Expanding your horizons
GT takes the fear out of stepping up to a bigger bike
For many years I’ve been stuck in a rut that means I’ve never ventured out of my middleweight comfort zone. But with big trips planned, the GT spec Tracer with cruise control and colour-matched panniers tempted me out. I was apprehensive of stepping-up to the 847cc triple, 227kg bulk and 865mm seat height, but from the first ride my fears started to ebb away.
0 miles Getting to grips
I’ve got a ten-minute commute, so the first couple of weeks of ownership saw me take the long way round. It didn’t take long to realise that I don’t need the three rider modes; leaving it set to ‘Standard’ gives the best combination and suits my riding style best, the performance being nippy without A-mode’s snatchiness.
2000 miles Heading north
My first big trip – and first major mishap. In the middle of a fantastic long weekend to Shetland I had an awkward U-turn fail, the result being me laying under the bike in the middle of a near-deserted road. With a damaged indicator and scratches to one pannier, at least I was lucky the trip could continue. But what looked like minor scuffing turned out to be a costly repair: £22.84 for the indicator plus £390 for the colour-matched pannier.
3500 miles New shoes
There was still life left in the OE Dunlop Sportmax D222 tyres, but I knew they wouldn’t last for my planned 2500 mile round-trip to Italy. I wasn’t prepared for how much better the Metzeler Roadtec 01s (£260 a pair) would make the bike handle. With a sportier profile they mean the Tracer tips into corners with more aggression while they also deliver a plusher and more comfortable ride.
5000 miles The longest day
For some madcap reason I decide it’s a good idea to ride the 1050 miles home from Venice in a day. Splitting the journey into 150-mile chunks, it’s midnight as I pull onto my drive after 18 hours in the saddle. It’s the ultimate comfort test but, while I can confirm that the seat is comfortable, the noise from the screen leaves much to be desired. I’m on a quest for a quieter life.
6100 miles Going further
After three months of ownership I trip over the service indicator and it’s time for a visit to Webbs of Peterborough, our local Yamaha dealer (see right for servicing and running costs). There’s a couple of jobs to be done, throttle bodies need re-balancing (although I hadn’t realised they were out of sync) and the rear brake lever requires straightening after my little tumble. With the GT feeling and looking almost like new, the map book’s out and panniers packed, where now for the next big adventure?
Exploring the beaut y of Shetland by bike Riding into the majesty of the epic Alps Dodging tramilines around Milan city centre