YAMAHA MT-03 (2006-on) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"Ideally an urban/commuter tool, the MT-03 gives you more than enough fun if you want some bendy weekend scratching, too"

Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Riding

"Ideally an urban/commuter tool, the MT-03 gives you more than enough fun if you want some bendy weekend scratching, too"

  • At a glance
  • 660cc  -  45 bhp
  • 56 mpg  -  185 miles range
  • Medium seat height (805mm)
  • Suitable for A2 licence
  • £7,399

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

Visually stunning and mechanically sound, Yamaha’s trick new “roadster motard” creates its own little niche in the market. Ideally an urban/commuter tool, the Yamaha MT-03 gives you more than enough fun if you want some bendy weekend scratching too. Handling is superb but just a little more horsepower would’ve really broadened the Yamaha MT-03's appeal.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5

Stunning agility and a forward riding position bring out the motard aspects of the Yamaha MT-03. Clutch and throttle action are spot on and the brakes (lifted from the Fazer) are excellent. The Yamaha MT-03's  flash, lateral suspension system (with side-mounted shock) takes care of comfort while the rider can cane the bike around town or corners knowing those wide bars give it excellent manoeuvrability.

Engine 4 out of 5

Like Aprilia’s Pegaso, the Yamaha MT-03 takes its engine from Yamaha’s XT660: a proven motor that works in this dinky little chassis. Smooth fuel injection and loads of low to midrange torque mean town and twisty riding is huge fun. The Yamaha MT-03 is a bit breathless up top though: it’s not really up to a long haul.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

The Yamaha MT-03 is well finished with excellent attention to detail: just look at that beautiful alloy swingarm. The engine’s tried and tested (so should be reliable) and the whole Yamaha MT-03 has been put together with originality, flair and, by the looks of things, without stinting too much on quality. Early days though…

Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5

A quality motorcycle at this price is good news. Scratchers will love throwing the Yamaha MT-03 around and newbies will learn to corner like Rossi with its brilliant handling. The top end may be a bit lacking, however, and there’s always the Suzuki SV650 or Kawasaki’s ER-6n waiting in the wings, costing less and with around 20bhp more oomph. Find a Yamaha MT-03 for sale

Insurance group: 11 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

Sharing its genes with the MT-01, the Yamaha MT-03 has angular bodywork, a funky little headlamp and angry twin underseat pipes. The clocks are basic (digital speedo/analogue rev counter) but that suits the motard look. Numerous Yamaha MT-03 aftermarket bits are available, including hand guards, a flyscreen, seat covers and a fetching Akrapovic end can. Yum.

Owners' Reviews

18 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA MT-03 (2006-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 3.6 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.8 out of 5
Engine 3.8 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3.3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3.6 out of 5
Equipment 3.2 out of 5
5 out of 5

City riding my MT-03

06 June 2012 by drnqrk

Here is the youtube video I'v posted: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xziygupgT7o MT-03 is a Fun City Bike that brings a smile to your face :) Read more

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great fun, but a couple of points worth noting...

13 April 2012 by Anonymous

I’ve had my 58 plate MT for about a month now, so posting my thoughts as I found some of the other reviews on here helpful, but there were a couple of things about the bike I've noticed weren't mentioned. Firstly, as others say, this bike isn't... Read more best suited for the motorway. It'll do it, but the lack of fairing, relatively lightweight chassis and low gearing mean that motorway riding is not its forte. My daily commute is all London-based, so this was not a major issue for me. Whilst the MT is best suited for town riding, don't, however, expect smooth filtering like you’d get with a straight four. The characteristics of its big single cylinder engine push you to drive it hard, hammering around the outside of traffic and slamming on the brakes at the lights! In fact, driving the MT smoothly at slow speeds is nigh-on impossible as it surges quite noticeably when doing less than 30mph – a characteristic that, from browsing multiple forums, appears to affect all bikes that this injected big single is used in and for which there is no conclusive fix. Handling is good, but, because of the surging, low speed cornering takes some getting used to, with extra clutch control needed. There's no ABS option though and, with all of the weight at the front of the bike, the rear wheel locks up VERY easily. Think this is made slightly more prominent as the brake pedal is a bit of stretch if you have big feet, which probably means I’m stamping on it a little harder than I would normally. However, if you need to stop in a hurry, I’d advise using the front brake for about 95% of your efforts! Economy wise, I’ve been getting around 50mpg from town driving, but insurance is a bit more expensive than other group 10-11 mid-range bikes. Not having a fuel gauge is a bit annoying, but there is a low fuel light + a couple of trips so, once you know how much you can get out of a tank, it's easy to monitor roughly how many miles you've got left until you need to fill up. Discounting the above idiosyncrasies, this bike has so far actually been a lot of fun to ride. It looks good, feels solid and the raucous stock exhaust is load enough for other motorists to notice you and get out the way (although a louder aftermarket Mivv system is on my wish list). Whilst a bit clonky, the gear change is solid too – I liken it in feel to a big Tonka toy – and a lot better than the ratchety one on a 59 plate XJ6 I did my DAS on where you practically had to sprain your leg to get from 1st to 2nd! Although, on paper, this bike’s short on bhp, the low gearing coupled with decent torque make its power very accessible. With a redline of around the 8k mark, 1st gear is slightly short, but acceleration is still good up to about 70mph. Overall, this is a great bike if you’re planning on fast town and A/B road driving. If you’re more of a slow speed filterer or do lots of motorway driving, I’d recommend going for something with a straight four cylinder engine.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

