Yamaha encourages all types of riders to get back onto a sport bike with the 2022 Yamaha R7.
For the last two decades, we are spoiled in a way that we always want more when it comes to motorcycling. Motorcycles have been getting better in every possible way. We want them to handle better, go faster, stop quicker and we want them for cheaper.
The new Yamaha R7 may be a brand new model, but it shares the same platform with the MT-07 to keep the cost lower, which is one of the bestsellers in Yamaha’s model lineup. However, R7 is not an MT-07 with fairing and clip-ons, as Yamaha changed few important things that make the bike more track worthy while still keeping the price tag reasonable.
Before we start, if you are asking why Yamaha came up with a new middleweight sport bike, the answer is, it’s because of you. Today’s riders want to have everything all together for the lowest price possible, and therefore sharing the same platform with the most popular bike pretty much anywhere in the world.
It’s not new to share a platform, it’s widely popular amongst all manufacturers, and I think MT-07 is one of the most fun motorcycles that you can get for the money. Of course, 2022 Yamaha R7 is focused towards sportier ride, as well as track riding, therefore there are very important changes.
Let’s start with the looks. Even at first glance, it is very easy to see that the R7 looks just like the other Yamaha sport bikes. It has a very aggressive front fascia, DRLs make it look very sporty and it has a functional intake duct for extra performance. The LED headlight is a single piece, but it offers great lighting performance riding at night.
The rear design is quite aggressive like the front end with the small LED taillight as well as sharp lines that looks more like aerodynamic air vents. It is quite obvious that the design language is inherited from the R1, therefore it definitely looks sporty and menacing from all angles.
The riding position is quite aggressive compared to MT-07, but you can still ride it on daily basis especially if you are a flexible person. If you are overweight like myself, you may need few days to get used to it. You have a very large seat area as a rider but passenger seat is quite narrow and almost useless for any type of human body style.
At 6’1″, I felt a little bit cramped with the stock seat, especially when you have foot pegs placed up high, higher seat option would be a great long term investment. However, if you are shorter than me, it should be a great fit for anyone below 6’0″.
The second biggest difference is the suspension setup. It is one of the most criticized parts of the riding experience of an MT-07, and even today it’s really not an optimal choice for sporty riding. This time, Yamaha did a great job with the suspension setup, as R7 offers adjustable upside down front forks.
Overall, I really like the suspension tune, and having adjustable forks make it so much better for heavier riders like me. It gives you a lot of confidence, and based on my experience the front end feels much more agile and confidence inspiring compared to MT-07’s non adjustable front forks.
Like the MT-07, 2022 Yamaha R7 has the same dual 298 mm front discs, and 245 mm rear disc. The biggest difference is that the R7 comes with Brembo master cylinder which offers significantly better braking feel and much better initial bite feedback.
Yamaha’s corporate 689 cc parallel twin engine pumps out 72 horsepower and 47 lb-ft of torque. You may be thinking that 47 lb-ft doesn’t sound impressive, but the torque curve is pretty flat and very punchy almost at idle, that’s what makes this CP2 engine with 270-degree crankshaft so special and fun.
Despite having a sporty riding position, having inline twin engine makes the bike a great daily rider. You don’t have to be battling the powerband pretty much in any circumstance, there is torque throughout the whole rpm range, anywhere you need, at any gear.
Another advantage of having a parallel twin compared to 4 cylinder sport bikes is the weight savings. It makes the bike so much more agile, and flickable. 2022 Yamaha R7 just wants to lean and gives a lot of confidence, surprisingly good for this price range, and for a bike that does not have fancy suspension features.
Although the engine is pretty much the same, there are some important differences in the transmission. 2022 Yamaha R7 comes with a slipper clutch unlike the other models. You can also buy optional Quickshifter that only upshifts.
Overall, R7’s drivetrain offers decent amount of power, definitely not overwhelming but not boring either. The bike is a great fit for wider spectrum of riders compared to any other 4-cylinder entries. It also has lower operating costs, as it happily runs with 87 octane with great fuel economy numbers (4.5 L / 100 km) regardless of how hard you push it.
The most disappointing part about the whole experience is the exhaust that is also used in MT-07. R7 is meant for sportier riding and it definitely needs an exhaust that goes well with the rest of the motorcycle. Unfortunately stock exhaust is extremely silent and restricted due to regulations, and it is a one-piece design which is quite expensive to replace with an aftermarket part.
Most riders usually forgive the build quality of cheaper Yamahas because the brand usually allocates the funds towards the engine more than the plastic trims, and it is still the case with the R7. You won’t find a great build quality when you get into the details such as the buttons and plastic parts look cheaper than the price tag.
2022 Yamaha R7 does not come with fancy electronic features, as it is built to a price point. It has a digital dashboard that is easy to read, but functionality wise you won’t find fancy features. You only get the most important information.
The bike comes with two safety features, the first one is the ABS. The bike really don’t need a traction control or fancy riding modes, as Yamaha wanted to keep the price reasonable, and it is a very predictable bike overall. The second one is that, all lighting is LED throughout the bike and I think this is very important safety feature and it makes the bike look a lot better.
We explained how good the R7 is as a daily rider, but what about spirited riding? It’s extremely predictable and fun in the twisties, so much that you question yourself – do you need faster bike? Sure, you always get the R1 if you want ultimate performance machine, but R7 is a great sweet spot to fill the gap for many different type of riders.
2022 Yamaha R7 is a “basic” sport bike that can be ridden both daily, or it can be a weekend-track machine with a modern look without breaking the bank. In a world where everything gets more complicated, heavier, faster and ultimately more expensive, R7 is the Yamaha’s response for riders looking for a sport bike to go back-to-basics, with an affordable price tag.
2022 Yamaha R7 starts at $10,799 CAD and it is slightly more expensive than pretty much all rivals such as the CBR650R, Ninja 650 and others. Unlike the others though, adjustable front forks are only available with the R7, which is an important feature if you want to fine tune it based on your weight, and riding style.
Overall, I’m very happy to see the arrival of an R7 as it encourages all types of riders to get back onto a sport bike, it is just not easy to recommend it in a market where we have the MT-09 in the same price range with more features, tech and overall performance. For Yamaha, it’s time to consider to bring a future “R9” variant for more performance oriented riders.
For more details – please visit www.yamaha-motor.ca