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I'm 63 years old, 210 pounds and ride an R3. Some would consider this too heavy for this bike. It isn't. We have to keep in perspective that many family cars weighing a ton in the past have had less than 40hp, and did just fine. Here's another perspective - power to weight. A 2021 Mazda Miata has 182HP and weighs 2600lbs with a 200 pound driver = 14.3 lbs/hp, and is a lovely sports car to driver anywhere. An R3 with 200lb rider weighs 575lbs with 40 horsepower = 14.4lbs / HP - and is a lovely sports bike to drive anywhere.

Here's another comparison in graphic format to show where the R3 stands with bikes held dear from the (my own) past:

Wheel Tire Land vehicle Fuel tank Motor vehicle


Forget the Falco and the 80 as representing two ends of the extreme. The R3 sits right in the sweet spot. Add the venerable and legendary RD350, at 0-60 in 5.2s, and 1/4 mile of 14.5s to this comparison. No, the R3 it is not a pavement ripping monster, nor is it an underpowered wimp beginner's bike. I can say, without qualification, riding a high powered Sports bike around town is not fun, it is work. I got rid of the Falco because it was not fun. I put thousands of miles on the ST650, because it was a lot of fun. Riding the R3 on commutes, on country roads at civil speeds, and in a canyon or two.. is not work, it is a pleasure - even if you are being pulled to earth with greater gravity.

Now, let's talk ergonomics. The reality is, the distance from seat to bars is not much different between a 300cc and a 1000cc bike. They don't design big cc bikes only for big 6'3" line backers (well, except maybe for the Suzy Hyabusa, which one wonders what it is actually designed for - off topic). The biggest difference is in the room behind and carrying capacity. At 200 lbs, for example, you have 150lbs left on the R3 for gear - regardless of the size of the seat, another passenger is not going to be practical. While it is certainly a scream to rip on a bike with 140hp, that thrill gets stale in the real world of every day riding. At a cruise speed of 75mph, who cares what horsepower is made in dyno land. If your thrill is to tear down the freeway at 140mph, and carving the canyons at 200mph like Rossi with your knees dragging, then, no, the R3 is not for you. But that kind of riding is why motorcycles are called donor-cycles to the EMT crews... The R3 serves those with a more civil pallet.

Bottom line, the bike is a complete riot to ride, will do the highway, and has a great motor in it - possibly one of the best engines in bikes today. It's tame in town, yet has plenty of rip on the revs, like the old days of running 2 strokes on their pipe.

However, if you weigh more than 190 pounds, you may need to consider suspension spring rates. I found the stock setup on the earlier bikes (<2019) too soft for me. The 1st gen bikes, up through 2018 have .66kg fork springs, great for a rider up to the 140 pound range, but are noticeably soft for heavier riders - creating a lot of nose dive under braking mostly, and too much pitch for-aft when accelerating hard. The 2nd gen from 2019 onward have .80kg fork springs good for riders up to 185lbs - which may even work fine for regular street commuting and around town riding. You can get a set of springs for $110. I use .825kg on my '17 R3, took all of 10 minutes to install. The rear shock on the 1st gen is also a little soft, with fairly harsh compression dampening. The 2019-up shock is a little stiffer, with more basic preload, and better damping profile (less compression and more rebound damping). A near new take-off from a 2019 and later bike can be had for less than $60. and takes less than an hour to install. The two adjustments will make the bike right for you weight, and you'll not find a more fun bike to play on than the R3. If you buy a new '20 or later bike, you will likely not need to change anything at all, since they have the post '19 springs and rear shock in them already. But there are good deals on low mile 1st gen bikes that are really hard to pass up.

I've not regretted buying mine for a minute.
 

