Yamaha Tracer 900 GT Review | Sport Touring Tour de Force
The 2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT is the latest sport-touring motorcycle to join the tuning-fork brand’s burgeoning line up.Based on the Yamaha FJ-09 it replaces, the 2019 Tracer 900 GT (and its brother, the 2019 Yamaha Tracer 900) boasts a healthy serving of new features that make for a significant evolutionary step in Yamaha’s sport-touring lineup.
Meant to tackle the all that life can throw at a rider, the 2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT builds on what we enjoyed with the FJ-09. It adds a new level of refinement to its fit and finish, as well as its creature comforts, not to mention several performance updates.We spent time exploring the back roads and majestic tree-lines of Washington state to become familiar with the 2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT to deliver you these essential Fast Facts.1. The stellar 847cc CP-3 engine returns, and we’re glad it did. At the 2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT’s heart sits a brilliant inline-3 derived from the MT-09, with engine maps to fit its touring focus. Cracking the throttle of the GT is blissful at worst, and magnificent at best. At lower speeds, the triple remains entirely amicable, making it a great compatriot when commuting or plodding along the highway. In the canyons, you’ll be taking advantage of the impressive low-end and mid-range power, virtually catapulting your way out of the apex and putting an emphasis on the sport in sport2. You’ll make short work of the six-speed gearbox with a quickshifter. The Tracer 900 GT has been imbued with a quickshifter—an option on the standard Tracer—and with the Crossplane Concept motor’s torque on tap, it’s an excellent addition to have when grabbing the next gear out of a corner.3. Three riding modes are available, thanks to ride-by-wire throttle. Adjustable on the fly, riders can flip through A, Standard, and B. The A mode offers the most direct or aggressive throttle response that edges towards sport-bike tendencies, with Standard taking a happy middle-ground. Mode B has a more relaxed response. I appreciated A mode when riding at a brisk pace. However, for everything else, B was my go-to engine map.4. Cruise control is essential for touring, and the GT is equipped appropriately. Easily set on the left-hand control, you can increase or reduce your rate by 1.5 mph on a whim. The standard Tracer does without cruise control.5. Two-level traction control is standard. Settings can be adjusted on the fly, and it can also be disabled.6. New suspension holds up the 2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT. A gold, fully adjustable KYB fork works in harmony with a KYB shock that offers rebound-damping adjustment, along with the ability to set spring-preload remotely. The standard Tracer gets a lower-spec suspension.7. Out on the road, the GT handles impeccably, peeling into corners gently and even better, remains confident through the turn. Yamaha has leaned towards a more supple approach regarding suspension spring stiffness—it’s a reminder that this fits in the sport touring category, not merely sport. When met with dips mid-corner, the commendable damping soaks them up well. Still, seriously rough tarmac gives its componentry a bit of pause.8. An all-new longer swingarm is in play on the updated Tracer lineup. In comparison to the outgoing FJ-09, the Tracers have seen a gain of nearly 2.4 inches to their respective wheelbases. The increased length has brought greater stability to the chassis, most notably on corner exit when you’re winding on the power. The Tracer is at home on the edge of the tire, switching directions quickly, doing so in a poised and stately manner. In general, the longer wheelbase pays off in greater confidence in any setting.9. The Dunlop Sportmax D222 tires have rejoined the party. Just as we saw on the FJ-09, the Dunlop Sportmax D222 offer a good amount of grip for the application. With common 120/70 front and 180/55 sizes, there are plenty of options when it comes time for some fresh rubber.10. Braking componentry remains the same but gets top marks in stopping power. If you enjoyed what the FJ-09 had on tap, then the Tracer 900 and Tracer 900 GT will pull no punches. Expect ample feedback at the front lever, with matching stopping abilities thanks to the dual 298mm rotors. Also, a nicely placed rear brake pedal makes trail-braking a snap. ABS is standard and non-adjustable.11. An all-new subframe paves the way for numerous changes. The Tracer 900 GT’s subframe accommodates the new luggage mounting system and passenger grab-rails. The overall length has increased to visually match the longer wheelbase.12. Twenty-two liter hard cases are standard on the GT. There is plenty of cargo space to handle extended trips, as well as the daily commuting grind. Unfortunately, the easy-to-use luggage won’t fit a full-face helmet. Happily, the new integrated mounting mechanism makes for a pleasant look with the bags removed. These cases are available as an option for the standard Tracer 900, but with a substantial OEM cost, you might be better offer opting for