Restricted MT-03

24 December 2011 by Anonymous

Had my 33BHP restricted MT-03 for a few months now. One of the most beautiful bikes I have ever seen. It's fantastic around town. Loads of torque and is almost as agile as the DR125 I was riding before. Wide bars are both a blessing and a curse... Read more making the bike nimble at low speed but a little too wide to filter sometimes. Looks and sounds amazing. Out on the A-roads the bike handles well in the bends but will not be powerful enough to satisfy anyone who likes to ride quickly. My only other problem with the bike is that the throttle can be quite snatchy. Not had any problems with build quality, just a touch of rust on the exhaust manifold. Fantastic bike, just know that its about low down grunt for cities and twisting roads and not about power and top speed. A great bike for restricting as it still has bags of torque. Will max out at 85MPH on the flat when restricted, solo or two up.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5

MT03

22 April 2010 by mariov

I got my MT03 1 1/2 years ago. Done 5000 miles on it and indeed is a great "little" bike. The good things: 1. Looks .. Yeah I find its looks amazing. 2. Riding position. Excellent for me... 3. Handling ... Like most said very very good... Read more handling. 4. Did I say looks ;) 5. Comfy .. Very comfy 6. Give it bends and traffic and it will smoke it. With a big smile. 7. Engine very reliable. 8. Low revs fun. Bad things: 1. Lets face it, its gutless. Sometimes you have scooters over takes you when you are full throttle. I do 30 miles a day on it and 20 miles are on M4... Prior hitting the highway I am king of the road. Hit the highway and you better move on the left lane ... It goes up to 80 - 90 "easily" but it is tiring 2. It is not make for 2 up .. Very small seat at the back not comfy.. 3. Gear box very very flaky. Gears don't go in correctly have to release clutch few times to engage gear on some occasions. Out of the bad things only one is really bad and that is the performance. I would highly recommend it if you are a city rider . The highway is barebable if you do it every now and then not every day. Will I swap it for anything else? When I bought it, the XJ6 (naked) wasnt out so maybe I would have gone for that but still the looks of the MT03 is something that did it for me and still does.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

great bike-if you use it as intended

01 March 2010 by Anonymous

Had mine for a year now from new. Paid £3999 over 3yrs interest free - they're nearly £7000 now!!!. Totaly reliable (covered 11,000 inner-city miles without a glitch). Pretty good build quality (apart from some flaky paint on the oil sump). Huge fun... Read more because of its super agility, wonderful noise (akras a must), and good low to mid-range punch. But it's not meant to be a high speed bike and it is not intended for anything but the shortest of motorway hops.Overal, I would recommend the Mt-03 to anyone looking for an involving, well built and rare-to-see (on the roads of London anyway) bike. But buy a well kept 2008 bike with akras already fitted and save a fortune.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Italian electrics?

07 January 2010 by xape

Great little handling bike, but I wish I'd been able to take it on some faster roads when I test drove it. I traded my CBR600 in for the MT-03 as I wanted something with more low down torque for traffic but once I got used to it I found it severely... Read more lacking. I have no idea how mcn gave the engine 4 stars. The MT-03 is great from 0-30 but from 40-90 it's stupidly slow. I would open it up on bigger more open roads and accelerating cars could still overtake me, very embarrassing. I also had nothing but problems with the MT-03, especially electrics. Bought it for 3k in Oct 2008, and by Oct 2009 I had spent just under 1.5k on repairs (my fault for going to official yamaha garage). Went through three batteries at £150 a time from due to the rectifier/regulator keep blowing (£75) on a monthly basis (was covered under warranty subsequent times, but it spent ages in the garage). It constantly stalled on me, and I never got this fixed I just had to live with it apparently it's a single thing, but I suspect the electrics as it always improved after getting the wiring loom replaced (3 times). Although not quite as bad, it's also has very dodgy fueling from the on board computer which makes it surge/hunt between 3-4k rpm. Apparently there's nothing yamaha can do about this, but it makes it very annoying to drive at 30mph in the right gear as it's constantly changing speed. The last most annoying thing was overtaking on the MT-03. with the red line at 7.5k rpm you will more often than not have to change up a gear while overtaking. I constantly had to abort overtakes as the gear change would slow me down too much. Admittedly that's a side effect of my ex dispatch riding, but it's still annoying and forces you to drive likes it's sunday all the time. When you're riding it, it sounds great. But I realised when riding behind another MT-03 one day it actually sounds like a ball bearing in a tin can to everyone else. A lot of complaints here, but if you don't mind the total lack of power (new rider) and you get one without reliability problems (or have warranty) then you could be very happy with the MT-03.

