The Yamaha R7 is here, and Yamaha’s gone to some effort to make sure it delivers a sporty motorcycle, not just a rehashed machine with a fairing bolted on.

The new R7 is nothing like the old R7; the old 750-class four-cylinder superbikes were known to be deadly race weapons, while the new release is instead a parallel twin aimed at more sensible riding. It’s based on Yamaha’s 689 cc CP2 parallel twin (DOHC, four-valve head, crossplane crank, approximately 74 horsepower at 9,000 rpm, with 50 pound-feet of torque at 6,500 rpm).

Yamaha made some model-specific changes for the R7, though, just as it did for the Tenere 700 when it brought that to market (remember, the Tenere 700, XSR700, MT-07, Tracer 700 and now the R7 are all based on the same basic design).

The R7 is supposed to be fun at the track or on the street. Having said that, it’s definitely aimed at practicality. It is not a full-on crotch rocket like the R-bikes of old. Photo: Yamaha

Updates to the R7

For 2022 (this is officially a 2022 model), the R7 engine has a revised second gear “that creates an exhilarating ride and a sporty feel.” Does that mean more horsepower or more torque? Yamaha’s presentation didn’t tell us, and neither does its press release. Either way, the point is that Yamaha changed things up, to build this bike.

Yamaha also put in an assist/slipper clutch, and added an optional quickshifter to the accessory list. None of this is groundbreaking or revolutionary, but it does give the R7 more sporting credentials. The CP2 engine is proving very popular with budget-conscious street riders, and Yamaha’s claim that “torquey acceleration and linear power delivery for outstanding response at all engine speeds” sounds like the kind of affordable real-world performance that riders are looking for these days. Four-cylinder 600s are dead, because many riders woke up and realized their unsuitability for the street, and insurers put the final nail in the coffin by pricing coverage out of younger riders’ reach, thus killing the most important market for supersports.

Yamaha intends this R7 to substitute for the R6 (canceled for 2021), but it’s not exactly an even swap. The Canadian press presentation opened with the rep saying this machine was an obtainable race replica supersport, but “It wasn’t made to replace anything, and it wasn’t made to race against anything else.” Maybe, maybe not; it’s hard to imagine that American racers won’t be pressing to get this into MotoAmerica’s Twins class next season.

Fully-adjustable front forks help you fine-tune the R7 suspension. Photo: Yamaha

Either way, expect to see the R7 on tracks across the continent soon, as Yamaha’s put together a list of factory accessories that would make track days easier. Frame sliders, fender eliminator, spring windscreen, front/rear axle protectors, a rear seat cowling, and so on—you’ll look good when you’re rolling up to the paddock, at least.

And it’s not like the bike’s styling itself is ugly. In the past, naked bikes converted to fully-faired sportbikes have often had a reputation for mild, or even severe, ugliness. Yamaha’s kept true to latest-gen R-series styling here, and if you dig that look, you’ll probably like the R7.

Looking closely, you might notice the R7 is a very narrow machine. Yamaha actually says the R7 has the most narrow profile of any R-series sportbike ever, so there’s some advantages to sticking with the parallel twin engine and the MT-07’s tidy chassis design.

The R7 is more narrow than either the old R1 or R6, says Yamaha. That means improved aeros. Photo: Yamaha

The frame and running gear are upgraded from the MT-07, though. The most obvious difference is the 41 mm USD forks. These Kayabas are fully-adjustable, and Yamaha used a forged aluminum lower triple clamp with gravitycast aluminum upper triple clamp. The shock has adjustable spring preload and rebound damping. Yamaha used a horizontally-mounted arrangement, with attachment directly to the rear of the engine case “for efficient use of space and weight, contributing to mass centralization and further enhancing the bike’s compact size.” All very modern, and sporty.

As for the frame itself, it’s steel, just like the MT-07, but with aluminum centrebraces near the swingarm pivot, improving the R7’s torsional rigidity. Yamaha says “Rake, trail and wheelbase dimensions have also been optimized for superb handling while cornering on a racetrack or a twisty section of pavement.”

If you want, Yamaha will sell you a long list of sporty accessories as well, including a quickshifter. Photo: Yamaha

The brakes are specific to the R7 as well, with radial Brembo master cylinder pump (a first for Yamaha), along with four-pot Brembo calipers in front (Nissin in back) mated to 298 mm discs. ABS is standard, but it seems that (for now) leaning ABS is not. That’s not surprising, as Yamaha’s looking to keep the price down here.

Yamaha even went out and splurged on R7-specific tires (Bridgestone Battlax S2) and LED lighting, although the dash is still a budget-friendly LCD unit (again, keeping the price down).

Styling in line with other late-model R-series bikes. Photo: Yamaha

What we don’t know:

Canadians will get the R7 for $10,799 with a 12-month warranty, with machines arriving in June. We don’t know American pricing yet, or availability, but expect those details soon.

We’re also light on a few other details: Fuel capacity and weight are the biggest questions, but again, we expect to see those numbers released shortly. Word on the street is, some American riders will be testing the bike this week, but Canada’s current COVID lockdowns mean Canuck journos are stuck home, swatting black flies in their back yards instead of testing machines.

UPDATE: Yamaha has the R7 on its US website now, with $8,299 MSRP plus taxes and fees, and a wet weight of 414 pounds. Fuel capacity is four gallons.

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