The baby of Yamaha’s Monster Torque family is getting a big update for next year’s model, with the YZF-R3 derived MT-03 getting a fresh new look and much more for 2020.
After first making its debut in 2016 (the previous MT-03 was a very different beast entirely) the MT-03 has received only minor updates until now. That all changes for the 2020 model year bike, however, with the introduction of a new dash unit, LED lighting and a fully revised design.
Taking design inspiration from the bigger MT-09, the MT-03 retains the signature “mass forward” design of the MT range while updating the design with what an aggressive new face featuring what Yamaha calls “dual slant-eye position lights” which emphasis the predatory looks and underline MT-series DNA of the 2020 bike.
Moving away from the conventional headlight, Yamaha says the small but powerful LED headlight is positioned centrally and inconspicuously beneath the front cowl assembly. This keeps the attention on the new position light arrangement while also projecting a brilliant beam of light to maximise night-time vision.
The LED lighting options don’t stop there, with slim and light new LED indicators complementing the new headlight arrangement.
One of the most significant technical upgrades for new MT-03 is the new high-specification 37mm USD forks which deliver enhanced handling performance during braking, acceleration and cornering. Featuring stylish gold-coloured outer tubes these new forks – together with the aggressive new front cowl and dual position lights – help to give the new MT-03 a much-needed visual boost away from the budget learners segment and helps to again draw direct links with the much larger capacity MT range.
While some of the competition has moved to more expensive to manufacture TFT instrumentation, Yamaha has opted to stick with an LCD unit, which has been heavily revised for the 2020 bike with a larger screen and whole new looks. Yamaha claims the new multi-function design is also more convenient to operate, but we’ll have to wait ‘til we get to ride it to find out if this is in fact true.
The same could be said for the revised rider ergonomics, which Yamaha claim have been refined thanks to the addition of the new bodywork design. Yamaha says this has been achieved through the fitment of the new wide-shouldered fuel tank and revised bodywork, which allowed Yamaha's designers to achieve “the optimum riding position that enables MT-03 riders to experience the highest levels of comfort and control in different situations.”
This has been achieved with the bike featuring a slim centre section which allows the rider to mould their body closer to the bike, combined with a low seat height and higher-mounted handlebars.
The MT-03 still gets its power from a 321cc parallel-twin, with the engine featuring high-tech internals including carburized con rods and lightweight heat-resistant forged pistons. The low reciprocating weight of the pistons reduces vibration and enhances throttle response according to Yamaha - and the all- aluminium DiASil cylinders offer excellent heat dissipation properties for reduced horsepower losses.
Yamaha Motor NZ expects the new MT-03 to make its debut here early next year, with exact ETA and pricing yet to be announced.