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Yamaha mt09 tracer

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Well, on Sat 14.2.15 I managed to get an hour or so out on the mt09 Tracer.
Having been shown the controls and menu system I jumped on board, but it was immediately apparent the seat, in its current position was too high. It took 2 of the sales team 10 mins to work out how to get the seat off, and a further 5 to work out how to lower it.
Works out it only has 2 settings. High or low. Which is achieved by flipping a cheap bit of plastic one way or t'other to achieve your aim. Once it was finally sorted, I fired her up and set off.

The 1st thing I noticed was just how hard the seat was. Can't imagine riding this heap......oops, getting ahead of myself there, this motorcycle for long periods of time without suffering serious butt ache.
The riding position itself was very neutral and comfortable. As in all these type bikes,  you get the "I can see your house from here" aspect. Which is a good safety advantage and for enjoying the scenery.

The engine is a very smooth triple, which doesn't "whistle" like the Triumphs. The exhaust note is relatively quiet unless you gun it, and then it really does roar in appreciation of being uncaged. The gearbox is excellent with no false neutrals recorded. But whilst the front brake lever can be altered the clutch lever for some reason can't. I found the reach a little too distant for my liking, which made me ache by the end of the ride. The suspension is excellent and soaks up most of the yumps and bumps, but potholes and speed humps will send a shock through the firm seat to your back so either avoid them or slow down sufficient not to launch yourself whilst negotiating them.

Handlebar controls are generally within easy reach, and seem of reasonable quality. The clocks are well laid out and the most vital info easily read in sunlight. Everything is there, speed, revs, gear indicator, ambient temp, engine temp etc.
It has 3 power modes. Whimp mode, this is ok mode, and nuclear explosion mode. The traction control is very unsophisticated and has the whole front end lurching up and down in an attempt to stop it flipping. However the brakes and the anti locking work extremely well in scrubbing off speed.

The suspension is excellent. Doesn't dive too far on braking, and is very confidence inspiring chucking it round the corners. Only the higher centre of gravity will stop you cornering is quick as an experienced sport bike rider with an equally good setup.
Which brings me finally to the engine and power delivery.

This thing has the power, even from low revs, to rip your arms out of their sockets. You seriously have to be leaning forward with your bum cradled into the front of the rear seat and then just hang on for dear life. Roll on power from any revs in any gear will have you hurtling towards and beyond licence loosing figures in a matter of seconds. Clutchless gears changes make this challenge easier. And the gearbox is excellent at coping with these.

The build quality while not top draw is adequate. But it is very plasticy. The hand guards and screen are particularly flimsy and when you start looking underneath the shiny bits, you'll find plenty of cheaply manufactured parts that won't last the test of time.
So to sum up.

It's a cheap bike with only the engine, brakes and suspension coming up trumps.
If you're looking for a cheap hooligan type ride that'll need to be off loaded within a few short  years, then this is for you.
If you're looking for a ride all day/touring bike, you'll be spending cash to make it more comfortable. Changing the seat, screen, clutch/brake levers, and adding a few extras like heated grips etc.  If you're looking to invest in a bike that's going to last year's,  and look after you, clocking up some serious milage......leave well alone.

It's a sprinter not a marathon runner. 

After all is said and done though, it wouldn't surprise me if these become one of, if not the biggest selling bikes in history. To date, in the 3rd week of Feb 2015, they've already sold out in London, and are waiting further shipments to meet high demand.


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  • Ade
    Ade Saturday, 21 February 2015 · Delete

    Great review, nice one!
    I think you are right and will ultimately be labeled as a success and a big seller, like the MT-09.
    I am sure it will take sales away from the 'normal' MT-09.

    I thought the bike was a good motorcycle, just not my overall cup of tea but if one wanted a bike that can tour and also give some weekend blast thrills then it is certainly one to consider.

  • Bikinhelp
    Bikinhelp Sunday, 22 February 2015 · Delete

    Nice review. I like the look of the bike. probably too much for me for myu fist bike though. Mt-07 night be a better chioce for me,

  • Guest
    Ian w Saturday, 28 February 2015 · Delete

    Having test ridden the Tracer I must agree, mostly with the review. Had no problems with the seat or clutch lever and found the firm seat to be extremely comfortable. Biggest problem at the moment is actually getting the thing insured, nobody is doing it!! Still, have ordered mine and am looking forward to many years of trouble free riding(ACF 50 will sort any corrosion problems!)

    Reply Cancel
  • GrandNate
    GrandNate Saturday, 28 February 2015 · Delete

    You are right man. I had a look at this as a replacement to my v-strom.
    it temptin to lie and just call it an mt09 but shizzle to that. thinks its the same with all new bikes and there is a delay on getting them on the systems.

  • RedShot
    RedShot Tuesday, 03 March 2015 · Delete

    The bike does look and sound a bit fragile but one can argue that is adds more character to the bike and uit is cheap relatively speaking.

  • Gabriel
    Gabriel Thursday, 21 May 2015 · Delete

    Great review. The 'plastic' component's is a worry I must say. However the price point makes it difficult to adopt all our quality across the whole bike. I'd like to see Yamaha roll out the automatic down-shifter on this model as it would be a great 'standard' offering. The torque is huge, as you quite correctly call out, and for that alone an automatic down-shifter would make it much more smoother to ride. (I'll leave the debate of using manual down shifting as better out of this). Did you end up buying it? Respect and ride safe.

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