Kings of Cornering: Part Four

Rarer than a blue steak

Code named OWO2 the £22,000 R7 was an unashamed homologation special produced by Yamaha to compete in World Superbike.

With a total production run of just 500 units spanning from 1999 to 2002 this twenty-valve 750 was expensive and, due to the fact that most were raced (and smashed to pieces) are still nose bleedingly expensive now (if you can still find one, that is). Approximately 40 bikes were officially shipped to the UK.

The chassis data for this high revving in-line four was plucked straight from Yamaha’s sweet handling YZR500 GP bike so it’s hardly a surprise that this is one of the nicest handling superbikes still around. Armed with some of the best Ohlins suspension available at the time, the R7 was bestowed with front-end feedback like no other bike since. Even in stock trim it made mincemeat of some of the most challenging corners in the World. The right-left-right flick down Donington’s Redgate/Hollywood/Craner/Old Hairpin is an act of utter surgical precision on an R7.

Sadly the R7 is too rare and too valuable for most to experience so you’ll probably just have to take my word for it – the 162kg R7 really is one of the true cornering greats.

Read Kings of Cornering: Part Five