Test rode an FJR and Tracer 900GT - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 11-03-2018, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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Test rode an FJR and Tracer 900GT

Went down to St. Pete as they had the Yamaha test ride day. Admittingly, I don't know much about Yamaha's since the past 30 years have been Suzuki's, Honda's and now, Kawasaki's.

Anyway, the back of my brain has been pondering some used, older-model Concours'. So, when I straddled all the Yamaha's I decided to ride the FJR and the new Tracer 900GT.

Before I tell ya MY OPINIONS, let me state that I LOVE MY VERSYS!!! I don't want to get rid of it and have no plans to. But...one can never have enough motorcycles!
Let me inform you of how my brain is working. First, in the past 4 years my preferences of motorcycles has changed in many ways. Since most of my adult life has been on cruisers I just never thought I'd ride sports bikes and definitely not ADV-type bikes. And I was also building UP in cc's. And then the CTX700 got a hold of me, then 3 ADV bikes and now a tiny crotch rocket! I think a lot has to do with getting older and becoming more aware of limits I never had to worry about in my youth! This is not to say that everyone thinks like me, or should think like me, rather I'm having just as much fun riding motorcycles and staying within my physical abilities. Sure, I could ride a Goldwing but I'd prefer something much lighter and more agile...for MY abilities! I think y'all get where I'm coming from.

With that said - we did about 10 miles for the test ride route so that's obviously not enough to fully rate a motorcycle.
My first ride was the FJR. Straddling it felt good but the seat is rather wide and my legs were spread out somewhat. But I could easily flat-foot and rocking it back and forth didn't feel heavy at all. We started out of the lot and the clutch was like butter - extremely easy to pull and had a great feel with feathering. Got out on the straight-away and, man, that thing moves!!! Like the Versys, you can wind up the RPM's and not feel like it's going to explode. Most of the ride was in 3rd and 4th gear and I never got above 65mph but the FJR handled INCREDIBLE!!!
I base this on the last motorcycles I've owned that were similar in weight (2 VTX's - a 1300cc and a 1800cc) and although the VTX1800 was a behemoth my 1300 was pretty heavy but much more manageable. But this FJR...much lighter still and surprisingly easy to maneuver!
The FJR has 2 modes that adjust the throttle, from what I understand. (I assume it's similar to the Honda's and their DCT models that have "D", "S", and "M".) I rode mostly in the "S" mode. When I switched to the "T" mode you can really tell the difference. The "T" mode still had some pick-up but very noticeably less than the "S" mode.
Seating position was great when in motion and I immediately felt comfortable, so much so that my brain was telling me that it was ready for some twisties and curves. Normally I'm very reserved on new bikes until I "get a feel for them" but this FJR had me wanting to hit some roads hard!
One con that, if I ever owned one, would be to get some risers. I didn't like the lean very much and by the end of the ride my wrists were kind of sore. Also, I had the automatic/electric windscreen all the way up and the wind was sheering the top of my helmet, so I'd probably do something with that.
But overall, considering just a short ride, and on a scale of 1 - 10...I'd give the FJR a 9!!! I'm really liking it!
Woud I buy one? That would be a BIG YES!!!

Now for the Tracer 900GT:

First, these are only MY OPINIONS!!! I know that there's at least one member on here (I believe) that's already purchased one of these. And again, I have to take into account that it was only a 10 mile test-ride with all stock parts.
Anyway, since I feel the Tracer is the most-talked about bike of the new Yamaha's I have to give it a go. So the first thing is the looks. I think the colors on the Tracer are wild! It's just a damn good-looking bike! When I straddled it I was instantly reminded of my old V-strom. It has that "boxy feel" to it. The seat is something that would need to be immediately changed - too hard and pushes you right up on the tank. (Way more that the Versys does and about the same as the NC700 did)
We started off and I had it in the "Standard" mode. I had to give a lot of throttle for it to get moving. At the first light I switched into "B" mode, which is more sporty. Much different but NOT AS MUCH as the FJR or the Honda's I've ridden. But the "B" mode is more throttle-responsive. After a mile or two I tried the "A" mode and it felt somewhere between the "STD" and "B" mode, but truthfully, I didn't notice that much of a difference.
On the ride the Tracer handled OK. The seat was pushing me so much towards the tank that I finally decided that this "feel" was like a dirt bike...and I wasn't really enjoying it. I'm not sure of the rake compared to the Versys but I will say that the Tracer "felt to me" like the forks were almost perpendicular to the ground!
As for the engine...it has some pep when you need it but it in NO WAY, SHAPE OR FORM did it wow me! Not only that but the engine made me feel like I was riding something made out of tin! It was a higher-pitched, sound - not whining, per se, but more like a muffled electric drill at full speed. This is what came to my mind so that's the best way I can think of to describe it.
Would I buy one? I'd have to say...HELL NO!!! At an MSRP of $12K?!?! HELL...NO!!!! I mean, this bike REALLY was disappointing, especially after all the hype it's gotten. I would put up a Versys 650 to the Tracer any day!
But I do still like the colors!

Finally, ya just can't have a good day test-riding new motorcycles with a General Lee Boss-Hoss come riding up!

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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 11-03-2018, 05:56 PM
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I liked my FJR but with bad knees and hip i could never make the bike comfortable no matter what i did to it....

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