Review: Yamaha Tracer 700 GT

The “sport tourer” moniker probably brings big muscular bikes to mind, like the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT or the BMW S 1000 XR, or rather bulky long-distance runners such as the FJR1300 or the GSX1250FA.

Going fast is easy with those bikes but if you look for light-footedness in a sport tourer, you need to look somewhere else. Enter the Yamaha Tracer 700 GT.

For a few years now, the Yamaha MT-07 has been a popular model from which Yamaha smartly derives other models. The XSR700 already stole my heart in 2016 and now the (already reasonably touring-oriented) Tracer 700 gets an (even more) touring-oriented relative: the Tracer 700 GT.

The Japanese kept it simple and drafted an easy upgrade: take a stock Tracer 700, exchange the windshield for a bigger one, replace the seat with a comfort seat and mount color-matched 20-liter side cases. There you go: the Yamaha Tracer 700 GT. Price for that suffix: £600, bringing the total to £7,999. That’s an attractive price tag. But isn’t the GT label too promising?

Hop on the comfort seat and you’ll immediately notice that the Tracer 700 GT doesn’t make an overwhelming first impression like the big sport tourers mentioned in the intro do. The Tracer feels compact and very manageable. At 835 mm the seat isn’t as high as on an adventure bike but still it offers you a good and easily accessible lookout post. For most, getting both feet on the ground won’t be an issue.

You sit nicely upright, the handlebars comfortably positioned, the legs in a pleasant angle. Doing miles and miles and miles? Shouldn’t be a problem. The large, height-adjustable windshield only makes doing those miles easier. In the lowest position it leads the air stream around your chest, in the highest position my helmet still caught a little bit of wind. No problems with turbulence however, and a lot less wind noise.

The windshield isn’t as huge as the one on an RT though, which I noticed during a trip through heavy rain. The windshield, the fairing and the hand guards of the Tracer 700 GT proved to offer just a wee little protection. A decent rain suit therefore isn’t a luxury item, otherwise you’ll be soaked when reaching the finish. My Klim suit saved me from drowning once again.

You can adjust the windshield by loosening two knobs and then sliding the windshield up or down. It’s not the most ingenious system on the market but at least you can use it while riding. Although it’s quite a hassle.

The comfort seat is rather soft, fairly slick and slightly sloping towards the front. As a result, when you’ve moved a bit on the seat, your butt will slide back to its original spot after some road bumps.

The well-known twin from the MT-07 remained unchanged. Its 75 HP and 68 Nm don’t sound very spectacular, yet the engine proves to be remarkably enthusiastic if you dare to play with the throttle. The Tracer is never boring and there’s enough vigor for some good fun. The twin even runs a bit rough, adding to the character of the bike.

The chassis doesn’t have much problems with that character. Even more, it does well as long as you don’t handle the bike too abruptly or too sporty. If you do so the rear suspension gets in trouble, leading to a bouncy behavior and instability. Unfortunately, only the rear spring preload is adjustable. But in normal circumstances the Tracer takes corners particularly swift and light, and a riding line can be easily corrected.

The Tracer 700 GT owes its tempting base price to its limited technological package. No mappings, no ride-by-wire, no traction control, no heated grips, no semi-active suspension, no full-color LCD display … But the Tracer happens to ride so nice you won’t miss all those extras.

The LCD digital display highlights the speed, the chosen gear and fuel reserve. Two trip meters, mileage, average and current consumption, oil and outside temperature are also there but you need to lean forward and press a button at the bottom of the display to scroll through them. A full-fledged GT would have a button on the handlebars to do that. The indication of the remaining kilometers is also missing. And additionally I’d also like a centerstand, under the engine and not on the display of course.

Conclusion

The Yamaha Tracer 700 GT doesn’t excel in technological marvels or generous equipment. It’s basic, as is its price. Nonetheless the fun it offers is far from basic. The engine might not make a big impression on paper, on the tarmac it will even convince experienced riders. On the other hand it’s also very accessible for beginners, due to its modest size, its light steering behavior and the twin that convincingly combines manageability and excitement. This is not a GT with two big fat capital letters – the Yamaha mainly lacks equipment to earn those – but it’s undoubtedly a very interesting option as a budget GT.

Pros

+ Nice two-cylinder engine
+ Interesting price tag
+ Very agile and light-footed

Cons

– Really sporty riding isn’t the suspension’s favorite.
– If you have big travel plans, you’ll have to be satisfied with a rather sparse base equipment.

Tech specs

Engine

Engine type: 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-valves
Displacement: 689cc
Bore x stroke: 80.0 mm x 68.6 mm
Compression ratio: 11.5 : 1
Maximum power: 55.0kW (74.8PS) @ 9,000 rpm
Maximum torque: 68.0Nm (6.93kg-m) @ 6,500 rpm
Lubrication system: Wet sump
Clutch type: Wet, Multiple Disc
Ignition system: TCI
Starter system: Electric
Transmission system: Constant Mesh, 6-speed
Final transmission: Chain

Chassis

Frame: Diamond
Front travel: 130 mm
Caster angle: 24.8º
Trail: 90mm
Front suspension system: Telescopic forks
Rear suspension system: Swingarm, (link suspension)
Rear travel: 142 mm
Front brake: Hydraulic dual disc, Ø282 mm
Rear brake: Hydraulic single disc, Ø245 mm
Front tyre: 120/70 R17 M/C 58W (tubeless)
Rear tyre: 180/55 R17 M/C 73W (tubeless)

Dimensions

Overall length: 2,138 mm
Overall width: 806 mm
Overall height: 1,270 mm
Seat height: 835 mm
Wheel base: 1,450 mm
Minimum ground clearance: 140 mm
Wet weight (including full oil and fuel tank): 196 kg
Fuel tank capacity: 17.0L
Oil tank capacity: 3.0L

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