YAMAHA MT-09 TRACER (2015-on) Review

Published: 19 December 2014

A seriously good bike at a seriously great price

YAMAHA MT-09 TRACER  (2015-on)

A seriously good bike at a seriously great price

Overall Rating 5 out of 5

This is a seriously good bike at a seriously great price. We already knew the MT-09 platform had shades of greatness. With that stonking triple’s fuelling ironed out it’s status is confirmed: it’s both immensely versatile and thrillingly invigorating. The chassis, now the fork settings have been tweaked, is without criticism. The Tracer now adds to that with decent range and comfort, excellent all-round ability and impressive spec and sheen – without hurting that value at all. It’s great fun, characterful, useful and a bike for all reasons. It’s also, already, a leading contender for 2015 Bike of the Year.

Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5

Criticism of the stock MT-09’s slightly soft forks has been addressed by increasing both the front and rear preload and damping rates on the new Tracer. As a result, the chassis just gets on with it. The ride is stable and plush enough; the steering sharper and lighter than most and even when pushing pretty hard through the snaking switchbacks and swervery in the mountains above Marbella, the suspension and brakes were never found wanting.

In other words, if you wanna behave like a pillock, the Tracer will wheelie until the cows come home – it retains all the fun and zest of the base MT-09. If you wanna take the missus and a week’s worth of gear to St Tropez – AND have fun through the twisties on the way down – it’ll do that with ease too. And, come to think of it, if you want to just have a damn good, fun, truly all round motorcycle, the Tracer’s probably got virtually everyone beat. 

Engine 5 out of 5

Compact and impressive ‘C3’ triple is essentially identical to that of the base MT-09 introduced earlier this year but with slightly revised and updated mapping to the different mode settings.

As before, three modes are selectable: ‘Std’ (which has been softened off slightly compared to the MT-09 for this sport-touring application), a sportier ‘A’ mode (also improved, after original complaints, for the 2015 MT-09s) and a 95bhp ‘B’ or rain mode.

You can switch between all on the move with the throttle is closed.‘Std’ is fine, 90 per cent of the time: a class-leading 115 horses and, better still, an utterly linear, meaty, addictive drive from 3000rpm all the way up to around 10 or 11.

From five thou the exhaust note changes, churning into that distinctive three cylinder wail that addicts and excites. If it rains, knock it into 95bhp ‘B’. And if you really want to thrash and scrape, ‘A’ mode adds a little sharpness to the response and meat to the midrange, enough to to have you snapping at the heels of all but the fastest super nakeds. Boy, I love triples.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

This is an affordably-priced machine – but it certainly doesn’t appear ‘cheap’. The fairing is cleverly comprised of lots of different ‘modules’ (rather than flat panels) and incorporates a variety of different, finishes. Screen is manually adjustable through 30mm via two tightening knobs inside the fairing (although it can’t be done on the move) plus there are adventure bike-style hand guards. It’s a well-specced, well-finished machine.

Insurance, running costs & value 5 out of 5

The new MT-09 Tracer will cost, if you hadn’t already heard, when first available in UK dealers not much over £8K. To put that in some kind of context, that’s over two grand less than Honda’s similarly-targetted new VFR800X Crossrunner, over £1500 less than Kawa’s updated Versys 1000 and 1850 squids under Suzuki’s fairly prosaic Vstrom 1000. And the new Yamaha’s probably faster, more fun and more versatile than all of ‘em, too.

Insurance group: 14 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

A new, stylish fairing and adjustable screen gives the MT weather protection to match most up to 1000cc; a wholly new, adjustable saddle and rear sub frame to match transforms it into a genuine two-up machine; while a bigger tank and uprated equipment (new, posher dash, centre stand etc) gives the Tracer the kind of long distance ability and class any credible sports-tourer demands.

Owners' Reviews

14 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA MT-09 TRACER (2015-on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your YAMAHA MT-09 TRACER (2015-on)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.6 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.4 out of 5
Engine 4.9 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.6 out of 5
Equipment 4.5 out of 5
5 out of 5

The best allrounder

03 September 2016 by Olee

My best bike ever, 40 years of biking Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
-
Engine
4 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
The chain ought to be "530" to match the engies pover. My chain broke during a long and fast ride on autobahn
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
Centerstand and gripheat is perfect, but the original panniers are not sufficient enough for long range travel.
Buying experience

The panniers and rack vas offered for half price.

