Race Bred: Jeff Palhegyi’s Yamaha MT07 flat tracker

Yamaha MT07 flat tracker by Palhegyi Design
Any custom workshop that’s been operating for a decent length of time is sure to have a multitude of leftover parts lying around. But how often are those the right kind of parts to build a thoroughbred race bike with? It’s a rare scenario—but it’s the story behind this race-bred Yamaha framer.

It’s the work of Jeff Palhegyi, the man behind Palhegyi Design. An accomplished fabricator and frame builder, Jeff’s no stranger to Yamaha flat trackers. That’s because he’s been pivotal in developing the Yamaha MT07-derived race bike that Estenson Racing has been fielding in the US flat track TT racing series; the MT07-DT.

Yamaha MT07 flat tracker by Palhegyi Design
If you’re not familiar with the flat track TT format, it’s just like regular flat track racing—except the track has both left and right turns, and at least one jump. Estenson Racing’s Yamaha MT07-DT has dominated the format for the last couple of years, with rider JD Beach behind the bars.

But the story goes further back than that. The MT07-DT was actually born out of a concept bike that Yamaha USA and Palhegyi Design collaborated on back in 2015, to show the potential of the punchy MT07 motor. That concept evolved into a flat track race bike, and Jeff’s been churning them out since.

Yamaha MT07 flat tracker by Palhegyi Design
This particular Yamaha’s chassis is now the 18th that Palhegyi Design has produced. But despite the graphics, this one’s not destined for the Estenson team. Jeff built this one just for himself, using parts leftover from the four prototype race bikes that he’s worked on over the past three years.

“Always experimenting with lighter and smaller tubing, different swingarms and linkages, and adjustable geometry, can leave a lot of parts floating around the shop,” he explains. “So I put this bike together for my personal collection.”

Yamaha MT07 flat tracker by Palhegyi Design
At the heart of Jeff’s bike lies the 689 cc parallel twin engine from a 2021 Yamaha MT07. It’s good for 74.8 hp and 68 Nm in stock trim, with Yamaha’s 270-degree ‘crossplane’ adding maximum character. (If you’ve ridden a Yamaha MT07 or XSR700, you’ll know how much of a peach this motor is.)

The engine’s suspended from a chromoly trellis frame, with a tubular swingarm out back. The swingarm sits on an eccentric pivot, giving it a full range of adjustment fore and aft, and up and down.

Yamaha MT07 flat tracker by Palhegyi Design
The Palhegyi Design chassis is complemented by a smorgasbord of top-tier parts. The forks and rear shock are from Öhlins, the brakes are from Brembo, and the 19” flat-track wheels and tires are from Roland Sands Design and Dunlop, respectively.

There’s some trick stuff attached to the Yamaha motor, too. Mounted underneath it is a Yamaha Racing oil pan, machined out of a solid 18 lbs aluminum billet. It’s designed to offer extra cornering clearance—but it’s also stronger than the factory part, so it can take a knock.

Yamaha MT07 flat tracker by Palhegyi Design
The ignition cover is another Yamaha Racing part, again engineered for durability. Chunky K&N filters replace the airbox, with a titanium two-into-one exhaust system from Graves Performance at the opposite end. The cockpit sports Duralle racing triples, Vortex handlebars and a AIME dash.

Every last part on this build is premium—from the carbon fiber front sprocket cover, right down to the foot pegs and fasteners. Even the coolant recovery tank looks swish.

Yamaha MT07 flat tracker by Palhegyi Design
It’s all in the name of performance and weight saving. We don’t know what the bike’s overall weight is, but Jeff’s confirmed that the frame weighs just 15 lbs—making it the lightest one he’s fabricated so far. The Estenson Racing carbon fiber bodywork doesn’t add much more to the scale, coming in at under 6 lbs, painted and with the Saddlemen seat pad fitted.

Benny Flores was responsible for laying down the Estenson Racing livery. And as always, Jeff had help from his right-hand guy a Palhegyi Design, Craig Smith, every step of the way.

Yamaha MT07 flat tracker by Palhegyi Design
Buttoned up and race-ready, Jeff’s MT07-DT looks absolutely phenomenal. But since he didn’t build it specifically to race with, we wonder what he has in store for it.

“It’s just some lighting away from being a street tracker,” he quips. “That may be the next step.”

Palhegyi Design | Instagram | Images by Jordan Penchion

Yamaha MT07 flat tracker by Palhegyi Design