Tag Archives: Yamaha Tracer 900 GT

Tracing the Cascades on a Yamaha Tracer 900 GT

2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT
Road testing the 2019 Tracer 900 GT in Washington’s Klickitat River valley, with Mount Adams in the background. (Photos by the author & Brian J. Nelson)

Winding through a dark canopy of evergreens, the road played hide-and-seek with the Clackamas River, offering a glimpse here and there of clear water pouring over rocks as it made its way downstream to the Willamette, then the Columbia, and finally the Pacific. A break in the canopy was like popping out of a tunnel and I set my eyes on a patch of gravel next to the road, just a few feet from where the river made a sharp turn. Down went the Yamaha Tracer 900 GT kickstand, off went the ignition. I hadn’t seen a car for miles. It was just me and the trees and the river. Just what I was looking for.

Emerging from a dark tunnel of trees on the West Cascades Scenic Byway, I found the perfect sunny spot to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Clackamas River.

The previous day I logged 250 miles aboard the Yamaha at the bike’s press launch. The event was based in Stevenson, Washington, a small town in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, and I spent a long, hot day testing the GT on local backroads. Weighing just 500 pounds and packing a punch from its 847cc inline-Triple, the Tracer 900 GT is a light, agile, comfortable sport-tourer, perfect for a solo traveler. Yamaha entrusted me with the keys to one for the long ride home to Southern California.

With snow-capped volcanic peaks, wild and scenic rivers, dense evergreen forests, and countless roads that follow the contours of the land, the Cascade Range is a motorcyclist’s paradise.

For years I’ve heard and read about how good the riding is in the Cascades, a mountain range that runs from British Columbia down through Washington and Oregon to Northern California. Whenever possible, I like to fill in the blank spots on my mental map –to experience first-hand what roads and scenery are really like. So I sketched out a route from the Columbia River to the California border that zigzags several times over the Cascades, winds its way through four national forests and one national park, and follows three designated scenic byways. Like any good motorcycle route, it would take at least twice as long as a more direct path.

2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT
The ride route from Stevenson, Washington, to Red Bluff, California.

Click here to view the route above on the REVER app/website

With the GT’s saddlebags packed and a tailbag strapped to the passenger seat, I hit the road at 6 a.m., crossing the mighty Columbia – and into Oregon – on the Bridge of the Gods, a steel truss bridge named after a natural dam that was created by a landslide at the same location nearly 1,000 years ago. The narrow, 90-year-old bridge has no pedestrian walkway, but it’s where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses the river, so weary hikers with heavy packs must contend with cars and trucks.

The Bridge of the Gods spans the Columbia River, which forms the border between Washington and Oregon.

What makes the Cascades special is its many stratovolcanoes –the cone-shaped variety we learned about in grade school –that rise thousands of feet above the surrounding mountains. I’ve ridden along the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada in California dozens of times, and every time I pass through the town of Lone Pine, I struggle to pick out Mount Whitney – the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states – from the neighboring peaks that are nearly as tall. On the Tracer 900 GT press ride we saw several volcanic peaks, Mount Adams (12,281 feet) and Mount St. Helens (8,363 feet – before it blew its top in 1980, it was 1,300 feet taller) in Washington, and Mount Hood (11,249 feet) in Oregon, standing head and shoulders above the landscape, easily visible from miles away. They’re part of the Cascade Volcanic Arc, a series of 12 volcanoes stretching from Mount Silverthorne in British Columbia to Mount Lassen in California, which is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire –more than 450 volcanoes scattered along the outer edge of the Pacific Ocean.

When Washington’s Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, it literally blew its top, erasing 1,300 feet from its peak. This view is from McClellan Overlook, off Curly Creek Road, in Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Like a good omen, snow-covered Mount Hood greeted me as I turned south on State Route 35, the beginning of Mount Hood Scenic Byway, where I rode through apple farms on a sunny, cloudless July morning. The previous day topped out at 105 degrees, and the heat wave wasn’t done with me, but early in the morning the byway along the East Fork Hood River was still in deep shadow and my teeth began to chatter. On went the heated grips, and I tried to hold onto the physical memory ofbeing cold, hoping to recall that feeling during theheat of the day (it never works). With graceful curves and smooth pavement, the byway is a pleasure to ride, especially when the screen of trees falls away and Mount Hood takes center stage, framed perfectly in brilliant blue.

Mount Hood Scenic Byway, one of many scenic byways that meander through the Cascades, cuts a wide arc around its namesake peak.

After cutting a wide arc around the eastern and southern sides of Mount Hood, my first crossing of the Cascades came to an end in Sandy. Turning south and then east on State Routes 211 and 224, I picked up the West Cascades Scenic Byway, heading southeast along Estacada Lake and North Fork Reservoir, two finger lakes created by dams on lower sections of the Clackamas River. As the byway crosses into Mount Hood National Forest, it enters a deep, narrow valley as it climbs up into the Cascades, where the Clackamas flows wild and free. The Tracer and I were in a groove, experiencing this road together for the first time –bends, kinks, dips, rises, bridges, blind corners, and fleeting views of the river, the contours of which give the road its character.

