Now in its fourth generation since the FJ-09 debuted for 2015, the 2024 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+ sport-tourer has been updated with an eye toward refinement and sophistication.
The ‘+’ added to the model name this year brings with it a host of upgrades: a new millimeter-wave radar that continuously measures distance to vehicles ahead and enables adaptive cruise control and a world-first radar-linked Unified Brake System, integrated ride modes, the next generation of the KYB Actimatic Damper System (KADS) electronic suspension, an updated quickshifter, a new 7-inch TFT display with simplified menus, new switchgear, and integration with the Yamaha MyLink and Garmin Motorize smartphone apps.
Rider’s Editor-in-Chief Greg Drevenstedt logged 1,400 miles for our road test and he had this to say: The Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+ gets a big gold star for being a fantastic, well-rounded, well-sorted sport-tourer. Although its $16,499 MSRP is $1,500 above that of the previous model, the GT+ offers a level of technological sophistication that isn’t available on another motorcycle priced less than $25,000.
When a bike wins Rider’s Motorcycle of the Year award, as the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT did in 2021, it’s a special machine that beat out dozens of others in the year it was selected. But every motorcycle, even very good ones, can be made better. Just two years after earning MOTY honors, we have the new and improved Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+.
What does the ‘+’ at the end of the name entail? Quite a bit, actually. Tucked under the nose of the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+ is a new millimeter-wave radar that continuously measures distance to vehicles ahead and enables two features: adaptive cruise control and a radar-linked Unified Brake System. Also new on the GT+ are integrated ride modes, the next generation of the KYB Actimatic Damper System (KADS) electronic suspension, an updated quickshifter, a new 7-inch TFT display with simplified menus, new switchgear, and integration with the Yamaha MyLink and Garmin Motorize smartphone apps.
This fourth generation of the Tracer 9 platform – which began with the FJ-09 for 2015 and became the Tracer 900 GT for 2019, the Tracer 9 GT for 2021, and now the Tracer 9 GT+ for 2024 – is about refinement. It adds useful tech and smooths out a few rough edges but retains what has made the FJ/Tracer a Rider favorite for nearly a decade. As we wrote when the Tracer 9 GT won MOTY in 2021, “Thanks to steady evolution and improvement over three generations, Yamaha has demonstrated just how good a modern sport-tourer can be, especially for riders who value agility over couch-like luxury. Performance, sophistication, comfort, versatility, load/luggage capacity – the Tracer checks all the right boxes and leaves nothing on the table.”
Returning unchanged is the star of the show – the liquid-cooled 890cc CP3 inline-Triple with a crossplane crankshaft, which made 108 hp at 10,000 rpm and 63 lb-ft of torque at 7,200 rpm at the rear wheel on Jett Tuning’s dyno. The CP3 has always been an exciting engine that’s full of character, and it continues to deliver in spades. As before, wrapped around the engine is a controlled-fill diecast Deltabox aluminum frame that is both strong and light. The GT+ also has an aluminum swingarm, a steel subframe, and lightweight spinforged wheels shod with excellent Bridgestone Battlax T32 sport-touring tires. A comprehensive electronics package, 30-liter side cases, LED cornering lights, heated grips, a height-adjustable windscreen, adjustable ergonomics, and many other useful features are all part of the deal.
Since this review takes a deep dive into the new tech, I’ll cut to the chase: The Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+ gets a big gold star for being a fantastic, well-rounded, well-sorted sport-tourer. For this test, I logged over 1,400 miles in three days, and my admiration for the bike deepened with each passing mile. Although its $16,499 MSRP is $1,500 above that of the previous model, the GT+ offers a level of technological sophistication that isn’t available on another motorcycle priced less than $25,000.
A millimeter-wave (mmWave) radar system emits short-wavelength electromagnetic wave signals that are reflected by objects in their path, allowing the system to determine the distance and velocity of those objects. In the case of the Tracer 9 GT+, the radar detects vehicles ahead in the same lane – it’s unaffected by vehicles going in the same direction in adjacent lanes or approaching vehicles in opposing lanes. When adaptive cruise control (ACC) is engaged, the system shows a car icon if a vehicle is detected within a certain range. If the vehicle ahead is traveling at a slower speed than that set for cruise control, the Tracer will slow to match the lead vehicle’s speed and maintain a set distance. A trigger on the left grip allows the rider to select among four set following distances, ranging from a minimum of one second to a maximum of two seconds. With the mmWave radar box tucked into a central cavity between the headlights and weighing only 7 ounces, it has minimal impact on aesthetics or overall weight.
