The origin of the Challenge Knuckle was to demonstrate the often-underestimated capability of smaller engines. Today, thanks to Yamaha Motor Canada, we had the opportunity to do the Challenge with a model that we have had our eyes on for some time; the Yamaha MT-03.

MT03 2021 Yamaha Canada

The matte black model is definitely very beautiful, and the headlights have a Badass look. Lots of details in the design and a neat finish. For the look, the 2021 MT-03 won’t let you down and will turn heads.

Already, what you can notice at first glance is a wheelbase similar to larger displacement motorcycles, which will appeal to many in my humble opinion.

It’s a go! A day that promises to be very hot, which will also be one of the hottest of the 2021 heatwave. Today, the roadmap is a route that takes us mainly in the Montérégie and Estrie regions. A short tour of Lac Mégantic is required with its beautiful hilly roads and a few stops to see and enjoy.

With its 2-cylinder engine, a more serious sound accompanies us and allows us to appreciate the highway speeds much more than on some competitors single-cylinder.

The first kilometers are easily done and the Yamaha is easy to get adapted to. Lightweight & agile, a very fun motorcycle to drive! As mentioned above, driving on the motorway is pleasant and even surprising. First driving crush on the 2021 MT-03.

Controls & Instrumentation

A minimalist approach was chosen by Yamaha. Non-adjustable levers, simple stop / start button. Personally, I would have liked a little more robust handlebars, because if the bike is trompe l’oeil on its size, details like this could unmask it!

Already 250 km done, and I don’t feel it at all. Everything is going well, and I have plenty of time to appreciate the road and the scenery. The suspension is adapted to our roads and the steering is smooth, no need to fight against it.

The riding position is very good and gives us some freedom of positioning and at the same time guides us around the fairing of the bike. The seat looks quite sporty, it remains to be seen if it will pass the mileage and riding time test!

Up to it?

A lot of comments about the 500cc and under range are often directed, specifically in countries like Canada, that they are not suitable or enjoyable on the open road.

In this case, the MT-03 is definitely an exception. Of course, horsepower and acceleration don’t compare to big-powered engines, but if you’re not the type to go well beyond the speed limits, the Yamaha offers us, again in my humble opinion, one of the best-in-class highway experiences.

A short break to hydrate, enjoy the magnificent view at the top of the Lac Mégantic observation tower and let’s go!

I really enjoy the day on the Yamaha, but over time and miles I start to feel discomfort with the seat. It is certain that the temperature is extremely hot and humid, and that fatigue sets in more quickly.

We’re getting to the 500 km track mark and I have to face the facts; I won’t be able to do 1000 km with the Yamaha this time around. It is with a little disappointment that I put an end to the Challenge because the day had started so well!

The MT-03 is a motorcycle to consider if you are considering this displacement class. Once again I would like to mention that a failure of the Challenge does not detract from the qualities of a motorcycle but rather puts it in perspective and thus allows for a much more comprehensive test drive.


A consumption of around 3.9l per 100 km. The 500 km will have cost $ 32.98 with the premium between $ 1.56 and $ 1.59 / liter. What gives us beautiful days of riding at little cost.

An urban machine yes, but one which is definitely capable of going out into the great outdoors. It’s not a Quebec-Montreal or even a Montreal-Saguenay for the weekend that will stop you. The 2-cylinder engine really makes a difference and is much appreciated. Certainly, Yamaha chose the comfortable look for the seat, but nothing overwhelming or too uncomfortable either.

An affordable motorcycle with a nice face, which can take you far with or without modifications! A great success from Yamaha in this motorcycle segment. Too small for you? Maybe the MT-07 would be a good fit!

Leave us your comments and impressions! Have you had the chance to try it out?

Don’t forget to use Knuckle  to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

Jean-Sébastien Mackay
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