MCN Fleet: Ali reflects on her riding year on the Yamaha Tracer 9GT

1 of 31

A combination of the dreaded Covid19 hanging over us all and an operation on my ankle in November, meant my year wasn’t quite as planned. That said, I still clocked up over 6,000 miles on the Yamaha Tracer 9GT and I had a ball. Here’s a little recap from my riding diary.

0 miles

I take delivery of the highly anticipated Tracer 9GT, I say highly anticipated, as I’d run its predecessor in 2018 and am keen to see if the updated model is an improvement. What better way to get to know a bike, than a quick 1000-mile trip to the Isle of Skye. With the May Bank Holiday looming, I load the panniers for an overnight stay. First thing I notice are the panniers, they’re a decent shape and are large enough to hold a full-faced lid, better than the previous, oddly shaped pair. Disappointingly noise is still an issue, the screen is near deafening, a fault that almost all Tracer owners criticise the bike for.

1237 miles

There’s no point undertaking loads of research to find out what the best fix for the screen is, the only one I found to work last time was one from MRA. It fits to the existing bracket, has a little, adjustable, spoiler on it and costs around £115. It not a perfect fix but it does the job, there’s still a little noise but nowhere near as much as with the standard screen.

2854 miles

For some ridiculous reason, I decide to join my colleague, Justin, on an Iron Butt Saddlesore ride, where we aim to cover 1000-miles in a 24-hour period. It’s a test of mental agility, as well as bum cheek cushioning! I’m glad I’ve got the upgraded comfort seat fitted, the improved padding on the seat is worth the £300 investment and means I don’t need buns of steel for the ride.

4323 miles

The nearest I get to travelling overseas is a jaunt to Anglesey, I’d planned a couple of European extravaganzas but with so many restrictions in place, they don’t come off. I’m so lucky, my job’s varied and being able to whizz over to the fantastic Tŷ Croes circuit, to help with the logistics of one of MCN’s big video shoot. It’s another 600-mile round trip and with fuel prices creeping up, I’m chuffed at how economical the Tracer is, I average 58mpg, which I is impressive for the triple cylinder engine.

More long-term tests

 

6231 miles

My last ride before the op and it gives me time to reflect on what a fantastic bike the Tracer 9GT is and one I’m grateful to have had on test over the year. I’m disappointed the screen is no better and the stupid dial to pick through the menu options, including setting the heated grips is still a pain. But there’s also been some improvements over the original model, including the enlarged panniers and upgraded, easily adjustable, electronic suspension, which are both great.

Yamaha Tracer 9GT previous updates:

 

 


 

Update nine: You asked, we answered

Published: 06.02.2022

After a year with the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT, Office Manager Alison answers your burning questions

What is the top end speed? On an autobahn of course!!

Motorway munching

Rather than test the top speed on the autobahn, our resident Stig (Bruce Dunn) took it to a local airstrip and undertook a full range of speed tests. Flat out the speedo indicated 159mph, but at this speed, there’s quite a significant over-read and the true speed’s 146.22mph.

True figures, at 30mph, 60mph and 90mph all over-read too, they average around 8% under those on the dash. With the slight inaccuracy of the speedo, the MPG and service indicators are also slightly out of kilter.

How do you find the split dash? It looks confusing.

With 6000 miles ridden, I’m used to the bog-eyed look of the twin dash but feel it’s not as good as it could be. Information on both the left and right hand dash is replicated, which is a little overkill and there’s too much detail.

Yamaha have missed a trick, unlike other bikes in the class, there’s no phone connectivity with the Tracer 9GT. If, like the BMW F900XR, which I ran as a termer last year, there was an easy to use app on your smartphone, the right hand dash would so easily lend itself to being a sat-nav.

Is there any real fix for the screen?

Disappointedly the screen on the Tracer 9GT is no better than that on the previous model, the Tracer 900GT, which I ran as a long termer in 2018.

From the first ride, I knew there was no point testing loads of different screen options, the best solution I found to the overwhelming noise issue on the 2018 bike, was a replacement screen from MRA (£115.96).

