Triple-cylinder sports-tourer gets front radar system and adaptive cruise control
Spotted: Tracer 9 GT testing the new Yamaha radar system.
An updated Yamaha Tracer 9 GT has been spotted on test in Germany sporting a mildly revised lower nose fairing section hiding a radar sensor – making it not only the first Yamaha to join the rush to adopt radar tech but also probably the cheapest model yet to get such a system.
The bike, which wasn’t disguised, looked almost indistinguishable from a stock Tracer 9 GT, but on closer inspection, the pictures show the black-painted lower nose fairing, just above the front wheel and between the two lower headlights, was reshaped to make space for a radar sensor. The sensor itself was hidden behind a smooth, slightly curved piece of radar-invisible plastic, but it’s almost certainly the same Bosch front radar that’s already appeared on several production bikes.
It’s among the most subtle front radar systems yet seen. The earliest bikes to adopt the Bosch system – Ducati’s Multistrada V4 S and BMW’s R 1250 RT, which both have it as an option – leave the radar unit on display at the front, somewhat marring their styling in favour of giving the sensor the clearest possible view of the road ahead. KTM’s 1290 Super Adventure S, which has the Bosch front radar as standard, also has it very visibly mounted on the nose.
There didn’t appear to be a rear radar on the Yamaha test bike that was spotted in Germany, suggesting the bike doesn’t have a blind spot warning system, but the front radar is sure to allow it to adopt an adaptive cruise control setup to keep a constant distance from vehicles ahead. A collision warning system, alerting the rider if he’s approaching an obstacle too fast, is also likely.
In terms of cost, where the Bosch radar is optional, it usually adds around AUD $1000 to the price of a bike, so expect a rise of around that much on the radar-equipped Tracer 9 GT when it’s officially launched. Ben Purvis
Only Kawasaki’s latest Ninja H2 SX, which has both front and rear radars, has so far hidden the radar units behind plastic bodywork. There are challenges to doing that, as creases or lines on the plastic could interrupt the radar waves being emitted and received by the sensor, preventing it from working properly, and any plastic fitted in the path of those waves needs to be thin, smooth and free of vibration to make sure it’s truly ‘invisible’ to the waves.
The Tracer looks set to join a growing list of radar-equipped bikes. BMW offers front radars on the R 1250 RT and the R18 Bagger and Transcontinental, Ducati on the Multistrada V4 S, KTM on the 1290 Adventure S and Kawasaki on the H2 SX. All use the same Bosch-made systems. Meanwhile, Triumph’s Tiger 1200 can be had with a rear radar system made by Continental to provide blind spot monitoring, while Piaggio’s latest MP3 530 also has blind spot radar, made by its own Piaggio Fast Forward subsidiary. No doubt the Tracer 9 GT will be one of several new or updated 2023 models to gain radar tech.