Is Yamaha planning an Tracer 9 GT overhaul, with radar-assist cruise control?

Supposedly, we'll soon see a Tracer 9 with adaptive cruise control. Chances are this is a skunk works project from Yamaha Motor Europe. Photo: Yamaha

It’s been a couple of years since Yamaha updated the Tracer 9 series, and now, Euro spy shots indicate we’re about to see that happen again—and the next-gen Tracers will have radar-assisted adaptive cruise control.

Standard cruise control maintains a motorcycle’s constant speed, and we have seen those systems on bikes for years. Adaptive cruise control works much the same, on an empty highway; with unobstructed traffic, it will maintain a constant speed. When it detects a vehicle in the lane ahead, it then slows down to maintain a constant following distance.

Motorrad Magazine is running photos of a Tracer 9 GT with such a system installed, similar to what Ducati, BMW and other OEMs are doing. It makes sense; Yamaha has very strong interests in Europe, and will want to keep up with the Joneses in that market. Although there’s never been a massive outcry of motorcyclists demanding this tech, the competition is installing it, and Yamaha will want to keep pace if it wants to keep its tourers positioned at the high end of the market.

If this does happen, it would probably signal the rise of the Tracer series as a replacement for the FJR1300. While Yamaha might not outright cancel the FJR as long as they’re still able to get them in under emissions regs and sell them at a profit, note that only the high-margin electro-suspension model is available in Canada this year, and it’s been like that for a while. Word on the street is that some FJR models are going to be canceled in the Japanese domestic market this year, so maybe that whole series is on its last legs. It’s certainly been rumoured for years.

It’s too bad, if that’s true—the FJR is an expensive bike and you don’t run into a lot of them on the streets, but amongst the Iron Butt Rally set and other dedicated long-distance riders, it has a reputation as an all-weather long-haul performer with legendary reliability.

The three-cylinder 900 does seem to be Yamaha’s motor of choice for the future, though, and there are also rumours of an adventure or adventure sports version of the machine soon. If that happens, expect this radar-assist adaptive cruise control at the same time.

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