A new generation of tourer
Take a touring motorcycle. Make it significantly lighter. Keep the luggage capacity or pillion comfort. Add the learnings from top tier racing, such as a slipper clutch. Then finish it out with a suite of easy to use electronics. This includes a radar, next generation intelligent cruise control, electronically assisted breaking. Then make it all easy to use, practical and safer than ever before. What you have the new Yamaha Tracer GT+.
Yamaha's new bike is powered by that well proven cross plane inline triple engine. It has a huge range of additional pieces added. The vast majority of these are electronic rider aids. These are easy to use as well as being genuinely practical in a very real way.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve let go of my belief that riding without any rider aids was’ more honest’ or even the arrogance that I simply didn’t need any assistance when I rode my bike. I now own a new MT 10. Every time I look at the thing I feel quite delighted with my purchase.
Yamaha Tracer 900GT+ A whole new world in the touring class
Recently on a European track event with Motocraft I came out of the bottom corner at Monteblanco. Perhaps responding to some of Nicole Lynchs’ coaching/ goading I opened it up with a bit more enthusiasm. It lifted its front end and at the same time the scorched rear tyre began to move to the side. It was time to slide across the track, destroy my beautiful new bike and use my medical repatriation insurance.
What actually happened was a small orange light came on for a moment. The bike stopped sliding and the front end returned to terra firma without issue. Yes indeed, the bikes IMU had saved me from my over enthusiasm as well as saving itself. A certain write off and a trip to a Spanish hospital had been replaced by a small orange light and a bike that had a simple electronic package that way out performed me.
Perhaps it was because of this that I was a lot more interested in riding a bike that was equipped with the most advanced electronics support package ever seen on a Yamaha, rather than trying to figure out how to switch it off. The technicians who developed the new Tracer 9 GT+ have earned that '+' and a whole lot more.
Yamaha Tracer900GT+ Saving the day!
Rather than adding stuff that we genuinely don’t need, they’ve made a bike that adds so much to the touring experience. They’ve upended a class that we consider to be conservative and somewhat bland. Rather the bike is built to take your riding experience to the next level. One of the reasons why it works so well is that all of the features compliment each other, working together to deliver a better and easier riding experience.
Starting with the TFT screen which offers the rider access to the full suite of settings. While features such as adaptive cruise control married to a radar linked unified brake system may well make some of us recoil from riding one, the Tracer 900 GT+ is something that every rider should take a look at test riding. It’s simply that good.
Yamaha Tracer 900GT+ Lightweight, fast and comfortable
Covering touring mileage with long days in the saddle that introduce fatigue or discomfort are mitigated by having those clever riding modes. These allow the bike to work with the electronic suspension, the ABS system and the cruise control. These unobtrusive, easy to use features can even be set to contribute to a predictable amount of engine braking.
That new radar linked system just doesn’t slow the bike down by dropping its’ power. It’s also possible to set it too assist the riders pressure on the brakes when the bike gets closer to a vehicle in front. Quite simply, once you get close enough to the slower moving road user in front of you, the bike will distribute the bias between the braking effort put into each lever.
Yamaha Tracer900GT+ Unobtrusive rider aiding technology
With the unit switched on I simply rode up behind a slow moving camper van and, rather bravely, grabbed a handful of front brake. The system then applied enough pressure to the rear and used its electronic suspension to keep the front end from diving. The collective features made for a ride that was a whole lot safer and whole lot more comfortable. None of it got in my way as a rider.
All of this tech is operated by a simple joystick on the left bar. It’s complimented by a home button. The theme choices are a wonderfully unnecessary feature. It’s one that’s so enjoyable to set and use.
That TFT screen also offers a full, and real connection to the riders phone. Add the Garmin app to your phone and your screen can be set to display a full map. It’s a whole lot easier to see and use than a traditional unit mounted on a handlebar. Add a pair of comfortable seats for the pillion and rider and the bike is a package that makes Calais to Munich in a day more than easily achievable.
Yamaha Tracer 900GT+ Making long days in the saddle a joy!
All of these pieces make for a bike that’s a touring riders dream, but that’s not all. Using the latest iteration of the 890cc cross plane cranked three cylinder engine that first made its’ debut in the MT 09 a number of years ago, the Tracer 900GT+ is a bike that can hustle.
This is complimented by a third generation quickshifter. When underway, the chassis feels like it’s weightless. The KYB suspension, that's electronically semi active, make for a tourer that handles like a sports bike. Other than the lower power output, the GT+ performs like my MT 10 when pushed on. Having a slick quickshifter on a touring bike, however, sets it apart!
The test event took place in Sardinia. The island is home to some of the most technical and well paved roads in Europe. A right followed by another right followed by a 180 degree left and all on single carriageways through the mountains showed the bikes capabilities and was a joy to ride.
While we’re mandated not to discuss the speeds that any of us travel at, it’s safe to say that the latest Tracer took everything that I could throw at it with comfort and an ease that I would never have imagined on a set of roads like this.
Yamaha Tracer 900GT+ Well lit
The bike has a full set of LED lights. These even have that clever cornering feature. This is where the light ‘looks into the corner’. These make riding at night much easier. Once again this is another example of the individual pieces of technology integrating in a complimentary manner with each other.
Back on the traditional touring front the panniers are big enough to take full face helmet. They are also mounted to brackets that have dampers. This eliminates all the vibrations that are so annoying on other touring machines. There are, of course, a set of heated grips. These are, once again, adjusted through that brilliant TFT screen and the bikes system.
A number of years ago the, now discontinued, FJR1300 revealed itself to be a bike that shared a lot more of the R1s DNA. For a touring bike this was quite surprising. The new Tracer 900 GT+ offers the rider similar pleasant, no wonderful surprises. This is one of the first bikes with this amount of technology that works, works well and compliments my brilliance on two wheels!
To find out more see your local Yamaha dealer.