There’s a saying in combat sports that styles make fights. Dominant fighters can sometimes be put on their hands and knees by someone with a style they aren’t prepared to defend. Other times the fans are treated to a show because the favorite has to adapt to a fighter with an unorthodox technique. Ali vs. Frazier became legendary because not only were the two complete opposites in the ring, but they were opposites out of it, too. In more modern times, Tyson Fury became the current heavyweight champion by using skill and agility to beat Deontay Wilder, a fighter who uses his ridiculous punching power to clobber his opponents – while also making up for his relative lack of experience with the Sweet Science.
Before you start peppering me with hate mail about how on earth a Yamaha R7 could possibly be the best Sportbike, let’s remember what our MOBOs are about in the first place. It’s not strictly about performance. If that were the case, then clearly the Yamaha would be pretty far down the totem pole. How the machine works is a factor, sure, but it’s also about a motorcycle’s significance in the greater overall context of its category and motorcycling in general. Considered in this context, the R7 should start to make a little more sense.
I make it a point to tell everyone who is willing to listen (and even some who aren’t) how much fun the new Yamaha R7 is. While most people get up in arms about the name of the bike, I’m over here having a blast actually riding the thing, preferably at a race track. I said as much during my First Ride Review of the R7 back in May, too. What the R7 brings to the table in terms of elevating the MT-07 platform for track duty – all for under $9000 – is truly impressive.
Earlier this year, we broke news of the existence of the new Yamaha R7, and a couple of weeks later, that Yamaha has plans for more R models to come, with trademark applications in Japan for a number of names from R1 through R9, plus R15, R20 and R25. Thanks to a number of new trademark applications in multiple markets, we believe the next models to follow after the R7 will be the R9 and R2.
I get it. You’re upset. How could Yamaha possibly perform something as sacrilegious as this? The name YZF-R7 belongs to one of the most iconic motorcycles in Yamaha’s history. A 750cc screaming inline-Four that was basically purpose-built for racing, with looks that have stood the test of time, the original R7 is a legend. To put it on this – on this – is simply unforgivable.
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.