Yamaha R7 (2022 … | road and track tested
WITH the decline in sales in the traditional supersport segment (see obituaries of Yamaha R6 and Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja), it is clear that something needs to be done in the sub-enthusiastic motorcycle industry. Iwata’s answer is the slim-looking Yamaha R7, a beautiful sports bike with the accessibility of the MT-07 and DNA of the R1.
For the press test of this bike, Yamaha Europe had selected the roads around Almeria in Spain for the morning road ride, with an afternoon devoted to the tour of the magnificent Andalusia Circuit in the afternoon.
Introducing the launch of the NEW Yamaha R7 Sportsbike 2022
It’s the Yamaha R7, not an OWO3!
Since the announcement of the new Yamaha R7 on the name of the little sportswoman, many people have sprung up on the internet. One pissed off reader wrote “This bike is a replacement joke for the original” while another angrily voiced “Well that’s embarrassing I bet the R7 OW02 is crying”. I guess both of these messages were typed with closed fists and a foamy mouth.
First of all, it’s not a replacement for the old R7. This motorcycle was a special homologation designed only for WorldSBK rules which were quickly changed, making it virtually obsolete on the road and on the track. Number two. Most angry people who get their warrior keyboard fix never owned an original R7 let alone swung a leg over one. Number three. What the hell did you want Yamaha to call it, the MT-07 RR? I’m pretty sure the motorcycle market has enough RR nameplates already, and with the rest of Iwata’s line of sports bikes bearing the ‘R’ moniker, it works.
Overcome it, grow taller and panic buy fuel, you absolutely melt.
Price, colors and availability of the Yamaha R7
The new R7 is available in Icon Blue (as mounted on track), Yamaha Black (as mounted on road) and the 60e Anniversary edition. The basic blue and black bike is priced at Â£ 8,200, while the 60e The birthday bike costs an additional Â£ 300 at Â£ 8,500.
Comparing that to the competition, the Yamaha sits around a lot more than the Kawasaki Ninja 650 (Â£ 7,349). At the other end of the scale, it costs around Â£ 2,000 less than the more powerful and advanced Aprilia RS660 (Â£ 10,150).
Standard bikes and the 60e The Anniversary Edition will land at Yamaha dealers in the UK in October and November 2021 respectively.
To find your nearest dealer, visit: www.yamaha-motor.eu
Yamaha R7 engine
With all the changes and updates from the latest generation MT-07, the engine specifications of the R7 remain largely unchanged. 72 hp comes at 8,750 rpm, while maximum torque of 49 lb-ft is produced at 6,500 rpm. The new Euro5 engine is one of the best parallel twin cylinders ever produced. He rewrote the rulebook in 2015 and turned out that twins under 100hp can be thrilling thanks to the innovative CP2 architecture.
Fortunately, the recipe hasn’t changed since, and with just the emissions regulations to follow, the CP2 is as fun to drive now as it was then.
A big addition worth mentioning on the new bike is the assisted slip clutch which does an admirable job of smoothing down downshifts and preventing any jumps on the grippy Andalucian surface. The A&S clutch also means a much lighter leverage feel than the MT-07 by around 30%.
With the shark fin gills on top of the tank opening the R7’s airbox to the world, the bike sounds raucous than its naked sister. The induction noise when tucked in behind the fairing is much more noticeable and opting for the full AkrapoviÄ system will transform the bike with all the growl and bark of a full-fledged track machine.
Yamaha R7 chassis, suspension and handling
To keep the R7 competitive, the frame is based on that of the MT-07, although to say they are the same is unfair. An aluminum center brace mounted on either side of the frame increases stiffness and makes a noticeable difference to the bike’s balance in faster turns. The geometry of the bike is also revised, with a shorter overall wheelbase, 1395 mm against 1400 mm, while the caster angle is reduced from 24 Â° to 23 Â°. These are certainly small changes, although the R7 is a small bike and the accumulation of these updates is noticeable on the road and on the track.
