yamaha mt 03 top speed: Performance & Top Speed Analysis

yamaha mt 03 top speed

The Yamaha MT-03 is an exciting entry in the popular MT range of motorcycles. With its aggressive naked bike styling and 321cc liquid-cooled DOHC engine, does this lightweight machine also pack a punch when it comes to acceleration, power and top speed?

In short – yes. While the MT-03 tops out at around 108 mph, it offers versatile real-world performance perfect for new riders, commuting, canyon carving and even short highway blasts.

This in-depth review will cover everything you need to know about the Yamaha MT-03’s motor, speed capabilities, ride and handling. How quick is the 0-60 mph time? How does it compare to rivals? What modifications can make it faster? Read on to learn more!

Yamaha MT-03 Overview

yamaha mt-03 overview

First arriving on the scene in 2006, the Yamaha MT-03 brings a sporty and naked bike design powered by a high-revving twin-cylinder engine. Part of Yamaha’s popular MT lineup also including the MT-07 and MT-09 models, the MT-03 combines lightweight agility with aggressive looks at an attractive price.

While the 321cc engine displacement may seem small at first glance, this feisty twin has a focus on top-end power and loves to scream up near its 12,500 rpm redline. The bike’s fit and finish also impress with quality components like inverted KYB forks, an aluminum swingarm and floating-mount front brake calipers.

Yamaha positions the MT-03 as an entry-level bike suited for a wide variety of riders including:

  • New riders looking for their first bike
  • Experienced riders seeking a nimble commuter
  • Riders wanting a small-displacement canyon carver

With a rider-friendly seat height and an unintimidating price tag, the MT-03 presents an intriguing overall package. But does it have the engine performance and handling chops to make good on its sporty appearance? Let’s take a closer look at the specs.

Yamaha MT-03 Specifications

Length x Width x Height82.3 in. x 29.7 in. x 42.1 in.
Seat Height30.7 in.
Wheelbase54.3 in.
Rake (Caster Angle)25°
Trail3.7 in.
Max. Ground Clearance6.3 in.
Fuel Capacity3.7 gal
Fuel Economy56 MPG
Wet Weight379 lb
Engine Type321cc liquid-cooled DOHC twin-cylinder
Bore x Stroke68.0 mm x 44.1 mm
Compression Ratio11.2:1
Fuel SystemFuel injection
Front SuspensionInverted telescopic fork, 5.1 in. travel
Rear SuspensionSwingarm linkage-type shock, 5.1 in. travel
Front Brake298mm hydraulic disc
Rear Brake220mm hydraulic disc
Tires110/70R17M/C 54H (front); 140/70R17M/C 66H (rear)

Power and Torque from the 321cc Twin

The heart of the Yamaha MT-03 is its high-revving 321cc liquid-cooled parallel twin engine, featuring a 68 mm bore and 44.1 mm stroke. The oversquare design allows it to reach a lofty 10,000 rpm redline.

Fuel is delivered by fuel injection with a 10-hole injector. Lightweight forged aluminum pistons help it spin freely, while carburized connecting rods add lasting durability. Twin balancer shafts also help smooth out vibrations.

In stock form, the MT-03 engine produces the following horsepower and torque figures according to the specifications:

  • 37 horsepower @ 10,590 rpm
  • 20.2 lb-ft torque @ 9,010 rpm

While these numbers seem modest on paper, there is a good spread of power across the rev range. The twin shows good grunt right off idle yet truly comes alive once the tachometer swings past 7,000 rpm. It pulls very strongly all the way to redline, urging the rider to wring out every last rev in lower gears. There’s noticeable drive exiting corners thanks to the bike’s light 373 lb weight.

It’s been said the MT-03 is “the master of torque in the high rpm range”. There isn’t immense thrust right off idle, but given time to build revs this responsive engine delivers excitement and useable power. It offers a friendly introduction to riding high-revving twin-cylinder sport bikes.

Yamaha MT-03 Acceleration and Top Speed

yamaha mt-03 acceleration and top speed

The 321cc twin cylinder allows the Yamaha MT-03 to reach a governed top speed of around 108 mph – not mind blowing but reasonable for a 300cc machine. More important to real world fun is its acceleration and pickup.

Multiple tests show the MT-03 able to accomplish the 0 to 60 mph sprint in a brisk 5.11 seconds. This allows it to nip at the heels of larger displacement bikes, especially once the engine gets into its power band. Roll-on acceleration is equally as spirited.

While straight line speed isn’t the MT-03’s main mission, having the ability to joust away from a stoplight or blast up to highway pace demonstrates the engine’s willingness to work hard. There’s a satisfying surge of power near redline, and the bike feels much quicker than its 321cc displacement would suggest.

Tucking behind the windshield also improves high speed stability for short highway stints. The lack of vibration from the counterbalanced twin means the MT-03 can comfortably cruise at 80+ mph. Fuel economy remains a solid 56 mpg.

