Yamaha R7 review - middleweight sportsbike is half the price of R1 superbike, and twice as fun on the road!

Highlights

  • Fast, fun and friendly
  • Looks like a mini MotoGP racer
  • Great value for money

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Annual servicing cost: £200
Power: 72 bhp
Seat height: Medium (32.9 in / 835 mm)
Weight: Medium (415 lbs / 188 kg)

Prices

New £8,910
Used £6,900 - £8,300

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Who is the new Yamaha R7 middleweight sportsbike for? You could say it’s for older riders who’ve ridden the tidal wave of sportsbike evolution, but want to get off, now that race reps have become too cramped, powerful and expensive.

If that’s the case, is a 72bhp parallel twin really going to cut the mustard on the road and track, or be enough for bragging rights down the pub?

Or will the R7 be for newer, younger sportsbike fans, who haven’t had anything made for them in donkey’s years, except for the long-in-the-tooth supersport bikes that now no longer exist for the road?

2022 Yamaha R7 wheelie

But will it give them the kind of thrills we had back in the day when we discovered the joy of our first big bike? One thing’s for sure, they won’t mind that Yamaha has dug up the old R7 name, or remember it from the first time around, anyway.

In fact, the Yamaha R7 is for everyone and neatly proves you don’t always need lots of power and tech to enjoy yourself.

Sporty, friendly and with a voracious appetite for corners, it’s the perfect machine for new riders to start their sportsbike journey when it’s full licence time.

Its relative lack of straight-line performance and basic spec may put some off and the brakes could be better, but the R7 is all about the purity of riding while not scaring yourself silly. It’s well built, handsome and comfortable, but best of all affordable: half the price of an R1, twice as fun on the road.

Our Online Editor, Gareth Evans, is lucky enough to have spent all of 2022 with the Yamaha R7 on the MCN Fleet. He rode a mixture of road and track to find out if it's the right supersport bike for him.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The R7’s tubular steel frame is the same as the MT-07’s with more weight shifted to the front for extra feel tipping into corners. New ali side plates around the swingarm pivot to add rigidity.

KYB upside down forks are fully adjustable (rebound in right leg, compression in left) with a cast ali top yoke and forged ali bottom. They’re spaced 20mm wider than the MT-07 naked’s and 5mm closer to the steering stem. Spring weight (18N/mm) is the same as the R6’s. Rake is steeper, from the MT-07’s 24.7 to° 23.5° (both run the same 90mm trail) and wheelbase reduced 5mm to 1395mm.

The shock is adjustable for preload and rebound damping (no compression) and fitted with a new rising rate linkage, lifting the rear for a sportier stance.

2022 Yamaha R7 cornering on the road

New four piston front brake calipers are now radially mounted with a 16mm Brembo master cylinder and ABS. Lightweight 10-spoke wheels, taken from the new MT-09 are shod with Bridgestone S22 sports rubber, 120/70 x 17 front and 190/55 x 17.

It’s 4kg heavier than the MT-07, thanks to its extra plastics and that’s despite a one-litre smaller fuel tank and 1.1kg lighter battery.

The R7 is comfortable…for a sportsbike. Clip-ons are still low to weight the front end and the pegs relatively high to keep them from grazing tarmac, but they’re nowhere near as extreme as a traditional race rep. Knees aren’t squashed, the seat is generously padded (and 15mm lower than the old R6 perch) and there’s decent wind protection. Even the mirrors work well.

2022 Yamaha R7 clocks

Your view down to the cockpit is trademark ‘R’ and if it wasn’t for the fact the R7 feels so light (just 188kg fuelled and ready to go) and nimble, you could be fooled into thinking you were astride an R1 superbike or R6 screamer. The top yoke mimics Yamaha’s superbike, you get a snazzy 4.5 colour dash and neat, simple switchgear.

