RE: Yamaha MT-09 Tracer: PH2 Review

RE: Yamaha MT-09 Tracer: PH2 Review

Monday 12th January 2015

Yamaha MT-09 Tracer: PH2 Review

Jack of all trades, master of, well, all of them - Yamaha looks to have another hit on its hands



After several years in the wilderness, Yamaha is most certainly back and currently riding the crest of a wave. Having taken the bold move of investing the time and money in developing their new CP3 (cross plane triple) rather than try and flog an ageing in-line four, things are on the up. Currently, two of the three best selling big capacity bikes in Europe are Yamahas as the excellent MT-07 has sold 15,000 units and the MT-09 10,000. OK, the top selling is the BMW R1200GS with 25,000 units, but this is an accumulation of the stock and also the Adventure models and I have a feeling the MT-09 range might sneak near this figure in 2015. Why? As well as the stock MT-09 and niche Street Rally and Sport Tracker variants, Yamaha now has the Tracer - a bike that I reckon is probably Yamaha's best model in its current line-up. I know this is a bold claim, but it really is the bike that riders have been crying out for - a fun do-it-all that comes with advanced electronics and a budget price tag.

Launch not held in winter UK for some reason...
Launch not held in winter UK for some reason...
More than just a half-fairing
Glancing at photos of the Tracer you could get the impression it is simply an MT-09 with a body kit in the same vein as the Street Rally or Sport Tracker. It isn't. Yamaha has taken the MT-09 as a base and then spent the money converting it into a do-it-all rather than try and do a half-arsed job. So while the chassis, swingarm, suspension (bar the damping), engine (bar maps) and brakes are the same at the MT-09, important parts aren't.

The whole subframe is longer to keep pillions happy and has a grab rail and pannier mounts integrated into its structure, the bars are wider and can be altered in their position, the new front fairing has a three-way adjustable screen, the dash is new and both ABS and traction control come as standard. Basically, Yamaha has converted the MT-09 into a Fazer for the next generation, although they have called it a Tracer to avoid pun-tastic 'Fazer set to stun' headlines...

A successor in spirit, if not name, to the Fazer
A successor in spirit, if not name, to the Fazer
Tracer set to stun
I'm not going to beat around the bush as if you are wanting a Tracer you only need to know one thing - it's brilliant. Right, now rush down to your local Yamaha dealer and hope they haven't sold out because this bike is going to be in very short supply. OK, now you have returned, here's what makes it so good. Yamaha has taken all the spirit and fun that the MT-09 has in abundance and managed to inject a huge amount of practicality without tainting the spirit.

So, while the Tracer's seat is lovely and comfortable, the screen moderately effective and the riding position nice and relaxed to keep do-it-all fans happy, the triple motor is still just as barking to ensure those of a childish disposition are kept equally amused. However there are a few irritations, for me the biggest of which is the fact the traction control can't be turned on or off while on the move, instead you need to be stationary. This means you need to decide before you start your ride if you will be going sensibly or pulling lots of wheelies. If this doesn't bother you then aside from slightly too short mirror stalks, which result in a lot of elbow being reflected, there is little to moan about. In fact, I'd say the Tracer is actually a better bike than the MT-09.

Fast, fun, comfortable, affordable - winner!
Fast, fun, comfortable, affordable - winner!
Small improvements count
A few riders found the MT-09's throttle response a touch too direct and the suspension too soft. Personally, I didn't mind the throttle but when you upped the pace the bouncy bits certainly did bounce. With the Tracer, Yamaha has not only made the throttle response milder without reducing power, it has also increased the damping, the result of which is a far sportier ride. It's just a shame the tyres have been changed to more touring oriented rubber as the Dunlop D222 Sportmaxs aren't the best in the world.

That said, this is a bike for churning out miles as well as carving through bends so it isn't that much of an issue. However, if I owned a Tracer I'd be pretty happy when the time came to swap tyres. That said, on a fairly tight and twisty second and third gear road the Tracer was very composed, rolling into bends with a balanced feeling and without any of the MT-09's pitching so they can't be all bad.

