To make things interesting, and also to bring down the cost, Yamaha have gone in for a rather conventional tubular diamond frame instead of their famous Deltabox perimeter frame. The R3 is the only exception in the YZF family not to have a Deltabox, but the diamond frame is quite capable. It has enough rigidity and flex that allow you to push the bike hard into corners without losing even an ounce of stability. It also rewards the rider with good handling.
As I thumbed the starter button the engine came to life with a faint growl that is so typical of parallel-twin motors. It sounds nice if not pulse-racing. The first thing I noticed was how smooth the free-revving engine felt. I wrung the throttle just to see that it reached 10,000 RPM in a jiffy. As I moved out of the parking lot and on to the main road in the midst of chaotic Pune traffic, I found myself shifting up quickly to fourth. On another machine with similar performance this would not have been possible as the bike would struggle to move at slower speeds in a higher gear. But the R3 had no such problems. The brilliance of this engine can be seen at low speeds as well because the power and torque are spread across the rev range. This gives the R3 excellent low- and mid-range punch which is delivered smoothly and in a very linear way. I was able to cruise at 45–50 km/h in the city in the fourth gear and whenever I needed to throttle out of a situation, I found ample power to zip the bike past the obstacle. This highlights the easy rideability of the bike in heavy traffic. Not only that, it also felt light and manageable while I was weaving my way through the traffic, thus displaying its superior agility. And, yes, the refinement levels were exceptional. The soft suspension setup provided a super-comfy ride in the city, indicating a good ride quality.
As I hit the highway, I twisted the throttle hard to see the tachometer needle run towards 12,500 RPM, the shift indicator light flashing, I expected the vibrations to rattle through. The R3 surprised me again as there was hardly any noticeable vibration. With the throttle pinned, the digital speedo also flicked through the km/h numbers quite rapidly. Performance-wise, the bike rewards you when you really wring that throttle. Smooth power delivery till 8,000 RPM and after that, as you reach the 9,750 mark, the bike unleashes all the 42 horses with so much linearity that I was really stunned. Acceleration of the R3 is really good but once you are closer to the five-digit RPM mark, it goes mental in a very controlled way.