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CONFESSIONS of a Tracerista

Well, a sad day recently as the new owner’s mate rode away on my late MT-09 Tracer, to put it onto a truck for shipping to Sydney, some 1200km from here.
I had advertised it on the top BIKESALES website here, sparing neither words nor dollars nor pix to portray the bike at its best.   Within 20 hours of the ad appearing it was sold, sight unseen, after some discussion with the eventual buyer over the phone, which I think was as much to gauge my trustworthiness as to describe further the bike’s mint condition.   And I’m pleased at that, as I didn’t put a giveaway price on it but haven't had any other enquiries in the week since the ad appeared – but then you only need one buyer, innit?   I’m not sure that I’d be prepared buy a motorcycle in this way, unseen, from an unknown vendor, but the buyer was (he whispered to me that his wife thought he was mad!), and I know he’ll be thrilled with it when it arrives – his mate could hardly believe his eyes!
I also know that I shall miss both the Tracer – my third – and motorbiking in general, but all things must pass.
I’ve been contemplating my history with Tracers, and pondering if I’d buy another should things be different.   I bought my first Tracer very early in their introduction to the Oz market, at which time I was riding one of my many BMW boxer twins.
Reading about the MT-09 in the motorcycling press, I was intrigued by its description as a frisky lightweight sport-tourer, but even more so by its apparent excellent value-for-money.
At this stage in my riding career I was becoming a little wary of bigger, heavier bikes and aware that as I got older I should really be seeking something a little smaller, lower, lighter – and maybe even a bit more ‘fun’.   The outstanding value-for-money of $15,300 complete with hard panniers also appealed - list price was supposedly $16,500.   BMW’s premium-priced everything was beginning to lose its charm and this MT-09 Tracer ticked all the boxes.
A test-ride of some 40 minutes was sufficient to tell me that the MT-09 was appreciably lighter, more ‘flickable’, and faster steering that my then-current BMW R1200 R Roadster.   On this test-ride the harsh suspension was immediately apparent, as was the bone-hard seat.   I was mentally looking for both, as I’d had a decent test-ride on a non-Tracer MT-09 (FZ-09?) long before the Tracer version appeared, but the other attributes beckoned, so, being thoroughly seduced, I laid my money down.
It’s true to say that even on the ride home from the dealership – I deliberately took a roundabout mountainous route of about 120km – the shortcomings were confirmed.
In following days and weeks I read up and learned a lot about suspension tuning, and tweaked the fork a lot, the rear shock only a little, and arrived at a decent compromise, though the ride was nowhere near as plush as my BMW with its incomparable komfortsitz seat and magic-carpet Telever front end.
But it did add some ‘fun’ into the mix, and I persisted with this first Tracer for some time.   Then it was back to BMW, as I had some long-distance touring in mind – my preferred way of using a motorcycle – and I figured that the Tracer wasn’t going to cut the mustard.
Long story short, after I’d got my latter-day distance touring bug out of my system, and recalling the good points of the Tracer (while not disregarding the not-so-good) I bought my second – same colour, same everything.   By this time, the model had been on the market for long enough for this Forum to have become an excellent source of advice, tips, hints, how-to’s, and so on.   Importantly, after-market parts sources had also become very prolific for many add-ons, many if not most very reasonably-priced, unlike the premium prices that BMW parts commanded.
So I farkled that second bike quite lot, and got it performing and looking pretty nice, until time came to part ways a second time.
A new 2016 BMW R1200 GS LC (Liquid Cooled) then entered my garage (see pic), a little over a year ago, GSs being my all-time favourites as far as bikes are concerned, one of which carried me on a ~five week ~15,000 solo circumnavigation of Oz, an adventure I still fondly recall.   I’d had a few of BMW’s mighty GSs over the years, and with that latest model they had moved on a lot since my earlier days, but alas I hadn’t kept pace, if anything fading badly in the physical strength and flexibility stakes as I inevitably aged.   It quickly became apparent that the GS was by now far too tall and heavy for this frail body - now 78yo - with its matchstick arms and the upper-body strength of an earthworm, so it was bye-bye GS, tears in eyes, and welcome back Tracer, this now being my third.  Yes – I have a very understanding and supportive wife!
From past experiences and much learning from this Forum I was able very quickly to get it up to what I wanted, and was very satisfied with the outcome. Pleasingly, I found that the front fork was now ex-factory on exactly the same settings as I’d achieved on my previous bikes, so I left well alone and also left the rear shock as-was.   Thus, one of the most common of the ‘three esses’ of shortcomings (seat: suspension: screen) was quickly overcome (though to be honest I never had any quibbles with the OE screen, but replaced it anyway with a nicely-made but very inexpensive E-Bay ‘double-bubble’ unit).    And lo! -  happiness reigned with the later installation of the superb, though costly, BAGSTER seats from France.
The MT-09's price had come down, too, as the poor sales performance on the Oz market meant that 2015s as well as 2016s were still available at very attractive prices, and this – my third and last – cost me $15,000, again with ‘free’ hard panniers.   Despite the MT-09’s shortcomings, I thought that still represented outstanding value.
The Tracer has given me a lot of pleasure in both riding and farkling activities.   I have been deeply impressed with the power of the CP-3 engine, and don’t recall any reports on this wide-ranging Forum of any major problems. 
So the obvious question begs: if I was back in the market - which I’m not and now (sob!) never again will be – would I consider another Tracer?   With the GT version coming along later this year, even at something of a price premium on earlier models, the answer is a definite ‘definitely’: I still cannot pinpoint another medium-capacity all-round bike that would satisfy my requirements.   So, for the first time in a very long time there is a large empty motorcycle-shaped hole in my garage… but don't cry for me Argentina!

Riding a fully-farkled 2019 MT-09 Tracer 900 GT from my bayside home in South East Queensland, Australia.   

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Something to ponder...
Take a look at a Ural Sidecar motorcycle.
I've been into Ural's since 2005. Anything 2007 to 2013 for carburated are good years if ridden regularly and maintained. Simple to maintain but frequent. 2014 Ural went to fuel injected. Personally,I like carbs because of simplistically. Ural's are like farm tractors. There's quite a few of them in your country. Sovietsteeds.com have all the info.
Might be a good and fun way to continue riding...
A Motorcyclist's Church is the open road....
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Did you ever test ride a R1200RS? I was a big fan of the GS bike but for me, the current R1200RS SE Sport is the best bike BMW have made in decades. Sadly,after being spoilt by the latest electronically controlled suspension, I am unlikely to return to bikes at the cheaper end of the market.
This signature is left blank as the poster writes enough pretentious bollocks as it is.
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