Yamaha YZF-R7 2022 (bike review)
YAMAHA has launched its latest mid-capacity offering, with the highly anticipated YZF-R7 designed to reinvigorate the declining supersport segment. The new model will be available in high-yield and learner-legal variants.
Gone are the days when motorcyclists demanded the latest in high-tech crotch rockets, handling massive amounts of power, that would scare the bejesus out of mere mortals on the road.
Those leather-clad supermen and women who had the ability to do unthinkable speeds on two wheels or one, and scratch their knees on the road while other motorists were left in awe or utterly petrified, are simply not more there.
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Thanks to things like increased police presence, sneaky speed cameras, and a plethora of other measures to stop people going too fast, sales of license-burning supersport machines have dropped dramatically.
Enter the 2022 Yamaha YZF-R7, a motorcycle the brand hopes will attract new riders. It replaces the gap left by the R6 – which becomes a trail-only offering, and is suitable for beginners or those looking to step up to full power, thanks to its two variants.
Exhaust Notes Australia had the privilege of being able to test the 2022 Yamaha YZF-R7, in its high output (full power) form, on the track and on the road, putting the new model through its paces in a variety of situations.
Taking Aprilia’s RS 660 and the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R, which we also tested, simplicity and user-friendliness find themselves as the building principles of this new model, which borrows its super sport seating position from its own sibling. R6.
We raced the YZF-R7 right out of the box at Sydney Motorsport Park and had a blast. There’s no ride mode in between, so just jump on the bike and twist the throttle. It’s really a nice change.
And sure, the YZF-R7 doesn’t have the blistering speed or acceleration of its high-powered R1 sibling, nor is it designed or aimed at experienced track-day enthusiasts, but what it does offer is very funny.
It’s also the perfect way for rookie riders to enter the track scene, while still having a competent everyday mode of transportation. It delivers good power, without being overwhelming, and also accelerates smoothly and precisely through the turns.
Powered by a 54.7kW (73hp) 689cc, liquid-cooled, inline-twin, four-stroke, DOHC engine, the R7 allows the rider to grab a fistful of throttle at will. . It features forged aluminum pistons with direct-plated cylinders integrated into the crankcase.
The R7’s reliable cross-plane motor’s 270-degree crank provides an uneven firing sequence, which is designed to deliver a more characteristic note and emphasize torquey acceleration and power delivery.
For us though, the exhaust is one of the first things we would improve. Noise is not enough. Acceleration is crisp and responsive, but nowhere near as aggressive as the aforementioned R6.
On the road in particular, the R7 feels much more refined and usable, without that constant feeling that the bike is trying to rip your arms off every time you twist the throttle hard. The 6-speed constant-mesh gearbox with a slipper clutch also works well.
If there’s one criticism here, it’s that a quick-shifter isn’t standard equipment on the high-output model. It’s an optional extra though, and it’s a box we’d tick every day of the week.
Handling also gets a huge tick from us, and that’s really where the R7 excels. Boasting an all-new ultra slim and light super sport chassis, with a wet weight of 188kg, the sporty Yamaha is nice and light. It was nimble even with this reviewer’s 105kg frame on board.
The R7 uses an ultra-narrow, high-strength steel frame that also provides excellent rigidity to the bike. By mounting aluminum center struts near the swingarm pivot, improved torsional stiffness has been achieved.
Yamaha has also optimized the rake, track and wheelbase dimensions for improved road and track handling. A 41mm inverted KYB front fork with optimized spring rate and damping settings provides good front-end feel for cornering and braking.
The front setup is fully adjustable for preload, rebound and compression damping. Combined with a rear-type mono-cross shock with adjustable preload and rebound damping, it strikes a formidable balance between trail riding and commuting.
It also means this bike is perfect for weekend blasts on the twisty stuff. Brembo brakes handle the stopping power of the 2022 YZF-R7, this bike being the first to feature the manufacturer’s radial brake master cylinder.
This new radial master cylinder provides a more linear delivery of hydraulic pressure to the similarly mounted four-piston front brake calipers, creating strong stopping power through dual 298mm rotors.
Overall, the package combines well to pull the R7, on the road and on the track, and offers a good feel and bite if needed, whether it’s navigating the daily commute or pushing a little stronger.
The new model also features a sports bike-style cockpit, with a simplistic TFT instrument panel that displays rider information at a glance, including speed, rpm and fuel level. It even has a shift light, although the white indicator blends in with the rest of the screen a bit.
Yamaha’s 2022 YZF-R7 LAMS (learner-approved) edition will be available in two colors; Performance Black and Team Yamaha Blue (as tested). The High Output variant is available in the same colors, plus the World Grand Prix 60th Anniversary scheme.
Pricing for the learner-approved variant will start from $13,999 on the go, with the fully motorized model just $1,000 more expensive, at $14,999 on the go. Both are backed by a 2 year warranty.
In summary, what the 2022 Yamaha YZF-R7 represents is a truly usable, versatile and accessible motorcycle that is well executed and is going to find a legion of fans who want a bike that does it all.
It’s a great weekend warrior, a schmick commuter, and a bike you can take to the trail and walk away with a smile.
Our test bike was supplied by Yamaha Australia. To learn more about the 2022 Yamaha YZF-R7, contact your local Yamaha dealer. Images courtesy of Colin Chan.