5 out of 5

22 August 2016 by Rossii46

Brilliant engine, very responsive with great torque all the way through the rev range. Let down by stock suspension, front fork springs too soft and rear shock too stiff with not enough adjustment. Had mine fitted with the basic Ohlins kit consisting... Read more of fork springs and oil and rear shock, kit cost £500 and £100 to fit. I've never ridden with aftermarket suspension so I didn't really know what to expect, the transformation is incredible. It is ultra stable at high speed now where it wasn't before and stability under braking has massively improved and the cornering is incredible, i can get this thing around corners with more confidence than my GSXR gives me.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
Brakes really are very good indeed, change the front fork springs to stop the bike diving under braking and they feel twice as powerful. Stock screen actually works well for me but I changed to a Puig short screen and this is perfect for summer use. Wear ear plugs and use whatever screen you want, can't understand why people don't wear them and then complain about the wind noise caused by the screen!
Engine
5 out of 5
Torque, economy and overall performance is perfect, 'A' mode is a lot of fun on the move but around town 'standard' is the mode to use.
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
Build quality is very good overall.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
You can easily get over 200 miles out of a tank of petrol before it hits the reserve, I average 62 miles to the gallon and I don't hang about, you don't need to race through the rev range because of the amount of torque available from very low down.
Equipment
5 out of 5
It's all good, fit Yamaha heated grips for the winter they are the best I've used and all controllable through the instrumentation.
Buying experience

Crescent Yamaha, simply brilliant service.

3 out of 5

Great product overall let down by appalling suspension and Yamaha customer services.

20 May 2016 by Steve C

This is a fantastic bike which is let down by appalling suspension. Yamaha refuse to acknowledge this and their customer services are dreadful. One very disappointed owner who will not buy Yamaha again on the strength of that alone. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
1 out of 5
Suspension appalling and not fit for purpose. Bike should not be sold with such poor suspension. it doesn't matter where you set the limited adjustment, the bike crashes and jars over bumps. Brakes are adequate. Seat is uncomfortable after 20 miles on a run.
Engine
5 out of 5
Excellent engine with power everywhere and excellent economy.
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
Overall construction seems good for the price bar the suspension which is dreadful. Optional heated grips look good on paper but useless in practice as whilst you can barely feel the heat in the left grip, the right ends up almost too hot to touch.
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
Good on fuel.
Equipment
4 out of 5
Comprehensive dash with fuel computer which offers integration of optional heated grips etc. Power mode switch is brilliant. Standard tyres not great. Did I mention suspension...?
Buying experience

Dealer was excellent overall. Yamaha appalling.

4 out of 5

Great value all round bike.

19 May 2016 by Frammell

Comfortable all-rounder. Poor throttle map. My right wrist hurts - due to constant heavy grip of throttle. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Great seat, very comfortable. Stock windscreen too small.
Engine
5 out of 5
Great sound, eager engine.
Build Quality & Reliability
3 out of 5
Had to call out RAC due to flat battery a month after purchase.
Value & Running Costs
3 out of 5
Figure due to astronomical first service cost.
Equipment
5 out of 5
Fully specced LCD display. It comes with a main stand!
Buying experience

Great price from Fowlers in Bristol, knowledgable staff, high priced first service.

5 out of 5

Another Yamaha success

15 May 2016 by Potterrover

Best feature the size to power ratio. The screen is useless, I upgraded to a Givi and far better wind protection. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Downsized from a Triumph Tiger 1050. The Tracer puts out the same power in a smaller bike and I find it easier to manage. My wife also says that it comfier as a pillion.
Engine
5 out of 5
Absolutely ace
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
One or two fastners are rusting
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
Looked at a Tiger 800, but this is cheaper, and got better trade in, the difference was about £1100. Economical to run.
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
4 out of 5

Love it!

22 March 2016 by Brian

Superb bike, really love it, brilliant engine, great comfort and value for money. Has the worst standard screen imaginable though, awful buffeting, easily sorted with an aftermarket screen. I am on my third aftermarket, the only one that really works... Read more is the Puig touring screen with the wind deflector thingy at the top.

Ride Quality & Brakes
4 out of 5
For a bike at this price, its excellent, I have done 450 miles in a day, stopping only for food and fuel, really comfortable, relaxed riding position, Does about 180 miles on a tank if ridden normally, a bit less if you're acting the maggot. Handles really well, no bother if you want to go scratching and will wheelie all day if you want. Its a bit flighty at speed, but I quite like that now that Im used to it.
Engine
5 out of 5
The engine is the best thing about the bike, bags of torque and great fun.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
7000 miles done so far, including 3,000 in the Alps, it still looks and rides like new.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

