The 2018 Battle of the 300cc Sportbikes

The rumor mill suggests that Yamaha’s YZF-R3 will be updated next year.

And following the debut of the 2015-on YZF-R1 and this year’s revamped YZF-R6, the smaller YZF-R3 is due for a styling update.

Yamaha’s YZF-R3 changes – which will of course be mirrored in the fractionally smaller-capacity but otherwise identical YZF-R25 – are also expected to react to the release of Honda’s CBR250RR and the widely-expected CBR300RR derivative that’s likely to debut in 2018.

The Honda already boasts an upside-down fork and multiple riding modes, and there’s speculation the upcoming larger-capacity version – at least 300cc and possibly as large as 350cc – will get other upgrades.

Given that all motorcycles in this class are now being developed with one eye on the new Supersports 300 world championship that supports WSBK, there’s incentive for manufacturers to improve the specifications of the roadbikes the racers are based on.

Likewise, Kawasaki has long been expected to reveal an updated version of the Ninja 300 / Ninja 250 twins. The existing models don’t meet Euro 4 emissions rules and can therefore only continue to be sold in Europe under end-of-series regulations that expire at the end of 2018.

Will 2018 see a new battle in the 300cc sportbike market? It’s looking increasingly likely.

Throw the upcoming BMW G310 into the mix – it might even spawn a BMW G310RR – and there’s a recipe for a burgeoning class of baby sportsters….

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