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.
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