Yamaha R7; Supersport reinvented?

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When someone says “Supersport”, most of us think of screaming R6s, CBR 600RRs, ZX-6Rs and the like. Whether you’re riding them on the road, watching them race on the telly, or racing them yourself, 600cc Supersport bikes have been dishing out bucket-loads of excitement for as long as most of us can remember. But times change. And as far as new bikes go, the Supersport class isn’t really a class anymore; not in the UK anyway. Or maybe it is. Maybe we just need to have a rethink. Perhaps the Supersport class is being reinvented by bikes like this; bikes like the new Yamaha R7.

Now, everyone over 40 and some people over 30 will remember the Yamaha YZF-R7 back in 1999. Yamaha made 500 of these homologation specials so they could race them in WSBK. They were very trick and they cost a fortune. But don’t be fooled by the name, that’s not what the new R7 is.

So what is it? Well if you were to imagine an MT-07 with a fairing, you wouldn’t be a million miles away. The Yamaha R7 uses the same four-stroke, inline twin, DOHC, 4-valve, LC CP2 engine as it’s naked brother. It makes the same 73bhp (@ 8,750rpm) and 67Nm (@ 6,500rpm), too. The frame is effectively the same too – a tubular steel setup with an aluminium backbone. There have been some changes to the geometry to make it feel a little sportier but nothing ground-breaking.

You do get fully adjustable 41mm upside-down KYB forks and a new link-mounted shocker, adjustable for preload and rebound damping. And the clip-ons, rearsets and seat are likely to give the R7 a sportier feel too. But if you ask me, it’s the looks that really set it apart from the MT-07. At a glance, you could easily be mistaken into thinking it was an R6. I’ll let you decide whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Looks-wise, you’d have to say it’s sportier than its Japanese rivals, the CBR650R and the Ninja 650. On a par with the Aprilia RS 660.

And it might not have the sportiest chassis ever, or the most exciting engine, but it does have a Brembo master cylinder and 4-pot callipers at the front. And it only weights 188kg, wet. So you’d have to say this little thing is certainly going to be a right laugh to ride. And that’s what Supersport bikes are all about.

So maybe we need to have a rethink. The Supersport class that we once knew and loved is, unfortunately, dying a death. So maybe this class of bikes is the one to get excited about. The manufacturers will, no doubt, try and market these bikes to younger, or new riders, but I don’t think they’re the only people that should be enjoying them. Because nobody actually needs 200bhp, do they? And if calling the thing an R7 isn’t an attempt to spark a bit of interest in some of the older, more nostalgic people amongst us, I’ll eat my Tito Rabat (hat).

Yamaha are calling the new R7 a 2022 model, so it won’t be in dealers until October 2021, and they haven’t told us how much it’s going to be yet. As a point of reference though, the MT-07 is currently about £7,000 (£6,902 at the time of writing); I’d expect the R7 to be another grand or so on top of that.

Who else is excited about this?

22 Responses

  1. I wonder if suzuki will play along and create another sv650s? I like all these new sporty little twins.

  2. I think its a shame they didn’t give it more power. If Yamaha gave it 85-90 hp it would have been more of a competitor to the rs660, while still keeping the price lower. And that middle headlight is absolutely hideous what were they thinking lol. Apart from those 2 things its gonna be a cracking bike.

  3. Bit of a fart in a tea cup unless they’ve done some internal work and kinematic tweaks to make it a supertwin contender

  4. It’s not on par with the RS660. And they shouldn’t have called it the “R7”, that’s just blasphemy

  5. As a newerish rider (2 years this year) Personally, I ride a 2016 Ninja 650, with some woodcraft clip ons slapped onto it, a full Yoshi, and a power commander. Probably not needed, but oh well.

    I was thinking as I zip around town to and from work, the twisties occasionally on the weekend, a couple hours of freeway riding when needed, which isn’t the best but comfortable enough. Plenty of times have I been screaming on public roads like an idiot, with a couple risky near misses thinking, if I had any more power, I’m not responsible enough to not go splat. But I want my ninja to be more sporty, so I was thinking of upgraded my suspension front and rear.

    But now Yamahas got me thinking, ill keep the change and get a nice blue maiden that sounds perfect for everyday use, while also having the potential to be a fun time on the track with some mods. I think this is right on the money for people like me who want to do track riding for fun every now and then, but need something practical (as practical as a sports bike can be) for everyday riding.

  6. Very excited!! This is a great new edition! Hopefully it can generate interest in younger guys and reinvent sports bikes as they are all dying on their ass atm.

  7. 6500rpm doesn’t sound that much of a sportbike to me. Sounds like they just stuck an mt07 engine into an r6 and gave it a new name for some quick bucks.
    The usual Capitalism boringness.
    When i saw the title on Instagram i actually got excited at the idea of a revy torquey ballanced tripple cylinder sports bike to compete with the 750 gsxr.

    1. In reality they stuck R6 fairing on an MT07 with clip ons. And for the right price, might not be a bad thing.

  8. I can’t wait to have a go on the R7. I still love riding the Sv650 so the power is fine for the road. The price difference would push me towards the Yam over the Aprilia.

  9. It’s a fucking travesty calling this the R7. MT-07R would have been more betterer.

    I bet it makes Haga sad.

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