Peter Galvin takes a kitted out Yamaha MT-07 Tracer onto the road less traveled and finds out how the bike handles some adventure. Review: Peter Galvin
The Yamaha MT-07 Tracer ticks more boxes than you might expect. Is it a sport-tourer or is it an adventure bike? It could easily be both…
The 700 Tracer is versatile, flexible and practical. Don’t let the fact that it’s ‘only a twin’ put you off or that the bike ‘only has 52bhp’. Some of the best bikes I have ridden have around 55bhp and this bike is no exception. Bigger may not always be better!
The MT-07 Tracer has found itself in what could be described as a hybrid segment. A full size motorcycle suitable for new riders and a motorcycle that should appeal to more experience riders looking for a cost effective weekend blast. A motorcycle that is equally as comfortable off the road as it is on the tarmac. Yamaha getting that challenge right has produced an interesting motorcycle.
Our test combined a mix of freeway, secondary roads and unsealed fire trails to see how versatile and practical the MT-07 Tracer really was. That was our main objective and the bike didn’t disappoint.
Out of the gate, one of the most obvious features was the neutral almost passive steering. This remained so throughout the whole test even as conditions changed dramatically. Yamaha have chosen an appropriate castor angle and trail to suit the bike’s intended purpose. The Tracer goes where you point it and it is without doubt one of the most relaxed and comfortable motorcycles on lazy straight sections of road, tight and open sweeping bends and unsealed roads.
As is the case with the MT-07 Tracer, it is easy to pass judgement and assume things, often incorrectly. By way of example, I was looking at the front adjustable screen as we were departing and my co-rider asks, “Do you really need that?”
‘Not sure” I replied, ‘I guess you could remove it if you don’t like it.’
“What about those bags?” Another good question, ‘Not sure. I guess you could remove those too.’
“Will this bike be OK on road tyres on the trails?” Another that echo’d my own thoughts… ‘I hope so. Guess we’ll find out.’
At our first stop, these and other question marks were quickly answered with previous doubts and curiosities turning to compliments. The screen was a winner and I hadn’t even adjusted it properly to suit my height or build. No freeway buffeting, reduced fatigue and a significant reduction in wind chill heading into the icy mountain roads.
The bags are also a winner. So lightweight they were unnoticeable and my co-rider asks if he could put some personal belonging in them. That speaks for itself really. And this is how the story continued to unfold with the 700 Tracer. Doubts and questions turning to pleasant surprises.
On unsealed trails the Tracer was just as confidence inspiring even on road tyres. The Tracers lightweight (196kg) and narrow parallel twin engine provides a nice balance. In fact, the crossplane engine is brilliant like its big brother engine in the R1 that has a broad spread of power off the bottom end maximising its useability. The smooth and predictable power delivery was ideal on the unsealed sections not unlike a modern 450 four stroke dirt bike purpose built for that kind of trail work.
The front end never washed out once on the loose and rutted surfaces either. That was on over 80kms of relatively dry fire trails, which I have to say again was quite surprising. Put on a set of off road orientated adventure tyres and you will have no problem even in damp and wet conditions.
The Tracer is pretty forgiving too. Even if you overshoot an entry and have to correct mid turn, it’s not a heart stopper. You can sit down or stand up comfortably for long dirt stretches with minimal fatigue too. The ergonomics are well thought out even if I would prefer high contrast analogue instruments, as the digital ones often require a second glance, mainly when you hit a low light environment under trees for example.
Feel through the bars, footrest and seat was also good without any annoying vibrations. The whole comfort of the package is another thing that struck a chord. Apart from the bitterly cold weather conditions on the trip, the desire to keep going and explore further never waned which is a bit odd for me as the cold weather wears me down pretty quickly.
It would be easier to overlook the brakes on the Tracer as they worked in all conditions. The twin 280mm discs and ABS up front are more than capable of dealing with everything we threw at them including emergency stops both on the road and off road.
The other big benefit of the neat little twin is the fuel economy. Multiple times I found myself conscious of planning the next fill up point only to half fill the tank. You can reasonably expect somewhere around 300-350km per tank depending of conditions and riding style. That is excellent value and cheap motoring for the performance on offer.
At an RRP of $12,290 (bargained to $10,990 without trying too hard), the Tracer is well priced making it attractive to a wide audience. A comprehensive range of factory approved aftermarket accessories are also (our bike was decked out) available including Akrapovic exhaust system, heated seat, LED blinkers, radiator guard, engine protection sliders, crashbars and impressive compact driving lights.
It is fair to say that the MT-07 Tracer probably won’t suit all body types or those wishing to load up with heavy luggage and a passenger to ride long distances. A Super Tenere might be a better option in those circumstances. But bang for the buck, coupled with Yamaha’s proven high build quality and reliability and the opportunity to get away for the weekend on a mix of highway, country and unsealed roads the MT-07 Tracer is worthy of serious consideration.
Finally, is the MT-07 Tracer a sport tourer or an adventure bike? Well I think it is easy to say it’s both. The only real giveaway in labelling it a pure sport tourer is the 17in front wheel. However, we just proved that to be no limitation on the dirt.
So, why don’t we call it the sport adventure touring bike because really, that’s what it is!
2017 Yamaha MT-07 Tracer (Tracer 700) LAMS Specifications
PRICE: $12,290 + ORC
WARRANTY: Two year/unlimited kilometre
COLOURS: Yamaha Blue, Radical Red, Tech Black
CLAIMED POWER: 38.3Kw[52.1hp]@8000rpm
CLAIMED TORQUE: 57.5Nm[42.5ft-lbs]@4000rpm
CLAIMED WEIGHT: 196kg wet
FUEL CAPACITY: 17L
ENGINE: Liquid-cooled, DOHC, inline-twin, four-stroke, four-valve, 78 x 68.6mm bore x stroke, 655cc, 11.0:1 compression, lightweight one-piece two-into-one exhaust
GEARBOX: Six speed
CLUTCH: Wet, multiple disc
CHASSIS: Tubular steel diamond frame, asymmetrical aluminium swingarm
SUSPENSION: 41mm front forks, 130mm travel, link-type Monocross rear shock
BRAKES: Dual 282mm front wave rotors, four-piston calipers, single 245mm rear wave rotor, single-piston Nissin caliper
WHEELS & TYRES: Lightweight cast aluminium 10-spoke, Michelin Pilot Road 4, 120/70-ZR17, 180/55-ZR17
Seat height: 835mm,
Overall height: 1270mm,
Overall length: 2138mm
INSTRUMENTS: LED display, gear indicator
The Verdict | Review: Yamaha MT-07 Tracer, Kitted Out
Peter Galvin takes the MT-07 Tracer onto the rough stuff to see just how flexible this machine is, with unsealed roads and tracks through Australian national parks proving a breeze, and that’s with road tyres!