Yamaha's latest ... it's wheelie good (sorry)
Yamaha's latest ... it's wheelie good (sorry)
The ABS wasn't overly intrusive and the traction control seems effective, although to be totally honest I spent most of my ride with it turned off as I was in a foreign country and therefore points for wheelies mean prizes not licence endorsements... On the few occasions I turned it on the TC caught larger slides, but it isn't anything like as clever as the gyroscopic system on the new BMW R1200R, but then again, at this price what do you expect?

A new Fazer?
The original FZS600 was a huge sales hit thanks to a lovely blend of practicality and fun, something the overly sporty FZ6 Fazer and competent but insipid FZ8 Fazer failed to recreate. The Tracer manages to recapture this Fazer essence but brings it into a modern context with a cracking triple engine, sporty handling and decent electronic support. However for me the best bit remains the price - ยฃ8,149. With Yamaha's PCP plans that puts this brilliant do-it-all right in the mix and I reckon within a few months it will be in very short supply indeed. And deservedly so.

Bit of vid here


YAMAHA MT-09
Engine:
847cc 3-cyl
Power (hp): 115@10,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 64@8,500rpm
Top speed: 145mph (est)
Weight: 210kg (wet)
MPG: 45mpg (est)
Price: ยฃ8,149

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Author
Discussion

J B L

Original Poster:

4,175 posts

186 months

Monday 12th January 2015
quotequote all
Really a bike I have my eye on to go along the SP2. I reckon they've hit the spot price/spec/fun wise.

Obiwonkeyblokey

5,396 posts

211 months

Monday 12th January 2015
quotequote all
My dealer has two in the queue and ca supply for march 1st.
now the blade, stay or go?

zerovira

63 posts

102 months

Monday 12th January 2015
quotequote all
really reminds me of my fzs 600 in the looks department.

Doesn't float my boat but I reckon it seems a good proposition at a fair price... although when did bikes costing around 10k€ started to be considered bargains?

J B L

Original Poster:

4,175 posts

186 months

Monday 12th January 2015
quotequote all
zerovira said:
although when did bikes costing around 10k€ started to be considered bargains?
When bikes that used to cost £8k went on to £12k wink

3DP

9,868 posts

205 months

Monday 12th January 2015
quotequote all
I really like this new Yamaha triple range. I'm keen to try one, mainly as Street Triples are too slow and Speed Triples a bit overpriced for their age.

I've read that a remap with a full Akra system (about £650) liberates 115+bhp at the rear wheel and sorts the throttle out.

As a do-it-all bike with decent performance, the price is not too sad until you realise that you can get a new 2014 Tuono APRC for under £10k at the moment and a GSXR1000 for under £8.5k if you shop around.

Tribal Chestnut

2,205 posts

153 months

Monday 12th January 2015
quotequote all
3DP said:
I really like this new Yamaha triple range. I'm keen to try one, mainly as Street Triples are too slow and Speed Triples a bit overpriced for their age.

I've read that a remap with a full Akra system (about £650) liberates 115+bhp at the rear wheel and sorts the throttle out.

As a do-it-all bike with decent performance, the price is not too sad until you realise that you can get a new 2014 Tuono APRC for under £10k at the moment and a GSXR1000 for under £8.5k if you shop around.
Isn't a better comparison to a Vstrom/Versys? What can they be had for?

BigTom85

1,911 posts

142 months

Monday 12th January 2015
quotequote all
These are going to sell like hot cakes.

As a chap who only has room for one bike and a limited budget, I'm struggling to think of a bike I'd prefer.

jackh707

2,119 posts

127 months

Monday 12th January 2015
quotequote all
Those that have ridden this bike in MT09 guise will realise that this is a great engine and will make this one hell of a bike.

