Is a new middleweight track weapon on its way?
Ever since Yamaha left an R6-sized hole in the hearts of middleweight sportbike lovers everywhere, the rumors have been flying both thick and fast. The one that made the most sense to everyone was, of course, the idea of transplanting the beating heart of the MT-07 into a new R7 for the modern era. While no one truly expected a resurrected YZF-R7 race homologation, could that legendary bike’s spirit find a more mass-market place in 2021?
In mid-March, 2021, Yamaha gave us more reason to hope. In its 2022 California Air Resource Board filings, it listed two previously unseen model names: YZFR7NCB and YZFR7NCL. Now, not everything any OEM files with CARB about will necessarily become a production model. If both 2020 and 2021 have taught us anything, it’s that plans can change for all kinds of unforeseen circumstances. The global semiconductor shortage is still a thing, as is the pandemic. Relatedly, who expected the Suez Canal shipping debacle to happen when it did?
On May 5, 2021, Yamaha Motor Europe dropped a 28-second teaser on its YouTube channel that seems to hint even more strongly at the existence of a modern-production R7. Titled “Track. Street. R/World,” the caption underneath simply reads, “R/World is coming your way with something new. Soon. #RWorld”
The actual content of the teaser is mainly onboard footage of an as-yet unspecified bike rocketing around a track, set to an appropriately hypnotic electronic music bed. Toward the end of the clip, the music fades away, and in its place, you hear a smoothly-revving parallel twin that sounds quite a bit like an MT-07.
There’s no mention of the MT-07 or even any hint of displacement or engine type associated with this teaser, so it’s still all a guess at this point. We may have some pretty solid ground to stand on for that guess, but until there’s official word from Iwata, that’s still all it is.
How soon is, well, soon? Hopefully Yamaha won’t leave us waiting too long to find out.