I thought I would share my recent touring experience with the Tracer. I and my wife set off from the UK on the 1st of July to travel to Greece, Athens. We aimed at riding up to 470 km in a day to take it easy and we spent two nights in France, one night in Switzerland, one night in Italy and one night on the boat from Ancona to Patras. The routes included mostly highways and the undoubted star was the day where we left France and went through the Gottard pass on our way to Locarno. What we did not like was the E62, E35, E45 route in Italy. Very busy even on a Monday and a cool 130 km/h average speed limit along the way. This route also takes you through the Milan ring road and there we had to filter through heavy traffic. We also had to filter along our way to the channel tunnel since it was the fateful day where huge queues were in place due to a faulty train 19 hours ago.
Weather wise, the first two days we had to deal with ‘torrential’ rain and somewhat chilly weather in France. Once we hit Switzerland, the weather improved, in Italy we had sunshine and ~ 30oC and in Greece, the ride from Patras to Athens saw us dealing with 35oC upwards!! We rode all in all 1300 miles two up and loaded in mixed weather and temperatures.
The bike has quite a few upgrades including changed suspension front and rear, Sargent seats and ermax screen. In terms of loading we kept the total load under the 180 kg mark (us included) and we used a bagster tank bag, a kappa manta 47 L top box and two Givi E360 N (40 L) panniers. Tyre pressures were kept to the recommended ones as shown in the owner’s manual and we were on the OEM tyres. In terms of the suspension, I added only a couple of turns to the shock’s preload (ohlins). During the travel, the chain was oiled every morning and pannier racks were checked to make sure all was nice and tight.
On to the more interesting things, the bike behaved very nicely even in touring mode. Most of the time we were happily chugging along with 130 km/h (GPS indicated) and at times where we could open it up a bit more 150 km/h -160 km/h (GPS indicated). At all used speeds the screen did its job (I am 170 cm tall) and I never felt that I wanted a lot more power/torque even when overtaking. The indicated mpg was ~ 51 mpg and we were refuelling at the middle of each day and towards the end of it to be ready for the next day. Where I was challenged a bit more was when filtering where I could feel the weight even if I had tried to make sure that the bike was loaded in a very balanced fashion. When in the Gottardo pass, the bike felt all in all good, but in those tight hair pins, it did give indications of being light at the front. The Sargent seats were comfortable and allowed us to finish each riding day without suffering for the rest of the day. Some wiggling did take place during 2-3 hour segments. Both I and my wife agreed that this is due to the fact that they push us forward (I have my seat set to the low position). Nonetheless, better than stock which left me crippled for the rest of the day after equivalent periods of time on it. The tyres are now in need of change since the rear is really squared off but being fair, I do not have any massive complaints with them. In this journey they behaved well in wet and dry conditions and at different road surfaces. I will however try something else when I change them. In terms of the luggage, none of the pieces let any water in which is good news and made the dry bags we had inside them redundant. I also think that the fog lights (I have the Yamaha ones) did their job in making us visible and in particular when we were riding in very heavy rain where visibility was further obscured by the car spray etc. I think that fog lights are quickly becoming a necessary item in my point of view rather than just something that would be good to have. I am also liking the second version of cosmo accessories GPS rack since I had mounted by drift stealth 2 camera and my zumo 660 on it and I could still read all GPS indications even at higher speeds. But I would say that what made this whole experience much more enjoyable was our gear. We were equipped with revit Neptune and Sand textile suites and Daytona and TCX boots and were kept comfortable through rain, chilly and hot weather. I am really pleased with them and while not cheap, well worth the money!! I should also mention that our SENA SMH 10 also worked fine during the whole trip and helped me to make sure that my wife did not doze off (yes she belongs to this special kind of people!!).
So, to sum up, the journey with the Tracer went fine. We had a good time and the bike did not miss a beat. I enjoyed riding through different countries and sceneries and my only wish is that I had more time to explore more. I am planning the next big tour now (perhaps Spain) and while my Tracer is still in Greece (hooked up on an optimate) awaiting to meet the rest of its family (a z1000 and a hayabusa) when I go back for a few days in September I still look at photos from this journey and reminisce!!