How the MT-07 Could Revive the Lightweight Twin Category

Lightweight twins have always been a wonderful category of motorcycle racing. They bridge the gap almost perfectly between small capacity bikes like the Ninja 300 and the supersport category which offer a whole other level of performance – sometimes too big a leap for new riders. Unfortunately, the category has suffered in recent times due to the fact that there’s no real suitable bikes currently for sale on the market to enter. But an unlikely project may change that.

The bulk of grids for the lightweight twin category is made up of Suzuki SV650’s. The problem is that Suzuki discontinued production of the bike back in 2009 (although remaining stock stayed on sale in the UK and Australia until around 2012). That means a diminishing amount of machines available to enter as they get older and damaged. Sure, there’s Ninja 650’s but they struggle to compete and don’t have anywhere near the amount of aftermarket support and parts available.

How the MT-07 Could Revive the Lightweight Twin Category

Enter AP Moto-Arts, a company in California that has a long history of building a variety of racebikes and they believe the Yamaha MT-07 (known as FZ-07 in the US) may be the answer to fill the SV650 gap. The specifications of the MT-07 fit perfectly – a 689cc parallel twin engine on a lightweight chassis. The problem is that the MT-07 is pretty far removed from a race capable machine – it’s a naked street bike built to a price.

In an interview with LWT Racer, Cody Newman, who races a 600, was one of the riders asked to test the bike, “The FZ-07 ‘R’ was a dichotomy for me. On one hand, there wasn’t a thread of familiarity between the race-going version and my basically stock FZ-07 street bike. On the other hand, the bike felt immediately and decidedly comfortable.”

As of now the kit includes the bodywork and mounting kit,  ECU flash with quickshifter and harness, a shock link for track geometry and rear set adapter plates. The downside to all this is that there’s not a great deal of MT-07’s on the used market at this stage, so buying the bike and the aftermarket kit will prove far most costly than an existing race prepared SV650. But the temptation of a new machine that may prove more capable on the track will always prove too strong for the truly competitive – and the MT-07 does come with some natural advantages of higher torque and a shorter wheelbase.

And then there’s the upcoming all new SV650 coming out later this year, although we have our doubts it will have the same impact on the track as the original.

Source: LWT Racer

How the MT-07 Could Revive the Lightweight Twin Category

A New Yamaha MT Model to be Unveiled Next Week

Yamaha has issued a press release today with an accompanying video that continues its ‘Darkside of Japan’ theme from previous MT model releases. As is the case with most motorcycle promotional material of late, the video gives virtually nothing away save for plenty of money to ad agencies who continue to push out the same schlock.

There’s really not much lacking in Yamaha’s current range for a brand new engine to be put into the mix, so it’s hard to guess what exactly we will see next week. Could it however be an updated FZ1 like we wrote about just a few weeks ago? That would work well in America where the MT series is actually known as the FZ series. Or could it be a production model of Yamaha’s PES2 electric bike? That’s a possibility, given the wording used in Yamaha’s press release talks of ‘dark energy’ – oooh.

In the end, it’s likely to be a derivative of either the current MT-09 or MT-07 which makes sense barbecue as a base to work off, both bikes are brilliant. Yamaha today also ‘officially’ unveiled the Roland Sands Design ‘Faster Wasp’ concept which will soon morph into the production version XSR900.

All will be unveiled next week when EICMA kicks off.


2016 Yamaha XS700 is an MT-07 Based Retro Motorcycle

We knew a retro styled motorcycle based on the Yamaha MT-07 (FZ-07) was coming after Yamaha Europe showed off a concept just last month. Now the official motorcycle has been unveiled and it’s a beauty and no doubt will compete directly with the Ducati Scrambler in the ‘new’ retro market – albeit it with a likely big price advantage.

Yamaha describes the bike as “a casual, retro styled street bike that pays tribute to the iconic Yamaha XS650”. It will join Yamaha’s ever expanding Sports Heritage range and given the dynamics and power of the donor MT-07, it will definitely succeed in the sport category.

What impresses us most is that Yamaha has gone to a good deal of effort to make this a proper standalone motorcycle. It would have been easy for them to just change the fairings and headlights and call it a retro styled machine, but they’ve done much more than that. In addition to the new front and rear lights, the aluminium fuel tank is totally new as is the seat. There’s also a brand new dash that takes obvious inspiration from the Ducati Scrambler

Less flattering however is the radiator. Obviously going air cooled was not an option but it does stick out like the proverbial. Perhaps making it black in color would have hidden it better. There’s also undoubtedly major parts of the MT-07 still visible which does at times make this appear to be an awkward combination of old and new but overall we feel it works – and it’s definitely great to get a retro styled bike with a modern engine and other parts.

The modern technology complementing the retro style continues with lightweight 10-spoke aluminium wheels and stopping power – ABS will be standard. Engine specifications remain unchanged from the MT-07. Again, just like Ducati there will be a plethora of aftermarket accessories and yes, a clothing range. Wet weight comes in at a fairly respectable 186kg. Full specifications are listed below.

