#3 Yamaha Tracer 900
This perky triple can tour in fine style but there a few things to watch out for…
FEW BIKES MAKE more sense than a Tracer 900. An inspired recipe of fun and affordable MT-09 mixed with the extra practicality of a half-fairing and roomier seat made the original a Europewide best seller. Successive updates (and renames) made it better still but dented its budget status. Here’s what you need to know…
1 The seat is pants
The 2015 version’s seat was widely criticised as uncomfortable, prompting a significant update on the 2018 model — although it’s still not great. Some replace with ‘Comfort’ options by the likes of Sargent, Bagster and Corbin. It’s also a little high, at 815mm, leading to the use of lowering linkages by companies such as Lust Racing.
How common? Very, but later versions are better and fixes well known.
2 Mechanicals are OK but cosmetics less so
Brilliant CP3 triple is a gem with no major reliability concerns, although some owners report the ECU benefits from flashing to improve low-rpm response. However, exhaust headers, disc rotors and centrestand are particularly prone to corrosion and rust, especially if used year-round. Regular cleaning, protection and a Fendaextenda plus hugger are recommended.
How common? Very; ACF-50 treatment and regular cleaning is vital.
3 Plenty of screen woes
The original’s screen was too low, impossible to raise on the move and, for some, also quite noisy. Its successor’s adjustment was improved a bit, but many owners fit taller screens. Yamaha’s own is expensive but there are plenty of options from MRA, Givi, Puig, Ermax, Powerbronze and so on…
How common? Noise depends on your height; replacement on your taste.
4 Suspension is over-soft
The original Tracer suffered from overly-soft forks and shock. Although this could be mostly adjusted out (front and rear are both preload and rebound adjustable) and was improved on the second generation, it can still be an issue. The GT has more refined, more adjustable gold-finished KYB units.
How common? Many complaints on this issue but adjustment helps.
5 No two are the same
Being a budget tourer means the Tracer is also an accessory magnet — some may be desirable, some not, so be sure of what you want. Major plusses include Yamaha heated grips, Akrapovic exhausts (which retain the centrestand), tall screens, quality luggage, suspension upgrades, crash protection and comfort seats.
How common? Almost inevitable but some more than others.
SHOULD I TAKE THE RISK?
Yes. The combination of performance, practicality, fun and value is compelling. But early bikes aren’t perfect, spec a bit basic and Gt/later versions add class but take it out of budget territory.