We now have the Yamaha R7, could an R9 also be on the cards?

With the news that Yamaha is finally turning the MT-07 into a sportsbike, Visordown looks at the viability of an MT-09-derived R9

Yamaha R9

THE Yamaha R7 seems, for the most part, to be a warmly received machine. The mix of that easy-going yet exciting CP2 engine and the injection of Yamaha’s legendary R DNA seems to have hit the sweet spot.

But there are some that are feeling that the 75bhp machine isn’t quite worthy of the R7 name tag. Indeed, the original R7 (codenamed the OWO2) was a homologation motorcycle, designed for the sole purpose of getting Yamaha to the front of the grid in WorldSBK. The new R7 is definitely not that bike.

Yamaha is pitching the R7 as a steppingstone motorcycle, something that riders can get on with easily, exploit enthusiastically, and more importantly learn the craft of riding a sports bike. The thing is, since the R6 was discontinued in the UK and Europe this year, which steppingstone are R7 riders going to be jumping to?

Surely Yamaha can’t expect all R7 riders to make the sizable leap from the CP2 machine right the way up to the MotoGP-a-like R1 or R1M? No, they obviously can’t, but Yamaha needs a joined-up range, and that’s where the MT-09 comes in.

Having already completed the transformation with the R7, Yamaha could quite easily transform the latest generation MT-09 into a similarly styled 889cc sports bike. And quite frankly, we think it would be absolutely epic.

The Yamaha R9 already exists – sort of!

In the same way that we saw a glimpse of the R7 before it was even announced – thanks to AP Moto Arts CP2-powered Supertwin race bike – JPD Cycles have shared images of its own CP3 powered sports bike. Unlike the AP Moto Arts bike (that only used the MT-07’s engine), the JPD Cycles special utilises pretty much the entire Yamaha chassis. Oddly enough, the bike they started with was not an MT-09, but instead its retro-inspired sibling the XSR-900 – why that was done, we don’t know. It could have for cost reasons more than technical needs.

How viable is the Yamaha R9?

For a motorcycle manufacturer to succeed in these ultra-competitive times, it needs a joined-up range of bikes to sell. Yamaha has some of the best examples of this. On the retro side, we have the newly announced XSR125, the XSR700 and the XSR900. Likewise, in the hyper naked range, we have MT-125, MT-03, MT-07, MT-09, and MT-10. The only real hole in Yamaha’s assault on the market is in its sports bike offering.  

Yamaha could in this situation roll out a new supersports machine to the tried and tested race replica ethos, but as we’ve seen in recent years, that doesn’t really work in practice. With high prices required for screaming in-line four-cylinder machines, the gap between the race replica supersports bikes and their 1,000cc counterparts was simply too small.

An R9 based on the already-in-production MT-09 would be a much more viable option. In fact, if we take the newly announced R7 and its expected £8,000 price tag as an example, an R9 could come in between £10 or £11k.

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