The bike will be released in Europe in November this year. Australia will get it in the first quarter of 2016 and while we haven’t received confirmation on a specific release date in the USA, it has been confirmed it will be coming to North America in the near future.

2016 Yamaha XS700 Specifications

EngineLiquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-stroke, 4-valves, 2-cylinder
Capacity689 cm³
Power55.0 kW (74.8PS) @ 9,000 rpm
Torque68.0 Nm (6.9 kg-m) @ 6,500 rpm
Gear Box6 gears
Front BrakesHydraulic dual disc, Ø 282 mm, ABS
Rear BrakesHydraulic single disc, Ø 245 mm, ABS
Front SuspensionTelescopic forks, 130 mm travel
Rear SuspensionSwingarm, (Link type suspension), 130mm travel
Front Tire120/70 ZR 17M/C(58V) (Tubeless)
Rear Tire180/55 ZR 17M/C(73V) (Tubeless)
Wet Weight186 kg
Tank Capacity14 L

2016 Yamaha FZ-07 Tracer Spotted Testing

It seems almost that every week brings a potential new Yamaha motorcycle. Ever since the release of the Yamaha FZ-09 (MT-09), more and more derivatives have joined the ranks, including the FZ-07 and FZ-09 Tracer. Now, a sister to the Tracer has been spotted testing, the FZ-07 Tracer.

The appearance of an FZ-07 Tracer undergoing testing really shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise as Yamaha has made it clear it intends to exploit the full potential of their new chassis’ and engines. The bigger FZ-09 Tracer has only been available for a few months and has already been a great success.

From the photos, we can see that The FZ-07 Tracer gets a new front fairing, a new and higher mounted seat and touring windscreen. What will remain the same is the engine, frame and wheels. The front forks appear identical too although it’s difficult to really tell from the photos. We’d hope that the forks were extended in keeping with the ‘adventure’ theme.

The bike pictured testing appears however to have a new swingarm. It’s hard to see the impact on the bike but potentially it may change the wheelbase. Handlebars also look like they’re positioned higher to give the rider a more upright stance. Luggage is obviously an accessory that will be available at launch.

It’s probably still very early days for testing of the Yamaha MT-07, so we wouldn’t expect a release until mid to late next year.



Yamaha Yard Built MT-07 Retro Bike To Be Unveiled Tomorrow, Built By Years’ End

Rumors have been floating around for a few weeks now that the latest in Yamaha’s Yard Built series will use Yamaha’s brilliant MT-07 (or FZ-07 in the USA) as a base. But best of all, this ‘concept’ bike will be the inspiration for an actual model that will  go on sale by the end of this year. The bike is to be unveiled tomorrow at the Wheels & Waves custom show in Biarritz, France but a video uploaded yesterday shows it off already.

You’d be hard pressed to see from the images that this is an MT-07 in new clothes, but the giveaway is in the shot of the dash. The bike has been designed by famous Japanese customizer Shinya Kimura and certainly builds upon elements of the Yamaha XJR1300 Racer released late last year. It’s a bold move by Yamaha, as the hooligan nature of the MT-07 seems pretty far removed from the retro scene. But on the other hand, it’s wonderful to get a retro styled bike that hasn’t been shoehorned into a cruiser for a change.

As you can see from the pictures, there will be a lot of changes from the appearance of the concept bike to the final product, but our understanding is that the basic shape of what you see here is what we’ll get come final release.

Given the massive success of the Ducati Scrambler, we have no doubt that an even cheaper yet stylish motorcycle will become a smash hit. Yamaha is continuing to absolutely storm ahead in recent years and this latest move is no exception.


2016 Yamaha FZ-09 and 2016 Yamaha FZ-07 Updates

Normally we wouldn’t bother reporting on such minor model updates but we’ll make an exception in the case of Yamaha’s brilliant FZ-09 and FZ-07 pairing (known as MT-09 and MT-07 respectively outside of Northern America). The bikes remain pretty much unchanged from when they were released, which is both good and bad.

Good in that for the most part, they’re nearly perfect machines. The jerky throttle issue that plagued the FZ-09 when it was originally released is now rectified, though the underwhelming front end suspension remains as is. It does retain the absolutely brilliant 847cc in-line 3-cylinder engine that makes it such an absolute joy to ride. New color schemes include Raven ($8,190) and Impact Blue ($8,190).

The FZ-07 also returns as is but with new color schemes too which includes the aforementioned Raven ($6,990) and in our opinion, the brilliant looking Matte Silver ($6,990). Unfortunately, both the FZ-09 and FZ-07 remain without even the option of ABS brakes in the USA. We’re beginning to think that someone at Yamaha USA has a religious opposition to ABS, with these two machines and the R3 all lacking the feature which is either an option or standard elsewhere in the world.

No doubt these updated color schemes will make their way into other markets as well. Our sources indicated that a non LAMS version of the MT-07 will make its way to Australia next year and that ABS will be made available on both it and the MT-09 for the 2016 model refresh too.