My thoughts of the Tracer 900 /FJ-09

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by Jedz123, Apr 7, 2021.

  1. Jedz123

    Jedz123 Adventurer

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    Well Guys
    Since my 2018 Triumph Bonneville hit 80K miles last season and is starting to show it's age I decided to get back on a Yamaha in hopes I find a machine as comfortable and competent as my gen 1 FZ1. True the Bonneville was and still is a great motorcycle I wanted to get something more reliable, something I know would start, run and get me anywhere and back with just the ask of fluid changes, fresh shoes and some pads.

    This year I acquired for less than half the price of my T120 new a used FJ-09 2016 with 11K miles. I was a bit skeptical buying it for I had never actually ridden a FJ-09 but has some saddle time on a FZ-09. I personally find the FJ-09 naming convention distasteful as J generally means shaft drive in the naming convention of Yamaha so I found it odd they named it as such... Anyway I call it a Tracer so please know that moving forward on this post.

    So the apple didn't fall far from the Fazer 1000S tree with this bike. It really is as hidden gem of the motorcycle market. Light, nimble, multi faceted and FAST. It handles very well and the engine is just amazing. I can't write home enough about the 3 cylinder engine. Impeccable, the fact Yamaha lobbed off 1 cylinder from the FZ1 platform and still delivered a motorcycle just as fast is incredible.

    True the gauge is probably the ugliest part about the bike I still find it very informative and easy to read, at least. Sure I would love to see a sweeping clock as I push the CP3 to redline but I'll make do with the Texas Instrument graphing calculator displays. The rest of the bikes is impeccable. The TCS is more like a tool on the Tracer unlike a Nanny on the T120. Where on the T120 a loss traction means a drop to no power the Tracer on the other hand strives to keep putting power to the road with minimal wheel slip. The ABS is also better in my opinion to the T120. Sure I keep comparing the too but I rode 41K miles last season so it's all I really have to compare. The T120 is a fantastic motorcycle with a great I-2 engine but the Yamaha just does everything better, well minus the refined fit and finish... But if you looks at the bike in competences, the Tracer is worlds ahead....

    I did a simple video from my ride the other day:


    I love my Bonneville, it really is my favorite bike to own to date however this new Tracer is doing everything for me and is checking all the right boxes. It's like I got a revised and modernized Gen 1 FZ1 again... Looking forward to pushing this bike to the 100K mile mark.

    Cheers!

    -Jedz
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  2. unlimited_explorer

    unlimited_explorer Been here awhile

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    Had it for 20 k km
    Fine bike , weak springs , needed better seat and exhaust to make that 3 cylinders roar. Used with Puig touring Plexi
    #2
  3. unlimited_explorer

    unlimited_explorer Been here awhile

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    Photo 20200704_145038-01.jpg
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  4. RoyQ

    RoyQ Long timer

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    I have a 2020 Tracer 900 GT and I agree with your assessment of the FJ/Tracer platform. The CP3 engine is a very strong powerplant. Very fast and capable motorcycle. I've had mine since 11/2020 and it already has 4400 miles on it.
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  5. rideforzen

    rideforzen Long timer

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    I had a couple of the gen 1 bikes. Power wheelie in first, grab second and set the front tire down around 100 mph. lol What do i do with the other 4 gears.

    IMG_0568.JPG IMG_1106.JPG
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  6. robfilms

    robfilms Been here awhile

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    thanks for your thoughts on your fj09/tracer

    as much as i really like my 2013 fjr1300, i'm sorta/kinda/maybe glancing at the fj09/tracer.

    i'm looking forward to other comments from those who have ridden both the fjr and the fj09/tracer.

    thumbs up.

    rob
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  7. Jedz123

    Jedz123 Adventurer

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    I put about 40K miles on a Concours14 and I walked away from that for it was way too big, it also was cumbersome at slow speeds, tight maneuvering and dirt roads... I ended up trying Harley davidson's (Street-Rod and a XR1200) both of which sucked. Moved onto the Bonneville T120 which really was the best bike I had in a long time.

    The Connie was hella fast, I had a bunch of ZX-14 bits on it and it had over 150WHP, very fast but limited to just well paved roads. I didn't like taking it off road.
    [​IMG]

    I've had over 65 bikes and the Tracer is definitely going to be one of the best, I can tell.

    I'll keep this thread alive as I continue to ride and eventually tour once Spring arrives here in Vermont officially...
    #7
  8. Vrode

    Vrode Still half-fast... Supporter

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    I demo'd an FJ-09 while I owned my Gen1 FZ1 and I agree completely. The only thing was I wanted something different than my FZ1 at the time. I could see me going to one again though. Maybe next year.....
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  9. Ogre_fl

    Ogre_fl Long timer

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    FWIW the J like most of the letters doesn't seem to mean anything in Yamaha naming.

    The original FJ's were chain drive (the FJ1100, FJ1200 & FJ600) only the FJR is shaft.
    The XJ's were a mixed bag with some shaft, but also some being chain.
    The euro XJR1200 & XJR1300 were chain.

    But if you prefer to identify as Tracer, that's cool.
    #9
  10. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades... Super Supporter

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    The FJs were kind of sport touring as opposed to the cruiser stuff I think.

    My brother has an FJ-09 and really likes it. I rode it, steering is nearly intuitive...you think turn and it's almost already done. But far more power than I wanted myself. I'm a 700 rider and prefer it. If I rode two up it might be different.
    #10
  11. DAD51

    DAD51 Been here awhile

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    I sat on one at the Dealer this week. To me, it is too tall (seat) and too compact. If you have an inseam of 34" you will be OK. It is a light weight Bike and Semi's will blow you around. If Yamaha could have stuffed a GT9 into the old 2001 FZ1 Chassis with hard cases, I would buy one. My 2003 FZ1 had the perfect riding triangle for me.
    Triumph and Yamaha are in competition with similar models.
    #11
  12. draco_1967

    draco_1967 Spoon!

