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With intel suggesting the new radar-equipped Tracer 9 GT+ will be coming to Oz after all, we take a look at the current model

Other than its new Pure White colour scheme, the MY2023 Tracer 9 GT pictured here is essentially the same as the model we featured in last year’s sports-tourer shootout (AMCN Vol 72 No 05). So why are we riding it again so soon?

Well, up until recently we were led to believe that this was all she wrote for Aussie Tracer 9 GT customers, and that there was no way we were going to get the new radar-equipped Tracer 9 GT+ model. And if this were actually the case, it would have been a pity on at least three counts: firstly, the GT+ gets a Bosch radar system that allows for adaptive cruise control and the addition of Yamaha’s Unified Brake System; secondly, it gets a standard two-way quickshifter that allows gear shifting without disengaging the adaptive cruise control; and thirdly, it gets a new seven-inch colour TFT screen with smartphone connectivity and the ability to display map-based GPS when running a Garmin phone app.


But hang on a sec: none of those updates will be here until the GT+ launch later this year. In the meantime, the outgoing Tracer 9 GT is still a formidable bit of kit with plenty of tech and is ideally suited to those after a comfortable, capable, mile-munching sports-tourer.

At the heart of the Tracer 9 GT is Yamaha’s 889cc CP3 inline triple that makes a claimed 87.5kW (117hp) at 10,000rpm and 93Nm at 7000rpm. It’s a ripper of an engine, with a tractable bottom-end, meaty midrange and a howling top-end. What that means is you can be as lazy or as active with the gearbox as you want, either plodding along in tall gears with just 3000rpm showing on the barely legible tacho (more on that later) or making use of the quickshifter and working your way up through the ratios as the needle nudges the redline. 


That quickshifter is an up-and-down unit, but upshifts work best when you have the throttle wide open and downshifts when the throttle is closed; on partial throttle openings it can be reluctant to shift, so you’re better off using the clutch in those situations.

The fuelling isn’t perfect, and it can feel a little snatchy in Mode 1, but Mode 2 smooths things out a bit and still allows access to full power. And if you want to loft the front wheel, a simple crack of the throttle in first or second gears will easily get the job done. Just as well the Tracer 9 GT is equipped with an IMU that sends data to the front wheel lift, traction, slide and brake control systems.


The Tracer 9 GT’s tech story doesn’t end there – it’s also equipped with KYB semi-active electronic suspension that automatically adjusts depending on the surface you’re riding over and how you are riding the bike. There are two rider-selectable modes within the system – A-1 is the sporty mode and A-2 is the comfort mode – that tailor the damping to suit your mood. As well as the active damping front and rear, the 41mm USD fork has manual preload adjustment with 130mm of travel, while the monoshock rear likewise has manual preload adjustment and a decent 137mm of travel. The suspension package feels well sorted and, although ground clearance could be better, the Tracer 9 GT is easy to flick into corners and it feels surefooted once cranked over – it is firm and controlled, and it leans towards the sports side of the sports-tourer equation, even in the softer A-2 mode.

Braking power is more than adequate and there is plenty of feel at the levers, while I only detected ABS intervention when practicing an emergency stop, during which the Tracer 9 GT pulled up quickly and cleanly. 


While the switchgear is straightforward, deciphering the ride and suspension mode you have selected is more complicated than it should be thanks to the dual 3.5-inch TFT screens that look like they were pinched from a 1980s parts bin. Although tailorable, the screens are small and the info is hard to read, and it’s little wonder the impending Tracer 9 GT+ gets a massive enhancement with a new seven-inch screen. 

The Tracer 9 GT also has the touring side of the sports-tourer equation well sorted, with a reasonably sized 19L fuel tank, a manually adjustable windscreen, heated grips and cruise control. The upright riding position is comfortable and the seat is wide and well padded, while the generous pillion seat is complemented by big grab handles. Lockable hard panniers are also included and, although Yamaha says they will accommodate a full-size helmet, they have an odd shape and you probably won’t be able to fit as much luggage in there as you might think. Nevertheless, they are a fabulous standard inclusion that’s optional on many of the Yamaha’s competitors. 


Night riding is taken care of by impressive adaptive LED cornering lights that operate at lean angles of more than seven degrees and become progressively brighter as the banking angle increases. Much more than a gimmick, the lights are a real tangible benefit when riding at night on twisty backroads.

The Tracer 9 GT is a well-equipped, tech-packed bike that is certainly worth a look for those after a midsize sports-tourer. Sure, the radar-equipped GT+ is coming later this year, but it’s very likely it’s going to cost more than the current GT.  


Test Dean Mellor +  Photography Incite Images