Yamaha unveils FZ-07-powered dirt-tracker concept bike at AIMExpo

Code-named "DT-07", crossplane-crank parallel-twin engine is installed into custom dirt-track chassis with a build that says "racebike" more than "showbike"...

After giving a rundown of its 2016 model lineup on Thursday at the AIMExpo in Orlando, Yamaha stunned the media and dealers present by pulling a cover off of a special concept bike they had built. The usual thinking was something related to the company's newly introduced WR450F off-road machine, or perhaps something based upon the R1. What everyone got was a motorcycle completely unexpected, but was met with unanimous approval. Labled the "DT-07", the one-off creation built by Jeff Palhegyi Design in conjunction with Yamaha’s U.S. race shop uses an FZ-07 parallel-twin engine in a custom chassis with adjustable swingarm pivot and linkage, conventional fork from an R6S, Öhlins rear shock, mag wheels from Propulsion Labs, a custom titanium exhaust from Graves Motorsports, one-piece bodywork resplendent in 60th anniversary Yamaha black/yellow colors, and other choice bits.

There's already been some interest in the "crossplane concept" parallel-twin engine for AMA Pro dirt-track racing, with noted racer-turned-tuner Cyriel "Babe" Demay building a bike that was used by young first-year-pro hotshoe Dominic Colindres to win his heat race and finish fourth in the final at the Delaware "Roar on the Shore" half mile. The engine's superb low-end and midrange torque output, coupled with its excellent power characteristics make it a meaningful alternative to even the Kawasaki Ninja 650-based bikes that have proven to be competitive on the mile tracks, but have struggled to show consistent competitiveness on the half-mile circuits.

Although much of the talk by Yamaha centered around the "concept" basis of the bike, with many thinking that the company was looking to build a production street bike based on the DT-07, a closer look at the bike reveals not only a very show-quality build, but also a very functional one...as in the bike looks like it could easily be destined for more than just the motorcycle show circuit. The chassis is a very nicely made and well-designed setup that shows a lot of thought in its construction, from the adjustable swingarm pivot and shock linkage, to the upper section that hangs the engine as a stressed member while also locating the fuel tank below the seat. There's simply way too much about the DT-07 that screams "racebike."

Will the DT-07 find itself on an AMA Pro Dirt Track National racing surface in 2016? Time will tell, but we're thinking that you'll be seeing this bike (and possibly more like it) on the AMA circuit very soon.