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Yamaha Tracer 3 1

Yamaha Tracer – Can it Handle Touring and Adventure?

Yamaha Tracer 700

The Yamaha Tracer 700 model is based on a naked bike that has been buffed-up to create a full-on touring bike. The original model is the popular Yamaha MT-07 that derived from the legendary Tracer. The main difference between the motorcycles is the added bodywork that Yamaha added for deflecting the wind. Also, the bigger fuel tank takes the original 3.7 gallons to 4.5 gallons and makes the bike much more suitable for the open road. An adjustable windscreen on the front is a great addition for effortless high-speed travelling. A little detail that makes a big difference is the seat being 30 mm higher. The riding position in touring bikes makes a big difference because of the hours you shall spend on the road with them. Also, the swingarm is a little longer than its smaller sibling and adds stability when you reach higher speeds.

Whenever a big company modifies a classic model like the Yamaha Tracer, it has to be done the right way. There are examples in the history of motorcycles (like the Honda Hornet 900) in which, the new model destroys the old one´s reputation.

Yamaha Tracer 700 Test

The first impression when you see the Yamaha Tracer, even before starting it is the 21st century. It is a bold-looking bike. Whether you see it in classic grey or bright red, the usual reaction is of awe. I happen to love touring bikes and have been involved in the testing of bigger models. Motorcycles featuring engines in the line of the 1000cc and bigger usually have that reaction as you cruise the streets. It had never happened to me before to have people look at me like that on a 700cc bike.

Let´s not fast forward to that moment. The first thing I do when I have to test a bike is sitting on it and feel the balance. Then I check the space available in the cockpit between my legs. Finally, I take a global look at the instrumentation and the feel of the bar. Honestly, the cockpit is a bit cramped. While the rubber stops for the legs on the sides are very welcome, big riders like me feel a little trapped inside. The driving position is a little more upright than I am used to, and the handlebar is a little higher to match the seat. This being said, my knees were just too high, and my back was not comfortable with the position.

Moving Around

When you start the engine of this bike, you don´t hear a growl, but your heart accelerates all the same. The RPMs are blasting, and the throttle is so sensitive that it is a thrilling experience without falling into the chopper category. The engine in the Yamaha Tracer is a parallel twin with 689cc of linear power. It is capable of generating 74 horsepower at maximum power and 50.14 ft-lb of torque. That is not a tremendous amount of power, but with such a light chassis, it flies like a bullet over the pavement.

I started the bike, and the transistor-controlled ignition fired up immediately. Fuel injection makes the idle state of the motorcycle soft as silk. I rolled it into the pavement of a busy street downtown letting the clutch a little loose. When the RPM is low, the bike is smooth and gentle. The engine being DOHC four-stroke and liquid-cooled is just like home. It has a six-speed gearbox constant mesh, and the wet multi-plate clutch introduces each gear effortlessly.

Hitting The Open Road

Once I was on the street, I decided to take the avenue and go for the open road, so I went through several traffic lights. The brake response is good but nothing to write home about. As I was approaching the traffic jam of dusk in a crowded city, I could feel my eager of letting the throttle loose. That six-gear transmission was asking for some windy speed and cool landscapes to test the bike´s real power. So, we got on the highway and once I got into the fourth and fifth gear area, the bike transformed. It is a touring bike, for sure.

I was a little disappointed since the entire suspension system was a little soggier than I expected. Adding to that, the braking system was not as trusty so taking long curves at a fair speed was a bit daunting. Also, as I made some long miles in it (two hours after real take off), things started being crammed and uncomfortable. The cockpit and the side rubbers were a trap to my knees. The windshield is very welcome, and most of the wind is deflected, but your back feels the road. I am not a small or thin guy, and this bike was designed for Japanese contexture.

It was not a bad ride, but it didn´t blow my mind. However, as a commuter and for the city streets it is a fun and reliable bike. I wouldn´t recommend it for the open road and driving for more than two hours.

Yamaha Tracer 900

The Yamaha Tracer 900 is not just a bigger version of a great MT-09 motorcycle, it is a more adapted one. The evolution of the model has opened the door for the addition of some great new specs. It is great to see that Yamaha has widened the horizons building from a great base to create a more open road-friendly bike. The engine is bigger, the presentation is better, and the control they offer over the increased power is also enhanced. I was impressed to see a classic remodelled in a way that it was improved in every aspect.

For riders like me who want to go for an occasional open road excursion and commute to work it might be a little too much. For more speed-friendly bold bike-lovers, it might prove to be awesome.

Yamaha Tracer 900 test

Just by seeing it with the golden suspension in the front and the modern front lights, the bike yields excellent specs. The first thing I noticed right away was the 5 mm of increased foam on the seat. It is a touring bike, Yamaha knows it, and my back is thankful for it. Also, the passenger seat behind you has been improved with a 33 mm foot peg bracket extension that my wife approved with a smile and a hug.

Moving on to the engine and the improved mechanical specs, the 847 cc Yamaha Tracer 900 engine is right what this bike needs. Being a cross-plane triple, the muffled roar that intends to come out of the exhaust is just thrilling. Although it is not a full growl, it is a very nice-sounding bike. The throttle is nothing short of exciting, and although it is not blasting, it is very responsive. This made me decide to embark on a 500-mile trip and test the long hours on the open road.

The Open Road

The bike is not as responsive and thrilling to provide the long hours of fun I was expecting. When exiting long curves and opening the throttle wide open, it reacts more responsibly than fun. I was hoping for a teenage wild animal ready to take over the world. What I got was a tamed, mature bike that is awesome for reasonable riding for long hours. This is the only “complain” on my behalf to an otherwise excellent upgrade on an already great package.

The Yamaha Tracer 2018 version I tested was called GT- It comes with the full touring pack and is a little more pricey ($2,300 of difference). It features a quick-shifter that allows the rider to shift up without using the clutch. Amazingly, the bike works exactly as advertised: flawlessly. It doesn´t work downwards which is kind of annoying but is definitely an excellent addition for those fast transitions in traffic.

Yamaha Tracer price

The Yamaha Tracer 2018 is not an expensive bike at all. The full specs of a Yamaha Tracer 700 can be yours for a steal price of only $8,145. Considering that it is a great commuter and eventual tripping motorcycle it is not an elevated sum of money. 

Obviously, the Yamaha Tracer 900 is a little more expensive, our tested model, the GT was $12,999. The sum is still a small amount considering it an open-road ready bike that can do it all. You can easily commute, fill the tank and catch the dusk at an amazing landscape on a Friday night with your beloved one.

Both bikes are a great deal if you are looking for a tourer that won´t be too expensive. They don´t require that much maintenance and are very reliable for riding seven days a week. The Yamaha Tracer is an excellent value for the money.

Final Verdict

Touring bikes can be a tricky segment for brands because they need to come up with a model capable of doing it all. They need to be safe, fast, fun and comfortable. 

Riders who buy these kinds of bikes are usually expecting a great commuter for eventual open road activities. Those after the bigger versions like the Yamaha Tracer 900 are in for the excitement. Touring bikes apply the best technology available to the two-wheels format and do it in style. 

Of course, not every company can satisfy customers in such a complex scenario. In my opinion, Yamaha nailed it and it needs just a tiny bit of adjustment to create the perfect their touring bikes. With a different suspension and a slightly more responsive throttle in the Yamaha Tracer 700 and Yamaha Tracer 900 respectively, it would be perfect.

Have you ever thought about buying or riding one of these bikes? Did you already? Leave us a comment! We would love to hear your experiences. Let´s create a bike-loving community to discuss these and others models!

Ride on and have fun!