A postcard view of Oregon’s Mount Hood from Bennet Pass Trailhead, just off State Route 35 on the Mount Hood Scenic Byway.

With the low-fuel light on, I pulled into Detroit, a crossroads on the shore of Detroit Lake. Folks were starting their summer weekend early. Subarus laden with kayaks and pickups overflowing with camping gear were parked in lots, coolers were being filled with ice and beer. I refueled and scarfed an egg salad sandwich in the shadow of Rivers Run Deli, trying to stay cool while enjoying a view of the marina and the lake’s milky blue water. When traveling solo and covering a lot of miles in just a few days, I rarely stop for long. Just a few minutes here and there, then I’m back in the saddle, trying to cram 10 pounds of riding into a 5-pound sack.

Roads in the Cascades often carve their way through lush forests, with the curving pavement winding in and out of shadows.

From Detroit to Chemult – south, zig west, zag east, back over the Cascades –all I remember are trees, and a cross-section of America. Stopping to use the bathroom at a McDonald’s, I had to negotiate my way through a crowd of boisterous kids wearing matching blue T-shirts bearing the name of their church summer camp, ready to fill their bellies with Happy Meals. Outside, two young women were sitting on the curb, holding a sign: Family in Need. And next door I topped off the Tracer’s tank after the flirtatious – not to mention bald and tattooed – gas station attendant handed me the nozzle. (In Oregon and New Jersey, you’re not allowed to pump your own gas, but attendants often let motorcyclists break the law.) I was just passing through, little more than an observer. Experiences like these give me something to mentally chew on while ticking off miles.

2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT
The 500-mile Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway runs through Oregon and California, connecting volcanic peaks in the Cascades.

Passing through Chemult, a truck stop on U.S. Route 97 brought back memories of stopping there to refuel during my one and only SaddleSore 1000 ride back in 2013 – a very long day that I’m not likely to repeat. Turning west on State Route 138, the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway took me to Crater Lake National Park, where I queued up behind a rumbling Harley and a line of cars and RVs outside the northern gate, keeping my faceshield closed to prevent the army of mosquitos from waging war on my nose. Crater Lake was high on my list of must-see places, and it didn’t disappoint. Created thousands of years ago when a volcano collapsed, the caldera lake is nearly 2,000 feet deep – the deepest in the U.S. – and because it is filled only by rain and snow, the water is pure and a brilliant shade of blue. But I was pressed for time and there were construction delays on the East Rim Road, so I’ll have to go back to ride the full loop.

Taking in the brilliant blue of 2,000-foot-deep Crater Lake, a collapsed volcano filled with thousands of years’ worth of rain and snow.

On the not-politically-correct but wonderfully twisty Dead Indian Road, I descended from the green heaven of the Cascades into the dry, brown hell of Ashland. It’s actually a lovely little town, home to Southern Oregon University and the world-famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival, but it was over 100 degrees and I had been in the saddle for 12 hours. I was in desperate need of a cold shower, a colder beer, and some pizza.

The next day I left the Cascades, riding a few miles south on Interstate 5 into California, where I filled up at a Chevron in Hornbrook. On both sides of the interstate and all around the gas station, the ground and vegetation were charred black from the Klamathon Fire, which roared through just days earlier. It was one of many wildfires that would plague California and other western states in the weeks and months ahead.

More blanks filled in on my mental map: State Route 96 along the Klamath and Trinity rivers, which cuts through rugged, remote country. In 1941, a group of armed men stopped traffic near the town of Yreka, handing out a Proclamation of Independence for the State of Jefferson, which was in “patriotic rebellion against the States of California and Oregon.” Although the new state never materialized, the movement is still active, and the State of Jefferson Scenic Byway runs along Route 96 from State Route 263 to Happy Camp. After that, 96 becomes the Bigfoot Scenic Byway. Regardless of one’s views on state politics or mythical forest dwellers, the riding along Route 96 is sublime and traffic is almost nonexistent.

Sasquatch sighting in Happy Camp, California, on State Route 96, where the State of Jefferson Scenic Byway turns into the Bigfoot Scenic Byway.

At Willow Creek, I turned west onto State Route 299, known as the Trinity Heritage Scenic Byway because it follows the path of 19th-century gold miners and pioneers. It snakes its way through the heavily wooded Trinity Alps and climbs over a pass before making a long descent to the coast. Even in mid-July, U.S. Route 101 through Arcata, Eureka, and Fortuna was socked in with chilly fog. At Alton, I turned east again, heading inland on State Route 36 –not a designated scenic byway, but known as Serpent to the Sea. Traveling west-to-east, it passes through a few rural communities before entering Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park, where enormous coast redwoods rise hundreds of feet above the roadside.

