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SailorBill

Goldwing to Tracer GT? (Long post)

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Hello all. I'm new to the forum and I am going through my annual dilemma regarding downsizing.  I think this is the year that it will happen. I have looked at the FJR several times but it still needs a lot of mods and it is a little top heavy  and over 700 lbs. My friend is doing the same and he came across the Tracer GT as a good possible alternative to our current bikes. I recently thought that the right bike might be the new Versys 1000 but it is butt ugly with the black and white color scheme plus it is $5K more and heavier. With that backround, what are the mods that are needed to make the Tracer as comfortable and safe as can be. I am coming from a Goldwing with oscillating headlamps and wig wag stop lights. Of course it has all the windage protection that has to be given up on the smaller bikes but that's the way it is. Is there a brand of crash guard that protects everything including the bags in a tip over? Can the bike be set up to relieve any pressure on the arms when cruising down the interstate? As a practical matter, how many hours or miles a day can a smaller bike be tolerated? I should point out that some of my motivation is driven by age and reduced strength. I can only put the Wing on the ride off center stand when it is not fully loaded. Is there such a thing as a ride off stand for the Tracer? Is it relatively easy to get on and off the stock stand? If you have read this far, thank you for your patience. I love the Wing but age has it's way with you. Thank for any input.

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@SailorBill  Coming from a Gold Wing, the GT will be a HUGE difference.  Sure its lighter and the engine is more than half the size but lighter (with shorter wheel base) means it is not as stable on the highway and will rev much higher at cruising speed.  Since you have a 'wing, I'm guessing that you do a lot of longer distance riding, highway cruising will have you at or above 5k rpm's all day long-depending on speed limit.

I would call around and try to get a good test ride through various conditions, not just a quick few miles around town.

I also don't necessarily like the looks of the Versys 1000, but I test rode it a few times and really liked it alot.  I wanted something more agile and sporty though so I bought the FJ, you can throw it around and ride the piss out of it like a sport bike (almost) 😎

I also wouldn't completely ignore the FJR without a decent test ride, Yamaha lists the weight as 635 wet but having ridden one many times, they can handle sporty riding very nicely and are a dream on the highway.

I'm not downplaying the GT in any way but in comparison to a your current bike it might be a shock to the system with less comfort and protection from the elements, as the GT definitely leans much more toward the SPORT side of sport-touring.  Again, a longer test ride would be warranted.

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***2015 Candy Red FJ-09***

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Most of the questions you asked was subjective.  Get a ride and decide for yourself.  I got off an ST1300 and lots of people had complains about it that I never noticed.  The Tracer will be the same.  Some people will have different issues, but the only two I've personally found was the stock seat and I didn't get along and the mirrors were playing look at my chest until I got them tightened up.  I bought the after market seat of my choice and now I've a very happy owner.

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Posted (edited)

SailorBill I had a 2010 Goldwing and loved the bike, but I sold it in 2016. I had planned on getting a 17 BMW RT ( more sport touring than the wing)  but in the mean time I had my neck fused. The weigh of the Wing and the RT didn't bother me it was parking and getting the land yachts moved around in the garage with out banging them in to the other bikes ( I can't turn my head more than a few degrees). I picked the Tracer GT because of the cruise control and riding position. I don't miss the on board entertainment system the Wing had, but  I sure miss how quiet the Wing was. I have tried a bunch of different wind screens on the GT, but I have not found one that has worked to quiet the wind noise (my only real complaint). So the GT has pretty much meet my needs and is a hell of a lot more fun to ride than the Wing. My longest time in the saddle on the GT was 7 hours of twisty back roads. I would recommend doing a lot of test rides and find one that fits your needs. Happy hunting!

Edited by roadrash83
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He who dies with the most toys wins.

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I can’t believe i’m about to say this, but go ride a Niken. Don’t look at the front end, just go ride it. 

It really feels like a cross between a ‘Wing and a GT. Just a tad bit heavier, but more comfortable over greater distances IMHO because it just feels more solid and planted. It’s difficult to describe. Plus the seat is a bit comfier and the wind protection is better. 

If you have access to a shop with one in stock, or the Yamaha demo truck which is making its way across the country, then go ride one. 

