Yamaha is finally throwing its hat in the lightweight sport bike ring.
The video below is from the new teaser site for what we can only assume is the Yamaha YZF-R25 concept that was released at the Tokyo Motor Show last year. Yamaha later applied for a trademark for the R3 name in the United States and Europe, intent to make up ground quickly, given the company's late entry into the segment.
The Kawasaki Ninja 250 has been around, in one form or another, since 1983 and the Honda CBR250 followed just a few years later in 1986. However, it’s only been the most recent iterations (2008 for the Kawasaki and 2011 for the Honda) that have broken down the walls of our liter-bike-loving hearts and shown us the light of small-displacement “sport” motorcycles. Many years, the littlest Ninja was already Kawasaki's best-selling model and the improvements have made these smallest sport bikes even more popular with new riders, commuters, and track junkies alike. The competition spurred both manufacturers to go to the next step and increase engine displacement to 300ccs, again with Kawasaki leading the way.
I love to see Yamaha getting in the mix. Not only will it drive Honda and Kawasaki to continue to improve their offerings, but it’s also just one more piece in Yamaha’s drive to regain a position of leadership in the motorcycle industry. As a brand that has released many of the motorcycles I love, I'm really happy to see Yamaha making huge efforts to stay competitive, something I might not have said a few years ago.
The video also includes a brief snapshot of what looks like the “Tricity Scooter” prototype that Yamaha has previously released. The Tricity Scooter is Yamaha’s take on Piaggio’s strange looking, but strangely well performing, MP3 scooter. I hope/expect to see more news about it or to see it launched alongside the R3 next week.
We don’t know much about this new R3, but it seems like we won’t have to wait long. One thing the video clearly implies: Yamaha believes the YZF-R3 is bringing the future with it.