We’ll tell why Yamaha novelty – Yamaha MT-09 Tracer – can be called a crossover, and what links it with the model from 25 years ago.
In 1991, Yamaha released TDM 850 – a cross between an urban naked and a tourist bike. At that time, there wasn’t neither Ducati Multistrada, nor Suzuki V-Strom, nor Kawasaki VersyS, nor, especially, BMW S1000XR. A motorcycle class, which we now call the crossovers, by analogy with sub-SUVs from cars – appeared.
In 2002, TDM 850 was replaced by TDM 900, which had been produced until 2011, after which Yamaha left the segment of crossovers just gaining popularity for a few years. Apparently, then in the bowels of the company began to develop the concept of MT series and the new three-cylinder 900-cc engine. We were able to assess the result of this work in 2014 as naked MT-09.
The logical and expected development of the Yamaha model line with a new and very successful engine was the emergence of a new or reincarnated representative of this class from Yamaha – MT-09 Tracer in the past year rich for crossovers or sportadventurers.
Tracer has not the finest, but a modern, versatile, recognizable “yamaha” appearance. Although it is longer than naked MT-09 by only 8.5 cm, in terms of appearance and comfort “on board” it seems much bigger and will fit more general “palette” of drivers: both of a medium height and build, and high, and large – including thanks to the adjustable seat height and the ability to slide on it closer or farther away from the tank, slightly changing the landing from a straight line to a sport.
“Tracer” got unchanged chassis of MT-09, with adjustments of fork and shock absorber on prior compression of the spring and the hammering action. However, on the conveyor suspension was set up a little tougher than in naked, thereby turning the bike runs more stable – all these elements of the road become the most loved when you go on a Yamaha Tracer. Yes, surface roughness and speed bumps are felt, but very few people resets suspension each time in everyday driving. Set up once (and usually do not touch at all) and go all the time. An electronic suspension is another matter: press the button – and everything is magically changed. But then to a not so low current value of motorcycles will have to be added another half…
We personally liked 850-cc three-cylinder engine on the MT-09 more. It contains all the charms of in-line and V-shaped engines without their drawbacks: a powerful thrust from below, fleshy middle and pickup at high speed – and all this with virtually no vibration. However, in naked, especially when driving in sport mode “A”, the nervousness, twitching are felt, which, of course, were a part of the character of the bike, and its driver must match. Engine on Tracer is slightly reconfigured, and this “impulsiveness” disappeared, leaving the net power and the pleasure of control over it.
Only noise at speeds of nearly 100 km/h is annoying: the wind flows around the driver do not hit in the head or chest, but it creates some very noisy turbulence. Although… On the Tracer, as well as on the MT-09, one does not have time to notice where it was “almost 100”, and where it’s already prohibited speed.
As for the off-road capability, here they are, even if you change the shoes for catchy rubber, are very conditional: factory crankcase is weak – colleagues have managed to break the tray on the curb in the city; steps are not located at 90° to the ground, and charged back, which prevents ride standing up, not leaning hands on the steering wheel. Leather, by the way, is very enduro – widest! It facilitates the control, relaxes the arms and back, especially during long trips, but in the city is annoying. Although not so much. But you won’t squeeze between the two “jeeps”… Outside asphalt, grader, hard-packed dirt or slug powdered sand road is a limit for the stock Tracer. It is still a real motorcycle crossover – cheerful, happy, nice, comfortable both in the city and on the road, no matter what the quality, able even to show itself on the track, but gentle and is definitely not ready to get dirty in the mud. Well, Yamaha has items more tailored for the dirt.