YAMAHA TRACER 700 (2020 - on) Review
- A fantastic all-round sports tourer
- Handling improved over previous model
- Attainable thanks to reasonable finance deals
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£190|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
For the money the previous Yamaha Tracer 700 was always an impressive piece of kit, but now it’s even better – not by a huge amount, but it’s crisper on the throttle, more composed in the corners, comfier and still great value for money.
Sleek wind-deflecting handguards incorporate the front indicators, meaning the bodywork is smooth and uninterrupted and overall the Tracer looks seriously cool and modern. And Yamaha say that this new fairing and a redesigned adjustable screen offer better weather protection than before. It can be raised by 60mm.
The handlebar is now 34mm wider with an ‘accessory bridge’ built in for clamping your satnav to and the seat has been modified to make it more comfortable over distance for both the rider and a passenger.
Despite becoming Euro5-compliant, the 700 retains its spritely 196kg claimed kerb weight so it should be just as nimble as its predecessor especially with the addition of new adjustable front forks.
There’s no TFT dash in sight, Yamaha opting to swap the old LCD unit for a new negative-display version.
Yamaha Tracer 700 review: the MCN verdict
It still lacks the laugh-out-loud thrills of its terrier-like MT-07 sibling, despite its shorter gearing and there’s still a fair amount of wind buffeting at speed.
Larger riders and serious two-up travellers will be better off with something physically bigger, but as capable, lightweight, characterful, well made, great value sports tourers go, it’s a classy piece of kit. Read on for a more detailed evaluation of this important bike...
Today’s toys pic.twitter.com/NxI4pEcuMN— Michael Neeves (@Neevesy33) February 26, 2020
This bike replaced the 2016 Yamaha Tracer 700.
Once you've read this review and our owners' reviews, you may want to join an online group to meet likeminded people. The Yamaha Tracer UK Owners' Group would be a great place to start.
Watch 2020 Yamaha Tracer 700 video review
In this video Neevesy gives you an in-depth rundown of the new bike, and of course you can hear what it sounds like too...
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Yamaha have made new Tracer 700's riding position 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.
EngineNext up: Reliability
Despite its cleaner, quieter new Euro5 exhaust, the power remains at 72bhp, but it’s now delivered 250rpm lower in the revs. Torque is pegged at 50lb-ft. 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.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
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 Yamaha Tracer 700 owners' reviews show very positive scores, with the only negatives high servicing costs and some cheaper parts.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
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.
Group test: Yamaha Tracer 700 vs BMW F900XR vs Kawasaki Versys 1000 SE
First published in MCN by Jon Urry on 29 July 2020
His verdict: "These three bikes highlight the wide price spectrum when it comes to adventure-sport bikes from the budget Tracer to the premium Versys, so in some ways it should be no surprise that the bike that sits in the middle offers the best of both camps. Offering much of the lightweight feel of the Tracer and almost matching the Versys in terms of tech, the XR makes for a great do-it-all.
"It might not have quite the same funfactor as the Yamaha and unlike the Kawasaki the BMW isn’t ideal for two-up trips away or motorway hauls, but for solo adventures away it’s a great option. Yet what makes the XR really stand out is the fact its spec can be altered to suit your wallet or requirements and riding preferences, which you can’t do on the other two to the same degree. It is this versatility that, despite its smaller capacity, makes the BMW feel a thoroughly grown-up option that ticks all the boxes without becoming overladen as a result."
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.
|Engine type||8v parallel twin|
|Frame type||Tubular steel diamond|
|Fuel capacity||17 litres|
|Front suspension||41mm forks, adjustable for preload and rebound damping|
|Rear suspension||Single shock, adjustable for preload and rebound damping|
|Front brake||2 x 282mm discs with four-piston calipers. ABS|
|Rear brake||245mm rear disc with single piston caliper. ABS|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||180/55 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||54 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£101|
|Annual service cost||£190|
|Used price||£6,000 - £7,800|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||72 bhp|
|Max torque||50 ft-lb|
|Top speed||125 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||201 miles|
Model history & versions
- 2016 – Tracer 700 introduced. Sports touring version of the venerable MT-07, featuring the same frame and engine, but with new bodywork, a three litre bigger fuel tank (up to 17 litres), more relaxed ergonomics and a 60mm longer wheelbase.
