One significant reason I love roadracing: It provides measurement. A stopwatch and finishing positions determine value, as opposed to a dyno chart, parts budget, or who can flap their lips the loudest.
The measurement brings us to one of my favorite sayings: “Blah, blah, blah… Let’s go racing.”
And that’s what we did for this final installment of the Yamaha Tracer 900 GT Cycle World long-term bike. Mark Schellinger made his roadracing comeback after 15 years of retirement from a career that features two Motorcycle Roadracing Association (MRA) number one plates and Daytona CCS podiums. During his 15 years unracing, he ran the MRA’s new-rider program and taught with me at Freddie Spencer’s school and now at the Champ school. When he’s not on bikes, he’s flying around the world teaching anti-terrorist driving to elite military personnel. Mark is 59 years old. He has a mini dirt track in his backyard. He’s our kind of guy.
The Tracer 900 GT ends its stay in Colorado with 7,254 miles on the clock. My initial question was, “Can this Tracer GT be a do-it-all motorcycle on the level of my impressive 2006 Yamaha FZ1?” The bike has answered that question across the sandstorms of western Texas, in the canyons of the Rocky Mountains, down the dragstrip, and now on the road course of Pueblo Motorsports Park. “Yes.” It does it all very well if you are looking for a sport-touring machine with an emphasis on sport.
Mark Schellinger On Roadracing The Tracer GT
Bottom line: The Tracer GT doesn’t do anything weird. It brakes well, accelerates with verve, and corners fine. It won’t wheelie like our school Tracers do at sea level (could be the 122 extra teeth Nick added…), but it was a joy to ride, I really enjoyed it.
It launched well despite the Bonneville gearing. I revved it to 5,000 rpm and fed the lever out pretty quickly. You’ll see from the video it wasn’t the quickest drag racer in the field, but we worked our way forward from there.
The Pueblo track offers a good balance of handling and horsepower, and this Tracer does too. Kudos to Ivan’s for the ECU tuning; initial throttle is significantly smoother and it comes off the corner strong.
This bike takes inputs from the rider and gives proper feedback, and that’s the best situation. It has a sporty feel but adds the ability to go for miles. Win-win!
We did have to remove the centerstand and the footpegs are too low for the track. But that’s it for the complaint department. I had a gas and encourage anyone, on any streetbike, to explore the MRA SuperStreet class if you are race-curious.
Tracer 900 GT’s Heroics And Hassles
Some quick notes after one year on the Yamaha.
Revvy, great-sounding engine that ran uncorrected 11.8s at 112 mph at 4,900 feet of elevation with the taller gearing installed, and touring windscreen. (That’s 11.5s at 115 with taller gearing but no windscreen, uncorrected.) See last week’s Ienatsch Tuesday for more info.
Gets down a twisty road very well. Champ school’s Keith Culver also has a Tracer 900 GT and it does anything and everything he wants in the canyons. “Amazing bike,” KC says. It is a platform that allows an enormously entertaining pace on the street.
Gets around a racetrack surprisingly well.
Awesome quickshifter for on-throttle upshifts.
Stable but eager to steer.
Easy to move around the garage. CW readers have a new term for bikes like the Tracer GT: “Light Touring.”
Cool onboard data.
Headlight adjusters are handy and accessible even while riding.
Oil changes are easy.
Remote rear spring adjuster is smart and should be mandatory!
Fully adjustable front suspension.
Chain drive allows for easy gearing changes.
Saddlebags lock on and off, open and closed with the ignition key…solid and secure system.
Great legroom, comfortable seating position.
Good Yamaha support in the form of extra windscreens, seats, tank bags, luggage racks, etc.
Centerstand is awesome.
2-volt auxiliary plug at windscreen’s base.
Would love more fuel onboard.
Stock gearing too low for my wide-open-American-west circumstances.
Chain drive needs relatively constant maintenance in comparison to shaft.
Ignition key is hard to reach.
Underseat helmet lock is a hassle—I extended it with a small cable lock.
Not an easy wash due to semi-naked design—but learned to use spray cleaner for the fiddly bits.
Saddlebags need the key to open or close
Saddlebags could be larger for my tastes—but word has it that FJR1300 saddlebag lids fit to extend storage.
Centerstand and footpegs drag at the racetrack.
Sidestand is slightly too short.
Check engine light has come on twice.
Quickshifter quit working between fifth and sixth gear (warranty fix certainly, but haven’t had it back to Fremont Motorsports yet).