The Yamaha Tracer is one of the best sport-touring motorcycles available.
It combines the performance of a sportbike and the ergonomics of a tourer, making it an all-round motorcycle. However, every motorcycle, regardless of how well-engineered, will have some flaws.
In this article, we discuss the most common flaws in the Yamaha Tracer models.
1. Poor Brake Performance
Your brakes have to be in top shape always; if they malfunction, you’ll be facing tremendous risks riding your bike.
Some Tracer owners have complained that the brakes on their bikes do not perform as expected.
The brakes are generally less responsive, and the rider has to apply more force on them than normal to halt the motorcycle. This can lead to increased stopping times, putting one at risk of a crash or collision.
As this issue is a brake-related problem, solutions will revolve around components in the brake assembly.
Here are some fixes for this problem:
I. Use Braided Brake Lines:
Standard brake lines are made of rubber, which is susceptible to stretching and weakening over time.
As the lines deteriorate, brake performance reduces drastically.
This will lead to a situation where the brakes feel soft and are less responsive.
Aftermarket braided brake lines are made of steel, which guarantees long-term durability.
Braided steel lines can withstand the pressure of the brake system and won’t weaken or stretch. This means they offer higher performance for longer compared to rubber lines.
More so, the brakes will feel more responsive and give you a sense of control.
II. Clean Caliper Pistons:
Dirt, rust, and other sediments can accumulate on the surface of the caliper pistons.
Should this happen, the brakes will start dragging and feel “soft” when applied. Remove the pistons and check for any buildup of material on them.
If you see signs of sediments, spray brake cleaner liquid on the pistons and clean with a Scotch-Brite pad.
This should rid the surface of any debris and stop the brake drag.
III. Change Brake Fluid:
Brake fluid is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts and traps moisture.
Moisture causes brake fluid to boil faster, leading to the creation of gaseous bubbles (which eventually become air).
Having air in your brake fluid is a recipe for disaster as it reduces braking power.
If you suspect air or water in your brake fluid, the best you can do is bleed the brake lines and replace it with new fluid.
If you don’t know how to bleed your brake lines, you can watch any of the online DIY videos dedicated to the activity.
2. Excessive Clutch Noise
According to some riders, the Tracer gives off lots of noise during rides.
Reportedly, the noise occurs because of the vibrating clutch cable. Usually, the noise is absent at startup and doesn’t begin until after the first 20 to 30 miles of riding.
Some also say that they hear the clutch cable noise when the bike reaches somewhere around 3800 RPM or higher.
The noise can distract a rider and make for a frustrating trip.
Diagnoses suggest that a defect in the Yamaha Tracers’ design may be responsible for the clutch cable vibration and noise. The rubber dampers in the clutch basket wear out quickly when exposed to heat and oil.
As they wear out and shrink, the clutch cable will start vibrating. This will eventually lead to the infamous clutch cable noise associated with the Yamaha Tracer models.
Other than clutch vibration, another reason for clutch noise is a bad release bearing. Similarly, a worn-out flywheel will cause the clutch to vibrate, leading to clutch noises.
If your clutch cable is rattling, check the condition of the rubber dampers.
It’s likely they are worn and need replacement.
Also, check the flywheel and the release bearing; faults with any of these components can start those awful noises.
3. Motorcycle Clutch Slipping
The clutch is a key part of a bike’s operation and can cause problems if faulty. One common problem associated with clutches on the Yamaha Tracers is the “slipping” problem.
A slipping clutch usually affects the gearshift process and makes it impossible to accelerate. The engine’s RPMs may go up when you switch gears, but the bike’s speed won’t increase.
A major cause for slipping clutches is worn clutch disks. Should the disks be at the end of their service lives, the clutch can slip.
Some owners also adduce a faulty clutch basket as the reason for the slipping clutch issue. The clutch basket houses the clutch assembly and is prone to damage.
A damaged clutch basket will lead to broken clutch plates, eventually resulting in clutch slipping.
Examine your clutch plates for any signs of wear. Replace them if worn.
Then, examine the condition of the clutch basket.