It fits directly onto the bracket, that holds the original screen, and is height adjustable. There’s also a small flip on the top of the screen that disturbs airflow, making it quieter. It’s not perfect but it is a vast improvement.

Screen on the Tracer

How about comfort on long journeys, which breaks first the tank range or the bladder range?

Along with a colleague I took part in an Iron Butt Saddlesore 1000 Challenge, where we rode over one thousand miles in twenty-four hours, so plenty of time to put comfort and tank range to the test.

I average in the region of 58mpg on most rides, which in real terms is around 225 miles per tank. I will often run the bike till the fuel light comes on, which gives me over thirty miles of fuel and the longest spell I’ve had in the saddle is just over three hours. In all honesty, my 52 year-old bladder gives out, before I’d ever run out of fuel!

More long-term tests

Have they improved the seat, or does it still slope, as it did with the previous version?

  • To be honest, the standard seat isn’t really much better than the previous version and yes, there is a little slope, but I’ve never found this to be an issue. I’ve switched to the more padded and luxurious comfort seat.

    It’s nestot cheap at just over £300, but I’ve found, once I’d broken it in, that it’s a vast improvement. It’s fiddly to remove the original seat, with a random rubber bung covering the lever and the instructions to fit the new seat weren’t the clearest.

Once I’d sorted it though, it all clicked into place perfectly, and I’ve not swapped back to the standard seat, nor do I plan to.

Are we sitting comfortably?

Can you fit a large helmet in the panniers?

Totally redesigned from the earlier model, the panniers are symmetrical and will each hold 30-litres of kit, a full 8-litres larger than the 2018 version. They’re easy to fit and remove from the bike.

Security wise, the fact they’re locked to the bike, using the ignition key, I’m always far more confident with luggage stowed in these, rather than the aftermarket, soft luggage I’ve used on other bikes.

Each box can hold my size small HJC full-faced helmet. I have tried to fit other lids in, without success, so would suggest it’s a case of try before you buy.

Luggage loaded and ready for the off

Yamaha Tracer 9GT previous updates:


Update eight: The Tracer 9GT is up on blocks, while Ali’s legless

Published: 20.12.2021

Progress on the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT has been halted

I’m laid up at the moment, had a minor op on my foot and not able to ride for the next couple of months but it’s given me time to reflect on the time spent with the Yamaha Tracer 9GT.

It’s been a fun filled six months and with 6000 miles on the clock and the first major service due, it’s great to see that there’s few signs of wear and tear. I’ve learnt loads about the bike and while it’s been a second year of riding with some restrictions in place, I’d grand plans to head to Europe for a tour but instead opted to stay in the UK and explore a little close to home.

More long-term tests

A lot of the 6000 miles have been motorway miles, with the first big trip being to the Isle of Skye, on the first weekend of ownership. Followed by a 1000 mile day, when I took on an Iron Butt Saddlesore Challenge. This means the OE Bridgestone T32 tyres have become rather squared off but not bad enough to affect the handling.

It’s the perfect way to look for signs of wear and tear, and I’m impressed how the Tracer is bearing up.

Yamaha Tracer 9GT engine

It’s important to keep the chain in tip top condition, bit like keeping your shoes polished, if the chain gleams the whole bike looks good. I always opt to use a decent quality chain cleaner and the one that SDoc produce is great, at £13 a tin, it’s slightly more expensive than some but worth it.

Douse the chain in cleaner and leave it to do its stuff. In real terms, about ten minutes, and then with a tooth brush, cloth and a little bit of patience, it comes up shiny. A quick coating of lube and we’re good to go.

One area that has caused a little disappointment are the header pipes, which discoloured from almost day one. They’ve been a dull, orange colour and any suggestions to keeping them shiny are welcomed.

I made some enquiries with Webbs, our local Yamaha dealer, about the service, which I need to get it booked in, ready for when I’m back on two legs (and two wheels).

It’s £299 all in and they pointed out that should the service have fallen on the two year anniversary, it would be about £30 more expensive, as they’d recommend a couple of extra tweaks to brake fluid and other consumables.

