Yamaha continues to consolidate its naming structure by replacing the FJ name with Tracer, which has been used in Europe. Consequently, the bike we’ve known as the FJ-09 will come to the U.S. as a 2019 model (yes, a 2019 model) called the Tracer 900. In the move to the 2019 model year, the Tracer 900 will gain a sibling, the Tracer 900 GT. Both will be available in the second half of 2018 as early release 2019 models. Prices have not been set.
Yamaha has filed a trademark application in Europe for the name “Tracer GT,” suggesting a new touring model is on the way. The application was filed April 19 with the European Union Intellectual Property Office for use of the name for “motorcycles, scooters, mopeds, three-wheeled motorcycles, three-wheeled scooters, three-wheeled mopeds and parts and fittings for all the aforesaid goods.”
With this month’s Buyer’s Guides focusing on Touring ( Touring America: Buyers Guide, And Advice, Motorcycle Touring: Do-It-Yourself Touring) concocting a touring-focused Top 10 seemed more than appropriate. Large-displacement tourers are abundant and receive lots of press, especially in our bigger-is-better country. Choosing 10 mid-displacement bikes to shoehorn into the category turns out to be more difficult than one might think. The 10 bikes here represent more of what’s available in the category rather than a rating countdown from 10 to one. So, in alphabetical order we give you 10 sub-1000cc bikes that span a wide range of sporting, as well as, touring capabilities.
In January, we deduced that the BMW R1200GS Adventure is the best big expensive adventure bike on the market. It seems like only yesterday that we concluded that the new Kawasaki Versys 650 is the best small, (less) expensive one, in our Urbane Adventurers comparison. And just before that, the new-for-2015 Yamaha FJ-09 came out on top of an adventurous pile that included a pair of bigger, more expensive motorcycles. The truth, as they say, is always somewhere in the middle, and if the FJ-09 and its 847cc Triple aren’t right on the epicenter of adventure-bike truth, they’re very close – even if the FJ does roll slightly closer to the streety side of adventuresomeness.
That’s right, masters of the obvious, one of these things is not like the other ones. But what we found out as we rode around on these four is that each of them fills a distinct niche, rendering the Honda less outside the Adventure Bike box than we would’ve thought going into it. Besides, the Africa Twin’s not here yet. Tommy Roderick and I already decided the BMW R1200GS Adventure is the ultimate if your adventures will include unpaved surfaces, but these four adventure bikes are aimed more toward riding on pavement: We’ve all seen the stats about how few of these kinds of bikes and Range Rovers ever make it off road. Not many. And having said that, a couple of these might make reasonable dual-sports depending upon how reasonable you ride off piste.
Almost exactly 14 months ago Yamaha jetted Motorcycle Courier Editor, Troy Siahaan, to San Francisco to sample the 2014 FZ-09, and he came back impressed. Just a little over two months later, MO gathered together four Triples to see how the new kid stacked up against the rest of the three-cylinder class. The results were quite favorable with the FZ-09 finishing second overall and being the editors’ choice if cost were the deciding factor. If it hadn’t been for its little sister, the FZ-07, claiming the Best Value Bike Of 2014, the FZ-09 would have been in a hard-fought battle for the number-one position in that category. That’s how much we love the FZ-09.
While the new Yamaha R1 and R1M are stealing the Tuning Fork headlines this year at EICMA, Yamaha also introduced another new model: the FJ-09, or MT-09 Tracer for the European market. Based on the FZ/MT-09 naked bike, the FJ-09 slots in below the FJR1300 as a more Sport-Touring machine for the entry level crowd. To meet the S-T needs for which it was designed, the FJ gets a host of new items like an adjustable windscreen, larger fuel tank, traction control, ABS and provisions for saddlebags, among others. E-i-C Kevin Duke is on hand at EICMA, where he gives us his first impressions of the FJ-09 after its worldwide unveiling.
EICMA, the biggest motorcycle show of the year, is just around the corner. Hosted in Milan, EICMA is the international stage where the major (and some minor) manufacturers will reveal their new models. This week’s Top 10 is all about bikes we’re excited to see at the show. Truth be told, there are more than 10 bikes to choose from – Husqvarna’s three street models, and a possible KTM 1050 Adventure, are just a few which barely missed the cut. That said, the 10 we’ve gathered here have us truly excited for the year to come in motorcycling. Keep it here starting November 3, as the MO team brings you all the action from EICMA as it happens.