The price comparison with GSXR1000 and Aprillias is a bit arbitrary, very different bikes which most people in the market for a tracer wouldn't consider. And the tracer is still much cheaper than both.


boyse7en

5,015 posts

136 months

Tuesday 13th January 2015
quotequote all
Sounds like this might be a good replacement for my BMW F800S. Fancy a Street Triple having ridden one, but I've been put off by the lack of any weather protection (I commute all year round). This sounds like it might fit the bill (although the looks are a bit dull)

sprinter1050

11,537 posts

198 months

Tuesday 13th January 2015
quotequote all
I can see these being the general purpose/do-it-all bike of default for many. The downside is they will become common as poo in time. Cheap secondhand then in 2 years time?

Mitzy's new wheelie machine as well biggrin

proper

37 posts

142 months

Tuesday 13th January 2015
quotequote all
Great looking bike.
The TDM has returned...

Silver993tt

9,064 posts

210 months

Tuesday 13th January 2015
quotequote all
Would love to see an MT12 or MT13 version.

MoelyCrio

2,411 posts

153 months

Tuesday 13th January 2015
quotequote all
MT09 owners wanting to sell are going to have their pants pulled down.

Tribal Chestnut

2,205 posts

153 months

Tuesday 13th January 2015
quotequote all
Silver993tt said:
Would love to see an MT12 or MT13 version.
Agreed, could be fantastic.

thatdude

2,532 posts

98 months

Wednesday 14th January 2015
quotequote all
I could see myself trading in my FZ1 next year for one of these

have to save a bit though


proper

37 posts

142 months

Wednesday 14th January 2015
quotequote all
This review is not linked to the PH2 section?

Glade

3,830 posts

194 months

Sunday 21st June 2015
quotequote all
Has anyone bought a Tracer, or test ridden one?

I went on a 5 day tour of Ireland on my SV650S recently and it wasn't the right bike for the job. I'd like to head off into Europe, but want a more comfortable bike.

I've had the Sv 8 years, was my first bike feels like time for a change. I had always wanted a superduke, but don't fancy long trips on one.

So the reviews of the tracer are all positive and it's affordable... But if I change bikes I'll keep it for another 8 years.

I've been for a look at the S1000XR and the specs are very sexy... But my first impression was that it is a big bike... Might be fine on the move but slightly intimidating.

I guess the question is... Would the Tracer be "enough"... Exciting enough for the foreseeable future.

Sv650 - 70bhp, Tracer 115bhp fairly significant increase... S1000XR 160! >2x!!!


jaf01uk

1,943 posts

167 months

Sunday 21st June 2015
quotequote all
I bought one, just returned to bikes after ages away but it is fantastic in all areas as far as I am concerned, I never considered a sports bike and as such this is ideal, loads of grunt, mischief with TC off if the mood takes you and very comfy, mine had 650 miles on and the 1st owner had changed to Michelin Pilot tyres so can't comment on the standard tyres but these way outgrip my novice ability, overall very pleased with it, I also considered the BMW S1000r and xr but the insurance was a killer for me...
Gary

Tribal Chestnut

2,205 posts

153 months

Monday 22nd June 2015
quotequote all
jaf01uk said:
I bought one, just returned to bikes after ages away but it is fantastic in all areas as far as I am concerned, I never considered a sports bike and as such this is ideal, loads of grunt, mischief with TC off if the mood takes you and very comfy, mine had 650 miles on and the 1st owner had changed to Michelin Pilot tyres so can't comment on the standard tyres but these way outgrip my novice ability, overall very pleased with it, I also considered the BMW S1000r and xr but the insurance was a killer for me...
Gary
How do you find it for cruising at speeds of 70/80/90+? The one big negative I read in a review was some instability once travelling in excess of the NSL, not much good for touring abroad if that's the case.

Obiwonkeyblokey

5,396 posts

211 months

Monday 22nd June 2015
quotequote all
My friend hired one for 5 days for the TT and loved it by the end of the period. cruised up from london, blatted around the island and he didnt have a bad word to say about it.