Handling-wise the R7 comes from good stock. The MT-07 has always been nicely balanced, if a little bouncy at the limit, but with its beefed-up suspension, brakes, faster steering and fatter, stickier rubber the new Yam is so sure-footed and forgiving there isn’t much that’s going to get away from you on the road, if you know how to peddle. The R7’s superpower is corner speed – letting the brakes off, railing though at full lean and not having too much power to worry about the other side.

Yamaha have honed the R7 so well there’s very little to complain about, except the brakes. The hardware is all there: twin discs, powerful four-piston radial calipers and a Brembo master cylinder with a superbike-style adjustable front brake lever, but the way the Japanese firm set their ABS robs the set-up of feel. It’s not just the R7 that suffers from this, the all-singing R1’s brakes are just as remote and wooden at the lever.

Neevesy with his knee down on the 2022 Yamaha R7

On track the R7 initially feels flat, but bear with it, because the harder you push it the more exciting it becomes. Fit stickier rubber and with more grip than power (and even with its slightly soft rear shock spring), you need to be pushing incredibly hard to make a dent in its abilities. Best of all, without having big power to control you can take liberties with the throttle at big lean angles without worrying about launching yourself to moon. During our long-term test of the Yamaha R7, Gareth changed the standard (but also excellent) Bridgestone S22s for some Pirelli Rosso IVs, and found them lighter on turn-in with more than enough grip in all conditions.

Riding with other R7 gets laugh out loud emojis floating from your crash helmet, but here’s the thing: in the real world that’s going to be hard to do. At a trackday you’ll always be in with faster bikes, regardless of the group, resulting in the cat and mouse of your corner speed versus their top speed. Sometimes that would be fun, sometimes terrifying.

If trackdays, one day, had groups for these new generation middleweight twins that would be another (extremely entertaining) story and would see the class really take off. If you can’t wait for that Yamaha plan to run R7 Cup championships all over the world if you fancy bashing fairings with like-minded lunatics.

You'll be able to race your 2022 Yamaha R7 in the R7 Cup

Engine

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Yamaha have left the MT-07’s four-valve 689cc parallel twin virtually untouched for its new life in the R7. It still makes 72bhp@8750rpm and 49ftlb of torque at 7750rpm and has a more direct throttle cam, but it slips through Euro5 thanks to new ECU and injection settings, tweaks to the intake ducts and exhaust.

The six-speed gearbox remains, but now has an ‘Assist and Slipper’ clutch for a lighter lever action (by a third) and to prevent rear wheel hop into corners. Gearing is slightly taller with a one-tooth smaller rear sprocket (now 42) and combined with its superior aero Yamaha claims an 8% faster top whack than the MT-07.

Yamaha R7 top speed? We easily saw 120mph at Silverstone on a trackday, and think 130mph is possible with a long enough straight.

We reckon the 2022 Yamaha R7 top speed is around 130mph

Unlike a highly strung race rep, everything about the Yamaha easy. The gearbox and clutch are light, accurate and the motor’s power is delivered smoothly, even at low-rev town speeds. Its torque curve is so flat and controllable you certainly never miss not having traction control.

Being a Euro5-friendly parallel twin it’s exhaust note won’t go down as one of the greats, but on the flip side the 270-degree crank gives your ears a nice, dark V-twin-like warble to listen to when it’s working hard and is muted enough not to annoy the neighbours when it’s not. But stick a race pipe on it and you’ll be able to hear it in the next county.

If you’re used to something with a lot more power, the Yamaha will feel steady at first and lacks the insane, warp speed punch of a superbike or supersport weapon up top, but that would be missing the point and one of the reasons those monsters don’t sell anymore. The joy of riding the R7 comes from welding the throttle to the stop and not slowing down for corners. Think of it like the early 90s 250cc two-strokes and 400cc four-strokes we oldies grew up with or for the yoof: a sharper, moderately more powerful version of your A2 licence bike.

2022 Yamaha R7 engine

Ride the Yamaha with a bunch of mates on similar sized machines and suddenly sportsbikes become a riot on the road again.

