2021 Yamaha R7Armani Moffatt
Now then, anybody hoping that the news of the R7’s release heralded a return to those heady days of 750cc sports bikes, is bound for some disappointment. On the other hand, anyone who was hankering after a light-weight Yamaha sports bike rival to machines such as Suzuki’s SV, Kawasaki’s Ninja 650 or Aprilia’s new RS660, can start doing cartwheels right now!
So, yes, the new R7 isn’t an R7 as we may have imagined, and while many may think this a misnomer based on history, the fact it’s essentially an MT-07 means it’s actually bang on. Plus, there doesn’t seem to be any ‘YZF’ included anywhere, leaving the door slightly ajar for the return of the YZF R7 one day. Or maybe not, as Yamaha has already secured the ‘R9’ trademark, which may or may not relate to another naked MT, the MT-09 – you do the math…
Back to the new R7, and we can’t really complain because the donor bike has been one of the best low-range naked bikes on the market since its inception. Useful and friendly enough for anybody new to bikes, and effective enough that long in the tooth bikers could get one and spend most of the time laughing their heads off. Truly, a hilarious machine, one of the best and easiest stunters around with an engine brimming with vim, vigour and vibrancy.
Obviously, the R7 has some pretty sleek bodywork in evidence, and the consequential clip-on’s, but what other changes have been made? Really, surprisingly few, but then the MT-07 has been raced in Supertwins guise in various series the world over already, and has done very well. For Yamaha’s own production version, there’s a new 41mm front fork (plus new clamps) attached to the MT-07 frame, but with a steeper head angle by 0.8 degrees over the MT to increase steering accuracy. The pegs are a little higher while the rear shock and linkage have a bespoke R7 setup. On the chassis front, that’s about it!
The CP2 engine is an absolute gem, knocking out around 70 rear-wheel ponies (at 8750rpm) and a gazumping 67Nm of torque. Obviously, the ECU will have different parameters along with adjusted out and intake settings, but the only change that could be considered significant is a reduced secondary reduction ratio, which should allow Yamaha to run longer gearing than the MT but without harming acceleration and of course helping to increase top speed.
Elsewhere there are LED lights, a slipper-clutch, 10-spoke wheels, the option of a quick-shifter (up only) and more official accessories than you could shake a stick at. Visually it looks hugely different from the MT donor, obviously, but in reality it’s not massively different, and that’s a good thing. It should allow you to lark about on the road just like its naked sibling but have the correct stance for putting your head down and getting cracking, or having some right fun on a track day – what’s not to like?
Coming in at an expected £8,000 (TBC), it’s ballpark for this kind of bike, and it’ll undoubtedly be fabulous fun, perfect for beginners sports biker peeps, and well worth every penny. Try not to think too hard about the fact that the same price ten years ago would have snagged you a proper 600cc screaming Supersport, though. Times change, and what now passes for middleweight sports bikes are 750cc and upwards, with more cylinders than the R7’s two. Bikes like the R7 et al are the new breed, the new ZXR400 or NC30, if you will, and all power to them!
The only bummer is that if you’re hoping to snag one before summer, think again, as bikes will hit dealer floors in October apparently, but better late than never, nay?
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