Yamaha Tracer 9 GT 2022 review
Rennie Scaysbrook | October 14, 2021
The sports tourism sector is growing in popularity and Yamaha has come out with a bit of heat for 2022.
Photography by Ray Gauger
Yamaha has much to be proud of with the three-cylinder MT engine they built almost ten years ago. He went on to power three different machines in the Yamaha lineup (maybe four, if the MT-09 sportsbike rumors come true), and went from being a cranky, cranky little thing to a nice refinement, delivering just about all the couple you would ever need and then some.
This engine has been located between the frame rails of Yamaha’s FJ / Tracer 900 lineup since the appearance of these sport touring machines in 2015. It is largely the same powertrain, albeit the motorcycle itself. has undergone two name changes and now a third to the 2022 Tracer 9 GT.
Like the name, everything has changed on the Tracer front for the next year. This is the first full model refresh since 2015, with the 2019 edition being more of a draft version.
The 847cc engine is boosted to 890cc for 2022, wrapped in all-new chassis, bodywork and electronics to bring the GT into line with some of the more expensive offerings in Europe and even Japan.
And best of all, you can get it for under $ 15,000.
I have always had a soft spot for the FJ / Tracer model. It’s a very capable bike, if a bit bland, but it will offer a lot of thrill for the money. Technology has never been one of its strong points but that has changed for this year. We’ll start with the engine.
It’s more than just an increase in capacity with a new intake, new cylinder head, valves, intake and exhaust cams, new injectors and new throttle bodies. At the bottom is a longer 3mm stroke crank, new forged pistons, shorter 1.5mm slotted connecting rods, a redesigned exhaust and higher gearbox for first and second gears and a new slip clutch and assist.
Yamaha reworked the intake system to give more noise, although I think the old 2020 version had a bit more bark in this department. It’s always been a trait of Tracer – that deep, loud induction roar, which is something held back for this year, just modified.
The engine is paired with a revised Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle (YCC-T) for smoother initial throttle openings, especially at low revs where pre-2022 three-cylinder engines were notoriously jagged. There is no mechanical connection between the throttle grip and the throttle body – everything is electronic – although Yamaha has adjusted the springs and the tension of the throttle twist to be as natural as possible. You have four throttle / motor boards in the Yamaha D-Mode system, with level one being quite delicate and aggressive up to level four being very soft.
The performance offered is considerably improved compared to the previous generation GT. The extra capacity not only gives extra torque, but allows the engine to breathe a bit, allowing you to ride the torque wave and not have to dance too much on the admittedly super smooth quickshifter that comes standard on the GT. .
From 3-9,000 rpm, there is torque for days. Step on the accelerator and the Yamaha wobbles forward, but less violently than in the past.
This engine is wrapped in an all-new chassis with the swingarm pivoting inside the frame side members, rather than outside like on conventional FJ / GT models. This contributed to a 50% increase in lateral stiffness, which the rider can certainly feel when flipped over to the side of the tire. The chassis is rock solid, with the perfect amount of combined chassis flex and suspension flexibility to tackle almost any terrain. This was especially true on the crappy surfaces we found on our test route on the Angeles Crest Freeway.
Nissin still supplies half the brakes on the GT, and they installed a new master cylinder to modulate the pressure supplied to the Advics four-piston piston calipers and 298mm rotors.
The brake system is linked, and that was something I wasn’t a fan of during my afternoon on the GT. Use only the rear brake and you will feel the front lever push down slightly – I would have much preferred a traditional unlinked system.
The GT now comes with a six-axis IMU that transmits information to the ECU about the motorcycle’s lean angle and throttle position, as well as brake pressure and suspension travel. So the GT has officially joined the technological revolution that began almost a decade ago, when Aprilia released the first IMU (and didn’t tell anyone about it) on the 2013 RSV4.
One of the main discussion partners of the IMU is the Suspension Control Unit, which is part of the new KYB Actimatic Damping System (KADS). The KYB fork and shock are not the most advanced suspension units, with preload and compression on the fork and rebound only on the shock available for electronic tuning. Front and rear preload is manually adjusted via the nut on the top of the fork and the hand knob for the rear.
There are only two settings for the KADS, which means you won’t get lost in the myriad of settings that can be found on something like the Ohlins Smart 2.0 system found on a Ducati Panigale V4. A1 for a sporty ride and A2 for a smoother ride is all you’ve got which is a good thing because that’s all you need.
The A1 is very stiff and is only really necessary if you are hammering really fast on smooth roads. For the afternoon I had the Tracer, I spent the majority of the time in A2 with the throttle, traction, wheelie, and slip control all at level one (not sure why you would need some slip control on this bike, but there you go).
The modes are accessed via an awesome looking split screen, 3.5 inch TFT dual dashboard, one that looks a bit like a robot face if you stare at it for long enough. With the speed on the left and all the trip and trip information on the right, you have enough space to easily read everything except the time, which is stuck at the bottom left of the screens. It would have been nice if you could customize what you saw on the dashboard and where, although I suspect it would have added a few more dollars to the bottom line.
Yamaha offers you many options to customize the riding position of the new GT. I only had time to change the seat height from 31.9 inch to 32.5, but you can change the handlebar position 9mm forward or 4mm up by turning the clamps , and you can change the position of the footrests 14mm up and 4mm back. This should mean that riders measuring just over five feet tall at 6’5 “can find a riding position they find comfortable.
The jury’s out on the new aesthetic, but it contains separate LED lights and cornering lights that work once you’re going three mph or more with seven degrees of lean angle. It’s a weird bike, but I guess you don’t look at it as you ride and the ride is really good so I can live with the look.
One of my favorite features is the manual lever, so you can adjust the screen on the fly. Why all the manufacturers who have bikes with large displays don’t have this feature is beyond me.
There are plenty of standard features on the GT that many more will charge you for: cruise control, heated grips, 12V power outlet, 30L double side bags, cornering lights and quickshifter, the list goes on.
Yamaha has given you a lot of the bike for the money with the new GT. These features are bolstered by a hell of a good driving experience, a vastly improved experience compared to what it was in 2020. CN
VIDEO | 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT first test
Specifications Yamaha Tracer 9 GT 2022
|Motor:||3 cylinders in line|
|Valve train:||DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder|
|Bore x stroke:||78×62.1 mm|
|Compression ratio:||11.5: 1|
|Fuel system:||Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection|
|Exhaust:||3 in 1|
|Front suspension:||KYB 41mm semi-active fork, USD, fully adjustable|
|Rear suspension:||KYB semi-active damper, rebound damping, adjustable preload|
|Front wheel:||17 x 3.5 inches|
|Rear wheel:||17 x 5.5 inches|
|Front tire:||120/70 ZR17|
|Rear wheel:||180/55 ZR17|
|Front brake:||Dual 298mm floating discs, 4-piston radial-mount calipers, cornering ABS|
|Rear brake:||Single 245mm disc, 2 piston sliding caliper, Cornering ABS|
|Seat height :||32.5 inch|
|Weight (dry, claimed):||485 lbs.|
|Fuel Capacity:||5.0 gallons.|
|Colors:||Liquid metal, Redline|
Click here to read the Yamaha Tracer 9 GT 2022 review in the Cycle news Magazine digital edition.
Click here for the latest Cycle news Reviews and news on Sport Touring motorcycles.
Click here for more reviews and news on Yamaha motorcycles.