Ex­pand­ing your hori­zons

GT takes the fear out of step­ping up to a big­ger bike

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Long-term Tests - Ali­son Sil­cox, Of­fice Man­ager Ev­ery­day all-weather rider with a thirst for ad­ven­ture

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

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