Beyond Bridgeville, Route 36 turns into a narrow goat path as it goes over a ridge, but it’s currently being straightened and widened to accommodate big trucks and RVs –an improvement for them but not for motorcyclists. East of Dinsmore, Route 36 was freshly paved, like having a racetrack all to myself, scraping the Tracer’s peg feelers in corner after corner. And on it goes, over more mountains with endless curves and finally roller-coastering its way through ranch land with blind crests and sudden drops and quick turns. As I approached the town of Red Bluff, just before Route 36 crosses I-5, I found the well-known sign that warns motorists and entices motorcyclists: curvy roads next 140 miles.

This sign tells motorcyclists everything they need to know. Good times ahead!

The thing about riding roads as good as these is that it becomes addictive. Now that I have experienced the Cascades and California Routes 96 and 36 for myself, all I want to do is go back for more.

The post Tracing the Cascades on a Yamaha Tracer 900 GT first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2020 BMW F 900 XR vs. Yamaha Tracer 900 GT Comparison Test

2020 BMW F 900 XR vs. Yamaha Tracer 900 Comparison Test
Ready for some fun riding? The Yamaha Tracer 900 GT and BMW F 900 XR combine the useful power of table-flat torque curves with mostly upright, comfortable seating and good wind protection, suspension, brakes and handling. Photo Credit: Kevin Wing.

The 2020 BMW F 900 XR vs. Yamaha Tracer 900 GT Comparison Test was originally published in the June 2020 issue of Rider Magazine.

Motorcycles that start out as naked or standard models often inspire their manufacturers to build a complementary touring, sport-touring or sport-adventure version before very long. The Honda Gold Wing’s lineage is probably the most familiar example, but I could cite countless others from the mid-1970s to the present day. Attracting more and new customers is the objective of every motorcycle design, so whether going the touring route with a standard bike is to aim a not-so-successful model in a potentially better direction, or it’s to simply expand the fan base for a successful bike to include long-distance riders, the goal is the same.

Such is the case with the two motorcycles we’re comparing here, the new BMW F 900 XR and recently updated Yamaha Tracer 900 GT. Both are based on naked bikes, one also new—the BMW F 900 R—and one that has been a top seller in Yamaha’s lineup since 2013, the MT-09, formerly known as the FZ-09. Although BMW calls the F 900 XR a sport-adventure machine and Yamaha parks the Tracer 900 GT in its sport-touring category, their prices, displacements, semi-fairings, windscreens and mostly upright seating positions make these two bikes quite comparable. In fact, BMW considers the Tracer 900 base model a core competitor for its F 900 XR; we’re pitting it against the fully equipped 2020 Tracer 900 GT because the Tracer 900 hasn’t yet returned as a 2020 model.

2020 BMW F 900 XR vs. Yamaha Tracer 900 Specs
Although the base model F 900 XR is priced well below the Tracer 900 GT, much of the Yamaha’s standard equipment—heated grips, centerstand, saddlebags and more—is optional on the BMW.

You can find in-depth tech details on both the BMW and Yamaha in their individual road tests—the Tracer 900 GT was revamped for 2019, and there’s a full review of it in the October 2019 issue and on our website. You can also find my review of the new F 900 R and XR online and in the May 2020 issue. Like their F 800 R predecessor, these new 900s fill the need for lower-cost twins in the BMW lineup, now with more power from a larger transverse, parallel cylinder 895cc engine and better feel and sound thanks to a new 90-degree offset crank, 270/450-degree firing interval and more effective counterbalancer. The $8,995 F 900 R is the naked/sport roadster, and for an additional $2,700 the F 900 XR adds a semi-fairing with a windscreen and lowers, a taller, wider handlebar, more suspension travel and ground clearance, and lower footpegs. It also has more fuel capacity than the R for sport-adventure riding. Traction control, ABS and two ride modes—Road and Rain—are standard, and you can plug in an optional Ride Modes Pro dongle that enables two more as well as cornering ABS, Dynamic Traction Control and more.

Introduced for 2015 as the FJ-09, the Yamaha Tracer brought sport-touring amenities to the bare-knuckled FZ-09, such as a more upright seating position, a more comfortable, adjustable seat, a semi-fairing with adjustable windscreen and hand guards. Its transverse, in-line 847cc Crossplane triple (CP3) has been a ripper from the start, with a 120-degree crank and counterbalancer that tames much of the vibes. As on the BMW, throttle-by-wire enables electronic features like three riding modes and dual-mode traction control, and the Yamaha’s TBW has been refined several times over the years to smoothen throttle response. For an extra $2,300 over the $10,699 (2019) Tracer 900, the 2020 Tracer 900 GT adds hard locking saddlebags, cruise control, a quickshifter for upshifts, heated grips and a full-color TFT display. The GT received an extensive makeover for 2019, including new bodywork, upgraded suspension, a taller windscreen, comfier seats and a longer swingarm.

2020 BMW F 900 XR vs. Yamaha Tracer 900 Price
Extra-long footpeg feelers on the Yamaha touch down in corners well before any hard parts like the centerstand or exhaust.

