In our first report of the R3, I told you how smitten I was with the bike. It's just such a great machine; it handles bad roads wonderfully, is comfortable and relaxed when you need it to be, and has the punch and handling to let you be relatively quick as well.
All this while I've been using the R3 for short weekend blasts outside the city or for my daily commute, and it has impressed me. I haven't had any complaints apart from the low levels of grip from the MRF tyres. Given how versatile and comfortable the R3 is, I decided to push it a little more and see how well it would fare as a touring machine.
When a shoot was planned in Goa, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to see if the R3 could find its touring legs. My saddlebags fit perfectly on the rear seat and did not end up brushing against the upswept silencer once I strapped them in nice and tight. I took the NH-4 route towards Bengaluru
to save some time and I'm pleased to report the R3 cruised along just effortlessly.
The taller gear ratios and ample torque on tap meant I rarely needed to go below fifth and sixth gears. And on the more open stretches of the highway, the R3 could hold speeds between 130-140kph. I was initially worried about wrist and back fatigue due to the seating position, but once we started munching the miles, it became clear that these fears were totally unfounded. The seating position proved really comfortable, the front windscreen provided more than enough protection from wind blast, and the suspension gobbled up bumps and undulations wonderfully.
Not one to let a good opportunity pass, I took the ghat section via Amboli, where the roads get a lot narrower and surface quality isn't exactly the best. But even this proved to be a cakewalk for the R3, especially the twisty section of the ghat that turned out to be a lot of fun, thanks to the bike's excellent handling characteristics. Overall, I'm impressed with what this machine is capable of and how pleasant it is to ride. Hats off to Yamaha for making a bike that's just perfect for our Indian conditions.