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I second this!!! I'm 52 years old, and a bit over 200#. I've run the whole circuit- R1, R6, and now the R3. I've upgraded the suspension as well. The R3 is the most fun- just effortless, lightweight FUN!!!! I track a highly modded FZ-07 as well. The R3 helps me make "better choices" on the street :cool:-
 

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I'm floating around 190 but I was around 220 earlier this year. I've had no problem with the bike. Glad to see you've enjoyed it for all these years.
I need to adjust the rear shock for my weight though. It is a bit stiff for my weight. I've heard about the R6 shock on the R3, but I think I may manage to lose a couple pounds!
 

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Hey, thanks for a great post. I had a 1980 XS650 that was very modified and a total rip to ride. I also had a 1982 XZ550 Vision (restored), aka Yamaha's Orphan Bike, and it was one of my favorites ever. And I had a ballsy 1978 Honda CB750F2 and a 1980 Suzuki GS750 (restored) and a 1980 Suzuki GS550 (restored) and a 2008 Kawasaki Versys. The Versys is a wonderful bike. My interest in smaller bikes started when I rode a friend's 1975 Honda CB400F, one of the prettiest bikes ever made and a lot of fun to ride. Later, I found and restored one for myself. You're right, 125 hp in a sports bike just makes you nervous and you're always thinking about cops, tickets, and your license. And the posture hurts and gets old in 20 minutes. So I traded the Versys and sold the GS750 and bought a 2015 300 Ninja. Then I had a 2012 Triumph Street Triple R (rear-ended) so I got a 2019 R3 because I liked the looks. So yes, small(er) bikes can be great fun. They can also make you a better rider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Later, I found and restored one for myself. You're right, 125 hp in a sports bike just makes you nervous and you're always thinking about cops, tickets, and your license... so I got a 2019 R3 because I liked the looks. So yes, small(er) bikes can be great fun. They can also make you a better rider.
The funny part about bigger bikes is that you only use about 25hp around traffic, except for a few blips here and there (no lane splitting in my state or area - so you're stuck with traffic no matter what you ride/drive). The R3 proves every day that, save the occasional rip from a stoplight or on an on-ramp, that in the universe of traffic, idiot cage drivers, stoplights, etc... anything more than 30HP is unused potential. Even then, the R3 does just fine opened up. My Aprilia was fast, 140hp tuned. I noticed that riding it, most of time only a slight pressure on the throttle was used. On the days I had a chance for open road riding, it was not a lot different, as once you get to the 60-80mph range, having more power was not tapped into frequently enough to justify horsing the thing around in parking lots, in slow traffic, and at home. To me personally, riding an under-powered bike that handles well is the most fun. I get fast bikes, to be sure... I'm just not as interested in them as I was when I was a lot younger. The R3 is a great balance between sports performance and practical reality.
 

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I've owned everything from 50cc scooters, right through to litre sports bikes. Since 2010 or so, I've always had a 250-300cc bike in my garage. The reason: 1) they're so practical as daily rides and 2) it's so much fun being able to use all of the engine going up and down through the gears on a twisty bit of road. I just can't do that on my other bike, as it does more than the legal limit in FIRST gear.

I particularly like the suspension upgrades on the latest R3. Although it is still a budget system, it is good enough that I move around on the bike through a set of S bends without upsetting the suspension. It makes the R3 great fun and very confidence inspiring.

Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk
 

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TBH, even at 115# I do miss being able to make quick passes in short passing zones on two lane highways. On my 600s it was drop a gear (or two), hit the throttle and just like that my butt was three feet in front of my eyeballs.

But agreed that outside of that one situation, the R3 with everything bone stock has plenty motor for real world riding, and most of what you give up is top speed in a straight line. Ho hum, btdt, trade for corner speed any day of the week.

You'd probably want to upgrade your front brake though? I put a braided steel line on my front brake within the first couple of months of owning the bike. Before that it was grab a big handful of nothing happens. It's still kind of wimpy, even at my weight. I think I'd want a second disc if I were much heavier.

Welcome to the "old riders on lightweight bikes" club!
 
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