I have been consistently impressed with all the applications of Yamaha’s tuneful triple 900cc engine. The stock MT-09 was basic, straight forward fun. The Tracer variant offered a little more in the way of comfort and practicality, while the XSR put a modern twist on with a paired back ‘cafe-racer’ look. In all versions it was that fabulous 115 bhp engine that dominated proceedings. My recent quest to secure a comfortable, practical all rounder with a upright riding position to replace my trusty Thundercat has put the Tracer variant on my radar, especially the well equipped GT spec version. Recently one of my friends test rode a Tracer 900 GT and although he eventually bought a KTM1290 he came away highly impressed.
Fabulous bike, not 100% convinced by this colour scheme
It does have more controls than Concorde though!
So with all this in mind it was with a sense of great anticipation that I took at a demo bike from my local dealers. After 40 miles I have to say it completely lived up to my expectations. However there was one small but possibly significant quibble, but I will come to that. I felt instantly at home on the GT and the seat height was more manageable than I remember on the plain Tracer I tried a couple of years ago, although I understand the seat height is the same between the two.
The 3 cylinder engine, even on the standard pipe has a distinctive warble typical of a triple. I might as well get to the point quickly here: This is a hell of a bike. Quick, comfortable boasting great handling and brakes. The TFT screen is much better than the one on the basic model too. The bike comes with such delights as a quick shifter too. Colour coded integrated side cases are also standard. So it is a pretty compelling package overall
Did it Live Up to Those Expectations?
Once properly underway the control weights are well harmonised the bike feels ‘as one’ when you ride it. The GT coped with tight sections and open sections of A road and country lane with equal aplomb. The performance is more that you can reasonably exploit to the full on a public road.
I took the GT out on one of my favourite routes: Starting by going through the outskirts of Bewdley, out toward Far Forest and then over Clee Hill. Those of you who are familiar with Worcestershire will know this is a great piece of road in the most delightful setting.
All I wanted to do was carry on. I think I might have found the bike I am looking for. However there is a but…the one that I alluded to earlier: The side stand: It is a complete swine to locate and deploy. Despite repeated attempts I found it hard to find when I pulled up. I do have stumpy legs, meaning it is a stretch, but I think it has more to do with how it is located and stowed relative to the foot peg. I pulled up in a pub car park on route and tried a few more times and started to develop a knack to get the damn thing to deploy.
Anyway one, one glitch aside this is a brilliant bike and I will be taking one out again, this time two up to see if I am still impressed enough to actually buy one!