Yamaha R7 impresses on track: Testers over the pond report good first impressions

1 of 5

There’s an old joke that we’re always a few months behind the Americans when it comes to the latest trends and in the case of Yamaha’s R7, that’s literally the case.

The exciting new middleweight twin has already been handed over to our US cousins for a good track thrashing, whereas us Brits will have to wait until August to throw a leg over it.

Related articles on MCN

Luckily for you there’s a few of us here that can read American, so we’ve taken out all the Zs, put the ‘i’ back into aluminium and distilled their thoughts here to keep us going until we get to wring the neck of one ourselves. In short, they think it’s rather good.

Writing for Cycleworld, Michael Gilbert seems most impressed by the chassis, saying it has "an any-apex-anytime feel that boosts confidence in a way even track-prepped MT-07s couldn’t" and that despite being a few kilos heavier than the MT-07 it "is more nimble and more than willing to tackle quick side-to-side transitions and midcorner corrections".

Troy Siahaan from Motorcycle.com agrees, adding: "Changing direction on the R7 couldn’t be easier, as it flicks from side to side with a swiftness I expect from an R3 or other small motorcycle."

2021 Yamaha R7 on track

The Yamaha’s suspension also impresses Gilbert, although he does note that "faced with the stress of battling it out with four-time AMA Superbike champ… Josh Hayes the fork struggled with load, chattering sometimes in transition from trail-braking to neutral throttle".

No single bike is perfect though with some negatives appearing, namely from the brakes with both Siahaan and Gilbert having issues with the ABS intervening too early and the R7 lacks the ability to turn it off. That said it’s an issue few people will find, especially as most people with sportsbikes only indulge in the odd trackday.

Overall though, both testers were impressed with the bike, which has debuted in the US for a pre-tax price of $8999 (approx. £6350), which is £1620 less than the Aprilia RS660 costs over there. The hard part now is just the wait until we get a go!


Seventh heaven: Yamaha R7 wraps up all the good bits of the MT-07 into an even sportier package

First published on 18 May 2021 by Jordan Gibbons

2021 Yamaha R7

After months of feverish wondering, dreaming and even begging, Yamaha have revealed an MT-07-based supersports bike. Named the R7, in honour of the homologation-special YZF-R7 from 1999, its goal will be to bridge the gap once filled by the R6 between the dinky R3 and the monstrous R1.

Related articles on MCN

As you might have guessed by the name, the R7 is powered by the 689cc parallel twin CP2 engine from the MT-07. The engine has won a lot of plaudits since it was first introduced thanks to the uneven firing order from its 270° crank.

Not only does it give a decent power delivery but also gives it a noise and feeling that others have been quick to copy. For a relatively low powered motor (72bhp @ 8750rpm) it delivers an engaging ride.

Unsurprisingly, Yamaha haven’t mucked about with the formula too much for the R7 but they have tickled it a bit around the edges. Designers have fitted a new ECU, new air intakes, a revised exhaust and fresh fuel mapping, which they say combine to deliver a more responsive but controllable throttle.

2021 Yamaha R7 has clip-ons and rearsets

To make things perkier down low the R7 has a shorter gear ratio in second while a new slipper clutch prevents over-revving or rear wheel hop on aggressive downshifts and is 33% lighter at the lever, too. There’s even an optional quickshifter (price TBC) that can be fitted by the dealer.

The increased spec over the standard MT-07 continues elsewhere with fully adjustable 41mm USD forks at the front and adjustable (preload and rebound) rear shock.

The geometry of the R7 remains similar to the MT albeit with a 5mm shorter wheelbase and a steeper head angle. Clamped on to the bottom of the forks are a set of radial calipers on the other end of a Brembo master cylinder, which should give a decent uplift in brake feel over the MT-07’s set-up.

Other nifty little quality upgrades include the new LCD dash, which boasts a gear indicator, shift light and quickshifter indicator (if one’s fitted).

2021 Yamaha R7 on the road

Of course, no supersport bike is complete without a supersport riding position, with clip-on handlebars, rearsets and a skinny seat. That said Yamaha claim the riding position has been designed to be ‘sporty yet adaptable’, so it shouldn’t deliver wrist ache in the first 20 minutes, and of course the fairing has been designed to mimic the MotoGP bike. If you’re a big rider you might struggle to get behind it, though.

Yamaha say that thanks to the skinny motor, the R7 is one of the most aerodynamic bikes around; it’s narrower than even the R3 or R125. This is key to its performance as even with the same power output as the MT (and four extra kilos), it’s capable of 12mph more at the top end.

What is also clear about the R7 is its potential as the base for a race bike in lightweight classes, perhaps half the reason it comes with race bike size rubber (120/70-17 front and 190/55-17 rear).

Once dominated by fours and modified twins, the new breed of middleweight twins is taking off and many will be eyeing up the R7. But the big question is price. With heavy competition from the Aprilia RS660, the R7 has a battle on it’s hands. But Yamaha say it’ll cost "around £8000", gifting a £2k advantage to the R7.