Overall Rating 3 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 2 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 2 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 3 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
1 out of 5

Not good reading...

16 December 2009 by Hedgehog5

Full report reads... warranty replaced items list :- front wheel + bearings(x2), left fork leg, left caliper, front brake disks & pads, headlight unit, odometer, left & right handlebar switches, battery(x2), wiring loom (x2 or 3), rectifier, all... Read more locks & keys, engine rebuild including new barrel, piston, etc, rear wheel + bearings(x3), silencer, tail light unit (x2), pillion footpegs (x2). Off the road for 12 wks in 26 months & 32k miles of ownership. At the end I was just waiting for the next thing to go wrong & had no faith whatsoever in the bike being able to get me to my destination... still great handling tho'. I was left high-&-dry by Yamaha UK, net result I will never buy a Yamaha again. Shame really, I liked it when it ran.

Overall Rating 1 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 1 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 2 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
1 out of 5

Not good reading...

16 December 2009 by Hedgehog5

Full report reads... warranty replaced items list :- front wheel + bearings(x2), left fork leg, left caliper, front brake disks & pads, headlight unit, odometer, left & right handlebar switches, battery(x2), wiring loom (x2 or 3), rectifier, all... Read more locks & keys, engine rebuild including new barrel, piston, etc, rear wheel + bearings(x3), silencer, tail light unit (x2), pillion footpegs (x2). Off the road for 12 wks in 26 months & 32k miles of ownership. At the end I was just waiting for the next thing to go wrong & had no faith whatsoever in the bike being able to get me to my destination... still great handling tho'. I was left high-&-dry by Yamaha UK, net result I will never buy a Yamaha again. Shame really, I liked it when it ran.

Overall Rating 1 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 1 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 2 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
4 out of 5

Licence friendly fun

07 December 2009 by Anonymous

Down sized from a ZZR600 due to not being able to safley exploit engine performance on public roads! I'm not boring, I just value my licence!!! Bought the Mt-03 1 1/2 years ago and have covered 10,000 miles. Apart from replace the cush drive at... Read more 4000 miles she has been no problem. Survived a 5 day 2600 mile trip around Scotland carrying all required kit + camping gear! Yes it is compromised due to lack of fairing and only having 1 lung and if you bought one of these for high speed cruising then you would be sorley disappointed.....but that's not the point. If you want something that's a little quirky and stands out from the crowd and have been there and done that with the speed thing and are more into 'riding' motorcycles, then you'd probably enjoy the MT-03. Handling is spot on, engine performance pokey, cruises at 75-80mph all day and gives you a commanding view of the road ahead. No better bike for blasting around the Dales (or Scotland!). A very soulful (for a Jap bike!!!) motorcycle.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
1 out of 5

18 month update...

20 January 2009 by Hedgehog5

... a string of major faults have continued to leave this bike off the road for longer periods of time (8wks in 18 months of ownership)... I haven't rode it yet this year because it's in having warranty work done. A letter to Yamaha reveals that they... Read more are not unaccustomed to bikes being off the road for this period of time & are unwilling to do anything about replacement transport. My advice holds.. do not buy a Yamaha if you need your bike as reliable transport. Full report will follow.

Overall Rating 1 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 3 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 1 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 1 out of 5
Equipment 2 out of 5
Read all 18 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2006
Year discontinued -
New price £7,399
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 11 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 45 bhp
Max torque 41 ft-lb
Top speed 100 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 14.6 secs
Average fuel consumption 56 mpg
Tank range 185 miles
Specification
Engine size 660cc
Engine type 4v single cylinder, 5 gears
Frame type Tubular steel
Fuel capacity 15 litres
Seat height 805mm
Bike weight 174.5kg
Front suspension None
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Twin 298mm discs
Rear brake 245mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2006: Yamaha MT-03 launched, following the 2005 introduction of its (very) big brother: the Yamaha MT-01. The new, little bike is described by Yamaha as a “roadster motard”.

Other versions

None.

Photo Gallery

  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Front view
  • Yamaha MT-03 motorcycle review - Riding
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