2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT | Long-Term Ride Review

Our fully accessorized 2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT.
Our fully accessorized 2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 GT.

MSRP $15,087 (as tested)

Mileage: 7,280

Last September I participated in the Three Flags Classic, an endurance ride from Mexico to Canada totaling more than 5,000 miles (read about it here), and had my pick of motorcycles on which to do it. I needed something comfortable, of course, but also wanted some cornering clearance for when things got twisty, plenty of luggage space and an athletic, upright riding position in case we encountered gravel or dirt (which we did). Then Senior Editor Drevenstedt came home with a new Yamaha Tracer 900 GT, which he’d ridden back to SoCal from the launch in Washington, and I had my mount.

Before I left, however, we needed to address some minor touring shortcomings and prepare the bike for its adventure. So off the Tracer went to Yamaha to be outfitted with a Yamaha accessory comfort seat and taller touring windscreen, along with a set of new Dunlop Roadsmart III tires and some DP Brakes sintered pads that would offer better bite and feedback than the stock pads. When it came back a couple of weeks later, we discovered Yamaha had gone above and beyond by also adding a radiator guard, front fender extender, engine case guards, a larger rear rack and a full Yoshimura exhaust system.

Almost 5,000 miles later, I was grateful and impressed with everything…with the exception of the exhaust. Its sporty, aggressive song became tiring and abrasive, even with earplugs, after eight-plus daily hours of high-speed droning. Everything else, though, made a good sport tourer a great one. While I never tested the engine guards (thankfully), Yamaha’s comfort seat and touring screen kept me comfortable, the big rear rack made it a breeze to attach the dry duffel holding my camping gear and after miles of loose gravel in Montana, the radiator guard had proved its worth. The Dunlops especially impressed me, proving to stick faithfully regardless of temperature or road condition, including rain, sleet and slush, and even after my ride they were only just starting to square off and had plenty of tread left.

Some have complained of a bit of buzziness generated by the Tracer’s 847cc triple, but I had no issues; perhaps the comfort seat helped, and I made judicious use of the cruise control, which worked very well. My only remaining niggle is that the footpegs are set fairly far back, resulting in a sporty knee bend that could get tiresome. Otherwise, though, our kitted-out Tracer turned out to be a solid sport-touring machine that inspires me to wonder: where shall I go next? 

19 COMMENTS

  1. Hello Jenny,
    This is a wonderful article. My first thought was to place a link to it in the SCMA Newsletter.
    My 2nd thought is to ask for permission to place the full article in the newsletter and attribute it to Rider Magazine (online) as well as a link to the magazine
    Will y’all give me that approval????
    Gonzo
    Chairman,
    Southern California Motorcycling Association
    949-433-0761

    • Hi Gonzo! You can absolutely share this as well as the full report on the ride itself (linked to in this article). Hope you’re well! -Jenny

    • Yes, we did. The lowest fuel economy we got was 39.8, the highest was 58.5, average was 48.5 for a range of about 232 miles. The bike takes 91 octane gas. -Jenny

  2. Thanks very much. I commute 70 miles a day and would love to get a bike that gives me 3 day fuel endurance. My current Bonneville gets the exact same mileage as my Buell Uly (45) but does it on 87 octane vs. the Uly’s 91. Can’t quite stretch 3 days out of either bike. Having to fill up every other day is tedious.

    • FJR is consistently good for 240 plus. Get an accessory trunk to stow riding suit and helmet goes in one of the bags. Perfect commuter setup.
      My commute includes 2 miles of gravel each way. The worst days are heavy rain after road grading. Get a fender extender you’re good to go.

  3. The difference between filling up with 91 vs 87 is less than a dollar per fill up. I always put 87 in bikes that only require regular, but won’t let the need for premium be a deterrent to purchasing a particular bike. The only issue I run into is the availability of premium in some remote places, but that is increasingly rare.

  4. It’s just a shame on the Tracer’s tiny (relatively) weight limit of ~366lb — I really wanted to buy the 2019 as a decent 2-up (mostly 1-up for me) but my wife and I would be over the weight limit with just riding gear on.

  5. I’m averaging around 10K a year on my VERSYS KLE650 and will be in need of a replacement in the not so distance future. I intend on making the Tracer 900GT that replacement. I ride primarily country twisty roads, some city & highway and as much Smoky mountain twistys as possible. I’ve done a demo ride on the Tracer and love it. The only question I have for Yamaha is why are the fairings grey and not black to match the rest of the bike? It makes them look like an afterthought.
    I want one but will have to have it painted if they continue this model with only the one paint scheme.

    • I completely agree with your comment on the grey fairings. I was on the PUIG website and one of the “model” bikes was a blue Tracer 900 GT including headlamp shroud with a black fairing and GT decals – it looked great. Not sure if it was photoshopped, painted or another model with add-on GT decals, but I cannot seem to find the paint scheme anywhere. I know the grey fairings and blurple wheels mirror the high-end R1 colour scheme so = premium. Like you, it just doesn’t do it for me in enough of a way not to pull the trigger on one.

      • I hope to see new color options from Yamaha on Tracer 900 GT in 2020. Holding back my purhase because of this. – Kevin, Singapore

  6. Haha, thank god someone else with eyeballs. I would have bought this bike 3 months ago if it wasn’t so ridiculously ugly. The 2020 color is slightly better but come on Yamaha give us that Phantom Blue in the US and I will buy one tomorrow. The wheels are especially ridiculous.

  7. Yamaha markets this bike as a sport tourer and it has many of those features. The deal-breaker for me is the 33.5″ seat height. I don’t like supporting a bike on tip-toe. Every sport touring bike I’ve ever ridden has had a seat height around 31″ which allows me to be practically flat-footed at a standstill. I think Yamaha could sell a lot more Tracers if they engineered a more adjustable seat.

    • I’ve just been to a Yamaha dealer and with me being 5 ft 6 they said they will fit the lust racing dogbone for £130 including the part and labour and there’s a low saddle available for around £250 I think. No other dealer has offered me this option so I’m definitely going for the GT…also it’s one of the few Japanese bikes I genuinely love the look of. 😁

    • That’s good news that for a.mountian of money one can get a different set up. Just why are they so bloody high? Being an older blokeI have great difficulty in throwing my leg. Surely a bit more assistance in getting them lower.
      How much can the bike be lowered ?

  8. nice story, I also go to America, and I am looking for a motor bike to rent, not a Harley, I like this one, I have one of myself (In holland).
    Did you rent this bike, if you did, where was the adress and what is the rent price ( a day). We go 20 days travel, start in New York.
    Is I look for rent is is almost every whre Eagle, and Eagle is Harley.

    I hope you have agood answer for me so that I can rent a good bike for my trip.

    Thanks, greetings from Karel Vos, The Netherlands

  9. I wonder what the ne of your windscreem is. I haven’t found that i like but this one looks nice and looks to be tall enough. Could you tell which one it is and where you bought

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