The pick-up from the Tracer’s cable-actuated throttle is perfect and the fuelling feels good too. Flicking from side to side requires zero effort as the new Yamaha strikes a brilliant balance of feeling extremely light between your knees without feeling flighty. Although the same can’t be said for the rear shock, which is impressive when it comes to isolating your spine from the road’s hardest bumps but can be easily upset by rough down-shifting. Likewise the ABS-assisted four-piston front calipers provide decent performance but lack a bit of initial bite, and scrubbing off speed hard into a downhill hairpin - knees gripping the two rubber pads on the sides of the tank to take the weight off the bars - sends the brake levers pumping as the ABS kicks in a little too prematurely.
The engine is identical to that of the naked MT-07, however the air intake and exhaust have been revised to meet Euro4 regs, but mechanically it’s the same character-packed 270° crank, twin cylinder motor generating the exact same performance: a usable 74bhp and punchy 51ft lb of torque. These figures may seem modest on paper, but down a twisty B road the Tracer’s output is ideal, making easy work of powering out of nadgery hairpins.
There are two different versions of the Tracer 700: a full power model and a 35kw A2 variant. In order to meet with anti-tampering regs, the restriction has been made via a different ECU and revised air-intake size and cannot be converted to full-power once a rider graduates to an A1 licence.
The build quality of the Tracer 700 and it's MT-07 sibling seems very high but this is a brand new parallel twin engine so only time will tell.
It just goes to show that you don’t need a heavy and expensive touring bike to get out and have an adventure; true sports-touring should be lightweight and effortless, and the Tracer 700 follows this ethos to a tee. With a fully fuelled weight of just 196kg, the lightest bike in its class, the gutsy twin floats around the outside of a red-faced German and his passenger on their half-a-tonne fully loaded tourer as he levers his behemoth around a bend.
More than just an MT-07 with a fairing, the new Tracer features ergonomics that make it feel like a much larger bike. The footpegs remain in the same place as the MT-07 but a new rear subframe has raised the seat up by 35mm so there’s more legroom, meanwhile the bars have been raised and moved slightly backwards. These changes create a comfortable but commanding riding position, especially when combined with the cocooning effect generated by the new 17-litre fuel tank (three litres larger than the MT-07’s), and the subtle wind-cheating effects of the manually adjustable screen, small handguards and bikini fairing.
In the name of rider and passenger comfort, the Tracer’s bars are higher and further back than they are on the naked version. The vibe-dampening rubber-coated foot pegs remain in the same place, however as the Tracer’s seat is 30mm higher there’s more leg room.