TESTED: First ride of Yamaha's awesome MT-09 Tracer sports tourer
ABSENCE makes the heart grow fonder.
Family commitments and the dull urban commute have meant I’ve had a prolonged absence from putting test bikes through their paces.
That’s all changed, thankfully, as I’m now getting more sleep thanks to someone in my house (you know who you are, although I’m pretty sure you can’t read yet) finally realising that putting the head down for 10 hours a night makes everyone happy.
And luck would have it that my first test bike of note in quite a while is an absolute winner.
Yamaha’s MT-09 Tracer is the sports-touring version of its massively successful family of triples.
This is one seriously comfortable bike, the tall adjustable screen and hand guards doing a decent job of deflecting the wind. A wide, soft seat caters for riders, while pillions will find things comfy behind too, aided by solid grab bars. Seat height can be easily adjusted, although I found the standard setting worked well for plus-six-footers.
Down in the engine room, there’s an 847cc, sweet-revving triple putting out 113hp of power and 87.5Nm of torque. It’s an absolute stonker of an engine, with spot-on fuelling (earlier engines in the family were a bit snatchy) and works well in town, excelling and urging to be revved when you get out to the fast stuff.
The fact that the bike weighs in at 210kg fully fuelled – pretty impressive for a sports tourer – only serves to complement the balanced feel and ride the Tracer delivers, thanks to a sat-up high riding position, a nice steering geometry and generous suspension travel from the adjustable USD 41mm forks.
Four-piston radial mount front brake calipers and ABS, which comes as standard, work well in the stopping department.
Also standard on the MT-09 Tracer are three riding modes, traction control, a touring-friendly 12v socket, adjustable headlights and a centre stand, so you’re getting a hell of a lot of bike for the €12,150 asking price.
Many bikes, especially in the road-biased trailie or sports tourer segments, lay claim to be all-rounders.
But you’d be hard-pressed to find another machine that can truly do it all – city commutes, fast-paces Sunday spins, even the odd track day – with such aplomb. The MT-09 Tracer is supremely capable of doing any of the above.
Even in standard guise, you could comfortably lob on soft luggage and head off for a week two-up along the Wild Atlantic Way to see Ireland as only a biker can see it.
Add a taller screen, hard luggage and heated grips from Yamaha’s accessory list and Europe awaits. Euro for euro, you’re simply not going to get a better priced, more capable sports tourer.
The MT-09 Tracer is available from Megabikes on Wexford Street, Dublin, and Yamaha dealers nationwide.
TECH SPEC: YAMAHA MT-09 TRACER
Model: Yamaha MT-09 Tracer
Engine: 3-cylinder, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4 valves
Power: [email protected],000rpm
Torque: [email protected],500rpm
Fuel range: 260km (estimated)
Seat height: 845mm-860mm
Weight: 210kg (wet)