Yamaha Tracer 9GT previous updates:

 

Update seven: 1000 miles, 22 hours and 7 espressos

Published: 05.11.2021

North before south, east and west

For some mad reason I’ve agreed to take part in an Iron Butt SaddleSore, so along with Justin on a BMW F900XR, I’m putting myself and the Yamaha Tracer 9GT to the test. The plan is to ride 1000 miles in under twenty four hours, with a circular route planned. We strike out from Peterborough at 8am, not sure when we will be back and what state we’ll be in!

161 Miles

Two hours in and we pull up on the forecourt at Scotch Corner, the price of fuel is extortionate at £1.56-a-litre. We fuel up, Justin’s keen to get back on the road but I remind him, it’s a marathon not a sprint, so insist we have a break. Supplies are stowed in my newly fitted top box (not attractive but practical) and with a 50-litre capacity, there’s loads of space for waterproofs, bottles of water and the odd fruit bun.

314 Miles

We’ve had a great ride and as we sample a Macaroni Cheese pie (who knew this was even a thing) at a petrol station near Edinburgh, we chat about the ride. As I mention I’ve clicked over the 300 mile mark, Justin looks a little perplexed about the mileage. It looks like for every 150 miles he’s riding, I’m doing an extra ten miles. He’s got the sat-nav on board, so he knows his speedo is pretty accurate, which means mine isn’t. Now’s not the time, but I need to investigate this further.

479 Miles

What a contrast in roads this leg has to offer. Edinburgh to Glasgow with a combination of congestion, poor road surfaces and dull scenery means I struggle to keep concentration. We head south from Glasgow the motorway cuts a path through the stunning lowlands of Scotland, traffic drops off and it becomes one of my favourite legs of the day.

We sit at a brisk speed and the bike handles brilliantly. I’ve opted for the softer, touring suspension setting and it’s comfortable, absorbing any bumps in the road.

More long-term tests

628 Miles

I’ve ridden the last leg on the BMW F900XR. It was my test bike last year and I thought what a great chance to test both machines back to back. First impressions are how small it feels compared to the Tracer 9GT and as I go to pull away the parallel twin feels sluggish. I’m disappointed, as I loved the bike last year but as I settle in for the next 150 miles I find the seat uncomfortable, and the bike’s not as enjoyable as I remember. I’m happy to swap back to the Tracer as the sun sets over Keele Services.

Me and Justin a little bonkers

772 Miles

We were due to travel down to Exeter but the M5 is shut, so at midnight and with over 200 miles to go we need to rejig the route. Something we could both do without, we end up with a westerly deviation to Cardiff. We do a U-turn and head back towards London, but on the M4 I become un-nerved. I’m the lead rider, I’ve positioned myself in the middle of the centre lane, the road’s near deserted and my LED lights reach over the verge on the left and central reservation on the right, they are brilliant. As I pass Swindon, the road suddenly becomes dark, it’s tree-lined and there’s a sign to warn of deer; two minutes later and I splat through the guts of a dead animal, that’s enough for me to need to stop for a breather.

1078 Miles

I click over the 1000 miles as I head round the M25, and I’m ready to throw in the towel but we need both bikes to read the magical number. North on the M1 the sun rises and we are on the homeward stretch. As roads become more familiar, speed increases. I’ve avoided using cruise control for the duration of the trip as I need to keep my mind sharp. Just shy of 6am we pull into the services at Peterborough and there’s a sense of delirium, excitement and overwhelming tiredness.

Yamaha Tracer 9GT previous updates:


Update six: Every day’s a school day on the Tracer 9GT

Published: 03.10.2021

There’s something about bikes that brings people together and friendships can form over a mutual appreciation of all things two wheeled.

I first met Nigel in 2006, a former traffic cop turned advanced trainer, when I was a relative newbie to riding and he took me out for a session on my Kawasaki ER-6N. His method of training was new, at the time, he had his bike rigged with cameras and videoed my ride, to use as a teaching tool. Fast forward fifteen years and here we are at the same McDonalds in Melton Mowbray for a morning to brush up my skills on the Yamaha Tracer 9GT.