After riding 200 miles around Boise, Idaho, during the one-day press launch, I logged two consecutive 600-mile days riding home to Ventura, California. Day 1 took me due south from Boise through the empty high desert of southwestern Idaho, down into Nevada to Eureka, and across Nevada’s basin-and-range landscape on U.S. Route 50 – “The Loneliest Road in America” – to Carson City. On Day 2, I climbed up the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada range, rode along the shore of Lake Tahoe, crossed into California, and bagged four of the highest paved Sierra passes – Ebbetts (8,730 feet), Monitor (8,314 feet), Sonora (9,624 feet), and Tioga (9,945 feet) – before cruising south on U.S. Route 395 and west on State Routes 14 and 26 to the coast.
There were few people in these wide-open spaces, and the heaviest traffic I encountered was millions and millions of Mormon crickets that covered some of the roads in Idaho and Nevada for miles. At times I shared the road with a coyote, a few antelopes, and several fast-moving pikas, their tails sticking straight up in the air as they scurried across the hot asphalt. Temperatures ranged from 50 to 100 degrees, and several desert rainstorms provided cooling relief from the summer heat.
I’ve never been a heavy user of cruise control – I’d use it occasionally to give my right arm a break, to do some stretches, or to keep the bike at a steady speed while I opened or closed vents in my jacket – but I disliked having to disengage and re-engage cruise control when I came upon other vehicles in my lane. But I used adaptive cruise control for much of my 1,200-mile trip home. I’d set it to avoid the speed creep that can happen on long rides, sometimes leading to unpleasant interactions with the local constabulary. When I’d come upon a vehicle ahead of me, ACC would adjust the bike’s speed using engine braking, and then, if necessary, the front and rear brakes. If I changed lanes to overtake the vehicle, ACC would accelerate to the set speed.
ACC works from 20-99 mph in all gears, and only if traction control, slide control, and (front wheel) lift control are turned on (which they are by default in all ride modes). When using ACC’s acceleration and deceleration toggle switch, speed can be adjusted in 1-mph or 5-mph increments. Furthermore, using inputs from the 6-axis IMU (inertial measurement unit), ACC employs cornering assist (limits acceleration when leaned over), passing assist (smooths acceleration when the turnsignal is on), KADS integration (adjusts suspension damping to limit chassis pitch), and a rider warning system if following distance is too close. While all the different features of ACC may make it sound complicated, in practice it is very intuitive to use. ACC, however, is not a collision avoidance system or some sort of autopilot; the rider needs to stay engaged at all times.
The mmWave radar system also enables a radar-linked Unified Brake System that Yamaha says is a world-first technology on the Tracer 9 GT+. Using inputs from the IMU, suspension control unit, and engine control unit, the system adjusts braking and suspension forces to help keep the motorcycle under control. If the rider applies the brakes and the radar system detects an object or vehicle in the road, UBS will apply additional front/rear braking as needed, and compression damping will be increased to prevent chassis pitch. The Brake Control (cornering ABS) system must be turned on, and UBS works whether or not ACC is engaged. UBS is not an emergency braking system; it provides assistance only if the rider is already on the brakes. To support UBS and improve overall braking performance, Yamaha increased the diameter of the Tracer’s rear brake disc from 245mm to 267mm and made the rear brake pedal slightly wider with a more beveled shape.
I used ACC for many hours of my two-day ride home, and how it worked when I approached or passed other vehicles on the road was obvious. Perhaps because there was little traffic on the road, I don’t recall any moments of hard or abrupt braking that would have engaged the radar-linked UBS function. An icon will flash on the TFT display, similar to a traction control light flickering when rear wheel spin is being managed, but I didn’t see such an icon. Then again, if I’m braking hard to avoid hitting something, I’m focused on the road and not on the dash.
Other New New on the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+
Whereas ACC and UBS are new features, other updates refine existing ones. The quickshifter previously allowed clutchless upshifts during acceleration and clutchless downshifts during deceleration. On the GT+, the quickshifter also allows upshifts during deceleration (e.g., to limit engine braking) and downshifts during acceleration (e.g., to assist with making a pass). Also, the quickshifter can be used when ACC is engaged.