Aft of their functional semi-fairings and adjustable windscreens, the BMW twin and Yamaha triple also share 17-inch cast wheel and tire sizes, triple disc brakes with opposed 4-piston radial-mount calipers up front, chain final drive and 6-speed transmissions with slipper clutches (the Yamaha’s also has an assist function). Both have full-color TFT instrument displays, and even though navigating the BMW’s is harder to figure out, it’s much larger and is like watching 4K TV compared to the Yamaha’s small blocky screen. While the F 900 XR is priced substantially lower than the Tracer 900 GT, many of the Yamaha’s standard features like saddlebags, cruise control, heated grips, centerstand and more are optional on the BMW.

Although both bikes have relatively upright seating positions that are comfortable for extended hours in the saddle, the BMW’s wide handlebar is lower and its footpegs higher than the Yamaha’s, cramping the rider a bit more, particularly if you’re taller. The shape of the BMW’s non-adjustable seat also locks you into one position rather than letting you move around, and therefore feels higher than the Yamaha’s in its low position, despite their claimed seat heights. We installed the optional taller windscreen on the F 900 XR to even it up with the Tracer 900 GT, and as a result wind protection is pretty good on both due to their effective screens and fairing lowers. While the F 900 XR feels sportier and more aggressive, overall the Tracer 900 GT is the more comfortable of the two for sport touring, with roomier seating, a taller handlebar and more comfortable seat. Passengers also liked it better for two-up riding, since the seat is softer and roomier than the BMW’s and its grab rails are an easier reach.

2020 BMW F 900 XR vs. Yamaha Tracer 900 Price
Swooping bodywork and swingarm, longish suspension travel and 17-inch wheels give the Tracer 900 GT a beautifully aggressive look that belies its sport-touring comfort.

The BMW earns the adventure part of its sport-adventure description because it has nearly 7 inches of suspension travel front and rear and ample ground clearance, but with 17-inch wheels at each end I’d keep it well away from the dirt and just enjoy the extra travel on bumpy roads. Its additional ground clearance comes in handy when riding over ruts, low curbs and such, where we bashed the Yamaha’s low-slung underbelly more than once. Good suspension calibration on both bikes matches them up quite closely in corners. The BMW’s non-adjustable 43mm USD fork is stouter overall and more stiffly sprung compared to the Yamaha’s 41mm unit, though the latter is fully adjustable and can be stiffened up for sport riding quite well if that’s your preference. Remote spring preload and rebound damping adjustment are common to both in back, and aside from the BMW’s remote knob being difficult to use, rear suspension is comparably good. Although the Yamaha’s brakes are more than up to the task, its front brake lever needs more bite, while the BMW has good linear feel and a solid bite at the lever combined with an easily modulated pedal. Its stock Michelin Road 5 tires also offer better feel overall than the Dunlop Sportmax D222 OE
rubber on the Tracer 900 GT, which we would replace right out of the gate with Dunlop’s premium Roadsmart IIIs.

2020 BMW F 900 XR vs. Yamaha Tracer 900 Comparison Test
Both bikes have top-notch suspension that helps them dance through bumpy corners, including USD forks and single shocks with adjustable rebound damping and remote preload adjusters.

On the dynamometer the Tracer 900 GT’s triple bests the F 900 XR’s twin in horsepower output, and the XR’s 20-pound weight advantage isn’t enough to give it an edge in a top-speed contest. But the two bikes are pretty closely matched in the torque department where it really matters for day-in, day-out sport touring and commuting. Both offer impressive grunt for slicing through corners without much shifting, accelerating hard from a stop or picking off a slow-moving car or truck with a quick pass. The BMW twin-cylinder’s rumble and the Yamaha triple’s velvet growl give each plenty of character and great sound, though neither has completely tamed some high-frequency vibration that buzzes through the grips enough to be noticeable much of the time, particularly on the Yamaha. Both require premium fuel and return similar fuel economy, though the Yamaha has more range thanks to its larger 4.8-gallon tank versus the BMW’s 4.1. Given their similarity elsewhere we’d pick the Yamaha’s engine simply for its extra power and longer valve inspection intervals.

Once you start bolting accessories onto the BMW that are standard on the Yamaha, the F 900 XR’s price and weight advantage quickly melts away, which leaves us with the Tracer 900 GT as the winner of this comparo. In addition to offering more power, comfort, fuel capacity and lower maintenance costs, with the exception of its tiny TFT display the Yamaha is the better bike and value for sport riding, touring and everything in between. 

2020 BMW F 900 XR vs. Yamaha Tracer 900 Comparison Test
Both of these bikes are terrific sport-touring and sport-adventure machines. If you don’t need the additional touring amenities on the Tracer 900 GT, the F 900 XR is cheaper, lighter and handles well. If you do want bags, heated grips, a centerstand, etc., the Yamaha is a better value and handles just as well.

Jenny’s Gear:
Helmet: Xlite X-803 Ultra Carbon
Jacket: AGV Sport Helen
Pants: Joe Rocket Alter Ego 2.0
Boots: Sidi Gavia Gore-Tex

2020 BMW F 900 XR vs. Yamaha Tracer 900 Comparison Test
The BMW’s additional suspension travel contributes to its greater ground clearance, which helps prevent the undercarriage from scraping on low curbs, ruts, pavement edges, etc.