I’ve already ridden over 2500 miles on the Yamaha and feel at home but know that there’s always areas that need work. We strike out on an undulating route that takes us towards Market Harborough, I love this kind of road, with fast sweepers and plenty of visibility, I soon forget that Nigel is hot on my heels. One thing I love about the Tracer is the upright riding position and with every mile it is more comfortable, I’ve fitted Yamaha’s aftermarket comfort seat and it’s taken a lot of miles to break it in, but I’m finally getting there.

Half an hour into our ride, Nigel pulls me over, he’s noticed there’s one area I need to work on, it’s always the same area and I should know by now! I never pick my head up enough and get too focussed on the road directly in front of me, rather than looking further ahead. I think I look far enough into the distance but as Nigel, in his every patient and calm tones, chats with me, I realise I could see so much more. He classes it as dipped beam and main beam for your eyes, use the main beam out on open roads to see as far ahead as you can, learning as much about the road as possible. Then in the towns, use dipped beam and keep your vision more focussed to hazards that are closer to you.

More long-term tests

We strike out on the next leg of the ride and I adopt this approach, it’s stuff I already know and should be doing, just taught in a slightly different manner. With my head up and eyes look further ahead, it does make the ride seem less rushed and I’m more prepared for every bend.

Over lunch we review what I’ve learnt and I promise, till the next time, to keep my eyes firmly on the road ahead and not the road directly in front of me!

A bit about Nigel

Nigel Bowers runs Advanced Motorcycle Training (https://www.facebook.com/AdvancedMotorcycleTraining/) and specialises in 1-2-1 training for all skill levels. His courses start from £250 per day and for this, you’ll get expert tuition and video footage of your ride.

Yamaha Tracer 9GT previous updates:

 


 

Update five: Totting up 3000 miles on the Tracer

Published: 01.09.2021

It’s been a fun-filled few weeks, with trips to the coast, jaunts to racetracks and a weekly commute to the office. Miles are racking up on the Yamaha Tracer 9GT and with every ride I learn something new.

I’ve also taken the time to dust off my tool kit to make a few minor alterations, some have made an improvement to my riding comfort – but one, disappointingly, hasn’t.

Panniers – Hit

Totally redesigned from the previous model – and what an improvement. With a 22-litre capacity each side, the Yamaha Tracer 900GT 2018 version were peculiarly shaped and not great for anything more than clothing. These updated cases will each hold 30-litres, in real terms, each will swallow a full-faced helmet. They’re easy to attach and lock to the bike plus the colour-matched panels look neat.

Panniers are a decent size on the Tracer 9GT

Fully loaded, they don’t impact on the bike’s handling and width wise, fit through gaps easily, they’re no wider than the bars, so provided there’s space for the bars, the rest of the bike will follow through.

Tank Bag – Hit

It’s not easy to get a tank bag for the Tracer 9GT, the tank has plastic shrouds, which makes it impossible to fit a magnetic bag. German luggage specialist, SW Motech, make a Yamaha branded bag, which fits to a bracket that can be easily attached to the fuel cap. It’s a case of removing the existing bolts from the fuel cap and bolting the bracket in place. The bag’s spacious, big enough for overnight essentials and two external pockets are ideal for phone, wallet or keys. It’s showerproof and comes with a rain cover for downpours. At £143 for the bag and £56.50 for the bracket it’s not cheap – but it’s top quality.

More long-term tests

 

Cruise Control – Jury is Out

I’m not a massive fan of cruise control. Being a control freak, I hate the thought anything taking charge of my ride. That said, it comes into its own when riding on long stretches of motorway or through roadworks where average speed cameras are ever present. Easy to set, with a click of the button on the left-hand switch gear, the speed can be set and then adjusted by the +/- buttons. When I want to take back control, it’s either a click of the cruise control switch, pull on the clutch or a dab of the brakes.

