YAMAHA MT-03 (2016 - 2019) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 2 out of 5 (2/5)
Power: 41 bhp
Seat height: Low (30.7 in / 780 mm)
Weight: Low (370 lbs / 168 kg)


New N/A
Used £3,000 - £4,900

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The MT-03 handles brilliantly, is light, engaging and has more than enough poke to set it far apart from the smaller-capacity MT-125. It’s a worthwhile investment for any A2 licence holder.

Not to be confused with the previous Yamaha MT-03, which used a 660cc single-cylinder engine from the XT range in a naked street bike package.

In a bid to attract newer riders and A2 licence holders Yamaha released the R3 back in 2015 and the firm redesigned the sportsbike and turned it into the MT-03 the following year.

Yamaha are a clever bunch. They’ve been on a roll ever since they introduced the MT range back in 2013 with the hugely popular MT-09. They’ve expanded it by adding the excellent MT-07, a learner friendly single-cylinder MT-125 and the muscle naked, the MT-10.

Yamaha MT-03 cliff face

But they haven’t stopped there. Yamaha have used their successful machines as donor bikes, restyled them and named them XSRs to fit in their Sports Heritage segment.

They are going for domination by producing, adapting and redesigning their bikes to attract as wide an audience as possible.

And that’s exactly what they did with the A2 addition to the MT family line-up. Simply put, the MT-03 is the 2015 R3 in naked guise, much like the MT-125 is the YZF-R125 and the MT-10 is the Yamaha R1 without its fairings. But we’re not complaining.

Yamaha MT-03 from above

By using clever design and smart marketing Yamaha are reaching out to more customers and hopefully bringing a whole bunch of new riders into the fold at the same time.

And that is where the MT-03 fits into all this. Being A2 licence friendly Yamaha hope it will make an attractive stepping stone for new riders looking to progress through the ranks before one day owning one of the firm’s larger machines.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The 41mm Kayaba fork is basic but does a good enough job of inspiring confidence when you push on, even on a bumpy surface. Both the front fork and rear shock are firm enough and Basically the same machine. The

key differences are in the styling and the handlebar position, which puts the decision down to personal preference. Although, the MT-03 does have a slight edge over the R3 in practicality thanks to its more upright riding position.

There’s something satisfying about riding a smaller-capacity machine, perhaps because you get to brush up against its limits, and the MT-03 is no different. With peak torque at 9000rpm the 03 requires plenty of left- foot action to get the most out of it. But when you back off the throttle it’s still very usable and easy-going, making it a really well-rounded machine.

Yamaha MT-03 front wheel


Next up: Reliability
3 out of 5 (3/5)

All the R3’s fantastic qualities get passed onto the MT-03. It has all the benefits of a lightweight machine in a fun and engaging big-boy chassis, coupled with an incredibly flexible and free-revving engine.

The 321cc parallel-twin motor won’t lash out at new riders with eager wrists and it won’t complain if more experienced hands grab it by the scruff of the neck to see what it’s made of.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The overall build quality looks good enough with a few notable components like a swish dash featuring gear indicator, fuel gauge and shift light offsetting cheap-looking levers, brake pedal and switchgear.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Yamaha has priced the new MT-03 competitively at £4,499, which works out £300 cheaper than the R3 and only £400 more than the MT-125.

The MT-03 slots perfectly into the MT range as it’s another stonking machine with a hugely competitive price tag, just like the rest of its family.


3 out of 5 (3/5)

The engine, chassis and wheels all remain exactly the same as the R3. The only changes are in the styling and a small ergonomic tweak. The MT-03 does away with the sports bike fairings and gets a standard MT headlight complete with LEDs (both front and rear), mini headlight cowl and a short, sharp tail unit.

Is it a worthwhile step-up from the MT-125? The MT-03 is £400 more expensive than its smaller sibling. But for the extra cash you get another cylinder, bags more power and torque and a proper big bike, which is still friendly and loads of fun. So yes, definitely. remain compliant and composed too.

Yamaha MT-03 dash

The front twin-pot sliding caliper complements the suspension set-up by only asking for a gentle squeeze be- fore returning plenty of stop- ping power, and there’s decent ABS as backup too.

The seat height remains at 780mm, which allows even shorter riders to plant both feet flat on the floor. And that’s about it as far as changes go, although Yamaha are also boasting over 20 accessories for the 03, far more than they offer for the R3.


Engine size 321cc
Engine type Twin-cylinder liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valves
Frame type Diamond
Fuel capacity 14 litres
Seat height 780mm
Bike weight 168kg
Front suspension Telescopic forks, 41mm inner tube
Rear suspension Swingarm
Front brake Hydraulic single disc, 298mm
Rear brake Hydraulic single disc, 220mm
Front tyre size 110/70-17
Rear tyre size 140/70-17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £45
Annual service cost -
New price -
Used price £3,000 - £4,900
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two years

Top speed & performance

Max power 41 bhp
Max torque 21.8 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

MCN Long term test reports

2016 Yamaha MT-03 long-term test

2016 Yamaha MT-03 long-term test

MCN spent 12 months living with Yamaha’s A2 licence-friendly MT-03 to see what this ‘small big bike’ is really like to live with. Related: full 2016 Yamaha MT-03 review on MCN Here’s how we got on: Jump to Small bike that thinks big Can it keep experienced riders happy? Small bike big fun Going t

Read the latest report

Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA MT-03 (2016 - 2019)

1 owner has reviewed their YAMAHA MT-03 (2016 - 2019) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your YAMAHA MT-03 (2016 - 2019)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 3 out of 5 (3/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 2 out of 5 (2/5)
Engine: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Reliability & build quality: 2 out of 5 (2/5)
Value vs rivals: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Equipment: 3 out of 5 (3/5)
3 out of 5 2016 MT03
25 November 2020 by Old Biker Guy

Year: 2016

The early models, had 2 major recalls. 1) Clutch. 2) Coolant Hoses. After 2000 miles I traded it for a new Honda 500.

Ride quality & brakes 2 out of 5

Very uncomfortable after a 1hr ride.

Engine 4 out of 5

other than the low first and 2nd gears, it performed ok.

Reliability & build quality 2 out of 5

The amount of recalls by Yamaha put me off their bikes.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5

Change the stock tyres to something better.

Buying experience: Brand new from a franchised dealer, which Yamaha failed to support and closed down.

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