Just like the MT-07 it’s based on the R7 punches well above its weight. Keep it singing and you quickly realise 72bhp is more than enough for the road and on track will easily wheelie off the clutch in second, especially with no electronics to get in the way of your fun.

It’s easy to gather speed and keep up momentum, but everything happens more slowly than on a more powerful bike, so it’s never taking you for a ride or needs super-human levels of effort, skill and commitment to control.

One criticism many buyers have of the CP2 engine is the noise it makes. During his long-term test, Online Editor Gareth changed his for the optional Akrapovic full exhaust system (including cat) and this improved matters considerably.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

If it’s going to be anything like any of the three-generations of MT-07 that stretch back to 2014, which it is, the R7 will be mechanically bombproof. MCN’s owners’ reviews give nothing but glowing reports, aside from the occasional spot of rust on swingarm welds and durability of thin paint.

Watch out for thin paint and rust on swingarm welds

Living with the Yamaha R7

MCN Online Editor Gareth Evans ran an R7 60th Anniversary Edition during the whole of 2022, and didn't have a single problem with the bike itself. The only blemish on an otherwise unmarked copybook as a slow puncture on a new set of tyres. Watch the round-up video below:

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
5 out of 5 (5/5)

Yamaha aren’t the first to create a more real world sportsbike. Aprilia’s RS660 stole the headlines when it was released in 2020.

As you’d expect from the company that brought you the RSV4 and Tuono V4 it’s a more serious take on the theme. The parallel twin is sharper and more powerful (99bhp) than the R7 and comes with fully adjustable suspension and superbike shaming electronics, but it’s also nearly two grand more expensive.

The Yamaha R7 has plenty of rivals in the real-world sportsbike class

There’s also the inline four-cylinder Honda CBR650R and Kawasaki Ninja 650 twin, but neither have the unashamed sporty DNA of the Aprilia or Yamaha.

It's worth noting here that the list price of the R7 is far higher in 2023 than it was when launched, with standard bikes now £8900. This puts it ever closer to the more powerful Aprilia, the latter often being available with big discounts too...

Since it was launched, CFMoto have released details of the 500SR, while Kawasaki have launched their ZX-4RR, which has a smaller engine but keen pricing to pit it against the R7.

Oh, and there's also the new Triumph Daytona 660 to contend with...

Equipment

If you’re used to the glitz of an all-singing sportsbike the R7’s modest level of chassis equipment won’t be as tempting as if it had shiny Öhlins, chunky Brembos and a raft of electronics. If it did the price would shoot up and defeat the point of what Yamaha is trying to do.

It may not have all the bells and whistles, but fit, finish and build quality are excellent for the money and looks every inch a mini-me YZR-M1 MotoGP bike with its tank gills, M-shaped central air scoop and slender, angular bodywork that’s slipperier than Yamaha’s R125 learner sports bike, R3 lightweight, and R1 superbike.

Yamaha R7 clocks

You also get ABS and 4.5in colour dash that contains info like speed, gear position and fuel gauge are nicely prominent, but they’re hard to read in direct sunlight.

Official Yamaha performance, touring and cosmetic goodies are available, as well as accessory packs, which you can view on their online configurator. Racers and serious trackday riders can also choose from a full range of tasty GYTR accessories as illustrated below.

Yamaha R7 GYTR

And, just after launch, Yamaha revealed a 60th Anniversary Editon of the R7. This bike gets a Speed Block inspired paint job, costs just £300 more than the standard one and looks fantastic. See?

