MCN Fleet: Dashingly good looking?
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.
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
- 2021 BMW S1000R long-term test
- 2021 Suzuki Hayabusa long-term test
- 2021 Kawaski ZX-10R long-term test
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:
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.
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.
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.
More long-term tests
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'.
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.firstname.lastname@example.org
Bike specs 890cc | 117bhp | 220kg | 810-825mm seat height