyed it. As for the MT-03’s LCD console, it’s extremely basic but actually quite nice to comprehend. Everything’s right where you want it to be and you just have the crucial data on the homescreen, nothing else to clutter things up. 

2024 Yamaha MT-03

But if I HAD to put something on the MT-03, it would probably be a slip-and-assist clutch and a quickshifter. Going through the gears with the throttle wide open and banging down multiple gears before you enter a corner without worrying about the rear tyre locking up  are two things that make the whole sporty riding experience a whole lot better. 

Should You Buy The Yamaha MT-03?

Should You Buy The Yamaha MT-03?

The Yamaha MT-03 is a smooth and fast bike that handles very well and is still quite easy to ride. And in that way, it’s actually the perfect upgrade from the MT-15. So if you’re looking to upgrade from your 150-200cc bike onto a twin-cylinder sporty bike with the bulletproof Japanese reliability, this one does make a lot of sense. But its biggest drawback is its Rs 4,59,900 (ex-showroom India) price. As likeable as the bike is, it struggles to justify a price tag close to Rs 5.5 lakh on-road, even more so, given the lack of features. 

Should You Buy The Yamaha MT-03?

So if you’re looking for a very specific upgrade from your MT-15, the MT-03 does make for a good choice. We assure you that people who ride this bike will have a great time and they will go fast without being intimidated. But with better bikes like the Aprilia RS 457 (Rs 4,10,000) and the Kawasaki Ninja 500 (Rs 5,24,000, both ex-showroom India) existing on both sides of the MT-03’s price, it’s hard for us to recommend the MT-03 to everyone.  

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