Mark’s Gear:
Helmet: HJC i70
Jacket: Scorpion Yosemite
Pants: Olympia X-Moto 2
Boots: Sidi Performer Gore

2020 BMW F 900 XR vs. Yamaha Tracer 900 Comparison Test
Extra-long footpeg feelers on the Yamaha touch down in corners well before any hard parts like the centerstand or exhaust.

2020 BMW F 900 XR Specs

Base Price: $11,695
Price as Tested: $11,945 (color)
Warranty: 3 yrs., 36,000 miles
Website: BMW Motorrad

Engine
Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse parallel twin
Displacement: 895cc
Bore x Stroke: 86.0 x 77.0mm
Compression Ratio: 13.1:1
Valve Train: DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Adj. Interval: 12,000 miles
Fuel Delivery: BMS-M EFI
Lubrication System: Dry sump, 3.2-qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated wet slipper clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain

Electrical
Ignition: BMS-M
Charging Output: 416 watts max.
Battery: 12V 12AH

Chassis
Frame: Steel bridge monocoque, load-bearing engine, cast-aluminum swingarm
Wheelbase: 59.9
Rake/Trail: 29.5 degrees/4.1 in.
Seat Height: 32.5 in.
Suspension, Front: 43mm USD telescopic, no adj., 
6.7-in. travel
Rear: Single shock w/ adj. spring preload (remote) & rebound damping, 6.8-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 320mm floating discs w/ opposed 4-piston radial calipers & ABS
Rear: Single 264mm disc w/ 1-piston floating caliper 
& ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.50 x 17 in.
Rear: Cast, 5.50 x 17 in.
Tires, Front: 120/70-ZR17
Rear: 180/55-ZR17
Wet Weight: 486 lbs.
Load Capacity: 479 lbs.
GVWR: 965 lbs.

Performance
Fuel Capacity: 4.1 gals, last 1.0 gal. warning light on
MPG: 91 PON Min (low/avg/high) 43.1/45.2/48.7
Estimated Range: 185 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 3,500

2020 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT Specs

Base Price: $12,999
Warranty: 1 yr., unltd. miles
Website: Yamaha Motorsports

Engine
Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse in-line triple
Displacement: 847cc
Bore x Stroke: 78.0 x 59.1mm
Compression Ratio: 11.5:1
Valve Train: DOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Valve Insp. Interval: 26,600 miles
Fuel Delivery: EFI w/ YCC-T & 41mm throttle bodies x 3
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 2.85-qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated wet assist-and-slipper clutch
Final Drive: O-ring chain

Electrical
Ignition: TCI/32-bit ECU
Charging Output: 415 watts max.
Battery: 12V 8.6AH

Chassis
Frame: Aluminum controlled-fill die-cast perimeter w/ tubular-steel subframe & cast aluminum swingarm
Wheelbase: 59.1 in.
Rake/Trail: 24 degrees/3.9 in.
Seat Height: 33.5/34.1 in.
Suspension, Front: 41mm USD fork, fully adj., 5.4-in. travel
Rear: Linked shock, adj. for rebound damping & spring preload (remote), 5.6-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 298mm discs w/ opposed 4-piston radial calipers & ABS
Rear: Single 245mm disc w/ 1-piston pin-slide 
caliper & ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.50 x 17 in.
Rear: Cast, 5.50 x 17 in.
Tires, Front: 120/70-ZR17
Rear: 180/55-ZR17
Wet Weight: 506 lbs.
Load Capacity: 363 lbs.
GVWR: 869 lbs.

Performance
Fuel Capacity: 4.8 gals., last 0.7 gal. warning light on
MPG: 91 PON min. (low/avg/high) 41.8/44.0/46.3
Estimated Range: 211 miles
Indicated RPM at 60 MPH: 4,000