- 2020 – Euro5-friendly – power and weight unchanged. Engine tweaks, new styling, screen, handguards, seat, clocks, wider handlebars, uprated forks, shock and Michelin Pilot Road 4 tyres.
There are currently no other versions of the Yamaha Tracer 700, but expect a GT version to be along soon. Despite this, there are multiple other bikes that share the same 689cc parrallel-twin engine platform. They are listed below:
- Yamaha MT-07: Yamaha's answer to the Kawasaki Z650 and Suzuki's SV650 offers a well-priced, competent package, capable of tackling daily use and monster wheelies whenever the mood takes you.
- Yamaha Tenere 700: Yamaha's middleweight adventure bike breaks the mould by coming in at just 205kg wet, producing 74bhp and offering no electronic aids apart from ABS, which can be switched off for off-road use.
- Yamaha XSR700: Essentially the same bike as the MT-07, the XSR offers minimalist retro styling combined with a punchy modern powerplant. Also available as a special XTribute version.
Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA TRACER 700 (2020 - on)
5 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA TRACER 700 (2020 - 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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£190|
Annual servicing cost: £200
Staggeringly capable bike, and huge fun despite its 'worthy' reputation. Comfortable, and capable of town filtering, country road scratching or one up touring. Really hard to criticize: I guess wind protection could be improved; some might not be wowed by colours available, though I like the understated 'tech camo' scheme - just as well as I'm not a fan of bright blue wheels!
Excellent feel, well braked front and rear, progressive not snatchy. Good for up to 2 hours before a break, but would happily spend all day on it with those comfort and coffee breaks. GT version has panniers and decent pillion accommodation, though I might be looking at a bigger bike for 2 up touring comfort.
It's a peach, pure and simple. It's all been said before, and the engine's great reputation is justified.
All good here. Perhaps should re-visit when it's gone through a winter, but overall finish looks high quality.
Not over-laden with tech, eg rider modes, and screen is black and white, not colour. So what?
Buying experience: Bought new from Mototechniks of Stowkmarket. All good.
Annual servicing cost: £150
I think that it's probably a 4.5* bike but one has to take into account that this cost me £7500! To put my review into perspective I also own much bigger bikes and a dual sport. Harley, Ducati and Honda. It's so easy in the macho egotistical world of motorbikes to dismiss 74hp, but believe me this bike can do it all as long as your idea of touring is not sitting on multiple laned roads all day. If you're hell bent on going everywhere at 130mph look elsewhere; equally if you MUST stay in 6th gear for the entire journey.
I'm giving it a 4 as if I was being totally critical then the shock is occasionally under damped. But I am being harsh as it's the first Yamaha that I've owned where I don't feel the need to upgrade the suspension - It's very good as stock. The brakes are brilliant, I own 2 bikes with Brembo's and these Nissin brakes are superb. 8 hours a day is no problem for me on this bike. The lightweight handling nature of it means that I don't get as tired as I would on my bigger bikes after a long day of Welsh mountain roads. This bike will sit comfortably on the motorway at legal and maybe 100mph but it really shines when one avoids the 'big' roads and goes on A/B/Unclassified/Single track roads. I have taken it on gentle green lanes but as usual, tyres and clearance make it slow going. No slower than a GS or Multi though.
Could Yamaha make a boring engine if they tried?! I still believe that the CP3 is my favourite UK road engine but this is phenomenal. How an engine with such 'little' power, comparatively, can work in absolutely every single situation is remarkable. There's always enough power - Whatever the situation. There's a reason all the journo's love it. Fuelling is good, surprisingly it has great engine braking which some bikes with slipper clutches seem to lack nowadays.
It's a Yamaha. If only my European and American bike was as well made.
