Last week Nick chronicled the preparation of his long-term YamahaTracer 900 GT before he set out on a ride to the Circuit of The Americas for MotoGP. This week, he shares tales from the road on his Tracer.
My twin-brother-from-a-different-mother, Chris Carr of AHRMA fame, and I have both battled a bit of cancer this year: me getting part of my ear cut off, and him going a few steps further with the big C. To celebrate our health and give cancer the middle finger, we bought VIP tickets to the Grand Prix at COTA; I couldn’t think of a better way to get there than via the Tracer, hoping it would stop snowing in Colorado long enough for me to sneak south. If my choices are to push a Tracer through the snow or get on another airplane, I’d have to really study before answering.
But I wouldn’t go directly to Austin; I’d ride south and west to our April two-day school at Inde Motorsports Ranch near Willcox, Arizona. I would make a little money while riding with my gang, great students, and guest instructor Bradley Smith, then head directly east to COTA.
With snow on the sides of the road and temps hovering in the high 20s, I fortified my body with Venture Heat electric clothing, but regretted not adding the heated boot warmers halfway through the San Luis Valley! The boot warmers sat snuggly in the saddlebags, but it was too cold to stop and put them in, plus I knew I’d be turning south any minute. Note to self: Start with it all. And if you don’t have electric riding gear, get it. This might be my number one bike mod.
The Tracer GT and I covered 2,500 miles and my enthusiasm for the bike has soared. Initially, I felt the bike wasn’t substantial enough for hard-core mile eating, but three 800-mile days has shown me the Tracer 900 GT is the real deal in terms of comfort, speed, and capability. I’m going to let the photos tell the story of this “Comfort Mods” update across four states in the great American West.
I didn’t do a scientific study of fuel mileage by riding the same route at the same speeds in the same weather conditions, but the taller gearing stretched each tank of gas by at least four miles per gallon at “extremely enjoyable” speeds, giving me averages in the mid-40-mpg range.
Summing up this bike’s ability to cover large distances certainly has to do with comfort, but even more so with the fun factor. The way the engine sounds, the eagerness in which it revs, the slick on-throttle shifting that is absolutely addicting, the light and exact steering—they all encourage back-road riding that makes each mile a joyous adventure. Yes, I slogged along Interstate 10 to get from southern Arizona to Texas, but that slog was done because the moment I got into the hill country I knew we’d be lost on the back roads again. There’s nothing better than miles of back-road twisties followed by lunch in some small-town diner with the Tracer patiently waiting for more.
We end this second long-term report with 5,357 miles on the odometer and fun plans for the future.