For many years now, the Kawasaki Ninja 650 has enjoyed its reign as the king of the affordable, middleweight sportbikes. Loved by many for its simplicity and impressive performance, this bike has long been the standard for what many would consider as the ultimate daily sportbike. We can certainly attest to this, as we’ve spent a good deal of time aboard the various iterations of Team Green’s middleweight sportbike.
However, the folks over at the Blue team, also known as Yamaha, have recently unveiled a motorcycle which will undoubtedly take the crown from Kawasaki as the most capable and purpose driven affordable middleweight sportbike. Just last week, Team Blue unveiled the replacement to the Yamaha YZF-R6 supersport. While the R6 has become a legend in the sportbike world, it had the same high-strung character as other 600cc-class supersport. This meant that while this bike was extremely capable on the track, it became quite a burden to ride on the street, especially at low speeds, due to the inline-four engine’s high-revving nature.
With the YZF-R7, Yamaha seeks to redefine the middleweight Japanese sportbike segment by employing a formula that we are all very familiar with. With its affordable price tag, committed sportbike ergonomics, and amazing engine, let’s take a closer look at Yamaha’s newest sportbike, and decipher why this motorcycle has the potential to change the middleweight sportbike game.
Tried and tested engine
As it would turn out, the Yamaha YZF-R7 makes use of the Japanese manufacturer’s now iconic CP2 parallel-twin engine. Now, you may be wondering what a parallel twin motor is doing in a track-oriented sportbike. Well, the CP2 is no ordinary parallel-twin. It features a 270-degree crankshaft and an uneven firing order which gives it an incredibly smooth and controllable powerband. Now, we’re going to discuss the benefits of a 270-degree crankshaft in detail in another article, but basically, the YZF-R7 sports the same engine as Yamaha’s best selling naked bike, the MT-07.
Yamaha’s CP2 parallel-twin motor is a 689cc inline-twin, with a 270-degree crankshaft pumping out around 73 horsepower and 67 Nm of torque. Unlike its inline-four-powered predecessor, the YZF-R7 picks up steam much lower in the rev range, making for much more peppy acceleration, albeit with the power tapering off a lot sooner. This, in turn, gives the YZF-R7 a much more tractable engine, making it easier and more comfortable to ride on the street—where this bike will most likely spend most of its time.
Impressive chassis and components
Thanks to the use of Yamaha’s CP2 engine, the YZF-R7 has been built around a narrow, steel chassis—the narrowest and slimmest frame to be ever used on any Yamaha supersport bike. This not only gives the rider a solid perch when attacking corners on a race track, it also gives the R7 extremely nimble and agile handling, giving it the ability to change direction at a lightning-fast pace. Overall, the Yamaha YZF-R7 boasts an impressive lightweight construction with a total weight of just 188 kg—a few kgs lighter than its predecessor.
Suspension duties are handled by lightweight 41mm inverted forks equipped with preload and damping adjustability. The rear end is suspended via an adjustable mono-shock mated to a linked system for added compliance on the street and track. Lastly, braking duties are handled by a front radial Brembo master cylinder mated to twin radial dual-piston calipers upfront, while a single piston rear disc setup handles stopping at the rear. Of course, ABS comes standard with the new YZF-R7.
Affordable price tag
While there isn’t any word yet as to the availability of the YZF-R7 in the local market, the bike will be priced at $8,999 USD, or the equivalent of around P432,000 in the USA. For reference, the MT-07 is priced at $7,699, or around P370,000. This could mean that if and when Yamaha Philippines begins importing the YZF-R7 to the local market, it could fetch a price tag just slightly north of P500,000. For reference, the outgoing YZF-R6 came with a hefty price tag starting at P749,000. That said, there’s nothing left for us to do other than to wait and see what Yamaha has in store for us.