Yamaha Incoming: Yamaha Tracer 900 long-term test bike

2018 Yamaha Tracer 900

Say hello to Trevor the Tracer, our new long term pal

DOES YOUR bike have a name? I’ll confess I’ve never felt the urge in the past, but there’s something about this new Tracer 900 that makes me want to award it a moniker. A childish happiness at the allure of alliteration? The fact that the Tracer is a teeny bit tall, spindly and slightly geeky-looking? Those big headlights that look like a Manga character’s face made real?

Maybe a bit of everything. So he’s Trevor the Tracer, for the moment (this might just be half-term-inspired brain fade). And he’s a top bloke, as it happens. I’ve had him for a few days now, and done a couple of rideouts with him and he’s a right old laugh. Pissing about, popping wheelies here and there, slicing through traffic like a good ‘un – he’s up for anything.

He’s a good man when you need a job done too though. No messing when there’s work to be done. I had to get from my house to Kawasaki HQ the other day, quick-fast, and the M25 was its usual carpark self. Old Trev just got on with it, no muss no fuss. He’s got the heart of a lion of course – that 847cc triple is a gem of a motor, with stacks of instant grunt all over, and a lovely noise when it’s on the pipe. He’s not a glutton at the bar either – he stands his round, and doesn’t drink like a fish. Indeed, I’ve done 120 miles and the fuel gauge has hardly moved. The adjustable screen helps keep the wind and rain off – like a proper mate, Trev looks after his muckers. 

I’m a good mate too though – and I want Trev to make the most of himself. So we’ve got a makeover planned for him. Nothing too radical – he’s not quite at the liposuction and hair transplant stage just yet. But we’re gonna spruce him up a bit, and work on his fitness a little. Starting with some new footwear – he’s got a pair of old Dunlops on there, which are fine, but a bit dad-trainers tbh. I’m gonna get Trev a right rocking pair of top dabs, that’ll give him a load more grip all round. 

I’ve done a bit of research on Tracers too, and I hear the standard ECU mapping is well restricted. So Trev’s going to the head shrink! We’ll get his brain all sorted out with a new throttle and fuel and ignition map, that’ll give him a new lease of life (and a few more ponies). A slick race pipe will improve his breathing (he gets a touch of asthma from the cats you see), and a nice new set of luggage will help him get the cans of Stella home from Tesco and be a godsend when he goes his holidays to Bognor Regis.

I’ve not known Trev for long, but I reckon we’re going to have a long and beautiful friendship…