Yamaha Tracer 900GT – A better Tracer

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The 2019 Yamaha Tracer 900GT is an immensely practical upgrade of a motorcycle that was, and still is, a standout in its class.

I’ve owned a Tracer 900 for 2 years and I love it; a bike that is light and manoeuvrable around town and is also comfortable cruising the highways, should you need to do so. The 850 triple engine is an absolute gem; smooth, fast and with stacks of mid-range grunt. So what’s not to like? Not much, but the suspension is a bit basic and the rear shock in particular cops some flack. So not surprisingly, seeing that they have sold 30,000 Tracer 900s in just over three years, Yamaha has addressed that shortcoming in the new Tracer 900GT. The standard model is still available, and $1500 cheaper, but the GT brings quite a bit more to the table. The swinging arm is 60mm longer, which is designed to make the bike more stable, especially when loaded with gear and maybe a pillion. A pair of 22-litre panniers is standard on the GT, and now an option on the base model. There’s a larger screen with more (50mm) of adjustment which is done manually, and the fairing itself is subtly restyled, along with slightly narrower handlebars and mirrors that sit taller so you can see something other than your own elbows. The seat on my Tracer is somewhere between a rock and a hard place, so the GT has more padding and is slightly wider, and can be adjusted between 850-865mm. Heated grips are standard, and there’s an optional heated seat for $595.00.

Rennie Scaysbrook giving the new Tracer GT a workout in California. No more twitching!

The biggest change on the GT is in the suspension department, with a KYB front fork that is adjustable for compression and rebound damping, and a new KYB rear shock that has adjustment for rebound damping as well as the usual spring preload. The rear adjustments can now be achieved via an external knob, rather than resorting to the tool kit. You really only notice these improvements with a decent load, pushing through nice sweepy corners, where the old model would get a bit droopy in the rear end. No more wallowing, and with the longer swing arm, a more planted feel.

New colour screen is smaller, but simplified in operation.

There’s a new, full colour dashboard that’s easier to read, with the various functions and settings now easily achieved via a thumb wheel on the right handlebar switch. Although the engine specifications on the standard Tracer and the GT are supposedly identical, this new GT feels quicker and smoother to me, especially in the mid range. That could be to do with the EFI settings and the exhaust system combination, but there’s no official mention of such. There’s an optional Akrapovič titanium exhaust system if you feel you need to part with an additional $1496.00, but the standard system works, and sounds, just fine. Also standard on the GT is a quick-shifter that works only for upward changes, but on a bike categorised as a sports/tourer, is it really necessary?

Which begs the question, is the extra $1500 for the GT worth it? For my money, definitely yes. As well as the new suspension, dash, quick-shifter, panniers and heated grips, you also get cruise control, which is handy on long trips. And at $16,999 plus ORC, the GT is still a very attractively priced motorcycle, with stacks of options should you wish to jazz it up even further. All in all, the GT is an immensely practical upgrade of a motorcycle that was, and still is, a standout in its class.

Test Jim Scaysbrook Photos Brian J. Nelson

AT A GLANCE: Yamaha Tracer 900GT.

Engine: Three cylinder DOHC 4 valves per cylinder. Water cooled.
Capacity: 847cc
Bore x stroke: 78 x 59.1mm
Fuelling: EFI, 3 x Mikuni 41mm throttle bodies.
Power: 84kW @ 10,000 rpm
Torque: 87.5Nm @ 8,500 rpm
Transmission: 6 speed, slipper clutch, chain final drive,
Frame: Cast alloy Diamond pattern.
Suspension: Front; 41mm USD KYB, adjustable rebound and preload 137mm travel.
Rear: KYB single shock with adjustable rebound and preload and remote preload adjuster. 142mm travel.
Wheels/tyres: Cast alloy. Front: 120/70ZR17 Rear: 180/55ZR17
Brakes: Both ABS. Front: 2 x 298mm discs, 4-piston radial calipers. Rear: 1 x 245mm disc, single piston caliper
Weight: 214kg wet.
Seat height: 850-865
Wheelbase: 1500mm
Fuel capacity: 18 litres
Colours: Nimbus Grey, Midnight Black, Phantom Blue.
Warranty: 2 Years, unlimited km.
Price: $16,999.00 + ORC

This article first appeared in Old Bike Australasia Issue No.77