YAMAHA have come out swinging with their latest mid capacity offering, with the highly anticipated YZF-R7 designed to reinvigorate the declining super sport segment. The new model will be available in high output and learner legal variants.
Gone are the days when motorcyclists demanded the latest high tech crotch rockets, supporting massive amounts of horsepower, that would scare the bejesus out of mere mortals on the road.
Those leather clad supermen and women that had the capability to do unthinkable speeds either on two wheels or one, and scrape their knees on the road while other motorists were left either in awe or completely petrified, simply aren’t around anymore.
Thanks to things like an increased police presence, sneaky speed cameras and a plethora of other measures to stop people going way to fast, sales of licence burning super sport machines have waned dramatically.
Enter the 2022 Yamaha YZF-R7, a bike the brand hopes will bring new riders. It replaces the void left by the R6 – which moves to become a track only offering, and is suitable for first timers, or those looking to shift to full power, thanks to its dual variants.
Exhaust Notes Australia was privileged enough to be able to test the 2022 Yamaha YZF-R7, in its high output (full power) form, on both track and road, putting the new model through its paces in a variety of situations.
Taking on Aprilia’s RS 660 and the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R, both of which we’ve also tested, simplicity and usability find themselves as the building principles of this new model, which borrows its super sport seating position from its own R6 sibling.
We rode the YZF-R7 straight out of the box at Sydney Motorsport Park and had a ball. There are no riding modes to flick between either, so it’s a case of just jumping on the bike and twisting the throttle. It’s a nice change quite frankly.
And sure, the YZF-R7 doesn’t have the blistering speed or acceleration of its high powered R1 sibling, nor is designed or aimed at the experienced track day enthusiast, but what it does deliver is a heap of fun.
It’s also the perfect way for novice riders to enter the track scene, while still having a competent daily mode of transport. It delivers good power, without being overwhelming, and accelerates smoothly and crisply out of corners as well.
Powered by a 54.7kW (73hp) liquid cooled four-stroke inline two cylinder double overhead cam 689cc engine, the R7 allows the rider to grab a fist full of throttle at will. It features forged aluminium pistons with direct plated cylinders integrated with the crankcase.
The R7’s reliable cross-plane engine’s 270 degree crank provides an uneven firing sequence, which is designed to deliver a more characterful note and emphasise torquey acceleration and power delivery.
For us though, the exhaust is one of the first things we’d upgrade. The noise just doesn’t cut it. Acceleration though, is crisp and responsive, but is nowhere near as aggressive as the aforementioned R6.
On the road in particular, the R7 feels far more refined and useable, without that constant feeling that the bike is trying to rip your arms off every time you twist the throttle hard. The constant mesh 6-speed gearbox, featuring a slipper clutch, works well too.
If there’s one criticism here, it’s that a quick-shifter is not a standard fitment on the high output model. It is an optional extra though, and that’s one box we’d be ticking every day of the week.
Handling gets a massive tick from us too, and is really where the R7 excels. Boasting an all new super slim lightweight super sport chassis, with a wet weight of 188kg, the sporty Yamaha feels nice and light. It was nimble even with this reviewer’s 105kg frame on board.
The R7 utilises an ultra narrow, high strength steel frame which provides excellent rigidity for the bike as well. By mounting aluminium centre braces near the swingarm pivot, improved torsional rigidity has been achieved.
Yamaha have also optimised rake, trail and wheelbase dimensions for improved handling both on the road and track. An inverted KYB 41mm front fork with optimised spring rate and dampening settings assist good front end feel for cornering and braking.
The front setup is fully adjustable for preload, rebound and compression dampening. Combined with a rear linked type mono-cross shock with adjustable preload and rebound dampening, it sets up a formidable balance between track riding and commuting.
That also means this bike is perfect for weekend blasts on the twisty stuff. Brembo brakes handle the stopping power on the 2022 YZF-R7, with this bike the first to feature the manufacturer’s radial brake master cylinder.
This new radial master cylinder provides a more linear supply of hydraulic pressure to the similarly mounted four pot front brake callipers, creating strong stopping power through dual 298mm rotors.
Overall, the package combines well to pull up the R7, on the road and the track, and offers good feel and bite when required, whether navigating the daily commute or pushing a little harder.
The new model also features a sports bike styled cockpit, with a simplistic TFT dash that displays rider info at a glance, including speed, revs, and fuel level. It even features a shift light, although the white indicator blends into the rest of the display a little.
Yamaha’s 2022 YZF-R7 LAMS (learner approved) edition will be available in two colours; Performance Black and Team Yamaha Blue (as tested). The high output variant comes in the same colours, plus the 60th anniversary World Grand Prix scheme.
Pricing for the learner approved variantwill start from $13,999 ride away, with the full powered model just $1000 dearer, at $14,999 ride away. Both are backed by a 2-year warranty.
In summary, what the 2022 Yamaha YZF-R7 represents is a truly useable, versatile and accessible motorcycle, which is well executed and is going to find a legion of fans who want a bike that does it all.
It’s a great weekend warrior, a schmick commuter, and a bike you can take to the track and leave with a grin.
Our test bike was provided by Yamaha Australia. To find out more about the 2022 Yamaha YZF-R7, contact your local Yamaha dealer. Images courtesy of Colin Chan.