I'm guessing a bit at the annual service cost but this is dealership prices down south. Would cost a pittance at an independent one would imagine. It's a low stressed parallel twin and Japanese.
I think that it should have come with the USB outlet. Not a huge expense but it would have been nice and a must for touring. A touring screen would be welcome but at least the stock screen has no real buffeting as it directs the air at my clavicle - preferable for me over the torture felt from the buffeting screens of a V-Strom thou or 1260s. The stock PR4's are good and they have taken me down some shabby roads and 'off road' without issue - there's just something about them that when you're leant right over they seem to 'dip in' so I will most likely change for some 01SE's. In an ideal world I would have CC but then that would take away from the beauty of this bike which is back to basics, lightweight fun.
Buying experience: Bought from Freestyle Chichester. They're brilliant. Put my local 'non-Japanese' dealers to shame.
Version: It’s called a Tracer 7 now not 700!
This a very responsive machine and you get great, very accurate feedback from rubber to the seat of your trousers. It’s also great around town and filtering is a doddle. The downsides come in places that Yamaha could so easily have improved. The short screen while not useless really isn’t up to the job at any setting height. However, unforgivable is the lack of an adjustable clutch lever - how much would that have added to the price Yamaha?
Heading up hill to through the twisties the Tracer 7 reminds you of the first day you rode a real motorcycle. There will be a big grin in that helmet. Coming down the other side there is nothing wrong with the way the Tracer brakes. However, there are times when the front can feel a little long when you’ve been put some heat into the discs. The bike sits totally on the line of sport touring. It’s clearly neither and yet it’s just the right mix of both. Fun on the bends and well behaved on a long run.
The 7 leaves you with a smile. You chose a middle weight for a reason. That reason is the 700cc Yamaha twin power unit.
The matte finish looks lovely in the showroom I’m less convinced now it’s out on the road. Switch gear is horrid. The turn indicators switch feels cheap and is so small it gets lost in your glove. For me horn is far too far to RH side.
Nothing here is going to break the bank.
Great and clearly laid out screen with info in all the right places. However, the list of extras you’ll probably want is going to add up. Comfort seat, touring screen and adjustable clutch lever will probably be your top 3.
Annual servicing cost: £220
Best feature is without a doubt the engine, you just know it is going to start first time every time. Comfort seems to have been a priority for Yamaha when designing the bike, with the adjustable suspension and rear sets it just puts you in the most comfortable position for sitting and riding. I think it is let down a bit by the instrument gauge surround, seems a bit cheap and plasticy but overall it is a well built bike with a good quality feel.
I find the brakes a bit grabby sometimes on the front, and also the throttle can be jumpy if you are not used to it. The suspension is clean and crisp and there is plenty of lower end torque to get you moving in pretty much any gear. I have the lowered seat and the weekend pack with the soft panniers. They extend the bikes usability and look really good. The USB port is a must if you are going for a long ride and going to be using satnav or your phone as a satnav. Bike is comfortable for a few hours at a time but a break is recommended just to stretch the legs.
Plenty of bottom end torque, revvy range and will sit at 70mph all day if thats what you want from it or bend it like Beckham and have a bit of fun on corners, it can do both!
Because its still under warranty, i always have it serviced at a Yamaha Dealership which can be a lot more expensive than an independent garage.
The higher screen on the weekend pack is still noisy but it does keep the air off you, and riding in the wet isn't too bad either as the shape of the fairing keeps most of the rain off your legs. The instrument screen is great, crystal clear in any light. If i had one complaint, it would be to make the indicators just a bit bigger as they can be hard to see.
Buying experience: Bought from a dealer who installed the lowered seat and weekend pack for me. I have a no haggle approach because the bike was worth the asking price.
Did 115K miles on old model and this is the same but better
Suspension feels better than old bike. brakes powerful enough for me.
briliant through the range
Only a 1,000 miles so far but everything solid. The plastics now use less bolts and more plastic clips - easyt to get apart but not sure about longf term.
I do my own servicing - mostly easy
Buying experience: the clock display selector on handlebar is great improvement