A pure homologation special never intended for mass-production, the Yamaha YZF-R7 OW02 was a spiritual successor to the storied OW01 that took the fight to the famous Honda RC30 and the Ducati 851 Corsa featured this past weekend. But where the Honda used a different engine configuration than their more common mass production sportbikes and introduced a host of other parts that looked as trick as their specs would suggest, Yamaha’s superbike special appeared, at a glance, to be just a hopped-up YZF-750R. In reality, it was every bit as exotic as Honda’s V4 machine. By the time the R7 rolled around, Yamaha didn’t even have a 750 sportbike in production, which gave the R7 at least a little bit more exotic cachet when new. Looking very much like a slightly bulkier R6 or an R1 with smaller headlights, the familial resemblance is unmistakable, at least on examples that actually have headlights…
Sold for just two years, the R7 was discontinued after the disappointing performance of Yamaha’s WSBK team. To keep the racing competitive and encourage different manufacturers to participate, twins like Ducati’s 916 were allowed a displacement advantage to overcome their relative lack of power compared to four-cylinder machines. But parity is a moving target in racing and, by the late 1990s, the rules started to favor the v-twin bikes so even Honda switched to a new, two-cylinder engine configuration in order to compete.
Equally disappointing was the R7 road bike’s tested performance: by 1999, emissions laws had evolved far past a point where it was possible to ride your racebike to the track, pull off the lights, win a race, then ride it home. The result? A dead stock, the R7 made just 106hp, on-par for 750cc sportbikes of the era, but very disappointing for a pricey exotic. That problem could easily be fixed by activating the second set of injectors sleeping within the motor and fitting a revised airbox that gave a ram-air effect, but the full 162hp also shortened service life of the engine. None of which was an issue if you planned to race your R7, but a bit of an issue if you wanted to use it on the road.
I’m not sure the bike was ever officially sold for road use here in the USA, although I’m sure there are a few kicking around in states with looser regulations. That’s hardly a problem here, since this is a racebike.
Don't miss Your chance to become an owner of very rare Yamaha YZF-R7. Only 500 was made. All documents in order, customs clearance. Very good condition. Can be delivered anywhere in Europe.
In 2001, the Russian company PANAVTO became the general sponsor of the Spanish racing team, taking on board the highly positioned at the time the Spaniard Juan Bautista Borja. It has at its disposal one of the most famous in the world, but same time very rare bike - Yamaha R7 (OW02). It was most advanced racing motorcycle for the World Superbike that time. It was the first and not the most successful attempt to join the Russians in WSBK, as the costs of participation in the series proved to be much more serious than it was then assumed management of the company, and Juan Borge managed to earn 12 points for the season, becoming the 33rd on its results (out of 44 pilots, published at the start at least once).
The R7 is a very exotic and desirable motorcycle, and this genuine World Superbike-prepped machine offers up tons of legitimate race-track performance, along with that eye-watering $29,000 Buy It Now price. So far there hasn't been much interest, but is that because of the price, this bike's undistinguished racing history, or because the bike currently resides in far-flung Latvia? Is someone out there brave enough to drop nearly $30k on a very exotic track-day toy? Let's hope so.