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2020 Yamaha MT-03 first ride: Cheap, fun and friendly

Yamaha's MT-03 offers new riders an alternative to the lackluster beginner bikes of days past that's both exciting to ride and nice to look at.

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Kyle Hyatt
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt
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2020 Yamaha MT-03

Yamaha's MT-03 is the latest entry into its MT line of naked bikes.

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With its 321-cc parallel twin engine and light sub-400-pound curb weight, it's got new and returning riders squarely in its sights.

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The bike is priced at just $4,500, which makes it an attractive option to those who might otherwise buy used.

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Despite its modest 41-horsepower output, the MT-03 is a blast to ride quickly and keeps up on the freeway without complaint.

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The bike's biggest shortcoming is that larger riders -- like myself -- might find it a little uncomfortable on longer rides.

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But those who rest more in the middle of the size contiuum should have no complaints.

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The rest of the bike's specs -- like its engine -- are modest but add up to more than the sum of its parts.

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The biggest accomplishment for Yamaha on the MT-03 is the inclusion -- as standard, mind you -- of antilock brakes.

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