Tracer 900GT - Comfortable, Excellent Handling Bike
Sold my 2018 BMW R1200GS Rallye as I was not satisfied with some of its qualities, so I purchased a 2020 Yamaha Tracer 900GT. Here are my initial impressions.
I made the trip home from the dealership on the Tracer 900 GT and extended the ride to about an hour. I rode some higher speed city roads, the 401 Express Highway (busy, wide, excellent tarmac), ramp entrances and exits, followed by some single lane (each way) secondary highway with some short radius curves. From this initial jaunt, I can fairly conclude several things about the rid...e experience. I want to clarify that, from my point of view, the ride experience on a motorcycle is so much more important than the motorcycle's features, where the features aren't really worth much if they do not enhance the riding experience. I am mentioning this because adding electronic gadgets to motorcycles tends to confuse what's important about motorcycling, and I dare to say that adding features, without considering the bike as a whole, does not translate into a better purchase or a better ride for the owner. I also think the riding/driving experience is much more important on a motorcycle than in a car, because the motorcycle rider generally has to concentrate more when moving down the road - using the eyes, arms, legs, and brain, of course, adjusting to the road frequently, forecasting what's coming up, and generally paying more attention to safety. The gadgetry is just less of a priority, including electronic gadgetry. So, from my first ride, I can conclude the following: Any remorse I had about selling the BMW R1200GS Rallye is gone completely. First, the Tracer doesn't feel heavy in the front like the BMW. The Tracer moves easily from side to side in my hands while stopped, just like a sport bike would. This immediately translated to confidence as I headed off on the bike. As expected, there was no heavy feeling in the front as I made my turns, consistent with that light feeling while stopped. Good going Yamaha. I now am much much less concerned about the bike leaning too far in an emergency braking situation - the Tracer just feels so much lighter that I am confident that I can keep the bike supported even if it is leaned over further under an avoidance maneuver. Better yet, there is no trace (pun!) of any imbalance in the Tracer, toward the left or the right, when coming to a stop, unlike the BMW. The BMW left me feeling somewhat less at ease when stopping, as the bike tended to start to lean either left or right when slowing to a stop. I tried modulating the braking differently on the BMW, so that I was applying more rear brake force than front to see if that would rectify the issue. It did to a small extent, but that was it. Perhaps the easy tipping is from the profile of the Michelin Anakees, especially the front tire, as it has a very high midline profile, likely to help induce turn-in on cornering. Whether it was the tire, or whether it is the design of the BMW, I cannot say for sure, but I practically forgot to assess this issue when riding the Tracer, because the problem simply wasn't happening at all. Another win for the Tracer. With less weight on the front end and less tippiness, I felt way more confident on the Tracer than I ever did on the BMW. On the BMW, I felt like I needed to "learn how to ride it." On the Tracer, I pretty much rode it away from the dealership like I stole it. The Telelever front end on the BMW would contribute significantly to the heavier, and more tipsy feeling on the BMW. With modern suspension being so advanced, so adjustable, and just so darn good, I really wonder why BMW persists with it. The Tracer's suspension was excellent, with good feedback, where I felt very connected to a light and responsive front end.
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