Yamaha Street R7, on track!
For the longest time I have been a huge fan of everything sport bike related. When I was planning on buying my first Sport bike, the Yamaha R6 was one of the bikes I was looking at to buy. But since the Yamaha R6 was discontinued by Yamaha for road use in 2020, I was more than stoked to hear about the new R7 launch. Because, with the same CP2 engine as the MT07 this was bound to be an all time favorite, right? I was one of the first in my group of rider friends to say that I wanted to try one on track and was super interested in seeing a special race category rolled out for this type of bike when it was announced in 2021. I loved the looks and the specs seemed great, but were they actually as good as they seemed on paper? In this blog I will take you through my experiences with the Street R7 on the track of TT Circuit Assen AND on the track of Spa Francorchamps.
As some of you might well know Rick, my boyfriend, is an amateur super bike racer on a 2018 Yamaha R1. He’s totally in love with the brand Yamaha, and has tried and tried to convince me to buy a Yamaha street ánd track bike and give up my love for Honda. And although I have certainly come more to the dark side of Japan and to like the Yamaha motorcycle range now that I have owned a FZ8s myself and also tested out the Yamaha Tracer 9GT back in January 2022 and the XSR700 in February, I am not ever willing to give up my CBR600rr, Dory. But, to be fair, the reason to hang on to Honda has less and less to do with the brand, and more and more with this bike in particular, but I digress, back to the story!
Rick had a day planned with the Yamaha Track Days at the Track of TT Circuit Assen back in May, and as well on Spa Francorchamps at the end of June. I really wanted to go ride myself, but I didn’t have a Yamaha track bike..! Cue Yamaha Holland: They were willing to let me try out a few of their models on track, especially focussing on the Yamaha R7 in Street Setup, and so I had the chance to ride this awesome bike on track, a place where the style and position feel right at home.
But what did I think of the R7 after I had the chance to ride it? Did it have enough horsepower to be able to “have fun” with on track?
To be very quick and easy about it: Yep! And quite a lot at that!
For sure, the Yamaha R7 isn’t going to be fastest on track, especially not on the straights, but the easy and agile feeling in corners and the ease that you can step onto this bike and start riding like you normally would was very eye opening!
When stepping on the bike for the first time, you will immediately notice the riding position, which is, in contrary to the MT-07, much more aggressive and race ready! This is, next to the fairings of course, immediately the biggest difference between the R7 and the MT-07, which the engine is completely similar to.
The engine being the well tested and beloved CP2 engine from Yamaha with 689 cc and about 74 hp.
Not a lot, indeed, and you will miss some speed at the top when you’re full throttle racing against an R6 out of the corner onto the straight, for example. But the torque and corner speed due to the lightweight chassis makes up for a lot of it. Next to that, the fitted A&S (assist & slipper) clutch makes the motorcycle predictable enough when braking hard coming off the straights and getting into the corners. It’s also very easy and lightweight to use which can be very assuring for people who suffer from easily tired wrists and hands when going for a ride with lots of up and down shifting. The Brembo radial Brembo master cilinder definitely helps with that as well as you will more than enough stopping power for the streets and for the people starting out on track as well!
The Yamaha R7 is in no way supposed to be compared to other inline 4 cilinder supersport motorcycles, best is to compare it to other super twin motorcycles, and when looking at this list, the R7 could be an very important and high competitor for the coming years!
Now, I have been mostly talking praise about this motorcycle, and to be fair, I am absolutely obsessed with the model. Actually so much even, me and Rick are thinking of buying a damaged street R7 and building it into a track bike so we can ride super twin cups with it! But those are plans to work out in a few years..
I can now hear you thinking: “nice praise to the Yamaha gods Myrt, but are there any cons to this motorcycle?!” And well, not much, but if I have to be a real critique (since that’s what I promised you I would be today) I can find a few points in this model that I think are less than ideal.
First one being the top speed, yes, I know, it’s probably starting to be a bit confusing now.. we have talked about the top speed earlier in this blog, and I have tried to convince you that it’s not that bad, but still, even I myself needed a lot of convincing before I was on board with the idea of the top speed not being that important. Because, compared to a R1 or a R6 the acceleration is almost to be called “meh”. When you’ve had a taste of these beastly motorcycles on the straight, the R7 full pull going onto the straight is just less satisfactory.
Another con for me would be the tires on the street R7 that we were using during the Yamaha track days. The tires fitted standard on the R7 are the Bridgestone Battlax S22. Which are pretty decent tires on its own, many riders would even say they’re great. But for me personally, on the track after I had warmed them up for 2 laps I was not having a great feeling with them in the corners. After 2 to 3 right hand corners with the tires doing fine you would do one left hand corner and the rear tire would slide, giving me the feeling that they cooled down too quickly. Note that this was while the track and outside temperature that day were pretty good for Dutch standards, so they weren’t cooled down by ice-cold winds. This is my own personal feeling on them, and luckily tires are easily replaced!
Lastly I am personally not a fan of the LCD dashboard on the R7. TFT was brought out years ago, and still Yamaha chose to opt for the lower quality LCD dashboard. Probably for budget reasons, they want to make the R7 a budget and starter friendly bike, and that’s one thing they surely did.
All in all the R7 is an amazingly fun bike to ride and play with. Not only on the street, but also on track, although you might want to change out some things as soon as you’re going to ride on track more regularly.
No reason to not to get this bike though, and it is definitely a bike you want to try out as a sport bike lover!
Have a great day bikerfam, I will speak to you soon!