Yamaha has been granted a 2022 CARB certification for one its most iconic model names: the YZF-R7. We know this because Motorcycle.com‘s very own Dennis Chung stares at CARB filings like other people stare at artwork. For anyone who has followed Yamaha’s sportbike history, the R7 holds legendary status as the ultra-rare, 750cc four-cylinder the company used to go Superbike racing with names like Haga, Gobert, and many others. Hearing of the model name’s revival, then, is understandably exciting.

Except the new R7 won’t be anything close to a fire-breathing 750cc four-banger. Instead, the CARB filing lists the new YZF-R7’s engine as 689cc – the same size as the current parallel-Twin used in the MT-07, XSR700, and Tenere 700. This all but confirms the new R7 will likely be a fully-faired version of the MT-07 – or at least its engine.

A fun and playful engine, Yamaha’s CARB filing shows the 689cc, twin-cylinder CP2 will power the upcoming YZF-R7.

Ever since the demise of Yamaha’s beloved YZF-R6 four-cylinder supersport, many have wondered what Yamaha would do to fill the gap in its lineup. Other outlets and publications have speculated a fully-faired MT-07 would take up the mantle, but Motorcycle.com has held off on perpetuating those rumors until more solid evidence emerged. That time is now. 

Of course, there are many more details we want to know that CARB filings won’t tell us, but based on the model codes filed, they suggest the new R7 will have two color options: (Yamaha) blue, and black.

Odds are, this, the MT-07, will be the basis for the upcoming YZF-R7.

So, other than the fact that Yamaha has a new R7 coming for 2022 based on the existing 689cc, 8-valve, 270º parallel-Twin, the rest of this post will be purely conjecture based on what we’re hoping to see from the new bike.

Chassis

While there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with the MT-07’s chassis, you come to expect something a bit more refined and focused from Yamaha when you stick on the R prefix. The beauty of the MT-07 is its affordability, and designing, then producing, an all-new frame and swingarm to give the R7 proper track chops would likely drive up costs considerably. If you remember, one reason for the demise of the 600cc supersport class was their high price tags that nearly rivaled their 1000cc counterparts. The R7’s success hinges in large part on keeping with an attainable price.

Suspension-wise, the MT-07 uses a traditional 41mm fork and a basic shock with hardly any adjustability. Like we just stated with the chassis, we’d really like to see the R bike use a fork that’s a little more stout, inverted, and with proper, adjustable cartridges inside. A shock with proper valving for sport riding and full adjustability would also be nice.

On the braking front, you’ll find dual 298mm rotors on the MT-07, clasped by axial-mounted calipers. They’re actually decent for a budget bike, but once you start playing in sportbike territory, upping the ante to radial-mount calipers, radial master cylinder, and larger rotors is basically mandatory. Oh, and steel-braided lines would be nice, too.

Electronics

Of course, any new motorcycle these days – and especially a sportbike – is nothing without an array of electronic aids to help the rider go faster, safer. It’s only natural to expect an R1-inspired electronics package to make its way to the R7, complete with IMU-assisted traction control, cornering-ABS, and wheelie control, at minimum. Having a quickshifter that works in both directions would be a huge bonus, as would being greeted with a TFT display. Finally, having full LED lighting would add a premium touch. The trade-off, however, would be additional cost.

Keep Dreaming

People have been grafting fairings and transplanting R6 front ends to MT-07s to turn them into psuedo-sportbikes since the bike first came out in 2015 as the FZ-07. Now Yamaha is making it official – or at least we think so. Photo: Jim Sendy

Again, it’s worth stating that the above wishlist of features is just what we’d like to see and not what Yamaha will (necessarily) deliver. However, when you consider that Aprilia has broken the mold in the sporty middleweight twins category with the RS660, one can only hope that Yamaha will answer the call with the new YZF-R7 – and maybe come in at a price that undercuts the Italian competition.

More to come as this news develops.


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