However the MT-03 is still better suited to around-town riding and backroad blasts rather than long slogs at triple digit speeds. The bike’s true performance sweet spot lies when ridden aggressively in the twisties.

Light and Nimble Handling Dynamics

A motorcycle’s speed and power is only half the equation – the handling and ride quality are just as crucial. Here again the lightweight Yamaha MT-03 impresses with its nimble chassis and suspension.

Weighing in at just 373 pounds wet with a full 3.7 gallon tank of gas, the MT-03 can be readily tossed side to side through tight switchbacks and technical sections of road. The upright riding position gives the rider good leverage and feel. Ground clearance permits reasonably deep lean angles too.

Both suspension ends offer 5.1 inches of travel, which smoothly soaks up road imperfections and keeps the wheels planted through the turns. The inverted KYB fork and preload adjustable shock perform admirably given the bike’s budget price point.

When riding the MT-03 aggressively through the twisties, the chassis remains stable and controlled. The bike turns predictably and holds its 54.3 inch wheelbase mid-corner. There is decent feedback through the handlebars and quality tires inspired confidence from the rider.

Shod with dual hydraulic disc brakes – 298 mm up front backed by a 220 mm rear unit – the MT-03 offers slowing power with good feel at the lever. Its lack of modern advanced electronics like ABS is a mild disappointment. But used prudently the binders still rein in speed well with no drama.

Overall the light weight, quality suspension and braking performance allow the MT-03’s chassis and handling dynamics to be considered as big a strength as its feisty engine. It inspires the rider push harder through the turns carrying momentum out. Add in the satisfaction of near redline upshifts exiting corners, and the MT-03 makes for smiles both coming and going!

Modifications for More Speed

While the stock Yamaha MT-03 delivers smile-inducing performance, several modifications can coax even greater speed and power from the twin-cylinder engine:

  • Exhaust System: Replacing the heavy stock muffler with a lighter aftermarket unit reduces overall weight while freeing up horsepower. Expect gains around 7 hp.
  • ECU Flash Tuning: Having the MT-03’s ECU professionally remapped to run more aggressive fueling and ignition timing typically releases 8-10 extra ponies.
  • Intake Kit: Adding an air filter and velocity stack intake kit improves airflow into the engine yielding 3-5 hp.
  • Lightweight Wheels: Swapping to premium lightweight magnesium wheels reduces unsprung weight for quicker acceleration and turn-in response.

Combining several modifications can transform a stock 37 hp MT-03 into a 50+ horsepower machine. While still not an insane power figure, on a 379 lb bike it makes for very lively performance with that peaky twin begging to scream near five-digit revs. Just don’t expect improve top speed too drastically – the MT models all seem to be governed around 108 mph.

Yamaha MT Series Top Speed Comparison

ModelTop Speed (mph)Top Speed (km/h)
Yamaha MT-03108 (limited)173 (limited)
Yamaha MT-03 (without limiter)115 (estimated)185 (estimated)
Yamaha MT-07133214
Yamaha MT-09136.7218

How Does the Yamaha MT-03 Compare to Other 300cc Bikes?

how does the yamaha mt-03 compare to other 300cc bikes

The lightweight MT-03 holds its own against the field when comparing acceleration, handling and components versus key 300cc rivals:

Kawasaki Ninja 300

Very close competition as Kawasaki’s popular entry level sportbike. The Ninja edges ahead in peak horsepower at ~39 hp but the 27 pound heavier curb weight hinders acceleration. Handling and suspension are evenly matched. MT-03 has a comfort edge.

KTM RC 390

The Austrian RC 390 makes the most peak power at ~42 hp but still heavy more than the Yamaha. Very sport focused ergonomics vs the MT-03 too. Hard to split them.

Benelli 302S

Shares a similar displacement and sporty styling but the Benelli falls a bit behind everywhere else from weight to power numbers. MT-03 takes a clear win.

For new riders seeking their first bike or enthusiasts wanting a cheap speed machine, the Yamaha MT-03 deserves strong consideration. Factor in its attractive price tag and performance per dollar makes it very tempting. The MT-03 is a little rocket that punches far above its 321cc weight class!