2020 BMW F 900 XR vs. Yamaha Tracer 900 GT Comparison Test Gallery:

2020 BMW F 900 XR vs. Yamaha Tracer 900 Comparison Test
Ready for some fun riding? The Yamaha Tracer 900 GT and BMW F 900 XR combine the useful power of table-flat torque curves with mostly upright, comfortable seating and good wind protection, suspension, brakes and handling.
2020 BMW F 900 XR vs. Yamaha Tracer 900 Review
2020 BMW F 900 XR vs. Yamaha Tracer 900 Comparison Test
LED headlights and taillights give both bikes excellent conspicuity and nighttime vision. Surmise all you want as to why the Yamaha’s low beam is on the left and the BMW’s is on the right….
2020 BMW F 900 XR vs. Yamaha Tracer 900 Comparison Test
Both of these bikes are terrific sport-touring and sport-adventure machines. If you don’t need the additional touring amenities on the Tracer 900 GT, the F 900 XR is cheaper, lighter and handles well. If you do want bags, heated grips, a centerstand, etc., the Yamaha is a better value and handles just as well.
2020 BMW F 900 XR vs. Yamaha Tracer 900 Comparison Test
Both bikes have top-notch suspension that helps them dance through bumpy corners, including USD forks and single shocks with adjustable rebound damping and remote preload adjusters.
2020 BMW F 900 XR vs. Yamaha Tracer 900 Comparison Test
2020 BMW F 900 XR vs. Yamaha Tracer 900 Comparison Test
Extra-long footpeg feelers on the Yamaha touch down in corners well before any hard parts like the centerstand or exhaust.
2020 BMW F 900 XR vs. Yamaha Tracer 900 Comparison Test
The BMW’s additional suspension travel contributes to its greater ground clearance, which helps prevent the undercarriage from scraping on low curbs, ruts, pavement edges, etc.
2020 BMW F 900 XR vs. Yamaha Tracer 900 Comparison Test
2020 BMW F 900 XR vs. Yamaha Tracer 900 Specs
Although the base model F 900 XR is priced well below the Tracer 900 GT, much of the Yamaha’s standard equipment—heated grips, centerstand, saddlebags and more—is optional on the BMW.
2020 BMW F 900 XR vs. Yamaha Tracer 900 Price
Long-travel suspension and 17-inch wheels front and rear contribute to the BMW F 900 XR’s sport-adventure look, but we’d keep it firmly on the road.
2020 BMW F 900 XR vs. Yamaha Tracer 900 Price
Swooping bodywork and swingarm, longish suspension travel and 17-inch wheels give the Tracer 900 GT a beautifully aggressive look that belies its sport-touring comfort.
2020 BMW F 900 XR Dash
BMW’s large TFT display is clear and bright and is controlled with a menu button and Multi-Controller wheel by the left grip.
2020 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT Dash
Yamaha’s TFT display is smallish but still fairly easy to read.
2020 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT Triple Cylinder Engine
Yamaha’s CP3 Crossplane triple make more horsepower but roughly the same amount of torque as the BMW
2020 BMW F 900 XR Engine
Based on the F 850 GS mill, the F 900 XR’s new twin has a lumpier firing interval and more functional counterbalancer.
2020 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT Dyno Run
2020 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT Dyno Run
2020 BMW F 900 XR Dyno Run
2020 BMW F 900 XR Dyno Run

Source: RiderMagazine.com

2020 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT arrives in Tech Black

2020 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT


Yamaha has announced the release of the 2020 plated Tracer 900 GT sport-touring machine, now available in two colours with a choice of Icon Black or the new Tech Black. Ride away pricing is unchanged at $20,349 from 2019.

Yamaha Tracer GT Tech Black AU MDNM Panniers

Yamaha Tracer GT Tech Black AU MDNM Panniers

2020 Tracer 900 GT in Tech Black

The Tracer 900 GT sold out within weeks when launched in 2018. Since then, the Tracer 900GT has cemented itself as a favourite among sports-touring riders due to its high build quality, range of standard accessories and excellent value for money.

Yamaha Tracer GT AUS STA

Yamaha Tracer GT AUS STA

2020 Tracer 900 GT in Icon Black

The extensive list of standard-fitment upgrades over the base model Tracer 900 include 20-litre hard-shell panniers, cruise control, TFT dash, heated grips, quick-shifter, premium adjustable suspension with fork legs that can be dialled in for compression and rebound, and a remote preload adjuster for the upgraded rear monoshock.

Yamaha Tracer GT AUS DET

Yamaha Tracer GT AUS DET

The Tracer 900 GT boasts TFT display, heated grips, quickshifter, luggage and more…

At its heart is the compact and powerful 847cc triple-cylinder CP3 engine from the MT-09, housed in a lightweight aluminium chassis, with a lengthened swingarm for increased stability and comfort.

Yamaha Tracer GT AUS DET

Yamaha Tracer GT AUS DET

The renowned MT-09 powerplant is also found in the Tracer 900 GT, with ride modes and traction control

With the grin-inducing performance and riding satisfaction delivered by Yamaha’s popular MT-09 naked bike, the Tracer 900 GT is a sports touring package of the same pedigree.

Yamaha Tracer GT Tech Black AU MDNM Panniers

Yamaha Tracer GT Tech Black AU MDNM Panniers

2020 Tracer 900 GT in Tech Black

2020 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT key features

  • Compact and powerful 847cc triple-cylinder CP3 engine
  • Lightweight aluminium chassis
  • Long swingarm for increased stability and comfort
  • Yamaha’s D-MODE system with a choice of three engine maps
  • Two-level traction control system that can also be disengaged
  • Bright TFT colour dash display
  • Large adjustable touring screen
  • Long-range 18-litre fuel tank
  • Ergonomic passenger footpegs and grab rail

For more information see the Yamaha Motor Australia website at https://www.yamaha-motor.com.au/

Source: MCNews.com.au

2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT Review | Motorcycle Tests

Tracer 900 GT Test By Wayne Vickers


What is a ‘sports tourer’ these days anyway? Is it still something that bridges the gap between full-on sports-bikes and long haul pillion-friendly tourers? At a time when said full on race-replica sports bikes are becoming a bit less relevant to a lot of road riders, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this category could be where a lot of the attention and demand is diverted towards.

