Yamaha 2023 Tracer 9 GT Sports Tourer Ride Review

Review Summary

  • As an unofficial replacement for the brand’s legendary FJR1300, the new-for-2023 Tracer 9 GT is a supremely capable bike that somehow manages to take the brilliantly hooligan CP3 triple engine found in their fabbo XSR-900 retro sportsbike and integrates it into a multi-purpose sports tourer without the whole thing seeming like a Frankenbike.
  • For $14,999 USD you get ALL the toys. And if you’re in the right part of the world, this can include Yamaha’s world-first “Radar Linked Unified Braking System” that automatically slows the bike if it detects a braking vehicle ahead that you don’t react to.
  • No, it’s not focused on a single-purpose and it’s clearly trying to do a few things at once, but if you’re after a bike that’s all-day comfortable, has mucho accessories, is relatively quick through the corners and a little bit naughty when you are in the mood, you can’t go far wrong here.

As a rider (and writer) who cut his teeth during the whole cafe racer boom of the Noughties, I was trained to embrace bikes that were laser-focused on a single job. In a custom cafe racer’s case, that purpose was making sure that a factory bike was as light and as fast as possible on public roads so that it could win illegal street races from cafe to cafe. This also has led me to be quite wary of bikes that try to do many things at once. Like a restaurant that claims to cook food from multiple countries, it often turns out that what they gain in variety, they lose in taste and authenticity. The new Tracer 9 GT purports to defy this logic. But how? Let’s talk about it.

Apart from a few notable exceptions in Italy and the Middle East, emergency services crews don’t often find themselves in balls-to-the-wall sports vehicles. Yes, you may have seen a few Lamborghinis tarted up in police lights and sirens, but a PR stunt or two does not a precedent make. Be they police bikes, ambulances or rescue boats, these professional tools not only need to go fast; they need to be tough, dependable, easy to service and they also need to carry a whole metric butt-ton of gear, too. So I think it’s fair to say that while these motorcycle-riding pros definitely have different uses for their bikes, most of us have similar expectations for ownership.

A 2023 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT Motorcycle
Gold touches add some visual panache to a largely monochrome colour scheme. Image via Yamaha MC.

Down here in Australia, many police forces opt for the imitable Yamaha FJR 1300. Sure, there’s a few Hondas and BMWs in the mix as well but as a Sydney-sider for the past millennia, more often than not you will see these Yamahas making up substantial numbers. Now the FJR 1300 is currently a two-decade-old bike, and while it’s not going anywhere soon you’d have to wonder if there aren’t some better options for these pros that might be able to teach the old

Read More... Read More