Yamaha is planning to debut the YZF-R7 and MT-07 twin-cylinder motorcycles in India by the end of the year, stated Eishin Chihana, chairperson of Yamaha Motor India Group, in a recent interview. If it is successful, Yamaha will import small quantities of the two motorcycles as CBUs. If not, we may have to wait until 2024 to see these motorcycles on our roads.
While both the MT-07 and R7 are Euro5/BS6 compliant, the Indian government has ordered that all vehicles sold after April 1, 2023, include OBD-2 on-board diagnostic technology. This is a year earlier than Europe’s OBD-2 mandate, which will take effect in 2024. As a result, the Yamahas do not already have the technology, and Yamaha is unlikely to equip the bikes with OBD-2 a year earlier than necessary simply for the Indian market.
By March 31, 2023, Yamaha can import and sell the bikes in their existing state, which they hope to achieve. However, it is not as simple as simply flying in the bikes; the company also needs to ensure that it can support any potential clients with service and authentic spares, which is something it is currently working on.
The MT-07 and MT-09 are street naked variants that are larger, more powerful, and better equipped than the MT-15 that we get in India. The former had a 689cc parallel-twin engine, while the latter might come with an 890cc inline-triple cylinder engine. Meanwhile, the R7 is a fully faired sports bike that shares a basis with the MT-07. In India, MT-07 will compete against the Kawasaki Ninja 650 and the Honda CBR650R.
If Yamaha can introduce these bikes this year, it is unlikely that they will compete on price with the Kawasakis because they will be imported as CBUs. Unless Yamaha pulls a surprise move with aggressive pricing, they may be positioned closer to the more powerful, more costly four-cylinder Hondas.