February 21, 2015 at 12:14 am #15598
I rode the original MT-09 just after it was launched in 2013 and while I really enjoyed the bike, the day I rode it was cursed with lousy weather. I wasn’t sure that I had got the correct impression of the bike. So when I was given the opportunity to try out the the Tracer variant of the MT-09 I leapt at the chance.
The MT-09 Tracer, slightly silly name, but a cracking bike
The Tracer boasts a raised riding position, a half fairing and such adventure bike features as hand guards and luggage rails when compared to the standard model. It has a purposeful no nonsense stance. This is a bike to cover ground, go places and do it with a minimum of fuss. The MT is not for posing.
The frame and engine are pure MT-09 and none the worse for that. However I clambered aboard to discover bike is tall for a stumpy like me. It can be specified with a lower seat and suspension that drops the height by a worthwhile 43mm. Ignoring that it is that superb engine that dominates proceedings.
I am lucky enough to live in an area rich in superb biking roads and I was soon exploiting that lovely 115bhp triple. The bike is quick, properly quick and when the engine map is in the most sporting of three modes available the throttle response is instant, the revs climb quickly and the bike leaps forward with considerable verve. The engine note is a little muted but still has that distinctive underlying burble so typical of a triple to egg you on a little!
Yamaha say it isn’t an adventure bike, but I think the styling definitely gives that impression. The ride however does have a much sportier edge that the GS’s of this world. Not sure about the blue forks…
I rode the Tracer around one of my favourite loops, past Bewdley on A456 on through Far Forest before heading towards the lovely village of Cleobury Mortimer. All so typically English it should be the location for a Richard Curtis film with Hugh Grant as leading man! The roads vary between big open A roads to tighter twisty and bumpy sections, some strewn with potholes and gravel from the pounding winter has dished out. The MT took the lot in its stride, The firm suspension inspiring confidence. The Tracer was surprisingly effortless to ride briskly on biting cold day. Brakes are sharp and effective and with a slightly longer travel and softer feel than on many Yamaha bikes I have ridden over the years.
I rode on to climb gradually across Clee Hill on the A4117 where the views are stunning over Shropshire. Dropping back down I cut across on the superb B4364. This is a roller coaster of road that slices through some fabulous countryside, back towards Bridgnorth. Fast, bumpy and in places very twisty it was the ideal road to explore the abilities of the MT.
The superb engine, firm suspension and responsive brakes work together well, and the bike has a balanced, well harmonised feel. I vastly prefer it to the softer, somewhat vague BMW GS for example. I would say the tracer sits in the gap between the more manic KTM 990 and the pure adventure bikes such as the GS. It would be interesting ride a Triumph XC800, as I bet the two bikes would be very closely matched. I battled through a rather severe hailstorm for 10 miles of so and the fairing, screens and hand guards did a grand job of keeping the worst of it off me.
Large clocks a big improvement over the standard MT-09, although I would prefer an analogue rev counter to be honest. The indicator switch as a bit of a fiddle to use too
The last leg of the journey on the fast, sweeping and undulating A448 that hugs the valley of the River Severn towards Kidderminster was attacked with great aplomb. The bike is really at home in this environment. I had switched the engine to the ‘STD’ setting by then using the neat bar mounted switch. Throttle response is a little less crisp, but still excellent. This is the default setting when you fire the bike up. To be honest I would leave there 90% of the time. There is a third setting for more trying conditions but I didn’t bother with that.
Back at base and only bit that detracts from the bike for me: The seat height. I just don’t feel confident getting on or off the Tracer. I suspect that I might struggle in difficult spots to mount and dismount with ease. That lowering kit would be a must for me.
In summary the Tracer is quick, inspires confidence on the road and is economical too. I averaged 62mpg on my 65 mile ride. At £8400 (2015 prices!) it represents bloody good value too. What a cracking bike. I suspect that Yamaha will have a another big sales success on its’ hands!
Thanks to The Kidderminster Motorcycle Mart for letting me out on their demonstrator. I will buy something soon…
Standard MT-09 ReviewFebruary 21, 2015 at 8:41 am #68499ses310Moderator
Nice review, sounds like a cracking bike that would probably suit me. You really should of grown more though :pFebruary 22, 2015 at 4:18 pm #68500imperialdataKeymaster
Good read, thanks for the review. This looks a real contender.February 23, 2015 at 8:49 pm #68501
Nice review, sounds like a cracking bike that would probably suit me. You really should of grown more though :p
I think you would really rate it, and yes I should!February 23, 2015 at 8:51 pm #68502
Good read, thanks for the review. This looks a real contender.
It is, and at £8400, something of a bargain. It would suit you well…not as brutally fast as your ZX9R, but the more upright riding position may well suit you better these days. The Mart are running a demo all summer, have a go yourself.
I know three other people who have ridden demos…two have placed orders and the other said he will wait for them to hit the used market. That is a hell of a strike rateFebruary 26, 2015 at 12:03 am #68503
51 likes on FB, the most any topic has managed since we put the like button on here!March 2, 2015 at 8:58 pm #68504ses310Moderator
I was shocked by the response it got on FB. Does seem a cracking do everything bike
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