Yamaha MT Tracer GT Review
Yamaha’s sports-touring Tracer 900 GT

I mean they make more sense right? Something that can commute comfortably, handle real world roads and potholes without breaking a sweat, take a weekend trip with the missus on the back and still hold its own against the average scratcher up your favourite set of twistys. So if that’s the brief, how does the Tracer 900 GT deliver?

First impressions when you sit on board are that it’s really quite an upright seating position, nice and slim between your knees too. The seat is firm, but not too hard, and it feels angled slightly forward, positioning the rider close to the tank.

Yamaha Tracer 900 GT
Yamaha Tracer 900 GT controls

Steering and controls are impressively light (especially the superb action of the slipper clutch), and when on the move you are first struck by how nimble it feels. It’s almost dirt-bike like in its agility and feel. Plenty of steering lock too.

This is a bike that revels amongst traffic. Sure the bars are fairly wide, but not overly, so it’s a breeze to filter between lines of traffic on. And when you take the admittedly quite nice panniers off its an even slimmer profile..

There’s ample weather protection without it being over the top. Plenty to tuck in behind if you’re really getting belted down upon (which I did more than once this Melbourne Winter), but more often than not you’re comfortable sitting up – its almost an adventure bike riding position – fairly well protected from the wind and any light rain by the nice high screen.

Yamaha MT Tracer GT Review
A generous front screen and fairing setup offers good wind protection on the Tracer 900 GT

The front cowl does a nice job of keeping the weather off your legs and the heated grips (my single favourite discovery in the past five years), work a treat. I’m not a massive fan of the scroll wheel controller on the right cluster that you need to use to turn them on, and then cycle through the three settings, but it works.

I’m just philosophically against having those type of controls, the ones that you do use when on the move, on your throttle hand side. Just for further clarity, the scroll wheel also cycles through your displays on the dash, changing from trip meter to temp etc, so to adjust the heated grip settings if you have it showing trip meter (which I assume most riders would), you need to do the following:

  1. Scroll twice to get it to heated grip selection,
  2. Push the scroll wheel in to select it,
  3. Scroll through the settings to find the one you want,
  4. Push again to lock it in,
  5. Scroll back the other way twice to get the trip meter back on the display…
Yamaha MT Tracer GT Review
Right switchblock controls on the Tracer 900 GT with scroll wheel controller and colour TFT display

All with your right thumb, slightly further than you can comfortably reach without shifting your throttle hand. It’s not ideal. Given that you can’t change ride modes or Traction Control (TC) settings on the move (those controls are on the left cluster), I don’t see why those sets of controls aren’t just swapped so the ones you can change on the move are on the left cluster.

Other electronics work fine (including the cruise control), I reckon most riders will stick with the ‘STD’ map and traction control set to 1, they’re fine – the others are the buzzkill modes. My only other niggle here is that I reckon the TFT screen is a bit on the small side.

Maybe my eyes aren’t what they used to be (I mean I’m not that old..), but my instant reaction when I first turned it on was to squint. Those minor niggles aside – it’s comfy, nimble and offers good weather protection. That’s a tick from an all year commuter point of view.

Yamaha MT Tracer GT Review
Fully adjustable forks in gold are part of the 900 GT package

Suspension wise its ever so slightly on the firm side without being harsh. I reckon it’s on point. Along with the colour coded side panniers mentioned earlier, the GT also gets fully-adjustable upside-down KYB forks. The rear shock is adjustable for rebound damping and the preload is remotely adjustable. Both ends work a treat with good feedback, while being more than capable of soaking up the everyday ordinariness that we’re served up as roads. Surface changes? Patches? Potholes? No drama. I reckon it would be more than up to remaining enjoyable even with a pillion and luggage.

The pillion is well catered for with sturdy grab rails and a seat that’s not towering above the rider – and those panniers are easy to get on and off from their mounts and offer a generous amount of space inside (22 litres each apparently). Plenty of space for an overnight trip for instance. I was getting 300km from a tank in cruise mode, a bit less when getting up it. It would be a very easy thing to clock up a couple of tanks on in a day.

Yamaha MT Tracer GT Review
A generous rider and pillion seat ensure comfort on the Tracer 900 GT with grab rails and panniers

And there’s plenty of power to handle two-up, fully-loaded pannier duties. I’m a big fan of the MT-09 triple and gearbox. The same drive-line that provided the shove for the somewhat unusual Niken I tested earlier this year, shines even moreso in the Tracer (where its pushing along a lot less bulk). It’s a gem.

Apparently its slightly more civilised than the original incarnation, but still offers plenty of character and ample grunt. It’s smooth from the bottom and just builds into a nice growl on the way through to its 11,500 redline. The bike punts out about 115 ponies at 10 grand, but peak torque arrives at just after 8.

I didn’t find myself often past peak torque to be honest as the mid-range is where it’s at with this one. The six-speed box’s quickshifter is basically flawless too. I found myself clutching past neutral and when changing at low revs just to smooth things out – probably more from habit than necessity – but once past a few thousand revs I didn’t bother with the clutch as its smoother than a smooth thing.

