It’s finally time to welcome the successor to the beloved YZF-R6, which Yamaha discontinued late last year to the chagrin of
squids riders everywhere. The thing is, the R6 never really left. It only counted up a number and got a redesign.
It’s not only lighter and faster; it’s better and bolder than before. This is the 2022 Yamaha YZF-R7:
Yamaha’s latest supersport is a return to form, with specs that aren’t exactly surprising but are satisfying nonetheless. The engine in this new R7 is the same as that of the current MT-07, a 689cc liquid-cooled parallel twin. This CP2 motor is efficient, compact and it reduces mass compared to a V-twin without losing any power. It has been around for a while, but it’s proven to be such a successful design that Yamaha has seen fit to build a handful of bikes around it.
After laying the groundwork with the impressive engine, Yamaha went to work optimizing the handling and ergonomics of the new R7. The bike maker is really leaning into this reworked chassis. Yamaha says this frame — like the engine — has been made narrower and more compact, which gives the bike better handling:
Rake, trail, and wheelbase dimensions have also been optimized for superb handling while cornering on a racetrack or a twisty section of pavement. The narrow, lightweight frame design has resulted in the slimmest bodywork found in Yamaha’s Supersport lineup and reduces air resistance while incorporating the rider’s body into its design.
The R7's suspension also minds the light and narrow design, as Yamaha notes:
A linked-type Monocross single-shock with adjustable spring preload and rebound damping strikes a balance between ride comfort and sporty performance for capability across a wide range of uses, from urban commuting to track days. The rear shock unit is mounted horizontally, fastened to the crankcase for efficient use of space and weight, contributing to mass centralization and further enhancing the bike’s compact size.
All this talk of mass and weight really reminds me of Buell, which delivered excellent handling through smart weight distribution, but Yamaha has taken this approach and added to it with its legendary engines.
Of course, I can’t mention this new Yammie without noting how good it looks. There’s still a lot of the old design here. The R1 and the discontinued R6 shared much of their looks. This new R7 is a step along that same path rather than a digression. The snout on the R6 (and R1) always struck me as incomplete, with the air inlet set between its headlights leaving behind a big blank.
I understood this was for the sake of airflow, so it never bothered me much. Yamaha now reworked the front fairing slightly, and we’ve learned what was missing: a headlight! Yammie put a third light in that negative space, and the design is surprisingly balanced. You would think it would break the symmetry, but it doesn’t. It actually completes the snout!
The paint finish of the R7 is also neat. The old color on the R6 almost looked violet to me in certain angles or under the wrong light. This new hue is a a little muted compared to the old one, but it doesn’t lose any radiance. It still smacks you with blue, but it looks better. More cohesive. It might be that the tail is once again the same color as the rest of the bike, but it could be that’s there’s less violet going on.
Overall the bike looks good, sounds great and it should ride even better. This new R7 is definitely what all those who mourned the R6 have been waiting for.