2022 Yamaha R7 60th Anniversary Edition

Specs

Engine size 689cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 8v, parallel twin
Frame type Tubular steel diamond
Fuel capacity 13 litres
Seat height 835mm
Bike weight 188kg
Front suspension KYB 41mm USD forks, fully adjustable
Rear suspension Single shock adjustable preload and rebound damping
Front brake 2 x 298mm discs with four-piston radial caliper. ABS
Rear brake 245mm disc with single piston. ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £117
Annual service cost £200
New price £8,910
Used price £6,900 - £8,300
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two years

Top speed & performance

Max power 72 bhp
Max torque 49 ft-lb
Top speed 130 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2021: Yamaha R7 introduced. Essentially a fully faired MT-07 with clip-ons, but tweaks to the engine and chassis for added sportiness.
  • 2023: Price hike to £8900, new white colourway introduced.

Other versions

None.

MCN Long term test reports

MCN Fleet: A sad so-long...

MCN Fleet: A sad so-long...

Contact: gareth.evans@motorcyclenews.com As soon as I learnt I’d be spending 2022 with the Yamaha R7, my mind started whirling, wondering what would be possible during my time with this middleweight sportsbike. I’d had a taster of track riding the previous September while filming a video with

Read the latest report

Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA R7 (2022 - on)

3 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA R7 (2022 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your YAMAHA R7 (2022 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Engine: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Value vs rivals: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Equipment: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Annual servicing cost: £200
5 out of 5 Yamaha 60th Anniversary R7 with ABS
23 June 2023 by GSMozart

Version: 60th Anniversary

Year: 2022

Amazingly comfortable ride, beautiful ergonomic design. Unlike the Ninja's & GXR's that feel like you're doing pushups on the handlebars, I can ride the R7 for a long time before I need a break. I've read reviews where people criticize its lack of top end speed vs the R6. To that I say, who cares. People will always talk sh%$ about what the R7 "lacks" in power. Well I can tell u from experience the R7 will sure as hell let u know quick, when u drop that clutch, and jump on the throttle, the intense acceleration will be happy to leave u behind while the R7 goes on without you.... IT'S PLENTY FAST !!I love how it feels leaning into turns. Very smooth, your knees just hug the tank and the braking & acceleration coming in and out of the turns is glass smooth. It's a work of great Engineering for sure !! I've only come up with 3 "Cons" 1st, I find myself filling up the tank kind of regularly. I actually ran out of gas the 1st week after I got the bike, which was friggin' embarrassing. I wasn't paying attention, until I was riding out in the middle of rural nowhere. That's when I noticed the gas gauge near empty, and I went into ass pucker mode realizing my predicament. At least I almost made it back, before engine to shut off exactly a ¼ mile away from the gas station.... I had to get off the bike, call an Uber, by a little gas can, fill it, come back via an Uber, and live in fear leaving my gorgeous shiny new bike all alone on the side of the road. However, that ones on me. Now I'm all about knowing my gas gauge at all times.2nd, the front tire has some slide to it at times when making a tight turn into an uphill street. that happened to me going into a turn at a slow pace bc it was a sharp left into an uphill street. Same coming into a right turn where I had to do some tricky braking as the wheel slid a bit. I just might look into getting a more sure gripping front tire. I've also noticed the front tire catching on grooves in the pavement or uneven roads and those sometimes tend to be scary bc you feel that drift going 50mph and it makes u nervous. Not sure if that's the tire issue, or simply the road.3rd, the front wheel's shock absorbency is kind of firm. I noticed when riding on the Freeway, which I hate to do, when u hit some good bumps your hands and shoulders get jackhammered. It can be scary bc it feels like you might lose grip if you're not holding on tight enough. Maybe I just need to get the Shocks adjusted to a softer position, which I will investigate.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

FANTASTIC !!!!! I will say the front brake is a bit sticky, so you have to get a feel for it for sure. Once u get used to it, you can't help but smile hitting those turns fast, while riding the front brake, down shifting, lean in, and explode out. Friggin' Exhilarating !!In addition to the actual braking, the engine braking on the R7 is stellar. I'm very happy to report, that the R7 comes equipped with ABS.