From a user-interface perspective, two of the best upgrades on the Tracer 9 GT+ are the move from a pair of 3.5-inch TFT displays to a single 7-inch TFT display and revised switchgear. The TFT has crisp, full-color graphics, three display modes, and an anti-glare coating that makes the screen legible even in bright sunlight. Simplified menu systems are more intuitive than before, and the joystick and home button on the left grip make navigating between screens, menus, and functions easy (though occasionally I’d mistake the joystick for the turnsignal switch, which is just to the left of it). All the switches have ergonomic shapes, a tactile feel, and new backlighting.
The Tracer 9 GT+ offers Bluetooth connectivity, allowing a smartphone and up to two headsets to be connected to the bike for controlling music and phone calls. The free Yamaha MyLink app allows text messages and incoming call info to be displayed on the dash, provides weather info and alerts, and allows use of the Garmin Motorize navigation app (subscription required – $4.99/month or $39.99/year). I used both, and Garmin Motorize was especially useful because it displayed Garmin’s familiar GPS screen right on the TFT display, eliminating the hassle of mounting a separate GPS unit or my smartphone on the bike for navigation. Using the Garmin app, however, was a drain on my iPhone’s battery, going from 100% to about 50% in just a few hours. There is a USB-A outlet just below the dash, so I ran a charging cord from the outlet to the phone in my pocket as needed.
As much as I liked the features and capabilities of the Yamaha MyLink and Garmin Motorize apps, I do have a couple nits to pick. First, the Yamaha app must be paired to a smartphone via wi-fi, but when the bike is shut down (such as removing the key to open the fuel filler) and then turned back on, the bike and Yamaha MyLink app wouldn’t always reconnect automatically. Sometimes it would be just a matter of opening the app and tapping the paired device button to reestablish the connection. But occasionally it would connect and then quickly disconnect, saying “communication error.” I’d get stuck in a connect/disconnect loop until finally the app and the bike decided to start talking to each other again. When on the side of the road after a photo stop or at a gas station during a long day’s ride, such connectivity issues can be frustrating.
My other nit to pick may reflect my personal proclivities and be completely irrelevant to others. When the Garmin Motorize app is being used, a long press of the home button on the left grip switches between the main screen and the navigation screen (a short tap of the home button brings up other functions). When the navigation screen is up, only limited vehicle information is displayed: coolant temperature on the left, fuel level on the right, and along the top, speed, ride mode, gear position, quickshifter status, and one of only four data points: odometer, tripmeter 1, total travel time, and clock, which can be scrolled through using the joystick. One of my favorite data points is ambient temperature, but it’s not available on that screen.
When adaptive cruise control is engaged, ACC info replaces the engine temperature gauge on the left side of the navigation screen. Switching over to the main screen, ACC info is also shown on the left, and it replaces the vehicle info that is normally displayed on the left side of the screen. On the right side of the screen, the rider can choose three vehicle info “favorites” from among the following: ambient temperature, coolant temperature, average speed, tripmeter 1, tripmeter 2, total trip time, average mpg, instant mpg, and low-fuel tripmeter (which begins counting once low-fuel warning comes on). Three of the remaining vehicle info data points are shown on the left, and the rest can be scrolled through using the joystick but their order can’t be changed. And when ACC is engaged, the remaining vehicle info data points are not available.
Riding the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+
Whew, that was a lot of technical info! But for those who are interested in keeping abreast of new technology, we do our best to report them. Now comes my favorite part of the review: what it’s like to ride the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+.
As mentioned, the Tracer’s 890cc Triple is a gem of an engine. Yamaha’s “crossplane concept” design means that each crankpin is offset 120 degrees from the next, and the three cylinders fire sequentially (1-2-3) in even 240-degree intervals. The engine is versatile, remaining smooth and docile at low revs and cruising along at highway speeds with minimal vibration, but it’s ready to party with a quick twist of the throttle. Horsepower builds linearly to its peak at 10,000 rpm, while torque holds steady: 54-63 lb-ft between 3,000 and 10,200 rpm (redline is 10,500). With a max of 108 hp, the Tracer doesn’t launch out of corners like an open-class sport-tourer, but keeping revs in the sweet spot between 6,000 and 9,000 rpm will please all but the greediest power addicts.
Rather than power modes (four), suspension modes (two), and electronic rider aids (traction control, slide control, and lift control) that must be adjusted separately as on the previous model, Yamaha made the Tracer 9 GT+ more user-friendly by giving it integrated ride modes with intuitive names and presets for all of the above: Sport, Street, Rain, and a Custom mode for those who like to tinker with settings.