-Skip

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I traded a Versys 1000 for the GT last Feb. The Versys has a much smother engine and can handle longer stints on the slab with fewer revs and a more relaxed feeling. It is more stable than the GT, 120 mph with not a hint of instability, even with at large windscreen.It will easily play in the twisties but with more effort on your part than the GT.  It is a great bike and I had no issues with it. If you are looking for a smaller bike for long stints in the saddle, the Versys would be a great choice.

I traded it for a bike with 100 fewer lbs and more features  (cruse, quick shifter and the fully adjustable suspension) and found that I am having a lot more fun on the back roads. The Versys could be left in 5th or 4th gear and the torque would pull from way down low which I am sure you are familiar with. The GT will pull strongly but I do have to row the trans more which I am enjoying as it fells like I am more a part of the bike. Yes, i know you can leave it in a lower gear, let it rev and not shift but I love using the quick shifter coming out of the corners. If you want a playful bike for back roads and shorter jaunts, the GT is my choice.

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Do not walk, RUN to the nearest Yamaha dealer and sit on the Tracer GT, the seat is high at over 32".  If you are still ok with that, then continue with the discussion here.

I think the Versys 1000 will be more similar to your Gold Wing than the Tracer GT.  For the additional $5k you get a few more things:  electronic suspension, higher load capacity (are you going to be solo?), a few more electronics like up and down quick shifter.

The Tracer is a great bike, but it is not buttery smooth like a gold wing.  The seating position is great for touring, upright and plenty of leg room (probably more leg room than the gold wing).

I also have a BMW R1200RS and it is a fantastic sport/touring bike, 540 lbs, shaft drive, and all the electronics.  But the ergonomics are a little sporty, although there are bar risers available.  The BMW RT would be the closest to your gold wing and probably 200 lbs lighter.

If you plan to travel on the Tracer in a similar fashion as you did on the Wing, you must take one for a test ride to see if the comfort and ergonomics are what you want.

My guess is that there are many people that can ride the Tracer for 800 miles in one day.  But they are not going to do it with the comfort of a Gold Wing.  So where and how much are you willing to compromise?


2019 Tracer 900 GT

Niwot CO
USA

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I am 58 years old and just came back from a 3 day, 1200 mile ride and the bike performed beautifully.  My only gripe is with the stock seat which I plan on replacing.  No weight on the wrists at all and otherwise very comfortable.  As said before you definitely want to get a test ride on one.  Keep in mind that the stock screen is crap and creates a lot of noise and buffeting at speed.  There are several, affordable aftermarket screens for this bike that work well.  

One thing I did notice when the bike was new is that there was a good bit of engine vibration.....not the high frequency type but more of a thrumming like a v-twin.  After about 1000 miles it went away.  The engine in this bike is a real gem.  Plenty of power and still gets decent fuel mileage.

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There is noting like spending a day riding with friends in the grip of a shared obsession.

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22 hours ago, SailorBill said:

.....oscillating headlamps and wig wag stop lights. Of course it has all the windage protection that has to be given up on the smaller bikes but that's the way it is. Is there a brand of crash guard that protects everything including the bags in a tip over? Can the bike be set up to relieve any pressure on the arms when cruising down the interstate? As a practical matter, how many hours or miles a day can a smaller bike be tolerated? I should point out that some of my motivation is driven by age and reduced strength. I can only put the Wing on the ride off center stand when it is not fully loaded. Is there such a thing as a ride off stand for the Tracer? Is it relatively easy to get on and off the stock stand? If you have read this far, thank you for your patience. I love the Wing but age has it's way with you. Thank for any input.

Safety: White helmet- peeps will think you're a cop at first glance, and they will look twice often enough ( personal experience, tried my matte black Shoei on the GT, nope, cut-off twice in 40 minutes; White Shoei they all be slowing down acting nervous ;>)

Comfort: there are some risers that will work with stock cables to get the bars back and up a bit- stock is pretty good though. Better Windshield- stock sucks, particularly at Freeway speeds. I managed 600 mile day without feeling like I needed the services of a Chiropractor with stock seat and Windshield.

Crash bars- seem to be some goods ones out there- that said, I dont think any of them will protect the sidecases in a tip over or lowside

It's a light bike, easy to move around the garage, easy to put on the centerstand, easy to toss around in the twistys.

