2024 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+ Intro: Technology For All!

2024 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+ Intro: Technology For All!

© 2023, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. By Michael Gougis:.

Editorial Note: Look for a complete review of the 2024 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT+ in an upcoming issue of Roadracing World & Motorcycle Technology magazine.

 

By Michael Gougis

The very first vehicle I hit while riding a motorcycle (a long time ago) involved me braking too late with too little pressure at the lever, and I smacked the rear bumper of the car in front of me with my Suzuki GS450L. I got off light. The only damage was a crease in my bike’s chrome front fender.

Yamaha’s 2024 Tracer 9 GT+ is the first motorcycle in the world to incorporate an intelligent braking system that might have avoided the above scenario.

Based on the successful and highly competent Tracer 9 GT platform, the 2024 GT+ version adds hard saddlebags as standard, a radar-assisted cruise control, and a Radar-linked Unified Braking System.

The radar cruise control works exactly as it does in cars and trucks. The rider selects the desired speed and distance from the vehicle in front. The bike then maintains that speed until something gets in the way. Using engine braking first, then braking with the triple-disc system if necessary, the machine slows to maintain the desired gap to the leading vehicle. When the coast is clear, the motorcycle accelerates back to the desired speed.

The linked braking system uses feedback from the radar unit to assist the rider. If the rider hits the brakes, and the motorcycle sees that it’s not going to stop in time, it will add braking power, optimize front/rear brake bias, and adjust the suspension damping to slow the bike more quickly. Yamaha reps are quick to point out that the bike doesn’t brake itself, but only assists once the rider has nailed the brakes.

Otherwise, the Tracer 9 GT+ is a more refined version of the machine that is the sport-touring model in Yamaha’s Triple lineup. Powered by the 890cc, three-cylinder engine found in the MT-09 and the XSR900, the Tracer also shares the twin-spar, die-cast aluminum-alloy Deltabox-style frame used for those models. Upgrades for the Tracer include KYB Actimatic Damping System (a.k.a. KADS) semi-active suspension front and rear, a sport-touring fairing and windscreen, a new dash and other conveniences designed to allow the bike to eat miles with comfort as well as rip around back-roads.

Available in Storm Gray, the machine, with a suggested retail price of $16,499, is expected to hit dealer showrooms this month.

Riding The Tracer 9 GT

Yamaha invited a group of motojournalists to Idaho, where we spent a day hauling on two- and four-lane roads just west of the Boise National Forest. We covered nearly 200 miles, ate finger steaks at a place called Dirty Shame, and got a good idea of what the newest Tracer is all about.

Full disclosure: I did not test out the Radar-linked Unified Braking System by trying to get into a panic stop situation involving another vehicle. I was just happy knowing it was there.

I did use the radar cruise control, and under difficult circumstances found that it worked exactly as advertised. Honestly, the cruise control itself was sophisticated and smooth in operation, and the radar-assist element added a major level of comfort and reduced mental exertion during longer stretches.

I found out, over above-mentioned finger steaks at the above-mentioned Dirty Shame, that I had been testing the radar cruise control function during the same portion of the morning ride that other motojournalists were experimenting with it.

Think about that for a moment…

We were in a pack of about eight, including Yamaha employees along for the ride, all on a two-lane road, and at any given point, some or even many of us were riding along in close proximity without touching throttles or brakes. No drama, not a single sketchy moment. The radar cruise control system was sorting it out for us.

I was surprised at how quickly I put my full trust in it, but as I told one of the Yamaha guys at lunch, “The bike is probably smarter than the rider.”

The bike delivers even more functionality than the prior versions of the Tracer. The dash screen is simpler, a new joystick toggles through information on the screen or selects one of the three pre-set riding modes, or a fourth, customizable mode which allows the rider to configure wheelie, traction and slide control, as well as ABS and suspension settings, to their liking.

The chassis is plenty stiff for its intended use. The KYB suspension, even in Sport mode, would wallow just a bit at very enthusiastic speeds, but was still stable enough to encourage straight-up sport riding at anything near a reasonable street speed. The brakes were solid, wind protection more than adequate, and vibration minimal. It’s a comfortable bike, with adjustable handlebar and footpeg positions and adjustable seat height. I was quite happy with the way it came stock.

It was a long day. Photo shoots take time, and we huddled on the ground for quite some time during one of them, hiding from the sun and the 92-degree heat in the shade of a chase vehicle. Rain the night before had left grit on the road in blind corners, adding to the stress level, and if I was riding something else, the combination of the undesirable bits of the day would have left me anxious to get to the end of the ride.

But as we cruised back into Boise, heading for the hotel and dinner, it occurred to me that if I were to fill the 5-gallon gas tank to the top and head out again, I could have easily gone through another tank or two before calling it quits. The bike is that comfortable, that fast, and that easy to ride. For what you get for the retail price, it is a technological marvel that does exactly what I want technology on a motorcycle to do– make riding more fun!

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