The Yamaha YZF R3, also known simply as the R3, is a 321cc sportbike produced by Japanese manufacturer Yamaha.
It first emerged in the marketplace in 2015 and features a liquid-cooled 4-stroke 8-valve DOHC engine. It’s a popular choice among entry-level sportbike enthusiasts.
This article answers the question: How long does Yamaha YZF R3 last?…
How Long Do Yamaha YZF R3 Last?
The Yamaha YZF R3 can expect a long life of at least 60,000 miles, and quite possibly more if the bike is properly maintained. Owners who pay attention to the oil, key fluids, and health of mechanical components like gearbox, chain, and brake discs will enjoy 80,000 or more miles on their R3.
Is The Yamaha YZF R3 Reliable?
Overall the Yamaha YZF R3 is a reliable motorcycle largely just because it carries the Yamaha name.
There are still some concerns, however, particularly as many models are made in Yamaha’s production plant in Indonesia. There are perceived quality implications when manufacturing in a country where standards are not as high as those of Japan or other developed countries.
Despite this, however, many owners continue to praise the R3 both for its looks and its reliability.
Given the lower retail price, however, Yamaha has had to make a few sacrifices on components’ overall quality when compared to models like the R1, for instance.
First, the front brakes are generally seen as less reliable.
They appear to be less keen than other Yamaha models.
Another issue is that the suspension doesn’t offer much scope for adjustment, which creates a somewhat harder ride than models like the R1.
That harder ride has a direct connection with the bike’s overall reliability, as it puts additional strain and wears on other components.
Soft brakes and less-adjustable suspension don’t make the R3 overall an unreliable bike, but they are certainly negative elements of this model.
It has to be noted, however, that the R3 has experienced recalls in some parts of the world, most notably Australia.
Recalls in Australia regarding damaged brake hoses, radiator leaks, gear shift problems, noisy gears, engine vibrations, and even some fuel leaks.
Does The Yamaha YZF R3 Last Longer Than Its Competitors?
The short answer is simply no, it doesn’t.
When the bike is well looked after, it can easily reach between 65,000 and 85,000 miles, but similar-size bikes like the Kawasaki Ninja 300, for instance, are known to get over 100,000 miles when maintained well.
The fact is that the R3 is not built to be as long-lasting as models like the R1, but a total mileage of 85,000 is still quite strong for a bike in this budget range.
The engine is still of a very high order of quality, and that is the core of the bike’s longevity.
The difference is that when compared with higher-cc models like 998cc R1, for example, then R3 owners will need to be more vigilant and more careful with their general bike maintenance.
What Typically Breaks First In A Yamaha YZF R3?
The first area to usually suffer problems is the rear brake and the gear shift levers.
These are two more components that Yamaha has cheapened in order to achieve a better retail price on the bike to stay competitive.
These being made with lower-order quality materials has made them more susceptible to damage.
The front brake is also quite soft and if overused or applied too sharply over a period of time seems to wear much faster than you’d expect.
Owners should expect to have to replace these components during the bike’s lifetime, and possibly more than once.
Another common thing to break is the brake hoses.
There are some competing theories as to what causes front brake hoses to receive damage.
Some claim that it’s due to friction being created with the horn lead wire whenever the handlebar is turned from side to side.
Another theory also involves friction, but this time it’s with the front fork which apparently also can cause brake fluid loss.
How Long Does The Gearbox Last?
Provided the rider maintains the gearbox and doesn’t overtax it, there’s no reason that the main gearbox shouldn’t last the entire average lifetime of the bike – between 60,000 and 85,000 miles.
When the gearbox is overtaxed or pushed too hard then its lifespan will be reduced in relation to that.
Some people who use the R3 on the track, for example, and push it at its hardest continuously find that the R3 starts to sporadically jump out of gear.
What Are The Biggest Common Problems In A Yamaha YZF R3?
The Yamaha YZF R3 has generally been very well received by motorcycle enthusiasts.
It has not been a totally smooth production run since its first release in 2015, however.
There have been a number of recalls and problems.
First of all, a common problem area in the YZF R3 is the rear brake and the gear shifter.
Yamaha altered their production of these key elements, causing something of a reduction in overall quality and feel (and appearance, according to many users).
Besides these, other problems have included first the brake hoses, in particular the front brake hose.
Owners have sometimes faced repeated breaking of the front brake hose either caused by friction with the front fork, or friction with the horn lead wire.
Some would find that after performing several twists and turns with the handlebars, the friction caused to the front brake hose had already caused some damage.
This was a problem that had to be fixed over multiple recalls.
To be clear, though, it wasn’t the same bikes that were being recalled for the subsequent recalls.
It was always different VIN numbers discovered to have various issues with the brake hose.
Other problems that have been reported with the R3 include:
- Radiator leaks, which directly affects engine cooling
- Gear shifting problems and the gearbox popping out of gear sporadically
- Noisy gear shifting (also caused by bike popping out of gear)
- Engine vibrations
- Fuel leaks
- Loss of electrical power
- Engine stalling
- Clutch failure
Some Yamaha fans put these issues down to production issues at the Indonesia facility, but many of the problems are more minor than they sound, and rarer than people believe.
What Is The Highest Mileage Recorded In A Yamaha YZF R3?
Among posters on the R3-forums.com website, where owners like to share their latest odometer ratings, there was one user posting in late 2020 that they had reached 64,941 miles.
That was on a 2017 model bought in early 2018 with no mileage.
That particular user was also living in Florida, where fluctuations in temperature often cause bikes and other vehicles to have shorter lives and experience corrosion.
It says a lot about the overall quality that this user has had a trouble-free 64,941 miles.
What Is The Best Year To Buy A Used One?
Even brand new, the Yamaha YZF R3 is not what you would call an expensive bike.
To buy a used one there are two main groups from which you should consider your purchase.
The first option is to spend as little as $2500 to $3500 and buy a used bike from 2015-2018.
If you can find one of these bikes with low mileage, then even with depreciation still coming into effect over the next few years, there’s not a lot of distance to keep going down.
Another good reason to buy from the first generation 2015-2018 is that there is already a very well-established aftermarket product base that you can use to improve on any problem areas.
If you want the generally more modern features and ABS options, then you need to purchase 2019 or later.
In the end, the prices are fairly close, so the decision comes more down to taste and equipment needs.
How Much Is A New Yamaha YZF R3?
A new 2020 Yamaha YZF R3 will cost you $4,999, but a brand-new 2021 model will cost you $5,299.
There is also a destination charge of $430, according to Yamaha.
How Much Does It Depreciate?
The 2018 model year was the end of the first generation before moving into the newer version in 2019.
The 2018 model which retailed at $4,999 when new is now worth $3,365 at a low retail rate and $4,425 at an average retail rate.
That means on average it has lost about 10 percent overall, which isn’t bad for the average, but at the low rate, it has lost more.
It would be typical for the bike to continue losing between 5 and 10 percent per year until it reaches 10 years old.
It’s hard to measure exactly since the oldest models are currently only 6 years old.
There’s no reason to think they won’t follow the typical motorcycle depreciation path of 5-10 percent per year until reaching 10 years old, and then depreciating 2-3 percent a year from then.
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