Yam MT-09 Tracer test ride

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    Well, my patented hangover cure seemed to be working so I was on the road at 9.30am on the dot, courtesy of Skellerns, Cheltenham. Nick had loaned me the Tracer ’til 2pm so I took the scenic route home via Coombe Hill, Corse, Ledbury, Ross: now my default route from Cheltenham.
    Radar had recommended that I try this 900 triple as some of his mates had been so impressed with their test rides that that they’d bought one.
    So, first impressions: certainly looks nice enough – quite compact except for the taller-optioned screen. The rack was perfect for strapping on my overnight stuff and the Yam was typically simple to start (standard modes chosen for the test ride, as usual). A little taller than the Triumphs but as the Tracer is so light and nimble I found that the lack of heels on the ground was not a problem.

    Yamaha Tracer

    The engine seemed a bit buzzy, and there was noticeable vibration: sounded a bit like a 125cc, so I must admit that I was initially a bit disappointed. But it was very easy-steering, with good gear selection and nice fuelling, so I soon started warming to the compact little thing.
    I kept trying to find another gear, not used to the high-pitched engine note, until I noticed the gear notification on the very comprehensive digital speedo. It would pull comfortably from 3000 revs in top but still seemed a little basic compared to the European marques that I’d ridden recently, and a bit tinny compared to my heavier, louder TDM.
    But after a few miles I realised the bleedin’ obvious: the Tracer just wants to be revved. So I dropped down a couple of cogs and kept the motor in the 5,000 – 10,000 section of the (digital) rev counter. Now it made sense: the high-pitched howl of the triple still sounded like a two-stroke but in a good way. And it does shift.

    Compact but well-equipped…

    After a pit-stop at Lydbrook, Debs leapt aboard and immediately liked the high, comfortable pillion position. We took the reverse route back to Cheltenham: it’s a good mix of country A & B roads with twisties and straights, potholes and ripples. The suspension was a bit hard, but can presumably be adjusted – it certainly wasn’t bad enough to trouble my still-strapped elbow. Debs also liked her view of the very clear speedo – she was able to point out exactly how fast I was going…. hmmmm.

    Two-up the bike was even more stable through the bends and still accelerated well. When I stopped to ask Debs what she thought, she just said: ‘This bike is fun!’. And there we have it: my initial reservations had receded and we were having a blast – the Tracer comes into its own when ridden hard. Debs said I was riding it like a sportsbike – but I can’t see why you’d want to do anything else with it.


    One of Skellerns’ staff toured Wales on a Tracer and returned 72.1mpg with luggage & pillion and I’m sure they had a great time. I still got 54mpg scratching back roads so I can see the attraction of this bike: under £9k for a compact, versatile and well-equipped bike that does anything you want except go off-road. Exactly like the opposition but cheaper.

    Cheap, economical and great fun!

    Amongst others, the Tracer will appeal to rev-junkies with two-stroke oil in their blood and an addiction to fun…..  8)

    Thumbs up from us both!


    It would seem that I like to rev my bikes….

    Another great review there Elissimo…so what is next??

    My Take on the Tracer:

    and the standard MT-09


    Cracking review! And gotta say whoa what a screen on that example


    Some feedback on the Facebook link to your review from a friend of mine who rides a Tracer:

    Looks like he liked the bike in the end. If you’re picky you’d find things to dislike. More expensive bikes may do some bits better, critique what it is in its price bracket and it is astonishing.

    However I must put people off thinking about getting one, soon they’ll be everywhere!

    Then Elessimo:

    It did indeed win me over – and as you say for the price it’s amazing! And my pillion (even more picky than me) called it “fun” – which is more complimentary than her critique of the 800 & 1200GSs..

    Back to my friend:

    Initially my pillion didn’t get on with the bike, turns out it was actually the getting on and off that proved problematic. Now I just put the top box on and she is as happy as happy can be, rather happy being on it now.
    My picky reference wasn’t aimed your way, the forums and FB group seems full of people moaning about handling (high speed wobble), the seat, the screen, tyres … Just given up logging onto them!

    Ellesimo again:

    Didn’t notice any high speed wobbles or any handling issues around our twisties, though i didn’t (quite) exceed the ton…. The screen is better than the touring screen on my TDM. Personally I think this bike is a steal at that price; when I find a bike that is perfect in every way I’ll let people know!

    Good to see the reviews getting read and raising a response.

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