Kickass engine, really FUN

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Posted (edited)

If the FJR needs mods, the Tracer will need a healthy amount of mods. 

If the Versys looks are off-putting I'm not sure why anybody would look at the Tracer. I find it pretty ugly. But I don't buy them to look at them. I've owned a Gold Wing, FJR, Versys and FJ-09 for reference. If I want looks I'm probably buying Italian. 

There's no pressure on the wrists in a stock Tracer setup so don't think that's an issue for you. Vibration, noise, range are probably the things most touring bike oriented folks would notice. It's a busy machine. But, on the plus side it has the best leg room of any bike I've owned. 

IMO working on the software between the bars is the best method of increasing safety and works on all bikes. Lights, horns, pipes, hi viz used to be part of my plan but didn't decrease the blind and deaf trying to kill me. Now I spend the money on suspension, tires, gear with best impact and abrasion protection, and training. Not a popular opinion here but decades in Los Angeles traffic makes me old, crotchety, and set in my ways. Yes, it's just my anecdotal data. Ymmv.  

Edited by chitown
typo
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Posted (edited)

Our southern State of Victoria plans soon to make it compulsory for bikers to wear hi-viz upper-body clothing...

Edited by wordsmith

Wordsmith - a '39 model; bike - a 2019 Tracer 900 GT, Midnight Black and with many farklings.   Redland Bay, SE Queensland, Australia.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, chitown said:

There's no pressure on the wrists in a stock Tracer setup so don't think that's an issue for you. But on the plus side it has the best leg room of any bike I've owned. 

 

For me, the gold standard in comfortable ergos on any bike I've owned is the BMW R1200 GS.   Pix below taken from the excellent cycle-ergo website show how similar the GT and GS are in that regard.

 

P1050512.JPG

 

P1050514.JPG

Edited by wordsmith
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Wordsmith - a '39 model; bike - a 2019 Tracer 900 GT, Midnight Black and with many farklings.   Redland Bay, SE Queensland, Australia.

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Great feedback. Keep it coming. I want to thank each of you for your relatively unbiased input. I considered an FJR a few years ago but someone said it was top heavy so I figured I already have a great bike so I would not gain anything but a lot of work adding stuff to it. I am now rethinking that as well as the versys. One thought was a Versys 1000 lt (not the SE) and paying the big bucks to get a quality cruise control added. That way I could get almost all the benefits of a Versys and even explore the used market for added savings. Cruise is one of the absolute necessities. I would have the four cyclinder, the handling and could afford to fix the bags when I drop it! I'm probably missing something but I'm sure someone will straighten me out. 

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20 hours ago, chitown said:

 

IMO working on the software between the bars is the best method of increasing safety and works on all bikes. Lights, horns, pipes, hi viz used to be part of my plan but didn't decrease the blind and deaf trying to kill me. Now I spend the money on suspension, tires, gear with best impact and abrasion protection, and training. Not a popular opinion here but decades in Los Angeles traffic makes me old, crotchety, and set in my ways. Yes, it's just my anecdotal data. Ymmv.  

I agree.....especially the part about the "software".  


There is noting like spending a day riding with friends in the grip of a shared obsession.

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On 7/3/2019 at 7:44 AM, Larz said:

Safety: White helmet- peeps will think you're a cop at first glance, and they will look twice often enough ( personal experience, tried my matte black Shoei on the GT, nope, cut-off twice in 40 minutes; White Shoei they all be slowing down acting nervous ;>)

Comfort: there are some risers that will work with stock cables to get the bars back and up a bit- stock is pretty good though. Better Windshield- stock sucks, particularly at Freeway speeds. I managed 600 mile day without feeling like I needed the services of a Chiropractor with stock seat and Windshield.

Crash bars- seem to be some goods ones out there- that said, I dont think any of them will protect the sidecases in a tip over or lowside

It's a light bike, easy to move around the garage, easy to put on the centerstand, easy to toss around in the twistys.

Kickass engine, really FUN

Unless your tip over wedges the bike against your porch supports, then It takes the neighborhood to pick it up.  LOL!  Don't ask how I know.  We old goobers are allowed our secrets.  And don't believe anything the neighbor lady says.  It is sad when you are old enough to have to ask your 60 year old neighbor to help pick up your bike.  She was up for it.

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