No one buys sports bikes anymore. The market for powerful middleweight bikes with aggressive riding positions has fallen on its arse, prompting many manufacturers to react accordingly. Yamaha, for instance, ditched its long-running YZF-R6 model last year, and rather than replace it directly, the Japanese company brought out this: the R7.
Instead of a high-revving 599cc inline-four producing 117bhp, it has a 660cc parallel-twin making a far more modest (and very road-friendly) 72bhp. The riding position is more relaxed, and while the R6 was around £12,000, Yamaha this week confirmed the R7’s UK price as £8,200. In the US, the MSRP is $8,999.
If you want the gorgeous white and red-liveried 60th Anniversary version (and why wouldn’t you), it’s an extra £300. Anyone wanting to go down the PCP route meanwhile will be charged £94 for 36 months after putting down £2,083, with an optional final payment of £3,757.50.
The £8,200 price tag makes the R7 about £50 more expensive than the Honda CBR650R, another sports-bike-that-isn’t-quite-a-sports-bike which we have on test at the moment (more on that soon). It’s considerably cheaper than the Aprilia RS 660 which is £10,149 and the Ducati Supersport 950 which weighs in at a chunky £12,295. A Kawasaki Ninja 650 undercuts the Yamaha with a £7,349 starting price, but its parallel twin is less powerful and uses a conventional (and therefore less interesting) firing order.
The R7’s ‘CP2’ engine uses a 270-degree ‘crossplane crankshaft to give an uneven, V-twin-like firing order. You’ll also find this engine in the ever-popular MT-07 naked bike, with which the R7 shares much including its frame. It’s not quite accurate to call the R7 ‘an MT-07 with fairings and clip-ons’, as there are other differences including the suspension setup and some frame stiffening plates on the R7. In terms of pricing, the R7 is about £1300 more expensive.
Want one? It’ll be in UK Yamaha dealers by November, and reservations are open now.