Typically, a damaged clutch basket will show signs of some pieces missing or broken off.
Should this be the case, you’d be better off having the clutch basket replaced by a technician. The replacement process is quite complex and requires some measure of technical expertise.
If you want to do the replacement, here are the tools you need:
- Torque wrench
- Small press (available at auto parts outlets)
- Hot plate/oven
- Handheld grinder
- Service manual
In addition to these, you will need to read guides or watch tutorials on the clutch basket replacement.
4. Bike Stutters Repeatedly
Stuttering refers to a situation where the engine on a bike feels like it will cut out.
The bike will jerk and lurch badly and won’t accelerate properly. Stuttering problems can make riding frustrating and difficult.
Even worse, you may put yourself at risk by riding a bike that stutters. Stuttering comes with a reduction in speed, which could put you at risk of a collision, especially if you’re driving on a busy road.
Many Yamaha Tracer owners have complained that their bikes stutter while riding. The reports associated with the problem are mostly similar, but with slight differences.
For example, an owner said the problem occurred mostly at idle and low-speed situations. Another reported that the stutter showed up at cruising speeds and worsened with time.
Per the results of the diagnosis, the problem is caused by a malfunctioning Acceleration Position Sensor (APS) and Throttle Position Sensor (TPS).
The faulty APS and TPS send false readings to the throttle actuator. This causes the oxygen sensor to malfunction, affecting the Electronic Computer Unit (ECU).
Eventually, the bike’s air-fuel ratio will become imbalanced (because of the malfunctioning ECU), leading to the bike losing power and stuttering.
In this case, the advisable thing to do is to clean the electrical connectors for the APS and TPS.
All you need to clean both components is an electrical contact cleaner liquid and a brush.
Once you’ve cleaned the sensors, leave them to dry, and re-install them later.
General Pros and Cons of the Yamaha Tracer
The following are some of the Yamaha Tracer’s best qualities and shortcomings:
Pros of Yamaha Tracer
Here are some selling points of the Yamaha Tracer motorcycles:
Yamaha understands that owners of the Tracer would want to go on long-distance rides.
As such, the bike is designed with a focus on rider comfort and overall ride quality. The Tracer comes with a narrow handlebar design, which allows riders to grip the bars more easily.
It also has rider footpegs and comfortable seats. You can even adjust the riding position for increased comfort!
Despite its affordable price tag, the Tracer comes standard with a slew of impressive technologies.
It features stylish LED lights that provide superior visibility and further complement the bike’s unique look.
In addition, a multi-function LCD instrument panel gives riders information such as fuel consumption and gear position.
An Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) comes standard.
Innovative Traction Control:
The Yamaha Tracer has a Traction Control System (TCS) that offers riders control and stability on all road conditions.
It does this by controlling aspects of the bike’s performance, such as throttle opening, ignition timing, and fuel volume.
The TCS has three settings designed to handle different road conditions, and you can disable these settings.
Yamaha Tracer owners will be glad the models come with a set of powerful brakes.
This is important, especially for individuals going on long-distance rides.
Partly responsible for the good braking performance is the radial mounting of the brake calipers. This delivers an improved feel and makes the brakes more responsive.
Furthermore, the models come standard with ABS to help prevent wheel lock under hard braking.
Cons of Yamaha Tracer
Here are some of the Tracer’s shortcomings:
- Average Brake Performance
- Excessive Clutch Noise
- Motorcycle Clutch Slipping
- Bike Stutters Repeatedly
What Do the Reviews Say?
“The Tracer 900 GT makes its argument in many ways, but above all, I’d be remiss to ignore the price. With a stellar engine, superb handling, a competent electronics suite, baggage, and user-friendliness as an inherent design feature, the Tracer 900 GT has plenty of goodies at an appealing price.”
“The Tracer 900 offers nothing but the finest sport touring performance, versatility, and value – perfect for everyday commuting, casual riders, and fun weekend getaways. Adaptable performance, good value, and a long list of sport touring features that make the new Tracer 900 the perfect ride partner.”
What’s The Resale Value On the Tracer?