Yamaha has been busy shaking things up as of late. The FJ sport-tourer family went the way of the FZ lineup with a brand-new name and refurbished looks, and it will hit U.S. showrooms sometime in November as the Tracer 900 along with a slightly more tour-tastic version, the Tracer 900 GT. Fans of the FJ models — and indeed the FZ/MT-09 range — will recognize the 115-horsepower, 847 cc triple and adventuresome flavor of this new sport-touring lineup that will be replacing the FJs. The base model lands somewhere near the “sport” end of the sport-tour spectrum, but the GT model is a bit more balanced with a set of hard-side panniers that provides some secure dry storage and a host of features that long-distance riders will certainly appreciate. Join me while I take a first look at this new pair that gives us a glimpse into Yamaha’s 2019 lineup.

See my first look at the Yamaha Tracer 900 and the Tracer 900 GT.

  • 2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 / Tracer 900 GT
  • Year:
    2019
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-3
  • Displacement:
    847 cc
  • Price:

Design

2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 / Tracer 900 GT
- image 761925
In an effort to drop some of that adventure-bike look, the factory pared down the handguards so they're big enough to shunt the wind away from the hands, because blacktop adventures rarely involve brush, right?

It seems that the factory tried to rectify some of the less-desirable aspects of the FJ. First off, the new sheet metal (painted plastic, whatever) brushes up the looks a bit while the hand-adjustable windshield forms a larger pocket to protect the rider from wind and weather. Up front, the split headlights ride in the mask of the fairing with lowers that enclose and protect the sides of the big radiator mounted on the downtubes.

In an effort to drop some of that adventure-bike look, the factory pared down the handguards so they’re big enough to shunt the wind away from the hands, because blacktop adventures rarely involve brush, right? The GT doubles down on the hand comfort with heated handgrips as part of the standard equipment package. A two-position seat gives the pilot some flexibility within a rider’s triangle that is narrower at the bar for a more street-wise position than we got from its adventurous predecessor.

The passenger also got a break in the form of a lowered set of footpegs for a more relaxed riding position to go with the prominent J.C. handles and elevated pillion pad; just what you want for a prolonged spell in the saddle. A tucked-under taillight and mudguard/plateholder/turn-signal combo finished out the ride in typical fashion.

Chassis

2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 / Tracer 900 GT
- image 761938
The Tracer siblings have on-road attributes that should appeal to those facing long hauls in the saddle.

An aluminum skeleton serves as the bones of the beast in an effort to keep things light, and to that end, the factory used the engine as a stressed member to eliminate an entire section of the downtube/cradle area. Rake and trail are still under wraps, as are the rest of the critical metrics such as seat height and wheelbase length, so we are left with naught but speculation for the time being. What we do know is that this pair will ride on a set of inverted, 41 mm stems and monoshock with adjustable preload and rebound damping across the board except for the front of the GT which comes with the full trinity of adjustments. Needless to say, this gives the Tracer siblings a flexibility that should appeal to those facing long hauls in the saddle.

Cast, 17-inch rims mount a 120/70 hoop up front and a 180/55 out back to round out the rolling chassis with a longer swingarm that is meant to improve the sensation of acceleration when you get twisty with it.. While overall weight is as yet unknown, we do know that Yamaha threw on a pair of 298 mm discs up front with a 245 mm in back and ABS protection all around, so you probably have plenty of brakes there to haul it down in a hurry when you need to.

Rake (Caster Angle): TBD
Trail: TBD
Suspension, Front: 41mm inverted fork, adjustable preload and rebound damping; 5.4-in travel
Suspension, Rear: Single shock, adjustable preload and rebound damping; 5.1-in travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 298mm hydraulic disc; ABS
Brakes, Rear: 245mm hydraulic disc; ABS
Tire, Front: 120/70ZR17
Tire, Rear: 180/55ZR17

Drivetrain

2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 / Tracer 900 GT
- image 761933
Designers threw the pegdraggers a bone with a quick-shift system on the GT that lets you run up through the gears with nary a glance at the clutch or shifter.

Yamaha carries over its proven 847 cc, CP3 powerplant to drive this new generation. The liquid-cooled triple times its 12-valve head with dual over-head cams, and it uses a countershaft to cancel out much of the engine’s vibration. As with the other CP3 mills, fracture-split con-rod ends ensure a close-tolerance fit while staggered-length intake funnels help broaden the powerband, mainly downward into the mid-range.

While nobody has had a chance to put one of these on a dyno yet, I reckon it’s going to put out something in the neighborhood of exactly 115 horsepower with 65 pound-feet of torque on tap. That’s enough to intimidate some people, as well it should, but worry not, the factory blesses the bike with a host of electronic safety nets.

Yamaha’s proprietary Chip-Controlled Throttle acts as a liason between rider demand and engine capabilities for seamless transitions and hesitation-free riding, plus it enables the cruise control, Drive Mode and traction-control features. The D-Mode comes with three separate maps for what is essentially three different engines in one, and it reinforces the efforts of the three-mode TC system to keep the rear end firmly planted. Designers also threw the pegdraggers a bone with a quick-shift system on the GT that lets you run up through the gears with nary a glance at the clutch or shifter.