Screen – Hit

One common complaint that unites Tracer owners is the noise and buffeting from the screen, and it’s no better on this 2021 version than it was on the 2018 model. Within days of taking ownership, I fitted an MRA flip screen (£115.96 from www.bikehps.com). It’s a quick switch from the original screen and once in place, can be adjusted for the perfect position. The main benefit is the adjustable spoiler, which can be moved to disturb the air flow over my head and after a few test runs, I’ve found the best setting. There’s still a bit of noise but the buffeting has stopped, which makes for a much more comfortable ride.

Comfort Seat – Miss

With the standard seat fitted, it’s not the most comfortable of rides, not awful but after a couple of hours in the saddle my backside feels a little tender.

Is it a bum deal on the seat?

I thought I’d give the comfort seat a try, at £306 for both the rider and pillion seats, it’s not cheap. It’s reasonably easy to make the switch, a case of removing the pillion seat, which gives access to a lever that releases the rider’s seat. With padded inserts and extra sculpting, it looks stylish but it’s more style over substance, and sadly not worth the money.

Engine – Hit

I’m a fan of twins, with low revs and high gears, and over the last couple of years I’ve ridden a BMW F900XR and the lumpy Ducati Diavel as long-term test bikes. To jump back on to a triple cylinder machine, I’ve had to recalibrate my brain to open the throttle, as I click up the ’box. As I hold the gears longer and take my time going up the ’box, what a revelation! It makes for an enjoyable ride, the 890cc engine’s responsive and if I hit 6000 revs there’s a slight vibration through the seat and pegs, initially a little annoying but I now feel it adds character.

Yamaha Tracer 9GT previous updates:

 

 


 

Update four: Is the Yamaha Tracer 9GT a cut above?

Published: 13.08.2021

There’s a dark cloud in the distance and I can smell rain in the air, I’ve just whizzed by Grantham, homeward bound, and there’s only fourteen miles till I’ll pull into my garage. Bug splats on my visor are replaced by rain drops and the deluge begins. I didn’t pack waterproofs and, even if I had, I’m so close to home I’d not stop.

There’s little protection offered on the Yamaha Tracer 9GT, within minutes my bingo wings and shins are soaked through, my jacket and jeans have been perfect for my trip but not in this downpour.

I’m on the last leg of a quick mini-break, I’ve been invited to take part in this year’s Barbers Ride, in it’s fifth year, it’s a charity ride, with a twist.

A bunch of biker barbers got together in 2017 and decided to combine their love of two wheels with barbering. They’ve toured the UK, riding some epic roads during the day and stopping each night at a local barbers, for a fun-filled evening. While fund-raising for the Make a Wish Foundation and, before this year’s event, they’d raised in excess of £66,000.

I’m warmly welcomed by the group in Yarm, on the penultimate evening of their trip, they’d been on the road for five days and there’s a buzz in the air.

Led by the eccentric organiser, Ritchie, from Captain Fawcett, purveyors of gentleman’s grooming supplies, the near thirty strong group is made up of an eclectic mix of bikes and riders, and not everyone’s a barber.

There’s mainly Harley-Davidson’s or cruiser style machines, so my Yamaha Tracer 9GT does stand out a little and causes interest amongst the gang.

It’s an early get up, we’ve got a 200-mile ride ahead from Yarm through to Leeds, the route’s indirect, to take in some of the best roads through Yorkshire. It doesn’t take long to fall into formation riding and speed is kept to an even pace.

Photo call for all the Barbers Ride Gang

I’ve not explored this part of the world before and with my upright riding position, and the steady pace, it makes for a pleasurable ride.

With Justin Hayzelden (MCN’s roving reporter) acting as lead rider, the group has a second rider drop off system, at junctions the second rider marks the direction of travel and it works well.

I take my turn at the entrance to Oliver’s Mount, and as I wait for the tail end Charlie to come into view, I watch the stream of bikes whizz by. Oliver’s Mount Cafe stands high above the seaside town of Scarborough and the pit-stop gives me chance to chat to the gang, they’re a great bunch of guys and girls.

Our next leg takes us over the Yorkshire Moors, they are breathtaking and as we turn off the major roads on to single track lanes, speed slows. Switchback bends, on 10% hills are a challenge and I rely on the rear brake. It’s well positioned, and my size seven foot finds it with ease. It’s hard going but fun and after an hour or so, the entire group’s ready for the lunch stop in Helmsley.