the GT package.13. The comfortable, neutral, upright riding position gets a few subtle revisions. Smaller handguards and half-inch narrower bars aim for a more streamlined, sportier appearance. With the reduced handlebar width and slimmed down handguards, we’re seeing a nearly four-inch reduction in overall size. Even with that alteration, you’ll have plenty of leverage when pushing your way through the twisties. Seat height has increased a fraction to 33.5-inches while in the low position. Still, with my 32-inch inseam, I was still able to touch my feet down. Not only is the redesigned, multi-density saddle more aesthetically pleasing—it’s also quite comfortable.14. There is ergonomic adjustability to satisfy taller riders. You can adjust the saddle into a position over a half-inch higher. Plus, the handlebar brackets can be flipped to increase the distance to the handlebar by nearly a half-inch.15. Passengers comfort is not neglected—the passenger peg reach has increased by one-and-a-quarter inches. Your passenger will have a bit more legroom while joining you for a ride thanks to elongated brackets. The downside is that the passenger footpeg brackets conflict with the heels of the pilot, making it difficult for them to ride on the balls of their feet. This causes premature toe-drag if you’re not conscientious about foot placement. If you lead a lonely sport touring life, you can unbolt the rear footpeg brackets and never have that issue. For those with a partner, back the pace off a bit and enjoy the scenery; it will be appreciated.16. A new windscreen offers even more protection and one-handed adjustment. At 5’ 10’’, I was quite happy with the low setting and didn’t detect much buffeting or ill effects at pace. In the raised position, the cockpit was nearly devoid of turbulent air.17. The 2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT has undergone a cosmetic makeover. Following the same footsteps as 2018 MT-07 and MT-09, the Tracer 900 GT receives an update in styling, thanks to new plastic, LED headlights, and graphics. Yamaha designers wanted to mature the appearance a bit, with sleek yet functional profiling. While it is attractive, some of it is practical— the triangle body paneling redirects air away from the rider to reduce buffeting. Yamaha has raised the bar for the Tracer’s fit and finish as well, with body paneling seamlessly mating well and hiding fasteners.18. The Tracer 900 GT elevates its look with a TFT display. Although the interface has been revised for the GT only, showing information relevant to the average sport-touring rider; it’s the same unit found on the Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike, and we’re glad to have it. It’s striking, and all information can be seen in direct sunlight.19. A centerstand is standard on both the Tracer 900 and Tracer 900 GT. A center stand is a helpful tool when on long rides should you need to change a tire or perform another type of repair.20. Heated grips are standard on the 2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT. Owners can make use of three levels of heat, but if you can also fine-tune each of those settings. Those with the standard Tracer will have to add these as an option.21. With a 4.8 gallons tank and a claimed 44 mpg, the Yamaha Tracer 900 GT offers up some excellent In optimal conditions, the Tracer platform might get over 200 miles out of a single tank.22. At $12,999, the 2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT offers a lot value in the sport touring class. The Tracer 900 GT makes its argument in many ways, but above all, I’d be remiss to ignore the price. With a stellar engine, superb handling, a competent electronics suite, baggage, and user-friendliness as an inherent design feature, the 2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT has plenty of goodies at an appealing price.Photography by Brian J. NelsonRIDING STYLE
KTM Super ADV R + Lightning Motorcycles’ Richard Hatfield
byMotos and Friends by Ultimate Motorcycle
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Motos and Friends—the weekly Podcast brought to you by the editorial team at Ultimate Motorcycling. My name is Arthur Coldwells.
In this week’s first segment, Editor Don Williams rides KTM’s new 1290 Super Adventure R. This hardcore ADV bike is big, powerful, and a true expert-level machine. Interestingly, it has multiple points of adjustment within its highly capable electronics package, and Don discovered several big surprises where the bike changed personality completely. His is an intriguing look at one of the most capable off road ADV bikes on the market today.
In the second segment, I chat with Richard Hatfield, CEO of Lightning motorcycles. This silicon valley based manufacturer was founded in 2006, and having racked up several notable race victories (including Pikes Peak in 2013 with the late Carlin Dunne on board) Lightning have certainly dominated in racing terms. In another first, Lightning has just announced a new rapid-charging battery technology that may well bring electric motorcycles into becoming real-world, practical transport.
So from all of us here at Motos & Friends… we hope you enjoy this episode!