We finally got our hand on , Tracy the Tracer for a full review, this is a seriously a bike that we wanted to review since it was first preview almost a year back by Hong Leong Yamaha, since our long termer was a MT-09, but in comparison, actually both bikes felt really different in character, although they share the similar platform. With the torque triple’s engine ironed out, and especially the rear suspension, the longer front suspension makes the cornering feel a little more, I would say Tracy is super gentle, a superb bike with its versatile and thrillingly better handling, even with the same chassis as the MT-09 but the boys at Yamaha made the front and rear suspensions harder and been tweaked, to get more feel in corners instead of bouncing around on the original MT-09. I will not criticize the handling especially the rear, as I did with the original MT-09.
I always criticize the stock MT-09’s suspension, that’s why most of you all know I changed the front and rear to K-Tech suspension, but the Tracer’s suspension just feels like I’m not riding a MT-09, with soft rear and front forks. The tweak was just increasing both the front and rear preload and damping rates on the Tracer. As a result, the chassis just gets on with it. The ride is stable and enough for me to ride it like, a MT-07, sharper agility and the Tracer feels lighter than most sport touring bikes I have ridden and even when I push hard through the snaking switchbacks and flip-flops in the hills of Bukit Tinggi and towards Kuantan trunk roads and the suspension and brakes were never found unable to deliver what I want.
The Tracer will wheelie until the cows come home because it retains all the fun and zest of the base MT-09, just if i found out how to switch off the Traction Control and if you want take the missus or a girlfriend out for a weekend worth of riding to Fraser’s Hill or Cameron Highlands just to have fun through the twisty roads you will do that with ease.
I even took the Home Minister (wifey) out to do some grocery shopping with Tracey, she was not a bit jealous…. hahahaha!, she actually loved the ride back and forth even it was a short trip.
Compact and impressive CP3 engine, the triple cylinder is essentially identical to that of the base MT-09 but with slightly revised and updated mapping to the different mode settings, the CBU units which Hong Leong Yamaha brought in around 100 units comes with Traction control and ABS. The three modes are selectable: ‘Std’ (which has been softened off slightly compared to the MT-09 for this sport-touring application), a sportier ‘A’ mode (also improved, after original complaints) and a 95hp ‘B’ or rain mode. You can switch between all on the move with the throttle is closed.‘Std’ is fine, 90 per cent of the time: a class-leading 115 horses and, better still, an utterly linear, meaty, addictive drive from 3k rpm all the way up to around 10 or 11.
From 5k rpm the exhaust note changes, churning into that distinctive three cylinder will that excites the rider. If it rains, knock it into 95bhp ‘B’. And if you really want to thrash and scrape, ‘A’ mode adds a little sharpness to the response and meat to the midrange, enough to have you snapping on your toes at all times chasing faster super naked. At speed 180-190km the front can feel slight wobble, solution just add on a steering damper. We even rode in the rain, the suspension were working great, just the standard Dunlop Sportmax D222F wont give much confidence to newer riders.
The Tracer come in an affordably-priced package, I’m comparing with a German 1 liter Sport Touring bike you can actually almost buy 2 units of Tracer but it certainly doesn’t appear ‘cheap’. The fairing is cleverly comprised of lots of different ‘modules’ (rather than flat panels) and incorporates a variety of different, finishes. Screen is manually adjustable through 30mm via two tightening knobs inside the fairing, comes with an adventure bike-style hand guards. It’s a well specked, well-finished machine.