Yamaha MT Tracer GT Review
A quickshifter is standard fitment on the Tracer 900 GT with the triple-cylinder engine and six-speed gearbox worthy of note

Doesn’t matter if you’re shifting at full or part throttle it just does its business. Brilliant. Still pretty happy to lift the front for some hijinx too… Love it. Could do with a bit more bark from the snug exhaust to my ears, but I like ‘em a bit loud.

The ABS stoppers work just fine and feel about the right spec for the overall package, they have a solid initial bite and more than enough power, while the lever offers plenty of feel and feedback. No problems there at all.

So all in all the ‘real world roads’ and ‘pillion duties’ boxes get ticks as well.

So what’s it like to punt along at pace? It’s a surprisingly good thing actually. Initially the seat felt a bit unusual with its forward slant – but it only took half-a-dozen corners on the Deans Marsh – Lorne run, I was starting to get along with it pretty well.

Yamaha MT Tracer GT Review
Performance is admirable with scratching potential in the right conditions

Even though the roads were still a little damp and there was quite a bit of bark around, I was punting along at a reasonable pace in no time. Certainly not limited by the bike. I did find that when I put the balls of my feet up onto the pegs then the heels of my boots would hit the pillion peg mounts. That was a bit off-putting, but it didn’t actually really get in the way. I wear a size 9 A-Stars Toucan for what it’s worth (great boots btw).

The suspension gave me enough confidence to explore the limits to what I dared on the not so grippy surface. We didn’t get to peg down territory in the damp but probably wouldn’t have been far from it in the sections that were fully dry.

With even better rubber and a warm grippy road I reckon you could frighten a few sports bike riders. The suspension is up to it, without being proper top shelf stuff. I’d say all in all it strikes a pretty good balance between a surprisingly comfortable tourer and a decent scratching proposition. So the ‘sports’ part of the equation also gets a tick.

Yamaha MT Tracer GT Review
The Tracer 900 GT delivers as an ideal blend of sports and touring performance for an all-rounder

I really do like the Tracer GT as an all-rounder. It’s quite a capable thing. It looks pretty decent to my eye too. I had plenty of positive comments from Joe public and riders alike when taking the pics. Great engine, great chassis and decent suspension. It is reasonably priced at just over 20k ride away, no more to pay, complete with panniers and the improved suspension over the base Tracer. It’s certainly a worthy option. A louder can and sportier rubber would liven it up even further.

Last thought is that I also can’t help but imagine what this bike might be like with another inch or more of travel, spoked rims with a full size front, and a redesigned exhaust for some more ground clearance. It feels quite like an F 850 GS at times with an even better engine, so much so that it couldn’t be that hard to turn it into a ripping mid-size adventure bike.. And that’s high praise as I rate the GS highly.

Yamaha MT Tracer GT Review
I do wonder how the Tracer 900 would convert into an adventure machine…

I’d wager the triple could have even more character than the soon to be released little Tenere, but I’ll have to wait to see if I get to throw a leg over one to know for sure. Is there room in their lin-eup for two adventure platforms? Probably not. Pity. Wonder if someone with some time on their hands might do a custom using Tenere bits.. If you do, let me know – I’d like to check it out 🙂


Why I like it:

  • Sports-tourer with an almost adventure bike upright riding position
  • That MT-09 triple donk and box remains a ripper
  • Super nimble steering amongst traffic
  • Strikes a good mix between scratcher and mile eater

I’d like it more if:

  • The scroll wheel controller is a bit awkward and the TFT dash could be bigger
  • A little more footroom from the pillion peg mounts would be nice
  • Another 50-kays range wouldn’t hurt
  • More growls from the exhaust please Yamaha-san

Yamaha Tracer GT
Yamaha Tracer 900 GT
YAMAHA TRACER 900GT (MT-09TRGT)

YAMAHA TRACER 900 GT

Specifications
Engine Type L-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valve, 3-cylinder
Displacement 847 cc
Bore x Stroke  78 x 59.1 mm
Compression Ratio 11.5 : 1
Lubrication System  Wet Sump
Fuel Management Fuel Injection
Ignition TCI
Starter System  Electric
Fuel Tank Capacity 18 L
Final Transmission Chain
Transmission Constant mesh 6-speed
Frame Type Diamond
Suspension F  Telescopic forks, 137mm travel
Suspension R Swingarm (link suspension), 142 mm travel
Brakes Front Hydraulic dual discs, 298 mm
Brakes Rear Hydraulic single disc, 245 mm
Tyres Front 120/70ZR17 M/C (58W) Tubeless
Tyres Rear 180/55ZR17 M/C (73W) Tubeless
Length 2160 mm
Width 850 mm
Height 1375 / 1430
Seat Height 850 mm / 865 mm
Wheelbase 1500 mm
Ground Clearance 135 mm
Wet Weight 227 Kg
Price $20,349 Ride Away no more to pay

Source: MCNews.com.au