Yamaha have made new Tracer 700 more comfortable with a new 10mm thicker seat with more padding, making it kinder on your knees and bum. Arms are more relaxed, too, thanks to 34mm wider bars.
Handling is improved thanks to new cartridge-type forks with rebound damping and preload adjustment for the first time. The rear shock also has rebound adjusters to play with, as well as preload.
Suspension is built down to a price, so it will never be the last word in refinement and the general set-up is soft, but the Yamaha is crisper in the corners than before, friendly, forgiving and never gets out of shape. Brakes are strong and new Michelin Pilot Road 4 sports touring rubber plies you with all-weather cornering confidence. A lighter battery, plastics and LEDs offsets the extra Euro5 pounds.
There’s also a new screen and simpler adjuster mechanism (65mm up/down range), but even fully extended it amplifies wind noise and doesn’t offer much in the way of weather protection.
For the smaller among us this may not be such a problem, but for the rest it’ll be an issue. A taller screen is available as an official Yamaha accessory and sleeker bodywork helps get your knees tucked in more (there are new handguards, too) but, generally, larger riders will feel and look big on the Tracer.
What's more, pillions now get an easier time, too. New grab handles are 'damped' and reshaped for their pleasure and with its extra suspension adjustment, your passenger will be bounced around less, too.
Despite this, the Tracer 700 is physically compact, as it would be, based on the little MT-07 roadster. So, if you’re a pair of small sporty tourers you won’t have a problem, but for medium-sized riders and above things are going to be cosy. For serious two-up work, something roomier, with a bit more power, suspension support and ground clearance to play with will make easier work of big miles.
Despite its cleaner, quieter new Euro5 exhaust, the power remains at 72bhp, but it’s now delivered 250rpm lower in the revs. This means the motor itself doesn’t feel too different from the old Tracer’s, but with its shorter new gearing (two teeth up on the rear sprocket) acceleration is given a small boost, but happily not at the expense of a buzzy top end.
At 70mph the Yamaha cruises at a relatively relaxed 5500rpm. The rumbling parallel twin has character and decent punch for its size but lacks the kind of playfulness oozing from the Tracer’s lighter, stubbier MT-07 brother.
It might be budget, but the Yamaha is nicely put together and features extra new detail touches like a thermoformed and machined screen and anodised fork adjusters. Our online owner reviews for the outgoing model are all glowing, so Tracer 700 ownership should be trouble free.
Quality sports tourers don’t get much cheaper to buy, run and insure than the Tracer 700. Yamaha’s PCP deals are particularly attractive, making it even more attainable.
The Tracer 700 is free from rider aids, quickshifters and modes, which may be music to the ears of some, but still has ABS. You also get adjustable suspension, new white on black clocks, an extra (left) switchgear button to control dash functions, revised shaped handguards, new LED projector headlights, indicators and tail light.
Accessories are available by the bucket load, including mix and match Sports, Travel, Weekend and Urban packs. And the techy among us with enjoy the My Ride app and Yamaha’s accessories configurator.