The affordable one
Yamaha Tracer 900
For less than nine grand and just over a hundred quid a month on PCP the Tracer 900 is a lot of bike for the money. It’s no wonder it’s been such a success since its release in 2015.
Like the XR and MT-10 Touring Edition, the Yamaha is a sports tourer on stilts, with a high, commanding view over traffic, first class legroom and a natural bar position.
The Yamaha’s rasping 113bhp, 847cc three-cylinder motor is one of the most evocative motors in biking. Clutch and gearbox are light, it purrs at motorway speeds and hits hard like a Scottish hammer-man out of corners. Like its MT-10 sister, looks are something only a mother can love, but once you’re onboard the Yamaha batters Highland high roads like a rabid supermoto.
It cruises comfortably and is the best on fuel, but there’s a lot of buffeting from its narrow screen and the seat becomes a pain after 100 miles. It loves to scratch, but it’s worryingly unstable at high speed in a straight line and through sweepers. The weave can’t be powered through and you either have to slow down, or squeeze the tank with your knees and ride the back brake.
Derived from the MT-09, the Tracer 900 is still blighted with a snatchy throttle response. Yamaha have softened it with new ride-by-wire maps, but it’s still not perfect.
As you’d expect for the price the Yamaha is fairly basic, but you get traction control, anti-wheelie, ABS, riding modes and a decent level of fit and finish.