2020 Yamaha MT-03 | First Look Review

2020 Yamaha MT-03 in Ice Fluo
Joining Yamaha’s Hyper Naked lineup for 2020 is the new MT-03, a naked version of its YZF-R3 sportbike.

Yamaha’s MT line of naked sportbikes—the MT-07, MT-09 and MT-10—have earned heaps of praise from Rider staffers since the MT-09 (formerly FZ-09) debuted for 2014. MT stands for “Master of Torque,” and with all three models powered by feisty engines with crossplane-style crankshafts, they live up to the name.

Read our 2018 Yamaha MT-07 Road Test Review

2020 Yamaha MT-03 in Ice Fluo
Light, compact and affordable, the 2020 Yamaha MT-03 is an ideal choice for newer, younger and smaller riders.

For 2020, Yamaha is adding a new model to its Hyper Naked family, the MT-03. Although it has the same aggressive, mass-forward styling as the larger MTs, the MT-03 does not have a crossplane-style crankshaft. Essentially a naked version of the YZF-R3 sportbike, the MT-03 is powered by the same smooth, counterbalanced, liquid-cooled 321cc parallel twin with a 180-degree firing order, whereas the MT-07’s parallel twin has an uneven 270-degree firing order that gives it a scrappy character.

Read our 2019 Yamaha YZF-R3 First Ride Review

2020 Yamaha MT-03 in Ice Fluo
The 2020 Yamaha MT-03’s LED position lights sit above a central LED headlight.

Inside the MT-03’s engine cases are carburized connecting rods, lightweight, heat-resistant forged pistons and all-aluminum DiASil cylinders that provide excellent heat dissipation. The fuel-injected, DOHC, 4-valves-per-cylinder engine has a 11.2:1 compression ratio, a 6-speed transmission with a wet clutch and chain final drive.

The MT-03’s most distinctive feature is its position lights, a pair of thin, angled LED “eyebrows” where headlights would normally be. Instead, the main headlight is an inconspicuous round LED tucked into the center of the small front cowl. Further adding to the minimalist design are thin LED turn signals.

2020 Yamaha MT-03 in Ice Fluo
The 2020 Yamaha MT-03 has an all-digital instrument display which looks just like the one on the R3. If they are the same, then it features a bar tachometer, gear indicator, speedometer, engine temperature, fuel level, clock and switchable odometer, two tripmeters, oil tripmeter, fuel reserve tripmeter and average/instant fuel economy.

Connected to the diamond-type tubular-steel frame are a non-adjustable KYB 37mm upside-down fork and a long swingarm with a preload-adjustable Monocross rear shock. There’s 5.1/4.9 inches of front/rear suspension travel, and steering geometry is sporty with 25 degrees of rake and 3.7 inches of trail. Rolling on 17-inch wheels, the MT-03 has a single disc brake front and rear, and ABS is standard. Said to weigh just 373 pounds with its 3.7-gallon tank full, the compact bike has a 54.3-inch wheelbase and a 30.7-inch seat height.

2020 Yamaha MT-03 in Matte Raven Black
2020 Yamaha MT-03 in Matte Raven Black

The 2020 Yamaha MT-03 will be available in Ice Fluo and Matte Raven Black for $4,599 starting in February 2020.

Check out more bikes in Rider‘s 2020 Guide to New Street Motorcycles


  1. If your bike has 4.9 ” of travel at the rear, why do you have the rear end of the bike so far jacked up in the air? While the seat height is an OK distance of 30.3 a short rider still has to get his/her leg over that passenger seat which looks to me to be excessively high in order to appeal the current style demands. Don’t ask what your 5’10” designers think is good, get out on the street and ask what the shorter riders want. You are overlooking a big rider market. Short people want to ride too!


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