Yamaha May Be Planning a Whole Range of YZF Sportbikes
New trademarks filed for R1 through R9
Earlier this month, we uncovered proof that Yamaha was planning a new YZF-R7 model for 2022. The new R7 was certified with the California Air Resources Board with a 689cc engine, likely the same CP2 engine powering the MT-07, leading to some debate whether a new Twin-cylinder bike would be worthy of the YZF-R7 name, or even as as a potential replacement for the now discontinued R6. The news also led some to wonder whether an R9 is in the works, using the MT-09‘s 890cc Triple.
To further fuel the speculation, Motorcycle.com can confirm that Yamaha has filed new trademark applications in Japan suggesting a full range of YZF-R models from R1 through R9, plus YZF-R15, YZF-R20 and YZF-R25. The R1, R3, and R6 all exist, as do the small-displacement R15 and R25 models. We know a new R7 is coming, but the trademarks suggest Yamaha is also considering an R2, R4, R5, R8 and R9, plus a small-displacement R20 model.
We say “considering” because the trademark applications don’t necessarily mean that the names will actually be used, only that a company intends to use them. A myth persists that companies trademark all sorts of names they don’t plan to use, just to prevent others from using them. But that doesn’t actually happen. Trademark laws generally discourage this by requiring some proof of the trademarks being used. Under Japanese law, any party can ask for a registered trademark to be cancelled if it has not been in use within a span of three consecutive years. Sometimes plans change and projects get cancelled, but for the moment, we can assume Yamaha intends to use at least some of these names.
As we’ve noted, an engine already exists for a theoretical R9, and the R7 has already been certified. The 599cc R6 has been discontinued, except for a limited run of track-only models for Europe. At the moment, Yamaha has no current engines that would be an obvious fit for the other displacements.
All that being said, the question remains of whether it makes sense to offer such a wide range of R models when the market is moving away from high performance sportbikes.
There’s also a risk of having too much overlap. Is there room for an R8 if an R7 and R9 exist? Some of these potential models may also be market specific to meet local licensing requirements. Honda, for example, offers 400cc versions of its CB500 models in Japan, and it’s possible Yamaha may do something similar with the R4 and R5.
As of this writing, only the R7 is expected to be released in the next year, with perhaps an R9 to follow. For the moment, Yamaha is laying the groundwork for more.
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More by Dennis Chung