The definition of a sport-touring motorcycle has gotten a bit blurred lately with adventure-touring bikes encroaching on the space. A good bike in either genre agrees that you need to be able to pound out miles and do it in relative comfort. The difference comes when one decides to pursue sport over adventure.
This is where the 2021 Yamaha Tracer 9 GT separates itself from the A-T pack. Designed exclusively with pavement riding in mind, Yamaha has no intentions for the Tracer 9 GT to travel down a dirt road (at least not intentionally). The most obvious difference comes from the 17-inch front wheel. Adventure bikes wear big front wheel/tire combos to help navigate dirt, rocks, and other obstacles you simply don’t find on the street. The tradeoff, however, is slightly less capable canyon carving abilities, and comparatively speaking this is where the Tracer 9 GT shines.
Clearly, there’s more to the Yamaha’s capabilities on pavement than just a wheel choice. In fact, the entire bike is new from the ground up, with the biggest difference compared to its Tracer 900 predecessor being a bigger, 890cc Triple, compared to the old bike’s 847cc. It’s housed in an all-new frame with the new swingarm mounted inside the frame spars compared to outside them on the Tracer 900. This may not sound like much, but the bigger, more powerful engine, combined with the extra rigidity provided by the new frame/swingarm combo, gives a well-balanced and capable handler of a motorcycle in Tracer 9 GT form.
Of course, I go into more details about the changes and how they work in my written First Ride Review, but you didn’t click this story to read a bunch of words. Instead, feast your eyes on the cinematography of the talented Ray Gouger and the editing work of our own Sean Matic. Then brace your ears for the voice of Yours Truly. I apologize in advance.