One of the bike’s most popular changes is to the suspension system, with USD forks for sports bikes replacing the telescoping elements found on the MT-07. The new 41mm KYB items are adjustable in preload, rebound and compression. The forks are connected by radially mounted four-piston calipers and 298mm discs. The rear shock absorber is adjustable in preload and rebound.
On the base settings, the bike suffers slightly from Japanese test rider syndrome, which means it’s a bit mellow for me, although newer riders will likely appreciate the more forgiving setup. By hitting the twisties less than a mile from the hotel, we have the chance to turn on the taps and enjoy the machine for the first time. First impressions are that the Bridgestone S22s take longer than expected to heat up, or maybe I’m just asking a little too much of them on lightly polished Spanish roads!
As the road takes us away from the coast, the surface improves, the pace increases and the tires begin to take on their full meaning. The first thing that comes to mind is how much better the chassis is compared to the MT-07. It was always an exciting bike to ride, much like playing cricket with a hand grenade is an exciting game. The R7 is none of these. It has a front face you can trust, provides precise feedback, and completely transforms the bike. The new brakes are responsive but not too sharp, and despite the lack of IMU-controlled ABS, I’ve never been afraid to brake in the corners.
I remember thinking that for this bike to really win me over it had to be very different from the MT-07. Anything less would have been disappointing. Fortunately, Yamaha’s sensible updates are all in the right places. The steeper steering angle and new front end added to the stiffer chassis and sporty riding position mean this is a true R-series sports bike, more than worthy of the R7 name.
Yamaha R7 technology and equipment
Sitting at the front and center of the sleek new fairing is a redesigned inverted LCD instrument panel that’s modeled after that of the flagship R1. The dashboard is hidden behind a small visor, although in the Spanish sun it is still quite difficult to read, with some of the LCD elements obscured by the ignition key and clutch cable. The rest of the dashboard is quite functional and the on-board computer is very easy to navigate. There’s a nice, bright gearshift light that dominates the top of the dash, while the rest of the lights and indicators are all fairly easy to see.
The Yamaha R7 also comes with the ability to connect it to your mobile using the Yamaha MyRide app. Once done, you can record your rides, check your lean angle, and more.
Yamaha R7 comfort
With a driving position closely tied to that of the R6, the R7 is a very focused place. The infrequent trips that we made in town during the press launch quickly became boring, even if once the road reopened, everything clicks. The stakes are high enough, the bars are low, and your butt is perched high on the seat. That said, it’s not as cramped as it looks. Even the tallest journalists 6ft and above on the launch found it spacious enough thanks to sufficient seat-to-bar distance and an expansive seat. As mentioned, it’s on the track that the driving position really makes sense. The fairing is roughly large enough to tuck behind, and the deeply scalloped sidewalls are only a handful of the excellence.
What we love about the Yamaha R7
- All the pleasure of the fare without the speeding fines
- The frontal sensation is excellent
- The style is pure R series
- CP2 He’s still one of the best mid-size twins on the planet
What we didn’t do
- LCD dashboard is obscured and difficult to read in direct sunlight
- R-series DNA means compromised city driving
Yamaha R7 verdict
Right in the middle of the new generation of super sports bikes, the Yamaha R7 fits perfectly into the gap between the Aprilia RS660 and the Kawasaki Ninja 650. It is sportier and more focused than the Kawasaki, but slightly less advanced and less expensive than the main class RS660. It’s also easy to ride, perfect for new riders, and looks every inch of the baby R1 we all wanted.
Is it perfect? Not 100% the dashboard needs an adjustment to make it more usable and at the very edge of the track the front would chatter if you really pushed it. Having said that, you should also look at the segment the bike is launched on. In truth, new riders and those switching to smaller bikes probably won’t reach this level, not in their first year or two anyway! And if the buyer wants an even more lavish front end, the GYTR section of the Yamaha website has all the toys to turn your R7 into a real track weapon.