Yamaha Motor India has been clear about its intent of bringing motorcycles in the 150cc and above segments only. The company has been concentrating on the 150-250cc space for a while and that meant there were no significant launches in the premium motorcycle segment, which was once a mainstay in Yamaha’s India business. Nevertheless, the Japanese two-wheeler giant seems to be planning a big splash in the middleweight segment and that too with at least two new offerings. According to a recent report, Yamaha is planning on introducing the YZF-R7 full-faired and the MT-07 middleweight streetfighter later this year. The twin-cylinder motorcycles will take on a number of offerings in the segment. The company will also expand its premium scooter line-up with the NMax 155.
The report suggests that both bikes will come as Completely Built Units (CBUs) but only if the plan works out for this year. Otherwise, the launch could be pushed to 2024. Given these will be CBU models, quantities will be kept in check. Speaking to Autocar, Yamaha Motor India Group, Chairman, Eishin Chihana, said, “Big bikes like the MT-07 or R7, we are trying to bring in some batches. Not big quantities, but enough to satisfy our top-range customers. If we can import within this year, we can avoid the OBD-2 regulations.”
That’s not all, Yamaha India is also looking to bring the NMax 155 maxi-scooter as well. The company tested waters with the Aerox 155 that went on sale last year. And while it’s not a proper maxi-scooter, the sporty offering is doing well for the brand. This gives us hope and to Yamaha as well that the NMax, which is a proper maxi-scooter, will do well in India. Yamaha is reportedly working on localising the NMax for India to make it more accessible to customers. Considering it’s also powered by the R15-sourced 155cc VVA motor, this is should be a fairly easier process. That said, the NMax’s low ground clearance should be a big hurdle for our roads. The Yamaha NMax 155 is still sometime away though and won’t make it before 2023.
On the other hand, the Yamaha MT-07 and the R7 are already Euro5 compliant, which makes them fit for India’s BS6 emission norms. However, as per latest government norms, all bikes sold after April 1, 2023 need to have OBD-2 on-board diagnostic technology. While the tech will debut in Europe in 2024, India gets it a year earlier. Obviously, Yamaha wants to bypass this niggle and expedite bringing the models to the country. However, global demand, supply chain constraints and local issues can play a part in how early we get the motorcycles. It’s likely that the MT-07 and the R7 could be restricted to one or two batches at best that need to be sold off before March 31, 2023.
Both the Yamaha R7 and MT-07 are highly likeable motorcycles from what we hear. Both offerings are powered by a 689cc parallel-twin motor. The MT-07 gets the same alien-face styling as the MT-15 sold in India and all MT models globally. The R7 borrows design elements heavily from the R9 and the likes. There is also a possibility that the MT-09 could also make a return and the model uses an 890cc inline triple-cylinder engine. Pricing is likely to be on the premium side given the models will be CBU imports. The MT-07 will take on the Kawasaki Z650, Triumph Trident 660 and the likes, while the R7 will rival the Kawasaki Ninja 650 and the Honda CBR650R.
Yamaha’s concentration is on the full-faired and naked road-going bikes for now and the company is not actively looking to enter the adventure segment. The company has ruled out the famed Tenere 700 for India at the moment, which is a shame considering the bike is expected to get lapped up and has a strong following amidst enthusiasts. However, this also stems from supply chain issues at Yamaha’s France plant that produces the Tenere and production is limited at present.