New R7 on the way? Yamaha drop second YouTube teaser for incoming mystery parallel-twin model

First published on 18 May, 2021 by Dan Sutherland

Yamaha have revealed a second teaser trailer for what could be a new sportsbike model powered by the MT-07 naked’s 689cc parallel-twin engine.

Like the original video, the 28 second follow-up, simply titled R/World is within your reach, 18/05/21. shows a number of track and road onboard shots, plus footage of riders in either jacket and jeans, or one-piece leathers – suggesting the new bike will be a halfway house between the two disciplines.

Related articles on MCN

Although we don’t get to see much of the mystery machine, a shot at 0:07 reveals a front screen - so we now know it’s got a front fairing – and a headlight shot at 0:15 reveals front styling bearing more than a faint resemblance to the aging R6 supersport bike.

The video then plays the same parallel-twin engine note as in the first video, appearing to be accelerating through the gears via a quickshifter. It then ends by suggesting the reveal will take place on May 18 at 3pm CEST (that’s 2pm here in Blighty).

As always, MCN will bring you more on the bike as it becomes available and keep an eye out for a full, in-depth review.


New R7? Yamaha tease sportsbike with MT-07 engine note in YouTube short

First published on 06 May, 2021 by Dan Sutherland

Yamaha have set the imagination of sportsbike fans ablaze with a new 28 second YouTube teaser, appearing to hint at a new faired machine, potentially powered by the MT-07's parallel twin.

The film, simply titled Track. Street. R/World. shows onboard footage from both a circuit and mountainous switchbacks, with a distinct parallel-twin engine note appearing from around 15 seconds. There’s not a lot to go on, but the two-pot motor sounds quick revving, with gears appearing to be dealt with via a quickshifter. The video ends by simply telling us the bike is 'coming soon.'

Related articles on MCN

This is not the first time we’ve heard rumours of a new mid-sized sporty model from the firm. Back in February, our sources in Japan suggested Yamaha could fill the gap left by the four-cylinder R6, which is now only available to buy in the UK as a track-only R6 Race model.

They went on to surmise that Yamaha would unveil such a model this spring to arrive before the autumn and this looks set to become a reality. Exactly what it will be called remains to be seen though, with ‘R7’ likely to upset fans of the original four-cylinder superbike.

Should our theories be correct, the parallel twin in the latest MT-07 produces 74bhp, so don’t expect similar power to the rev-tastic R6, even with a bit of internal jiggery-pokery.

That said, Aprilia’s mid-sized £10,150 RS660 twin produces a claimed 99bhp and Honda’s £8049 four-cylinder CBR650R makes 94bhp, so it’ll likely need a few extra ponies to take top spot in this burgeoning soft supersport class.

Keep an eye out for more information on the new machine as it becomes available and look out for a full in-depth review coming soon.


Supersport gap filler: Yamaha MT-07 dresses up to replace R6

First published on 17 February, 2021 by Jordan Gibbons

Sportsbike based on the Yamaha MT-07

Yamaha are working on a faired MT-07 to fill the gap left by the outgoing R6 according to sources in Japan. Rumours of a new model have been circulating for some time but the latest information suggests Yamaha will unveil the bike this spring to arrive before the autumn.

Related articles on MCN

The writing has been on the wall for the R6 for years, with declining sales and ever-tightening emissions standards making continued investment (and profit) steadily less likely. Then, late last year, Yamaha announced the R6 would be no more in Europe, with just a few track-only models available for die-hard trackday enthusiasts and racing teams.

With the R6 gone a chasm is left in Yamaha’s sportsbike range between the A2-friendly R3 and the range-topping R1. Sources tell us that this gap will be filled by a new bike, powered by the CP2 engine from the new MT-07.

The parallel twin in the latest MT-07 produces 74bhp, so it’s clear that unless Yamaha give it a massive overhaul the new bike would compete with the Kawasaki Ninja 650 or Honda CBR650R rather than the Aprilia RS660. The CP2 engine is arguably the best bit of the MT-07, delivering a fun and engaging ride without brain-warping power.

Yamaha MT-07

Even with a huge update, we think Yamaha will still want to keep the output nearer to 80bhp, so it doesn’t become an R6-style exercise in chasing the redline. That said, this could well be a useful option for people who fancy mini-twin racing.

To help keep costs down, which will be key to the success of the project, the chassis will be similar to the one in the existing MT-07. Yamaha already have form modifying this chassis, such as on the Tracer 7, so it shouldn’t require huge work. Wheels, suspension and other running gear are likely to be similar, to help keep the budget under control.

That budget could be the key to the new bike’s success or failure, much as it was with the original MT-07 and the thrifty adventurer Ténéré 700 (which also uses the CP2 engine). If Yamaha can keep the new bike’s price under £7500 they could be onto a winner.

There's also a question mark over what the middleweight sportster will be called. Yamaha’s naming convention would point to it being an R7 but since that was a WSB homologation special race bike, which Yamaha are very proud of, we expect the firm will give this bike a fresh label.

Read the latest stories causing a buzz this week in News…

Jordan Gibbons

By Jordan Gibbons

News Editor, owns some old bikes. Should know better.