It’s a pretty town but has an officious parking warden, who insists all bikes buy a ticket, which seems ridiculous. You don’t have to include your registration on the ticket but when you stick it to your bike, what’s to stop someone else nicking it? Seems such a shame, as it’s nestled in the heart of the moors and well-served with cafes and pubs, but I’ll not return.

Parking tickets needed

Our afternoon is slightly disorganised, we have a breakdown, a puncture and a couple of guys get split from the group but we manage to reform at Squire’s Cafe for a brew. I’ve fitted the comfort seat and this is my first big ride with it. For £306 it’s a costly upgrade and I’m not sure it’s worth the investment. My sit bones ache and I’m ready for a brew.

There’s a few miles of the ride left and one final fuel stop for the gang. I’ve ridden 197 miles and this is my only fuel stop of the ride.

Drew on a Harley-Davidson Sportster is filling up his peanut sized tank, it takes the princely sum of £5.50 worth of fuel and is his third and final stop of the day for him. It takes slightly longer for me to fill my tank, it swallows slightly over 12-litres, which in real terms means I’ve done and astounding 72mpg.

I’ve had a fantastic day’s ride and it’s been a pleasure to be part of this unique event but it’s time for me to take my leave and head home, while the gang are in the centre of Leeds for a final night of frivolity. It’s a spirited ride home and as I fuel up, at my local petrol station, I’ve dropped over 12 MPG on the final hundred mile leg….oops!!!

Yamaha Tracer 9GT previous updates:


Update three: Dashing good looks

Published: 22.2.2021

Yamaha Tracer 9 GT dash

Marmite, it’s renowned for being one of those things you either love it or hate it. This is exactly what I’ve found with the dual-screen dash of my Yamaha Tracer 9GT.

Unlike rival bikes such as the BMW F900XR and the previous Yamaha Tracer 900GT, both of which I’ve owned as long termers, Yamaha have shied away from a single screen TFT and opted for this quirky two screen set up.

It’s a futuristic, symmetrical style and has white font on a black background, which I’ve found easy to read on both day and night-time rides. That said, I’ve not had a ride in blazing sunlight as yet, so can’t comment on reflections.

Yamaha Tracer 9 GT dash

There’s a lot of information on the left hand screen, your speed, rev counter, fuel gauge, time, modes and much more. The right screen has four boxes that can be altered to show odometer, trip, fuel gauge, fuel economy, cruise control speed, trip time, air or bike temperature. Most of this information can also be seen on the left screen, albeit in much smaller font.

There’s one piece of info both screens lack though, tank range. I’m surprised this important detail is missing. On my last fuel stop, the reserve light flashed with 220 miles ridden. It’s an 18-litre tank and took 14.78 litres to fill, so with my basic maths, that gives me around ⅔ of a gallon, so 35 miles-ish. I don’t mind doing maths on the move but it would be easier to have this info to hand.

More long-term tests

I decided to court the opinion of our #ride5000miles Facebook group and it’s divided.

Anthony Southwood and Daniel Clarke are both in favour, as Anthony comments: “I really like it. Modern dashboards are normally all a bit samey.” And Daniel pipes in: “I like them and think two screens is a good idea, with primary info on one screen and supporting info on the other.”

Those in the negative camp include a very strong opinion from Phil Rosson, who’s owned four previous Tracers. He simply says: “It’s the ugliest dash ever created.”

Martin Buck agrees with my thoughts on the tank range but does sit a little on the fence with his overall view. “I like the ability to display so much information and I’d have the tank range somewhere on the right. But it looks…weird.”

So, like I say it’s definitely the Marmite of bike dashes. For me, I don’t dislike the looks but I would declutter the left and add that little tank range detail.

Yamaha Tracer 9GT previous updates:


Update two: A gentle 1006.5-mile weekend ride.