Engine 5 out of 5

Engine is really powerful in spite of the "top end" argument. I mean let's be honest, how often are u wanting to go sustained MAX speed. The R7 is still fast as hell, and you'll be feeling that nervousness once you're hitting that top speed, wondering how well the road is kept. I'd go for slingshot power & acceleration any day of the week, bc that's the real joy and fun of riding the R7. The Engine just hums, and it will definitely try to leave u behind when u launch down the highway. You really have to hang on.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Beautifully well built machine, with an awesome engine that just sings. Great Engineering with a well tuned system. Works smoothly in unison, from the clutching, shifting, and braking.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Don't know yet, only been riding a it few months. So nothing to pay yet.

Equipment 5 out of 5

I love the color design. Cream, Red, and Gold Wheels. Everywhere I go, everyone stares at my bike in awe. Nothing but endless compliments. It's a joy to ride. My favorite feature is the acceleration. The R7 is explosive, and gets moving really quick, and very smooth. However, I did notice that I got some slight fishtailing a couple of times while shifting at the top RPM and the bike is screaming. It's either the R7's engine is more powerful than the rear tire's ability to grip, or it could just be the pavement at the time. I've only noticed it twice.

Buying experience: I purchased from a Dealer. The process was great minus the sticker shock. The base price is meaningless, bc once u add all the dealer fees it quickly escalates from that $10,000, to more like $12,000. Altho I did add a slide protection kit for an extra $400.

5 out of 5 After 33 years of Sportsbikes, Naked and Adventure Bikes the R7 is all I need.
02 May 2023 by Brad Hollywood

Version: 60th Anniversary

Year: 2022

Annual servicing cost: £200

I have had numerous big bikes, Firblades, Firestorms,TL1000R, z900, K1300s, FZR600, GSXR 600, ZX6R and so on, then went the adventure bike route. But, after an injury and physically struggling to get on an adventure bike, I tried the R7, and I was surprised. There is plenty of room on the seat. Yes, it gets wristy in town, but it is a sportsbike, and I may be close to 50 with over 33 years riding experience but I love the R7. It reminds me of my old FZR600, not the quickest, not the most hi tech, but it just gels and does everything I need. The fuel tank isn't huge, but I get 130 miles between fill ups (Firestorms and TL1000's used to get 80!!). The R7 is all I need and it looks absolutely stunning in 60th Anniversary colours. I can honestly say its the best bike I've owned in the last 20 years!!.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Fully adjustable suspension, decent seat, low bars is wristy in town, but feels more comfy than my old fireblade, I am 6 foot tall with the joys of getting old (Arthritis in numerous joints) but can still fit on and have room to move about on the R7. Pillion seat is a token gesture and only for the brave. Brakes are decent and all that's needed for the road. I can do around 120 miles before needing a break, although if lots of low speed and town work, closer to 70.

Engine 5 out of 5

Coming from 120+bhp bikes, I was concerned how I'd get on with the R7, but its got more than enough power for the road. The throttle can be a bit snatchy on and off the throttle, but once you get used to it you can smooth it out. The engine is an absolute gem, the noise and power delivery is better than most European rivals.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Yamaha have come a long way since the FZR600s of the late 80's early 90's. The paint and attention to detail on the 60th Anniversary is stunning, no corrosion and Yamaha proven reliability. A lot better than the KTM experience that I had!!

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

50-60mpg and valve clearance not needed to 24,000 miles means cheap servicing and running costs. The purchase price is an absolute steal!!

Equipment 5 out of 5

Fully adjustable suspension, decent clocks, ABS, Brembo master cylinder. I've got the genuine tinted screen fitted and it looks amazing on the bike.

5 out of 5
18 July 2022 by Grahame Holt

Year: 2022

The best handling bike I’ve had. What is lacks in top end speed it makes up for with the sheer fun factor and razor sharp handling. Cracking looking bike and sounds like a rocket with the twin engine screaming though the after market exhaust.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5

Great tyres but needed the after market exhaust

Buying experience: Bought from a dealer at the advertised price of £8400 on the road with free delivery

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