With an upright seating position more like an adventure tourer than a traditional sport-tourer, the Tracer 9 GT+ is comfortable for long rides and allows the rider to quickly adopt an attack stance as needed, with the wide handlebar offering ample steering leverage. With a curb weight below 500 lb, a robust chassis, and frame geometry that favors agility, the Tracer loves to dive into and out of curves and responds obediently to small inputs. Strong, responsive brakes shed speed with good feedback or stop quickly as needed, and the 6-speed transmission changes gears effortlessly with either the slip/assist clutch or the quickshifter. The adjustable windscreen and standard hand guards provide good wind protection, and the revised seat, which has a new shape and cover, is reasonably comfortable but could use more support for long days in the saddle.
We’ve been heaping praise on the FJ/Tracer platform for years, while also pointing out flaws. With each new generation, Yamaha has addressed many of those flaws while also raising the bar in terms of performance, technology, safety, and convenience. If Rider selected a Motorcycle of the Decade, the Tracer 9 GT+ would be on the short list.
“We are excited to mark the return of the much-lauded Tracer 9 to the model lineup in the form of this extremely advanced new 2024 Tracer 9 GT+,” said Derek Brooks, Yamaha Motorsports Motorcycle Product Line Manager. “Already offering an incredibly sporty riding experience with its thrilling 890cc CP3 inline-Triple engine, well-sorted lightweight chassis and semi-active suspension, the new Tracer 9 GT+ ups the level of capability and comfort significantly with a long list of features that make it equally adept at attacking canyon twisties as it is tackling a multi-state tour.”
Topping the list of updates on the 2024 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+ are innovative electronic rider aids, including Adaptive Cruise Control and a radar-linked Unified Brake System, which are enabled by a new Millimeter Wave Radar unit that constantly measures distance to vehicles ahead. Similar to systems used in automobiles and motorcycles such as the Ducati Multistrada V4 and BMW R 18 Transcontinental, Adaptive Cruise Control automatically controls cruising speed, deceleration, and acceleration to match the speed of the vehicle in front in order to maintain a constant following distance based on four adjustable pre-sets.
The 2024 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+ is the world’s first motorcycle to employ a radar-linked Unified Brake System, which uses inputs from the Millimeter Wave Radar and a 6-axis IMU to assist the rider’s braking input when the distance to the vehicle in front closes to a certain level while simultaneously adjusting front/rear braking bias and front/rear suspension damping force for a higher degree of braking efficiency and handling. If the vehicle ahead is determined to be too close for the given brake pressure, the system assists by adding more braking force. Yamaha says the system is not a collision avoidance system. It will only provide braking assistance when the Brake Control (BC) feature is turned on and the rider is braking, and it includes cornering brake control.
In addition to the new Adaptive Cruise Control and Unified Brake System, the 2024 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+ is equipped with a full suite of other electronic rider aids, including the Traction Control System (TCS), Slide Control System (SCS), front-wheel LIFt control system (LIF), and Brake Control System. Yamaha says all systems work together seamlessly, each of them can be turned off, and TCS, SCS and LIF offer adjustable levels of intervention.
The 2024 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+ also features the next generation of the KYB Actimatic Damper System (KADS) electronically controlled suspension. Using inputs from the IMU and various sensors, the system adjusts suspension damping in real time based on prevailing riding conditions. The semi-active suspension also operates in conjunction with the Adaptive Cruise Control and Unified Brake System.
An updated quickshifter not only enables rapid-fire, clutchless upshifts and downshifts, it also works in conjunction with the new Adaptive Cruise Control, allowing riders to change gears without disengaging cruise control.
With such a deep roster of electronic functions, Yamaha has given the Tracer 9 GT+ a new 7-inch TFT display, which replaces the pair of 3.5-inch displays on the previous model. Riders can choose from three different screen layouts, and below the TFT is a USB-A outlet for connecting to a smartphone.
Smartphones and Bluetooth helmet communicators can now be connected directly to the bike to make and receive phone calls or control music. Using the Yamaha MyRide-Link app allows riders to receive weather information, receive text messages, and access a range of additional features. And the Garmin Motorize app provides full-screen turn-by-turn navigation through a subscription service. All functions can be controlled using a new joystick on the left handlebar switchgear and shown on the TFT display.
