Yamaha Tracer 900GT

Proper looker. Fes­tooned with ex­tras, re­ally good value and bloody quick…

BIKE (UK) - - SPORTS TOURERS -

FAST the Du­cati Llan­beris AND and FO­CUSED, quicker-turn­ing Pass. It’s the more Tracer through com­posed is the tight quick­est at speed stuff bike than than here the the up MV. And the en­gine’s fu­ri­ous midrange and snap-on thrust wake you up like no other bike here. Yes, the Mul­tistrada is a charger and the Turismo Ve­loce grunts pleas­ingly low in revs, but nei­ther has the dig­i­tal alert­ness of the 900GT. ‘Lovely en­gine,’ coos Hugo. ‘It’s creamy and easy to use on a re­laxed ride. But you can change down two gears and ride it like a to­tal twat. Great quick­shifter, but the gear­box is nice enough any­way.’ He’s right about it all. Yamaha’s 847cc triple lords bru­tal torque over the other two en­gines here, es­pe­cially in the first three gears. The fluffy Multi might thump out 6 lb.ft ex­tra on pa­per, but the Yamaha’s in­stan­ta­neous throt­tle re­sponse makes the Ja­panese pounds eas­ier to ac­cess. And the cream? Stick the en­gine in B-mode and the in­stan­ta­neous thrust is soft­ened at the edges. ‘Love the rid­ing po­si­tion,’ notes Hugo. ‘I like the choice of seat heights. At 850mm now and it’s run­ning the risk of cramp­ing my knees when my toes are on the ’pegs. At the taller 865mm set­ting its fine.’ That makes this the three feels front front head­lights tallest like fair­ing wheel, ma­chines. the (and and in­stead ar­rows low­est mir­rors the Strange, firmest) bike down of co­coon­ing are to as to­wards pushed ride. sad­dle the Tracer The you of the back, all viz. giv­ing Du­cati a bet­ter and MV. view Screen, ahead. lights don’t The only daz­zle is­sue dawdling on con­gested car driv­ers dual-car­riage­ways out of the way. is the low Han­dle­bars are also the low­est and nar­row­est here. Twin that with a quick-turn­ing 17-inch front wheel and the Tracer feels like a low-weight naked be­low 50mph. For­get the wide arc­ing con­trol you get on the Du­cati, the Tracer en­cour­ages short, sharp in­puts, an­gu­lar cor­ner at­tacks and spo­radic throt­tle gun­ning. Just how Hugo likes it: ‘It’s flip­pin’ fast! If you’re vaguely in­ter­ested in keep­ing your li­cence, the Tracer’s as fast a bike as you’d ever need.’ Firm, well-bal­anced sus­pen­sion too. Rid­ing a GT means pump­ing a 41mm KYB USD fork that’s fully-ad­justable. It’s a solid up­grade over the kit on the stan­dard 900 and feels firmer than ei­ther the MV’S or Du­cati’s set-up on the road. And that’s de­spite the legs travel Yam’s on can’t the stan­chions Mul­tistrada com­pete with hav­ing clock the the in Yamaha at slimmest a sturdy in smooth, di­am­e­ter. 48mm, fast but The turns. the chubby long ‘What’s with th­ese con­trols,’ asks Hugo, af­ter an hour at the ‘bars. ‘I miss the min­i­mal­ist click­ers on the MT range. This is the big stuff from the Su­per Ténéré, with added chunk from the cruise con­trol unit [left switchgear]. Easy to use in the day, but it’s not back­lit for night-time use. The dash­board se­lec­tion wheel is sim­ple to use, but its teeth dig into my thumb when I press to se­lect.’ Use the wheel to click through op­tions on the TFT dash. It’s the smallest screen here, but also man­ages to be the clear­est. There’s space around speed, gear po­si­tion, revs and fuel level in­for­ma­tion. Heated grips, trac­tion con­trol level and rid­ing mode are shown along the bot­tom. The bright colours beat the Multi’s mono­chrome in­ter­face, and high-res­o­lu­tion TFT tech makes the LCD dash on the MV feel like a prop from the set of Wargames. Stan­dard Trac­ers don’t carry this com­peti­tor-beat­ing tech­nol­ogy. There’s also up-only 44-litre lose no pan­niers quick­shifter, the TFT, cruise no and heated con­trol, the firm matt-blue grips sus­pen­sion, cen­tre­stand, and you paint­work. GT’S worth gad­gets, the £1400 Once you price you’ve can’t dif­fer­ence. go ex­pe­ri­enced back. It’s eas­ily the doesn’t im­prove on. The screen But on there’s both one Trac­ers area is that pants. the Long-haul GT trips sports­bike, turn into it be­comes drip tor­ture-es­que a huge weak­ness ex­pe­ri­ences. on a tourer. Frus­trat­ing Hugo agrees. on a ‘It works best for me on its low­est of the ten set­tings – fur­thest away from my head. A poor job com­pared with the Mul­tistrada’s.’ But right now I’m point­ing the Tracer down the A498 im­mersed in its bloody-minded power, tight gear­ing and fast-as-you-like han­dling. As we spit out the cor­ners, I find my­self day­dream­ing of the MV’S sul­try rear light or the Du­cati’s easy han­dling. I’m all-eyes on the road on the Tracer, but on those bikes I’d be ap­pre­ci­at­ing the view. The Tracer’s best when you thrash it, but I’m wor­ried it hasn’t the char­ac­ter to be as in­volv­ing at any other pace. Last word to Hugo: ‘This is a re­ally good bike. I’d buy one for what it can do and the value it rep­re­sents. But I’m not sure I could love it.’

‘I’d buy one for what it can do… not be­cause I loved it’

it is also the clear­est. Which is the point re­ally

Tracer GT comes loaded with ex­tras that are well worth the £1400 di€er­ence over stan­dard bike

(Above) Up only quick­shi er (Be­low) Tracer GT dash is the smallest of the three on test here, but

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