Is the Yamaha YZF-R9 Sports Bike About to Hit the Showrooms? - story fullscreen Fullscreen

Is the Yamaha YZF-R9 Sports Bike About to Hit the Showrooms?

European Type-Approval Documents Give a Strong Clue

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It’s been rumoured for a long time now that Yamaha was working on a triple-cylinder engined faired sports bike. The filing of type approval papers in Europe indicates that it might appear sooner rather than later. There are other options, however.

Are We about to see a Yamaha R9 Sports Bike?

Is the Yamaha YZF-R9 Sports Bike About to Hit the Showrooms?
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Yamaha MT-09
Type-approval applications in Europe could signify a faired sports bike based on the MT-09 platform to fill the gap between the R7 and R1

At the end of 2021, it seemed as if Yamaha was about to have a quiet 2022 in terms of new models. There were updates, certainly, but not much of anything else.

Now, however, European type-approval documents filed by Yamaha show two models that aren’t yet on the books. The code names RN82 and RN83 don’t, on the surface, give much away but delve into Yamaha naming protocol and a clearer picture emerges.

Is the Yamaha YZF-R9 Sports Bike About to Hit the Showrooms?
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Yamaha XSR900
Currently the only ’retro’ styled model in Yamaha’s range. It shows how adaptable the platform is.

The letter ’R’ denotes a street model - cruisers have the letter ’V’ and adventure bikes a ’D’. The letter ’N’ means an engine capacity of between 750cc and 1000cc (’M’ is 600cc to 750cc and ’P’ is over 1000cc).

To illustrate this, the RN01 was the very first YZF-R1 in 1998 and the RN78 is the latest MT-10. The approval applications are only submitted when a launch is imminent.

Is the Yamaha YZF-R9 Sports Bike About to Hit the Showrooms?
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So, what could the new bikes be? Given the ’N’ notation, the engine has to be either the 889cc triple currently doing service in the MT-09 and its derivatives or the 998cc four in the MT-10 and current R1. According to Yamaha rumour, there are two new variations on the MT-09 engine platform so it seems likely that RN82 and RN83 will be so powered.

Is the Yamaha YZF-R9 Sports Bike About to Hit the Showrooms?
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Yamaha R6
Now a track-only bike in Europe due to emissions rules. Leaves a supersport hole in Yamaha’s line-up that’s not quite filled by the R7

One likely model would be a thoroughly revamped Niken three wheeler. The current Niken is still using the pre-Euro5 version of the triple-cylinder engine and needs to be updated as a matter of urgency. The grace period for machines using non-Euro5-compliant engines runs out at the end of 2022 so Yamaha has to have a new model ready to go for 2023. it’s not likely that Yamaha will ditch the Niken given the development that’s gone into the concept.

Given the consecutive numbers in the code names, the second new model could be a variation on the Niken theme, perhaps a naked version. However, there is another possibility.

Is the Yamaha YZF-R9 Sports Bike About to Hit the Showrooms?
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Yamaha Niken
Yamaha committed to three wheel concept but the current Niken doesn’t meet Euro5 regulations. One of the two new models is likely to be the updated triple cylinder engine Niken for 2023.

Last year, Yamaha applied for trademarks around the ’R9’ name so the second new model could be a triple-cylinder, faired sports bike. With the YZF-R6 having become a track-only model, Yamaha lacks a sports bike as a stepping stone to the YZF-R1 from the YZF-R7. The MT-09 could be easily converted to a faired sports bike with its Deltabox frame and the torque-laden engine would be the perfect power unit. An R9 would be to the MT-09 what the R1 is to the MT-10.

Is the Yamaha YZF-R9 Sports Bike About to Hit the Showrooms?
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Yamaha MT-07
The existence of the R7 points to the idea of an MT-09-based R9 faired sports bike.

But hang on! There is the possibility of a third option. Yamaha have toyed with the retro class in the MT-09-based XSR900 but that is it so far. Could they be thinking of an XSR1000, based on the MT-10?

It’s all very intriguing and, given the type-approval applications, we shouldn’t have to wait too long to find out.

Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
Motorcycling Contributor
Born and raised in England, he has lived in South Africa with his family since 2002. Harry has owned examples of Triumph, Norton, BSA, MV Agusta, Honda, BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson, Kawasaki and Moto Morini motorcycles. He regrets selling all of them.  Read full bio
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