Returning unchanged is Yamaha’s liquid-cooled, crossplane-crankshaft 890cc CP3 inline-Triple. When we tested the 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT, it produced 108 hp at 10,000 rpm and 63 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheel on Jett Tuning’s dyno. Four integrated ride modes – Sport, Street, Rain, and Custom – have unique throttle-response maps and level presets for TCS, SCS, LIF, and semi-active suspension.
The Tracer 9 GT+ has a proprietary CF (controlled filling) aluminum die-cast frame, lightweight spin-forged wheels, a 10-level adjustable windscreen, a height-adjustable seat with new padding and cover material, adjustable footpegs, 10-level heated grips, lockable/removeable hard cases that hold a full-face helmet in each side, and cornering lights.
Available in a Storm Gray two-tone colorway, the 2024 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+ will be in dealerships in August with an MSRP of $16,499.
Mileage: 6,294 Base Price: $14,899 (2021); $14,999 (2022) Accessories: $729.95
After a year together, it’s finally time to say goodbye to our 2021 Motorcycle of the Year. We’ve had a great time with the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT, so we’re sad to see it go.
The Tracer 9 GT is the culmination of several generations of development and refinement, and the result is a fantastic lightweight sport-tourer built around Yamaha’s 890cc inline-Triple, which is good for 108 hp at 10,000 rpm and 63 lb-ft of torque at 7,200 rpm at the rear wheel. This is one of the most fun and engaging engines around – it’s like hanging out with three hellraising buddies who know how to keep it cool in polite company but love to get rowdy when the clock strikes 6,500 rpm.
In stock trim, the Tracer 9 GT is a versatile, comfortable machine that served us well on day rides, weekend jaunts, and multiday trips. We appreciated the Yamaha’s good wind protection, upright riding position, generous legroom, dual-height seat (31.9/32.5 inches), and adjustable handlebar and footpeg positions. None of our testers complained about soreness in wrists, lower backs, or shoulders, nor was engine heat ever an issue.
Any time the road turned twisty, we were glad to be on the Tracer. With its raucous engine, excellent chassis, and semi-active suspension, we attacked corners with gusto, enjoying the confidence boost that a well-sorted motorcycle can provide.
To get to the good stuff, we logged many miles on the slab. One of our nits to pick is how busy the engine is in 6th gear at freeway speeds. At 65 mph, the engine turns 4,200 rpm. We lost count of how many times we grabbed ghost shifts to 7th thinking there might be another gear up top. We’d like to try a rear sprocket with one less tooth to make the gearing taller.
In terms of maintenance, we did routine checks of tire pressure, oil level, chain tension and lubrication, and such. We changed the oil and filter after about 5,000 miles, and we used the recommended Yamalube products. We also took the Tracer to our local Yamaha dealer after a safety recall was announced that all 2021-22 MT-09 and Tracer 9 GT models had an improperly programmed ECU that could cause engines to stall unexpectedly in certain circumstances. It was fixed quickly at no charge.
The Tracer proved to be unforgiving of laziness with the clutch when pulling away from a stop, both before and after the recall repair. Without adequate revs, we’d stall the Tracer like a newbie.
After about 5,000 miles of hard use, the rear Bridgestone Battlax T32 GT tire was toast. We spooned on a set of Dunlop Sportmax Roadsmart IV radials, and they’ve provided excellent grip and ride quality. MSRP for the Roadsmart IV tires is $189.95 for the front (120/70ZR17) and $250.95 for the rear (180/55ZR17). You can read our Roadsmart IV review here.
To enhance the Tracer 9 GT’s touring ability, we installed several Yamaha factory accessories, including the Touring Windshield ($179.99), Top Case Mounting Kit ($116.99), 50L Top Case ($289.99), 50L Top Case Backrest Pad ($74.99), and 50L Fitted Top Case Inner Bag ($66.99).
Installation was straightforward. The Touring Windshield is 2.8 inches wider and 3.2 inches taller than stock, and it made a big difference in terms of wind protection. The Tracer’s 30-liter saddlebags are large enough to hold a full-face helmet in each side. The 50L Top Case bumps total storage capacity to 110 liters, and the backrest pad was appreciated by passen-gers.
Over the course of nearly 6,300 miles, we averaged 44.4 mpg, which yields 222 miles from the 5-gallon tank (premium unleaded is required). Our fuel economy ranged from as high as 60.4 mpg to as low as 33.7 mpg, the latter after giving it the whip in a serious headwind.