Excellent all rounder

19 March 2016 by Bree

Fantastic bike with an equally fantastic price, so far have done two European trips and i cannot fault this bike. I cannot really find any faults that are not so petty that i would not bother to mention them. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Again I cannot fault either the ride quality, or brakes I do ride the bike with spirit on occasions, plus in comfort mode when touring and this bike has never failed to keep me smiling.
Engine
4 out of 5
Great engine, but I am greedy when it comes to power, and I would always like some more. But I really cannot fault this beauty it really is not lacking in the real world.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
I still cannot see how they can build such a high quality bike at this price. So far no signs of any corrosion, but I do not store the bike outside.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
4 out of 5
-
5 out of 5

excellent all rounder

11 November 2015 by AJ

This bikes rates up there with the best I have ever owned, just completed a boys road trip to the south of France ant the Pyrenees over 2700 miles bike was excellent comfortable great fuel consumption but most of all Excellent fun with oodles of... Read more power on tap and really great through the twists and turns. Extremely recommended (in fact one mate chopped in his Triumph Tiger when we got back)

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Honest I really cannot find anything that disappoints with this bike only time will tell if things change but up to now no problems. During the last trip we normally stopped to top up at around 200 miles just about right before a bit of numb bum
Engine
5 out of 5
I gave 5 out of 5 and I stick by that, Excellent engine with great power delivery.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
cannot believe than can make them for the Money great build quality really solid and feels you with confidence.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
Again cannot really find any faults in the equipment, I have the semi hard panniers really easy to put on and take off and I find them big enough but I do travel lightly but they really do suit me
5 out of 5

MT09 Tracer Abs

05 September 2015 by Steve

Best features for me are, digital dash, superb led lights, centre stand and the one and only thing I will be changing is the standard screen. I am a stocky chap and I think the touring type option would be better deflecting the wind off me. Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
For me the Tracer is a really comfy bike, the riding position is good giving the rider a very good view of what's ahead and for me gives me great confidence to really ride this bike. The brakes are really impressive to. Can't wait to try this bike two up.
Engine
5 out of 5
Great engine with a great sound. The different modes available to the rider really do make a difference and with plenty of torque and power available there's no need to down shift you can just roll the throttle on and the Tracer just goes and goes.
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
This Tracer of mine is only 5 months old and covered just 1500 miles, so obviously there are no signs of corrosion and as yet it hasn't broken down or let me down.
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
With servicing intervals being every 6000 and the big engine valve service being at 24000 for me this is great as I would generally only cover 2000-2500 a year. So for me each year I will be taking it to the supplying dealer for an anual service until the due mileage services need to be done.
Equipment
5 out of 5
My favourite feature of the Tracer for me is the digital dash display. It's display carries so much information for the rider. It's very clear and easy to read with buttons at your fingertips to access other menus and I love the message it displays when you switch off " see you next time"
Buying experience

I purchased mine from a dealer, the price was a tad over the listed price but it has got a nearly £1000 Akrapovic exhaust fitted to it. Sounds awesome highly recommend this.

5 out of 5

Rhythm is a Tracer

27 August 2015 by Stuart Barker

Jack of all Trades Read more

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
Have comfort seats fitted and no problems so far
Engine
5 out of 5
Best of both worlds from a powerful triple
Build Quality & Reliability
5 out of 5
Still too new to fault yet
Value & Running Costs
4 out of 5
every 6k service intervals shorter than opposition
Equipment
4 out of 5
I have full Akrapovic and Yamaha spot lights, Yamaha comfort seats, Gilles levers, a Shad rack and 50 litre back box.
Buying experience

Got this racing blue version from a Yamaha dealer with all the accessories already on it with only 250 miles on it, so not even run in or a month old at £8499 but traded in my old 2003 VFR and paid 6399 for basically a new bike.

Read all 14 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2015
Year discontinued -
New price £8,149
Used price £5,600 to £7,000
Warranty term Two years unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 14 of 17
Annual road tax £85
Annual service cost £160
Performance
Max power 115 bhp
Max torque 64.5 ft-lb
Top speed 145 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption 42 mpg
Tank range 166 miles
Specification
Engine size 847cc
Engine type 12v transverse triple, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium diamond
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 845mm
Bike weight 190kg
Front suspension 41mm USD forks adjustable for preload and rebound damping
Rear suspension Single rear shock adjustable for preload and rebound damping
Front brake 2 x 298mm discs with four-piston monobloc radial calipers.
Rear brake 245mm single disc with single-piston caliper.
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

History & Versions

Model history

2015: Model introduced

Other versions

MT-09: Basic roadster version launched in 2014
MT-09 Street Rally: Supermoto bodykitted version launched late 2014
MT-09 Sport Tracker: Flatracker bodykitted version launched late 2014

Photo Gallery

  • YAMAHA MT-09 TRACER  (2015-on)
  • YAMAHA MT-09 TRACER  (2015-on)
  • YAMAHA MT-09 TRACER  (2015-on)
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