Yamaha just took the wraps off a new sportbike; as expected, it’s an adaptation of the MT-07 platform, but the changes are more than skin deep.
The engine is still the 689 cc liquid-cooled parallel twin that Yamaha uses for the rest of its 700-series machines (MT-07, XSR700, Tenere 700, Tracer 700). There are minor changes for this sportbike application; Yamaha revised the second gear ratio, and added a slip/assist clutch as standard equipment. There’s a quickshifter as well, available as a factory-installed option. Yamaha also designed a new radiator for the MT-07.
On to the chassis. Yamaha went all Skinny Minny Miller here, keeping things lean and mean. Yamaha actually says the R7 has a more narrow profile than the old R6 and R1, as the narrow frame design allowed the designers to slim down the bodywork.
The frame is steel, and looks similar to the unit Yamaha uses for the MT-07, but there are also some changes here. As per the press release:
“The YZF–R7’s ultra–narrow, high–strength steel frame provides excellent rigidity for a sporty and responsive ride by mounting aluminum centrebraces near the swingarm pivot which improve torsional rigidity. Rake, trail and wheelbase dimensions have also been optimized for superb handling while cornering on a racetrack or a twisty section of pavement.“
Note the reference to the racetrack. Yamaha says this bike wasn’t necessarily built to race any particular competitor’s machine, but obviously expects owners to take their R7 to the track (there are several factory accessories which will make this an easier task, if you wish).
Yamaha also uses unique suspension on the R7, instead of warming over the MT-07 components. There’s a set of fully-adjustable USD forks (41 mm), with forged aluminum lower triple clamp and a gravity–cast aluminum upper triple clamp. In back, there’s horizontally-mounted monoshock that’s bolted directly to the rear of the crankcase, reducing weight and making for a more aggressive-handling, compact package.
The R7 also gets a radial front brake master cylinder, courtesy of Brembo, the first Yamaha to feature this. All the cool kids have these on their superbikes these days, aiming for more linear braking. There’s a set of four-piston calipers up front, mated to 298 mm discs. Again, these components are all upgrades from the MT-07.
Yamaha did save a few bucks with an LCD dash; the industry is moving towards TFT, especially for Bluetooth integration and electro-wizardry management. But, the R7 is pared-down enough that it can get by just fine with the LCD. ABS is standard, but don’t expect tunable engine braking here. It’s not aimed at that market segment.
LED lights come standard, though, along with Bridgestone Battlax S2 tires that are “tuned for this model.”
Canada gets Team Yamaha Blue and Performance Black paint options, with June availability. It’s a 2022 model, with 100 bikes on the first shipment and more to come (an important question to ask in this COVID-challenged shipping situation). MSRP is $10,799, with a 12-month warranty.