No matter which you choose, the power will flow through a slipper clutch then the stacked-shaft, six-speed transmission before heading to the rear wheel via chain drive. Powerful, flexible and potentially noobie-proof, this engine seems to fit the mission of this sport-touring duo quite nicely.

Engine: 847cc liquid-cooled, DOHC, inline 3-cylinder; 12 valves
Bore x Stroke: 78.0mm x 59.1mm
Compression Ratio: 11.5:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel injection with YCC-T
Ignition: TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission: 6-speed; multiplate assist and slipper clutch
Final Drive: Chain

Pricing

2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 / Tracer 900 GT
- image 761936
MSRP is TBD, but if I had to guess, I'd call it something around the $11 K mark.

TBD ...but if I had to guess, I’d call it something around the $11 K mark. The FJ-09 was $10,699 in 2017 so I figure at least that much and probably a little more for the Tracer 900. Tack on maybe another grand for the GT.

Warranty: TBD
Color: Armor Gray, GT: Raven
Price: TBD

Competitors

2019 Yamaha Tracer 900 / Tracer 900 GT
- image 761942
2015 - 2018 Kawasaki Versys 650 / Versys 650 LT / Versys 1000 LT
- image 761943
Kawasaki has no answer for the electronic engine gadgetry on the GT, so if you want TC, rider modes and such there is but one choice here.

So far, the Tracer 900/GT models are something of a paper tiger, at least until they start rolling out in the Fall, but I reckon Kawasaki’s Versys 1000 LT is likely to appeal to the same sort of buyer as would the Tracer 900 GT. The looks are certainly close enough; kind of the same dish but with different spices, if you will. Where the GT leans toward the sportbike end of the spectrum, the LT falls closer to the adventure bike end. The differences are subtle, but they’re there all the same.

Across the board these bikes sport front fairings complete with tall windshields plus handguards and panniers to make both ready to hit the intertsate right off the showroom floor. Kawasaki delivers similar suspension performance with inverted, 43 mm KYB forks up front plus adjustable preload and rebound damping all around. Brakes are likewise similar with Kawi taking a slight lead in front-disc size at 310 mm with the same ABS protection as the GT.

One big advantage the LT enjoys is the cubage tucked away in its powerplant. At 1,043 cc, you know it’s going to put out more grunt, and it does with 75.2 pound-feet versus 65-pounds from the GT, but there are significant trade offs. First, Kawi has no answer for the electronic engine gadgetry on the GT, so if you want TC, rider modes and such there is but one choice here. Also, at $12,999, the LT is a bit pricier than my projected MSRP for the GT, so you get a little more power but a much simpler machine overall.

He Said

“In the end, the Tracer 900 GT looks like a much better bike, even if it winds up at the same pricing point as the Versys. I gotta’ say I’m lovin’ the adjustable suspension/TC/rider modes; such features make the machine into several different bikes in one, and flexibility like that diminishes the need for multiple bikes as your skill level increases or as you look for different riding characteristics. While it’s cool that Yamaha tossed some bags at the GT version, they still don’t get that for Americans, it really ain’t a tour bike unless it’s got some baggage.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “Yamaha dropped the FJ-09 here last year and is bringing the Tracer that was revamped in the Euro market into our market next year. The revamp brought a lighter feeling ride, nice wide handlebars and a comfortable seating position, even though the seat itself seems a bit hard. Other than the riding position, it really feels like a sportbike. Your feet aren’t tucked up, but neither are they under you in the seated position; so sportbike-ish. This makes for a nice all-around bike, like it’s not really dedicated to any one label. It’s very flickable, roll-on is awesome, brakes are responsive and decisive; you forget that there’s a tourer aspect to it.”

Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: 847cc liquid-cooled, DOHC, inline 3-cylinder; 12 valves
Bore x Stroke: 78.0mm x 59.1mm
Compression Ratio: 11.5:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel injection with YCC-T
Ignition: TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission: 6-speed; multiplate assist and slipper clutch
Final Drive: Chain
Chassis:
Rake (Caster Angle): TBD
Trail: TBD
Suspension, Front: 41mm inverted fork, adjustable preload and rebound damping; 5.4-in travel
Suspension, Rear: Single shock, adjustable preload and rebound damping; 5.1-in travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 298mm hydraulic disc; ABS
Brakes, Rear: 245mm hydraulic disc; ABS
Tire, Front: 120/70ZR17
Tire, Rear: 180/55ZR17
Dimensions & Capacities:
L x W x H: TBD
Seat Height: TBD
Wheelbase: TBD
Maximum Ground Clearance: TBD
Fuel Capacity: 4.8 gal
Fuel Economy: TBD
Wet Weight: TBD
Details:
Warranty: TBD
Color: Armor Gray, GT: Raven
Price: TBD

References

Kawasaki Versys

2015 - 2018 Kawasaki Versys 650 / Versys 650 LT / Versys 1000 LT
- image 738074

See our review of the Kawasaki Versys.

Yamaha FJ-09

2015 - 2017 Yamaha FJ-09
- image 712640

See our review of the Yamaha FJ-09.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: yamaha-motor.com, kawasaki.com

Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Motorcycle Finder: