For months, there’s been lots of hot gossip about Yamaha’s new beginner naked bike. Now, we expect to see it unveiled on June 6, thanks to a promo video from their Indonesian arm.
The general theory is that Yamaha’s next naked bike will be a stripped-down version of the R3 (or R25, for some markets). Theoretically it will fit into the FZ lineup under the name FZ-3, as a smaller brother to the mid-sized FZ-07 and FZ-09. Those machines have already made a huge impact on the naked bike market for more experienced riders, and a more beginner-friendly machine with a lower price tag would be the final step for Yamaha to assert themselves as the brand to beat in the naked bike segment, as long as its performance matches the expectations.
Yamaha is late to the game, though. The other Japanese brands have already staked out their territory in the beginner naked bike segment. Suzuki has the GW250, made in China to keep the price down. Honda has the CB300F, which is a stripped-down CBR300. Kawasaki has the not-available-in-Canada Z300, which they billed as the first “supernaked” in its category when it dropped at EICMA last November. Along with the Japanese brands, KTM is also playing in this field, with the Duke 390.
If the Yamaha FZ3 comes to Canada, it could be the bike to beat in its category, though. It should handily outperform the Suzuki and the Honda; unless Kawasaki changes its mind about the Z300 or KTM finally makes the Duke 390 available (it’s still not on their Canadian website), the FZ-3 will be the fastest beginner naked you can buy here.
The promo video for the new naked bike (seen below) doesn’t give away a lot of hints about the bike itself. There’s a big party for the bike’s unveiling that looks like they’re keep the feel of the Dark Side of Japan marketing they used for the earlier bikes in the FZ series; since they’re introducing the bike in Indonesia, they’ve tweaked it a bit.
The introduction of the bike in Indonesia is an interesting harbinger of things to come. While North Americans and Europeans think the motorcycling world revolves around them, the fact is that most motorcycles sold globally are budget bikes, and Indonesia is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets. That’s why the new naked bike will be released there, just like the R3 was a few months back.