Posted On 23 Mar 2024
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This entry is part 3 of 26 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#26



The world was justifiably amazed and excited upon the release of the Yamaha MT-09 not so long ago. Now take that package, modify it for touring and here is what you have – the MT-09 Tracer. Not only will you enjoy this bike, so will your pillion. Alana came along to the Australian launch and both of us were impressed with the Tracer – “the ultimate weekender”?

The launch headed north out of Yamaha HQ up the Putty Road to the vineyards of the Hunter Valley. If you’ve ridden the Putty, you’ll know it is rough in parts, then full of twisties – a perfect test of the machine and how comfy it is for both rider and pillion.

Hopping on board the Tracer, you immediately notice how light it is.

Yamaha states a 190kg dry, 210kg wet weight, and as with the rest of the MT range, lightness and easy manageability are great features.

Housed in the frame is the high torque 847cc triple engine of the MT-09. It is slim, making the Tracer itself, slim and easy to manage for most sized riders. It combines low-revving torque with explosive power up high. It offers the claimed best in class power to weight ratio, too, while being smooth as a you know what.

You get three engine modes to choose from – Standard, A or B modes. Standard comes on automatically whenever you turn the ignition on, but it was A mode that I loved on this bike. B mode I found took a lot out of the fun of the triple powerplant, but A mode left me giggling like a schoolgirl every time I twisted the throttle, much to Alana’s delight when we were fl owing swiftly through corners and her horror when I was saving on front tyre wear from time to time, after switching off the traction control system.

The Tracer comes with a larger fuel capacity than the MT-09, 18 litres all up and with an indicated 5.6-5.8L/100km usage throughout the launch, that is pretty good. Expect better consumption if you’re not using loads of throttle – obviously.

As a practical yet sporty motorcycle, the Tracer is perfectly comfortable for two-up touring, as we found out during the two day launch. In fact the only other motorcycle on the market that I’ve ridden which has as much rider to pillion space is the Triumph Trophy – a full on big bore tourer. Yamaha has achieved this massive amount of room by redesigning the rear subframe. It is 814.5mm in length versus the MT-09’s 683.9mm. This all adds up to an extremely happy pillion and you will be happy, too. Not being shoved in the back all the time allows you to ride the bike more freely, as you would solo.

Stuart is wearing a Shark Speed R Carbon Series 2 helmet, Yamaha MT Techno jacket, Held Backfl ip gloves, Draggin jeans and Sidi Vertigo boots. Alana is wearing a Shark ‘Colours’ helmet, Shift jacket, Motodry gloves, Draggin jeans and Torque boots.

The rider’s seat is height adjustable, 845- 860mm. This may rule out some shorter riders, but give one a go if you are a bit shorter in the legs and think about getting the lower accessory seat, you might just be surprised. I had the seat set on 860mm and found that to be excellent for my long pins. Seat to peg height is very roomy as well.

Alana said that the pillion seat was comfy all day and she loved the rear lip built into the seat that allowed her to relax more, not thinking that she’d slide off the back under hard acceleration.

For the rider, you also get an adjustable handlebar (10mm) through the clamps.

Again, I had it on the highest setting, which was bang on the money – super comfy all day long. To match this, the Tracer comes with a three position adjustable screen (30mm range), and yes, I had it on the highest setting, which deflected a good amount of wind away from the body.

As with the MT-09, the Tracer is set up with fairly soft suspension. It is okay for a solo rider, where you can adjust the preload and rebound front and rear to make a good all-round package, but two-up it needs a new rear spring, or a totally new shock with a remote preload adjuster to make things just that bit better with the added weight.

You can get a spring from a suspension tuner for $300 or so dollars, or a full shock might cost around $2000 for something like the latest generation Ohlins. The actual handling otherwise is light and balanced with a good amount of rigidity through the frame. This results in a predictable nature that allows you to be more comfortable all day long, not distracting you from your sightseeing by making you focus on getting around corners.

Anti-lock braking comes standard on the Tracer, with radial mount calipers up front which have loads of power and feel, and a rear brake with good feel. I never got to the point of activating the ABS and I worked the brakes quite hard at times, again to Alana’s horror.

Huh? What do you mean you’re having fun? No, no! Now you’ll want to come riding all the time!

The dashboard comes from the latest Super Ténéré and includes indications for gear position, outside temperature, fuel level, drive mode settings, traction control settings, accessory grip heater settings, fuel consumption, trip meters and more. It is very easy to read in all lighting conditions and also easy to scroll through via the up or down switch on the left side of the bar.

Styling is courtesy of Yamaha’s R&D department in Italy. The bike is equipped with innovative new twin LED headlights that feature LEDs built into the reflector lenses, and for added convenience the headlights can be adjusted without any tools. Both low and high beams use this technology to produce a sharp and energy efficient light, and the daytime running lights are also low energy LEDs. Located within individual nacelles, these hi-tech twin headlights give the Tracer a unique and distinctive appearance, one that I like very much.

Hard case 19.5 litre (each) panniers come standard and are a good size for two-up weekend getaways. They have integrated attachment points for a super clean look. The Tracer comes with a centre stand, 12V socket and M6 threaded holes in the handlebar clamps to attach an accessory bar for mounting a GPS or similar. All-in-all, it’s a lot of bang for your buck.

Accessories are all touring orientated.

They include comfort seats, top case, heated grips, higher screen, LED fog lights and a USB adaptor to name but of few of the substantial range that’s available. If you want to release some grunty triple cylinder tunes, you can choose from Carbon or Titanium full Akrapovic systems as well.

“Touring doesn’t need to happen on boring bikes. It can be super fun too!” says Yamaha Japan manager, Naoki Koike. Both Alana and I found the Yamaha MT-09 Tracer to be perfect for touring and sporty riding with comfort.

Yamaha wished to showcase the Tracer as the perfect weekend sports tourer and from the smiles on all of the pillions’ and riders’ faces after the two days, I think they’ve hit the nail on the head. With a remarkably small price tag of only $14,999 with panniers and all the other goodies, it’s pretty hard to pass up.


PRICE: $14,999 (plus on-road charges)
WARRANTY: Two years, unlimited distance
SERVICING INTERVALS: Every 10,000km or 12 months
ENGINE: Liquid-cooled in-line three cylinder, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder BORE x STROKE: 78 x 59.1mm
POWER: 84.6kW @ 10,000rpm
TORQUE: 87.5Nm @ 8500rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed, wet multi-plate clutch, chain final drive
SUSPENSION: Front, 41mm inverted fork, adjustable preload and rebound, travel 137mm. Rear, monoshock,adjustable preload and rebound,travel 130mm.
DIMENSIONS: Seat height 845-860mm,weight 210kg (wet), fuel capacity 18 litres, wheelbase 1440mm
TYRES: Front, 120/70/ZR17. Rear, 180/55/ZR17
FRAME: Diamond
BRAKES: Front, twin 298mm discs with four-piston radial mount ABS calipers. Rear, 245mm disc, twin-piston ABS caliper.
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 5.6-5.8 litres per 100km, premium unleaded
COLOURS: Matt Grey, Lava Red

About the Author
Australian Motorcyclist Magazine is Australia's leading motorcycle travel magazine.
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