The poor Yamaha YZF-R3 just can’t catch a break. After recalls for a potential coolant leak and faulty transmission torsion spring last December, as well as a long history of additional recalls, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently issued yet another recall for the small sportbike, this time for potentially weak brake levers.
This recall affects 198 bikes manufactured between February 6 and March 6, 2019. On these bikes, the metal front brake levers may have been cast with porosities. Porosities are air bubbles where there should be solid metal. This makes the metal weaker and more prone to breaking under force. In other words, these levers could break under hard braking, precisely when you need them the most. Brakes are supposed to brake, not break, despite the common spelling error that would indicate that the opposite is the case.
Defective levers can be identified by lot numbers “K3 9A 16” and “K4 9A 16” stamped into them. If your R3 has this lever, Yamaha will replace it free of charge. If your R3 falls somewhere within the VIN range of MH3RH18Y0KK002243 and MH3RH18YXKK002427, have your dealer check it out regardless, just to make sure.
Fortunately, this recall has an easy fix, simply replacing the defective brake lever. Dealers will begin processing this recall this week, and the turnaround time should be pretty quick. Even if you have upgraded your brake levers to aftermarket units, it’s a good idea to have your original levers checked out. A future owner of your bike may not know about the recall and put the stock lever back on, which could be bad news on the street or the track.
Personally, I’d love to see the Hydraulic Press Channel get their hands on one of these defective levers, as well as a good one, and test each of them to find how much force they can handle before they break.