After whining to Yamaha reps about having to return the Tracer 9 GT, we wiped away our tears when they offered us a lollipop: an accessorized 2022 MT-10. Stay tuned to find out how we get along with the Tracer’s big brother.
Some motorcycles are fantastic right out of the gate. Others take a little time to find their way. They’re diamonds in the rough, requiring an update or two to chip away the rough edges and realize their full potential. The 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT is one such bike.
Eight years ago, I traveled to San Francisco for the press launch of the all-new Yamaha FZ-09. It was a naked sportbike with an exciting, brash engine, an 847cc inline-Triple with a crossplane crankshaft that imbued it with gobs of character and torque. And at just $7,990, it was a steal. But there were downsides, like fueling issues, mediocre suspension and brakes, and a rock-hard seat.
A year after the FZ-09 debuted, Yamaha released a sport-touring version called the FJ-09, which was equipped with an upper fairing, a windscreen, upgraded rider and passenger seats, revised suspension, and optional saddlebags. At $10,490, it was a bargain too, and certainly more practical than the FZ, but the FJ-09 still suffered from a herky-jerky throttle and suspension and brakes that fell well short of the engine’s capabilities.
Nonetheless, both the FZ-09 and FJ-09 sold well. The FZ-09 was updated for 2017, and its major shortcomings were addressed. When Yamaha decided to standardize model names globally, it became the MT-09, and for 2021 it was updated again with a larger 890cc Triple, a revised chassis, and new electronics.
The FJ-09 got its first major update for 2019, and it was offered in two variants, also with new names: the standard Tracer 900 and the premium, touring-ready Tracer 900 GT. Both models featured new styling, smoother throttle response, a longer swingarm for more stability, and a larger, one-hand-adjustable windscreen. The GT also had upgraded suspension, a TFT color display, cruise control, heated grips, and a quickshifter. All that goodness ratcheted up the price to $12,999 for the GT, but it was still a good value.
We quickly grew fond of the Tracer 900 GT, which was agile, responsive, and well-suited for solo touring. Following the press launch, I spent a few days exploring backroads in Oregon and California. After I put nearly 2,000 miles on the bike, former Managing Editor Jenny Smith installed Yamaha’s accessory comfort seat and touring windscreen. Then she embarked on a 7-day, 5,000-mile endurance test that included the Three Flags Classic, a rally with stops in Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. We were reluctant to give back the keys.
But 2021 is when the Tracer 9 GT has come of age. With a new name and now offered only in the GT version, it’s more capable, more comfortable, and more fully featured. It got the larger 890cc Triple from the MT-09, which is more powerful, more fuel efficient, and saves nearly 4 pounds of weight. On Jett Tuning’s dyno, the Tracer 9 GT made 108 horsepower at10,000 rpm and 63 lb-ft of torque at 7,200 rpm at the rear wheel. That’s a gain of 5 horsepower and 6 lb-ft of torque over the Tracer 900 GT we tested last year. During this test, we averaged 48.7 mpg, up from 44 mpg on the Tracer 900 GT. Fuel capacity increased slightly to 5 gallons on the Tracer 9 GT, and our estimated range was 243 miles, up from 211 miles on the previous model.
Although throttle response issues were resolved during the previous update, the Tracer 9 gets the latest version of Yamaha’s Y-CCT (Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle) throttle-by-wire, which uses an APSG (Accelerator Position Sensor Grip) for a more refined feel. A 15% increase in crankshaft inertia further smooths out on/off throttle transitions. On the road, there is a direct connection between the right grip and the rear wheel without any harshness.
Yamaha’s D-Mode, which adjusts power and throttle response, now has four preset modes: 1, 2, and 3 offer full power with progressively milder response, while 4 reduces power and has the softest response. Mode 1 corresponds to what would be called “sport” mode on many motorcycles, which is often overly abrupt, but not so on the Tracer 9 GT. Throttle response is immediate without being too aggressive. As the dyno chart shows, torque is consistent through the rev range, so there’s always grunt available when you need it.
Wrapped around the engine is a new aluminum frame made using a controlled-fill diecast process that reduces mass and increases lateral rigidity by 50%. A 1.2-inch lower headstock and mounting the engine more vertically helps centralize mass. A new aluminum swingarm is mounted within the frame for more rigidity, and a new steel subframe increases load capacity and allows an accessory top trunk to be mounted along with the larger 30-liter saddlebags.
