The 750 cc sportbike segment is dead. Or is it?
The scribes over at Motorcycle.com continue to dig up government documents that spill the beans on future models. Their latest hot tip? Paperwork filed with the California Air Resource Board shows Yamaha is planning to release a new machine under the YZF-R7 name.
It’s been a long time since Yamaha sold a 750 sportbike, but it’s had some excellent machines in this category in years gone by. The YZF750 had an excellent run at the Suzuka 8-Hours in the ’90s. More recently, the Yamaha YZF-R7 homologation special (aka the OW-02) appeared as the company’s World Superbike/Suzuka bike, for a production run in 1999.
The new YZF-R7 will have nothing in common with that race-bred machine. It’s probably going to be a fully-faired sportbike based on the MT-07 platform, with a 689 cc liquid-cooled parallel twin. That engine makes just under 75 horsepower at the crank, with 50 pound-feet of torque. Not quite on-par with the old homologation specials, but everyone knows the MT-07 has been a cornerstone of the Yamaha lineup for several years now, thanks to a blend of performance and value.
With that in mind, a sportbike based on this engine could give the crotch rocket scene a much-needed kick in the pants. An emphasis on affordability over racetrack performance will bring more riders into this scene, and also potentially play in new middleweight-based racing series. That’s a win-win.
If they would really call it a YZF-R7, that would be a terrible mistake. Yamaha has been pushing the YZF pre-name for decades now, saying it was used to make sure everybody knew it was a full on racing bike. If now they will call a little (nice though) twin a YZF, it would make all that effort quite a joke. Not to mention the R7 name was for a fire-breathing, very rare (500 pieces only) racing tool for a rider like Nori Haga. Let’s just hope Yamaha doesn’t soil it’s own heritage here…
Still love Suzuki for building strong 750’s. Lower insurance costs than a 900 or 1000.