Yamaha has long missed out on the action in the lightweight sportsbike segment, where other motorcycle manufacturers including Kawasaki and KTM have made their presence felt. With Yamaha having launched the much anticipated R3 from its YZF family earlier this month, things have changed, cranking up the heat in the segment that wee bit more.
When we rode the Yamaha YZF-R3 at the Buddh International Circuit, BIC, we loved what the motorcycle felt like. Let’s find out how the best-in-its-class fare against each other on paper.
On the engine front, the Kawasaki and the Yamaha both feature parallel-twin cylinder equipped units. However, the YZF-R3 is tuned to make a healthier 41.4bhp at 10,750rpm from its 321cc heart, compared to the Ninja 300, which makes 38.8bhp at 11,000rpm. Even torque made by the R3 is higher at 3kgm at 9,000rpm, as compared to the Ninja 300's 2.75kgm at 10,000rpm. The orange-blooded KTM RC 390 impresses here despite its handicap of having a cylinder less, making maximum power of 43.5bhp at 9,000rpm and maximum torque of 3.5kgm from its 373.2cc single-cylinder engine. There’s little to choose among the bikes in terms of engine equipment levels, with all offering liquid-cooling, four-valve per cylinder heads and fuel-injection systems.
All three come equipped with six-speed transmission systems. Slipper clutches are missing on the bikes, although the RC 390 is expected to gain this soon, considering that its street variant, the 390 Duke already has.
When it comes to size of the motorcycles, the Yamaha YZF-R3 comes closest to a full-blown sportsbike. It measures the longest at 2,090mm, followed by the Kawasaki Ninja 300 at 2,015mm. The KTM RC 390 is more compact at 1,978mm. The R3 is also the tallest, measuring 1,135mm, where the Ninja 300 stands tall at 1,100mm, and RC 390 at 1,098mm. The KTM is wider than both twins, measuring 748mm. The R3 is 720mm wide and the Kawasaki, 715mm. The RC 390 is the lightest at 166kg – always a solid advantage, especially on sporty bikes such as these. The Yamaha YZF-R3 tips the scales at 169kg, where the Ninja is the heaviest bike of these at 172kg.
In terms of frames, the RC 390 uses a steel trellis unit, a typical on KTM bikes, while the Kawasaki and Yamaha come with tubular steel, diamond-type frames.
Suspension on the KTM RC 390 is provided by top spec upside-down forks at the front, and a monoshock at the rear, with an alloy swingarm. The other two motorcycles come with standard telescopic fork units in the front. The Ninja 300 and YZF-R3 have a monoshock each at the rear.
Bringing the KTM to a stop is a 300mm front disc brake and a 230mm rear disc brake. The R3 comes with a 298mm disc in front, and a 220mm rear disc. The Kawasaki comes to a halt using a 290mm disc in front and a 220mm rear disc brake. ABS is only offered on the KTM RC 390, the Kawasaki Ninja 300 and the R3 miss out on this safety feature, even as a paid optional.
Retailing at Rs 2.14 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the KTM promises far most thrills per buck, at least on paper, and provided you don’t have to own a twin. The KTM RC 390 is the best-equipped bike here and a clear winner of this on-paper competition. The Yamaha YZF-R3 is priced at Rs 3.25 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), having managed to undercut the Kawasaki Ninja 300 by a whopping margin, which comes home for Rs 3.60 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the dearest among the lot.
|Yamaha YZF-R3||Kawasaki Ninja 300||KTM RC 390|
|Price||Rs 3.25 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)||Rs 3.60 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)||Rs 2.14 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||14 litres||17 litres||9.5 litres|
|Engine layout||Parallel-twin, liquid-cooled, four-stroke||Parallel-twin, liquid-cooled, four-stroke||Single-cylinder, liquid-cooled, four-stroke|
|Power||41.4bhp at 10750rpm||38.5bhp at 11000rpm||43.5bhp at 9000rpm|
|Torque||3kgm at 9000rpm||2.8kgm at 10000rpm||3.57kgm at 7000rpm |
|Power to weight||245bhp per tonne||224bhp per tonne||262bhp per tonne|
|Gearbox||6-speed, 1-down, 5-up||6-speed, 1-down, 5-up||6-speed, 1-down, 5-up|
|Front suspension||Telescopic forks||Telescopic forks||Upside-down forks|
|Rear suspension||Monoshock, box section swingarm||Monoshock, box section swingarm||Monoshock, alloy swingarm|
|Front brakes||298mm disc||290mm disc||300mm disc (ABS)|
|Rear brakes||220mm disc||220mm disc||230mm disc (ABS)|
|Wheels||10-spoke alloy||10-spoke alloy||10-spoke alloy|
|Rim size (f-r)||17 inches||17 inches||17 inches|
|Tyre size (f-r)||110/70 x 17- 140/70 x 17 inches||110/70 x 17-140/70 x 17 inches||110/70 x 17- 150/60 x 17 inches |