The saddlebags are large enough to hold a full-face helmet in each side. The bags can be left unlocked for convenient access, locked for security, or removed to carry into a hotel room or to lighten the load for apex strafing. The lock barrels can be a little fiddly (which has long been an issue with Yamaha luggage), but with practice they work just fine.
Another upgrade for the Tracer 9 GT is semi-active suspension. The KYB Actimatic Damping System (KADS) uses input from a 6-axis IMU, the ECU, a hydraulic control unit, a stroke sensor on the fork, and an angular position sensor on the rear shock to adjust damping based on real-time conditions. The system electronically adjusts compression and rebound damping in the fork and rebound damping in the rear shock, and there are two modes, A-1 (sport) and A-2 (comfort). Spring preload must be adjusted manually using a tool for the fork (it’s in the toolkit) and a remote knob for the shock.
With 5.1/5.3 inches of front/rear suspension travel, the Tracer 9 GT has plenty of available stroke to absorb bumps, seams, potholes, and other pavement irregularities. By adapting to changing conditions, the KADS suspension delivers a supple, compliant ride and it quickly firms up as needed to prevent excessive chassis pitch under braking and acceleration. The Tracer 9 GT feels more sure-footed in corners than its predecessor, with excellent grip from its Bridgestone Battlax T32 GT sport-touring tires. Agility has gotten a boost from new 10-spoke aluminum wheels made using Yamaha’s new “spinforging” process, which saves 1.5 pounds of unsprung weight.
In addition to its new semi-active suspension, the Tracer 9 GT has a more comprehensive suite of IMU-based electronic rider aids derived from the YZF-R1 sportbike, including traction control, slide control, lift control, and ABS, with intervention adapted to lean angle and other inputs. The electronics have multiple modes, and the only system that can’t be turned off is ABS. The IMU also provides input for new LED cornering lights, which illuminate the insides of cornering when lean angle exceeds 7 degrees.
The Tracer 9 GT has an upright seating position, more like an adventure bike than the more committed ergonomics on many sport-tourers. Being able to sit up straight with no weight on the rider’s wrists, relaxed shoulders, and ample legroom makes it enjoyable to pile on the miles, and that’s what a sport-tourer is all about. The one-hand-adjustable windscreen and handguards provide good wind protection too.
Comfort and convenience features include cruise control, heated grips, and a quickshifter. In addition to upshifts, the quickshifter now provides clutchless downshifts with an auto-blipper. And the heated grips now offer 10 levels of adjustment. The Tracer also has full LED lighting, a 12-volt outlet behind the instrument panel, and a centerstand.
Yamaha has given the Tracer a unique dual-panel TFT display, with each screen measuring 3.5 inches. The speedometer, tachometer, gear indicator, and other functions are on the left panel. The right panel has a grid of four smaller displays that can be customized to show the rider’s preferred info, even if the information is also shown on the left panel. The mostly white-on-black text is crisp and clear, but some of the text is small. The TFT panels have a glossy surface that reflects sunlight and can make the screens appear too dim (brightness is not adjustable). Depending on the position of the sun, sometimes all I could see was the reflection of my riding jacket.
Yamaha upgraded the rider’s seat with higher-quality cover material and added color-matched stitching. The dual-height rider’s seat can be set at 31.9 or 32.5 inches. To suit riders of different body types or preferences, the bars and footpegs can be adjusted. Rotating the bar-riser clamps allows the handlebar to be moved up 4mm and forward 9mm, and the footpeg brackets can be moved up 14mm and back 4mm. The passenger seat is now thicker and wider, and there’s a new integrated, one-piece grab handle.
The Tracer 9 GT’s many upgrades have raised the price to $14,899, which is $1,900 more than last year’s Tracer 900 GT. For those who are cross-shopping, BMW’s F 900 XR (with Select and Premium Packages but no saddlebags) is $15,045 and Kawasaki’s Versys 1000 SE LT+ costs $18,199. Even though the Tracer is more expensive than its predecessor, it’s priced lower than its closest competitors and no important features were left off the spec sheet.
Over the past several years we’ve put thousands and thousands of miles on the FJ-09, the Tracer 900 GT, and now the Tracer 9 GT. We were immediately won over by its exciting Triple and its playful maneuverability. Yamaha kept at it with a steady regimen of improvements and refinement, and the platform got better and better.