The sport-touring genre continues to battle back against the adventure-touring segment, with the all-new 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT being the latest sport-touring motorcycle to enter the fray. This isn’t a warmed-over Tracer GT; the 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT is an all-new motorcycle from the chassis to the motor to the electronics.
The motor is the latest version of the Yamaha triple. Now displacing 890cc courtesy of a 3mm lengthening of the stroke, the CP3 still has the distinctive power delivery that comes with the crossplane configuration.
New injectors spray directly into the cylinder head, rather than through the throttle bodies. According to Yamaha, combustion efficiency is increased, and the fuel particles slip past the ports’ walls more smoothly. Fuel consumption, always critical on a touring motorcycle, is increased to 49 mpg.
The 2021 Yamaha Trace 9 GT is fully ride-by-wire. There is no longer a throttle cable, and a spring/slider/gear combo gives the traditional throttle feel; it’s the same unit used on the YZF-R1M superbike.
Four power modes allow the rider to personalize the ride. Mode 1 is the most aggressive, with the throttle response and engine power production trailing off as you move to Mode 4.
Expect a different sound from the Tracer 9 GT. The three intake ducts have unique sounds, focusing on an excellent aural experience as the revs rise. The exhaust has two asymmetrical outlets for a boost of low-frequency waves at lower rpm. Additionally, each of the three stainless steel headers has its own audible identity.
An up/down quickshifter speeds up gearchanges. When you do need the clutch, it is of the assist-and-slipper variety. Also, the ratios for 1st and 2nd gears are incrementally higher than in the older inline-3’s transmission.
The 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT has a diecast aluminum twin-spar frame. The frame is more compact than the version it replaces, and Yamaha says it offers a better front-end feel. Flex has been built in for touring comfort.
Box-section construction gives the aluminum swingarm additional rigidity. While it looks like the MT-09’s swingarm, the GT’s swingarm is 2.4 inches longer. The result is a 59.1-inch wheelbase that favors stability—another nod to its sport-touring mission.
Semi-active KYB suspension is standard. Working with the new six-axis IMU, the KYB suspension continuously adjusts the damping to keep the 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT steady on the road. There are two modes—A-1 for better handling when riding in a sporting manner, and A-2 for touring comfort.
The IMU allows for a sweeping suite of electronic aids. The GT has traction control, slide control, wheelie control, and ABS, all under the computer’s watchful eye with the IMU input. These parameters are adjustable via the dash and an array of buttons on the left handlebar.
There are two levels of ABS. BC1 is the standard ABS for upright riding, while BC2 is corner-aware. Nissin provides the calipers—front and back—with 298mm discs in the front, plus radial mounting of the calipers.
There are two 3.5-inch TFT screens on the 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT. Placed side-by-side, it segregates groupings of information. The right-side screen has a choice of four displays, providing different data and presentation.
Yamaha provides personalization of the ergonomics. The seat can be set at either of two heights. Additionally, there are two positions for the pegs and multiple handlebar-mounting choices. The windscreen’s height can be adjusted to taste.
LED cornering lights make it easy to look into turns after dark. As you lean into a corner at night, the appropriate cornering LED makes sure you can see where you’re going.
Dunlop Sportmax GPR-100 tires are mounted on new spin-forged aluminum wheels. According to Yamaha, the wheels’ reduced inertia provides agile handling.
Touring riders will be thrilled that the hard side cases and grip warmers. Each case can consume a full-face helmet. The carrier system for the cases is floating, which should lessen the impact they have on handling.
The 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT will have a $14,899 price tag on showroom floors when they arrive in March. That’s a competitive price, considering the bags and semi-active suspension are standard equipment.
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.