Like its OW-01 predecessor, the YZF-R7 (also known as the OW-02) owed its existence to the Hamamatsu factory’s need for a World Superbike Championship contender. It was produced in relatively limited quantities, only 500 being made to meet the Championship’s homologation requirements, of which only 34 were earmarked for the UK. Road-going versions are rare and genuine race bikes even rarer, and despite their relative modernity both are highly sought after by collectors.
The YZF-R7 was powered by a 749cc four-cylinder engine incorporating Yamaha’s then favoured five-valves-per-cylinder technology. In road-going form this produced a relatively uninspiring 107bhp but with the race kit fitted the second bank of fuel injectors was brought into play, liberating 139 horsepower, while in full race trim over 160bhp was attainable. The geometry of the aluminium alloy Deltabox II frame was based on that of the firm’s YZR500 Grand Prix racers and the R7 came with the best suspension Öhlins could offer, which in part justified the eye-watering list price of £21,449.
Immaculately presented this fabulous example has recently been imported from Japan. The bike has seen minimal street us and has covered a mere 5947 km or 3716 miles from new. A super lightweight titanium and carbon fibre exhaust has been fitted. The original exhaust accompanies this lot. With only 500 produced and costing three times as much as the standard YZF-R1, the R7 OWO2 was destined to be a collectors piece from the day it left the factory. An instant investment. MOT valid through 05/01/2018.