Long term report: Yamaha MT-09 Tracer

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Run in and ready for the year ahead

The Yamaha MT-09 Tracer is already one of the best-selling bikes of the year in the UK with nearly 1500 sold and Yamaha UK searching for another boat load to fulfil orders placed.

The first week of riding the Tracer has been fairly hectic and has seen more than 600 miles notched up, the first service carried out at Webbs Yamaha near Peterborough and a clear idea forming of just how much fun this bike is going to be. I can see clearly why this bike has proved to be so popular thanks to the combination of fun, utility and the great value the £8149 asking price represents.

The Tracer would appear to be a near perfect match for my kind of riding too. I live 30 miles from the MCN office and most days choose one of around five different cross country routes in an effort to avoid the hideous traffic and monotony of the A605; the Tracer is lapping it up and the power from the 115bhp three-cylinder motor works well. I know I am going to have a good year on a bike when I am working out ways of riding it at any opportunity around the normal house, kids and work life. Slotting in some extra miles on the way to work is a nice way of starting the day and the Tracer works perfectly. The adjustable screen, heated grips and decent tank range all make for a good usable bike.

I’ve never run a three-cylinder bike of any kind as an MCN long-term test bike and despite riding loads of different triples over the years for short periods of time, this will be my first longer-term experience. The immediate feeling is one of a characterful engine that seems supremely well-suited to the UK roads I ride on.

The first service was carried out at 600miles by MCN’s local Yamaha dealer Webbs and cost £95. The service consists of an oil and filter change and takes 1.5 hours. The next service is due at 6000 miles.

One thing that I do want to attend to is the installation of a satnav which I hoping the fitment of a 12v power socket right up near the dashboard will make easier. My first port of call will be to www.telferizer.com which provides the most discreet Ram-mounts that use a replacement bolt for one of the handlebar clamp bolts. After that I am hoping to reuse the Twisty Ride iPhone (www.twistyride.com)  mount that works with my iPhone for navigation and traffic warning duties. It worked well all of last year but only has a direct to battery power source at the moment which is obviously more hassle than using the dash-mounted 12v socket on the Tracer.

I hope to catch up with as many Tracer owners as possible throughout the year. The bike is selling by the boatload so hopefully we can arrange a large group to meet up at some point.

Making changes already

There are a couple of things that are going to need some attention. The standard fit tyres are Dunlop D222s and, to be frank, they aren’t very nice. They feel brittle, don’t seem to warm up and offer little in the way of confidence. If this was my bike I would change them immediately and sell them to claw back some of the cash on something better. I am planning to try the brand new Bridgestone T30 Evo sports touring tyre instead. While many owners would keep the tyres on until they had worn out I will be able to get a head start on their next purchase by swapping for something else.

I also need to dial in a little bit of plushness into the front end of the bike. On the scabby back roads I spend much of my riding life upon the feeling from the forks is a little harsh and they patter across high frequency bumps, mid-corner bumps tending to push the bike wide. No part of this is scary and I am hoping the standard preload and rebound adjustment, combined with a change of tyres will be enough to smooth the bike out. If not, then some kind of professional help to work on the forks might be in order with perhaps a cartridge kit.

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Andy Downes

By Andy Downes

Former MCN Senior Reporter