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Long term update: Small bike that thinks big

Published: 29 April 2016

Updated: 29 April 2016

“What engine is it again?” a friend asks as I park the Yamaha outside a local café after a Sunday morning spin. She has a Suzuki SV650 and can’t believe the MT-03 is only 321cc when it looks “just like a proper bike”. And there’s a reason for that, the parallel-twin Yamaha is 100% a proper bike.

That proper bike feel includes the tyres. All too often small-capacity machines aimed at newer riders come with the worst rubber known to man, weird hoops bearing obscure brand names. But that’s not the case with the MT which comes shod with Michelin Pilot Street as standard – they send the message that this is a serious machine.

According to the marketing blurb Yamaha are aiming the MT at new riders (it’s A2 licence-friendly) and people returning to motorcycling after a break. Now, I don’t fit either of those categories and was nervous that it would all feel too tame. But I’m really enjoying the bike so far. Climb on and the Yamaha is small but not cramped – I’m 5ft 9in – and it’s proved frugal on the gas so far at around 68mpg. Right now it’s being pressed into back-road commuting duties and it’s delivering me to work with a smile and a very small petrol bill.

Going back to that Sunday morning spin and my chum was slightly less impressed when I thumbed the starter. “Oh, bit of a sewing machine!” Now, I don’t think that’s quite fair and the parallel-twin actually sounds fine when you’re on the move. Better still, Yamaha’s accessories list includes an Akrapovic can for a fairly reasonable £364.99. It’s road legal and promises to create ‘an exciting sound’. I’ll have a bit of that!

Do you have an MT-03? Email

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