Pros and Cons of the Yamaha MT-03


  • Light and nimble handling dynamics
  • High revving twin cylinder engine with useable power
  • Surprising acceleration helped by low curb weight
  • Inverted fork, preload shock and radial brake calipers
  • Attractive price point for components
  • Upright comfortable ergonomics
  • New rider friendly but still fun for experienced riders


  • Limited top speed due to electronic limiter
  • Engine lacks low-RPM torque
  • Basic LCD instrument display
  • No modern safety electronics like ABS
  • Small 3.7 gallon fuel tank limits range
  • Build quality not quite as premium as Japanese rivals

What Riders Are Saying About the Yamaha MT-03

what riders are saying about the yamaha mt-03

The lightweight Yamaha MT-03 wins over owners with its flickable handling and scrappy twin cylinder engine:

“This thing absolutely screams once you get into power above 7,000 RPM – second gear power wheelies!” ★★★★☆

“Super fun bike! Light and agile handling, it just begs to charge through twisty roads.” ★★★★★

“I love rowing through the gears and bouncing off the rev limiter! More fast and fun than it should be.” ★★★★★

Some reflect on the power delivery:

“You really have to rev it out to access the power but it comes on strong up top.” ★★★★☆

“It struggles a bit below 5k rpm but then just takes off. Redline it!” ★★★1⁄2☆

Others consider its first bike friendly factor:

“As a new rider this hits a sweet spot – forgiving at the edge while letting me grow my skills.” ★★★★☆

“Perfect starter sport bike. Easy to handle but still lightweight and quick.” ★★★★★

Is the Yamaha MT-03 a Good Beginner Motorcycle?

With its lightweight 373 lb design, entry-level price tag and unintimidating power output, the MT-03 checks all the boxes as a recommended first bike for beginner riders. Its sporty naked design looks like an aggressive machine but offers flexibility and rideability that builds confidence.

The bike’s ergonomics provide an upright riding position with plenty of room to move around, especially compared to hardcore Supersport bikes. The narrow midsection and 30.7 inch seat height mean most riders can easily put a foot down at stops too.

Yamaha seemed to design the MT-03 as an approachable introduction to the thrills of motorcycling. It’s fast and nimble enough to not get boring as skills progress, yet forgiving of mistakes if pushed too hard into turns. More so than its peak 37 hp power number, its lightweight flickable handling helps instill confidence.

Owners also praise the MT-03 as having quality components given its affordable price. Inverted front forks, preload adjustable rear shock, radial brake calipers and even LED lighting make for a well-equipped motorcycle beyond its entry level billing.

The smooth 321cc twin offers good throttle modulation without unpredictable surges of power. Maintaining momentum through corners becomes a fun challenge to keep the revs high. An experienced rider can certainly wring every ounce of excitement from the 54.3 inch wheelbase chassis too.

In summary if seeking an engaging beginner sport bike that can capably commute to school or work during the week yet attack twisty canyons on the weekends, the 2023 Yamaha MT-03 deserves heavy consideration. Riders seem to agree its combination of sensible ergonomics and rowdy twin cylinder power band make for the ideal entry level motorcycle to hone skills on.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the top speed of the Yamaha MT-03?

The MT-03 is electronically limited to a top speed of about 108 mph (173 km/h). Without the limiter, its top speed is estimated around 115 mph (185 km/h).

How much does the Yamaha MT-03 cost?

The 2023 MSRP for the Yamaha MT-03 starts at $4,999 USD. Pricing may vary by dealer.

What is the 0-60 mph acceleration time of the MT-03?

The MT-03 can achieve 0-60 mph in approximately 5.1 seconds.

What is the top speed of a 2018 Yamaha MT-03?

The top speed of a 2018 MT-03 remains similar to the current model year at around 100 mph limited.

What is the fuel mileage of the MT-03?

The Yamaha MT-03 delivers excellent fuel economy, with owners reporting a range of 50-60 mpg in mixed riding.

Conclusion: Tested Yamaha MT-03 top speed

In conclusion the Yamaha MT-03 delivers addicting real world performance that belies its small 321cc twin-cylinder engine and entry level positioning. It accelerates harder than expected thanks to its feathery 373 pound curb weight, with 0 to 60mph coming in just over 5 seconds.

The bike ultimately tops out around 108 mph due to electronic limiting, but it’s the engine’s willingness to constantly rev towards its 10k redline that provides the entertainment. It pulls very strongly through its mid-range powerband, willingly executing mid-corner upshifts. Given time to build revs the twin starts to shriek as the landscape blurs by.

While straight line speed runs aren’t the MT-03’s focus, it still acquits itself well enough to be an exciting commuter and backroad blaster. Nimble handling backed by quality suspension and braking components allow experienced riders to fully exploit its superb chassis dynamics zipping through the twisties.

Yet at the same time the MT-03 presents new riders with a friendly, unintimidating package. The upright ergos, 30.7 inch seat height and peak of just 37 hp makes mastering the machine a fun challenge rather than terrifying ordeal. It still leaves plenty of room to hone skills as proficiency develops.

If seeking a thrilling lightweight motorcycle bursting with character, the Yamaha MT-03 is a perfect blend of entry level approachability with satisfying canyon-carving performance. Newbies can grow into its capabilities while receiving a memorable masterclass in wringing every rev from a screaming twin-cylinder powerplant. Just be sure to heed the MT-03’s siren song urging harder acceleration… you’ll be bouncing off the rev limiter before you know it!

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