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    I made the switch from an 07 FJR to a 2019 Tracer (non-GT). I like everything about the Tracer more. The FJR is a bit more comfortable as a long-distance machine, but the Tracer makes up for that in every other way. I love the CP3 motor.
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  13. KeithU

    KeithU Been here awhile

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    Light weight doesn't cause a bike to be unstable, that's more a function of chassis and aerodynamics. I used to tour on a 450lbs Triumph TT600 and it was rock solid stable regardless of crosswinds, semis, etc.

    That being said... yes the FJ-09 does get blown around a bit by semis, but not because of its weight. The FJ-09 has poor aerodynamics for the riding position. The handlebars are high and wide, so when you encounter turbulent air coming off a large truck it can hit your arms and cause unwanted steering inputs. My FJ handles crosswinds and headwinds okay, but riding in the wake of a semi often causes a subtle weave.

    The 2018+ Tracer 900 has a narrower handlebar, and I've heard fewer reports of wind-induced weave from Tracer owners. The narrower bar reduces leverage and should get the rider's arms tucked in a bit.
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  14. proeliator

    proeliator Been here awhile

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    I rode the tracer 900gt, and it's a bike I wanted to love....sporty, triple, and a bit of wind protection. I like the wide handlebars but, the ergos of the foot pegs were tucked very high. Im only 5'9" but felt like I was doing an ass to grass squat on my tip toes and couldn't get comfortable. Also vibes in bars and pegs, snatchey throttle, and spongey suspension. Did not have characteristics of a sport touring bike in my mind. Actually couldn't wait to get off the thing. I demoed it back2back with an FJR and super tenere and expected it to be the perfect blend of those two bikes but i was pretty disappointed.
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  15. KeithU

    KeithU Been here awhile

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    Which is odd because the Tracer has about the same legroom as the FJR if its seat is in the low position, and quite a bit more legroom if the seat is in the high position.
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  16. Sleepyc

    Sleepyc ClevelandMoto Podcast, Tune in!

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    Interesting thread.

    I am starting to HATE the FJ-09. I traded my S10 for a equally valued FJ-09 last year and was pretty happy for a little while. (Short rides, it was Novmber) Winter hit and it sat all prepped and ready for this season


    Took it out, and it roared to life I was ready to go. Set off on some 2 - 6 hour rides over the past few weekends.

    The more miles I put on the bike the less I like it. It's nimble and quick, but the love affair ends there. I have 3 seats all from different manuf and they all suck. The seating position is sportbike lower and WAY upright upper, so your never completely comfortable. When I finally feel like I'm getting far enough back on teh seat to "get in the pocket" my ass is 2 inches on the pillion seat. And then the worst of the worst is the engine vibration from 3800 - 6500 rpms. Holy hell It's so annoying I find it so bad I'd rather not ride the bike. I thought maybe it was just my bike, but no.. this is a common problem with 200,000 threads on it. 50% sold the bike because of it 50% say they like it as it feels like power. (dumb)

    I have quite a few bikes currently and have owned probably 100 bikes over the last 35 years of riding, and I never felt this weird throbbing as bad as the Fj displays, even on the Thumpers I have had. (My Husky 610 was not as bad!!) Also, the "drop an anchor" throttle roll off is no help either. All modes, doesn't matter, roll off and it's like you slapped the brakes on, so rolling back on is a jerky situation and then BAM your back into the vibrations.

    I made the wonderful mistake of picking up a Kawasaki Z900RS for the twisties and that bike is so frigging smooth,(yes I know 4 VS 3.. but damn) it made my opinion of the FJ-09 even worse.

    I really wanted to like this bike, I think it looks nice, and it has power, the storage space, but riding this thing for any amount of extended time just plain sucks.

    Now I'll probably have to take a huge hit, sell this thing to a lady who's lonely and wants a vibrating companion and start the search for a sportish touring road going adv looking bike again.
    :(

    20210522_164141.jpg
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  17. Floyd Ward

    Floyd Ward Been here awhile

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    If you think the FJ09 is bad "personally i had not complains with the vibes" take a versys 650 for a spin.

    I have owned a 2009 in the past, for about two months. After a couple rides, I couldnt get rid of it fast enough.
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  18. Sleepyc

    Sleepyc ClevelandMoto Podcast, Tune in!

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    That's funny, I rode a 2014 Verseys last Saturday and it was weak but pretty smooth. It had a rythm to the motor but it was fine. I was on my Z900 and my dude has the Verseys and we traded for 50 miles or so... the FJ is WAY worse (IMHO) And the seating position of the Verseys was better. The power was the killer for me, nothing there.
    #18
  19. nevada72

    nevada72 Milwaukeeish

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    I've had my FJ09 for almost 2 years now. It's a great bike. I agree with all the good things said here. On the bad -

    The bike is a little buzzy on the interstate. Not bad, but it's running at 5000 RPM which feels high. Maybe I'll put on a different sprocket to soften that.

    Legs - At first I thought the pegs were too far back. But what I found is that it actually eases the strain on my hips by opening up the angle a bit while not affecting the knee angle. It's different but it works. And I'm tall at 6-5.
    #19
  20. Cigar Mike

    Cigar Mike Too Old and Too Slow Supporter

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    I just got a 2015. I had an FJR. Only kept it for a year because it was so uncomfortable for me. Riding mainly offroad for over 45 years I fell completely at home on the FJ. The seating position is familiar and seat is comfortable compared to putting long days on a DS bike. I ride the FJ and drove the FJR.
    #20
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