Published: 24.06.21

Alison arrives in Scotland

I’m a spontaneous person and the last few months, like the rest of the country, I’ve had my wings clipped. But as lockdown eases, a Bank Holiday beckons and a brand-new Yamaha Tracer 9GT sits in the garage, resistance is futile. Friday night a plan forms, and here I am, at 6am on Sunday, bleary eyed and waving goodbye to my cat.

0 miles

I’m only away for the night, so the panniers are a little overkill but I want to get used to them and I do a quick test to prove Yamaha’s claim – they will hold a full-faced lid.

104 miles

An hour into my journey and the heated grips are welcome, the forecast promised glorious sunshine but I’m shrouded in mist and a cool 8°C shows on the dash. The dial to operate the grips is fiddly, I scroll through to highlight the heated grip icon. Ten settings to choose from, I opt for the mid-way point, they take a few seconds to heat up and my fingers warm through.

Alison arrives in Scotland

More long-term tests

222 miles

Welcome to Scotland! I cross the border and pull into Gretna Green for a cuppa, it’s 19° and sunny. Motorways make for fast progress but at faster speeds the same problem as the old model is evident, the screen is loud – not unbearable but noisy. I’ll investigate but suspect a flip from MRA will help.

498.5 miles

I head out towards the Isle of Skye, I notice fuel is extortionate, it’s almost £1.60 a litre, 30p more per litre than I’d paid for my last tank in Fort William.

With flowing bends, the A87 is fantastic, it’s a shame I’m starting to tire, the surroundings are stunning and I’m sure would be more enjoyable if I’d not been on the road for the last ten hours. Tiredness is soon forgotten as I round the final bend and see the fabulous Eilean Donan Castle come into view.

The views in Scotland are impressive

616 miles

Breakfast at the Green Welly, it’s 9am and a totally different experience to my lunch stop yesterday. Sunday afternoon and bikes were parked everywhere, this morning just me and a couple of others are enjoying a bowl of porridge. It’s a great stop off point, in the small village of Tyndrum, on the edge of Rannoch Moor and vast mountains of Glencoe.

723 miles

There are four riding modes and two suspension settings. I opt to stick in D-Mode 2, which claims to have a moderate engine response and I find it suits my riding. My route’s mainly motorways and major roads, I’ve stuck with SUS-Mode A2, the comfort setting, and I’m finding that the ride’s smooth and for today I’ll not test the sportier settings.

782 miles

Bank Holiday traffic is torture, I’ve left the M6 to join the A66, it’s a dull road, made worse by miles of stationary traffic. My mirrors stand tall and like a cat’s whiskers, if they get through a gap, the rest of the bike follows.

The bike is fully luggage laden for the trip

902 miles

It’s time for a final fuel up, for me and the bike. Wetherby services aren’t the most salubrious surroundings but I don’t care, M&S Iced Spiced Buns beckon and it’s a relief to be off the bike for half an hour. I’m hot and bothered after the big miles and want to get home.

1006.5 miles

I’ve cracked it, I’d challenged myself to ride 1000 miles in a weekend, I picked a destination I’d never been to, ridden some stunning roads and had a great, albeit too short, time away.

What have I learnt? That I’m not as bike fit as I used to be, lockdown lard has helped cushion my backside, but I ache all over. Would I consider running the London Marathon (which I did in 2014) without even doing the Couch to 5K training? No – so what do I expect?

I’ll have to reserve judgement for now on whether my aches are caused by the Yamaha, or more my own fault for not being bike fit before ‘going large’.


Cornwall beckons for a week with the Yamaha Tracer 9GT

Published: 28.04.2021

A side view of the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT

I’m itching to get my hands on the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT. I ran the original in 2018 and can’t wait to see how this updated version compares. Cornwall beckons for a week in the summer and, if rules allow, a blast to France for a glass of rosé.

The rider Ali Silcox, Office Manager, 51, 5ft 10in. 16 years of year-round riding. Alison.silcox@motorcyclenews.com

Bike specs 890cc | 117bhp | 220kg | 810-825mm seat height

Read the latest stories causing a buzz this week in MCN Fleet…

Alison Silcox

By Alison Silcox

Office Manager and centre of the MCN universe.