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Old 19th November 2022, 17:09   #1
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Obtaining a Class 2 license in Singapore | Yamaha Tracer 9GT Initial Review

It was that time of the year when any true blue motorcyclist in Singapore waits for the day when their previous category license reaches the minimum required 1 year period to start the application for the next category license. The same was the case for me on August 27th, 2022 when I completed 1 year of having held the Class 2A (<400cc ) category license and not having accumulated any demerit points ( max is 12 at the time of application ).

A recap of my license journey and motorcycle purchases can be found in these threads

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motor...b400-revo.html (Singapore: Obtaining Class 2A motorcycle license & shortlisting bikes | Initial review CB400 Revo)

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motor...fighthawk.html (Obtaining a Singapore driving license and buying a pre-owned motorcycle (Honda CBF 190X Fighthawk))

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motor...uke-125-a.html (Review: My KTM Duke 125)

Unlike my Class 2B to 2A journey which involved me staying up till around mid night to immediately sign up for my Class 2A license process upon completion of the 1 year period with Class 2B, this time around, I wasn't rushing so much - mainly due to some work commitments - but I ended up registering after about 3 days of completion of the 1 year period in Class 2A to pursue my Class 2.

The Class 2 license is like reaching Mt Everest in terms of motorcycle licenses in Singapore. It gives you the right to buy a motorcycle of any cc and you no longer have to come back for any further license ( other than, of course, the routine 5 year renewal process ). It is, hence, a very coveted piece of achievement. But not all motorcyclists go all the way to this license category for a few reasons

1. Cost - Even in the best case scenario (where you don't have to repeat any preparatory lessons, book off-peak slots and pass your traffic police test on the very first attempt ) - it will cost you ~$355+ (INR20,000 at prevailing rates).

2. Time - That is a big downer. There is a sequence in which you need to complete your lessons and you can't block slots until you clear each step. Once you complete all the lessons and evaluation by the driving school - the wait time for a traffic police test is atleast 35-45 days. Which means, you also have to enroll for a few practice lessons before your test so that you don't forget things during that wait. Overall, its a time commitment of around 2 months atleast end to end

3. What is the point - If you are purely commuting within Singapore for work or on work ( e.g you are a delivery rider full time ), you do not need a ride >400cc. In fact a Class 2B is more than sufficient where you have tons of options from 125cc-200cc and all kinds of body types from motorcycles to maxi scooters to step thru and even taller adventure styled bikes


I didn't fall into any of the above categories ( although somewhat cat 3- my commute doesn't require a larger bike but why not ). Also, touring through South East Asia was in my bucket list. So what better time to start than now - with borders opened up and COVID ( hopefully ) behind us.

The Overall Class 2 license process:

The process is very similar to Class 2A.

1. One registers with any of the 3 driving schools for the Class 2 course
2. Book slots of the various lessons
3. Attend and pass them and be cleared by the school to appear for the traffic police test
4. Book, appear and pass the traffic police test

Since I had moved houses earlier this year, I couldn't register in my Class 2A school since it was around 20kms away. This was something I really hated because there are reasonably noticeable differences in the circuits of each of the schools and I wanted to avoid having to learn a new circuit. But there was no choice and I went ahead to register with the one closest to my current house - and it was very close to be honest - just around 2kms. This was a boon since I had to spend very less time getting there and then getting back home or work.

Having registered around end Aug/early Sep, I quickly went through the paces with the lessons. The Class 2 circuit is exactly the same as the Class 2A circuit except for the below differences

1. The time to be spent on the obstacles that test your slow speed maneuvering is higher
2. The time to be spent on he obstacles that test your high speed maneuvering is lower
3. Additionally, there is Class 2 demo bike controlled drop and pick up evaluation

On to my first day at the new school, there were a few more surprises beyond being in just a new school compared to the previous year

1. The Class 2 bike used by this school was the Honda NC750X ( Honda's mid size adventure tourer ) - the taller stance was going to add to the challenge in quite a few obstacles. In comparison, my previous school uses a MT-07, which due to its street build, is much more low slung and easier to throw around

2. The course was quite long and additional check points were present - which equates to additional probability of failure

Nevertheless, it was time to look forward and take these changes in one's stride and I went on with my lessons and managed to complete all of them on the dot and was ready to book my traffic police test. The good thing at this stage was

1. The NC didn't turn out to be as bad as I thought. The forward facing twin set up means the C.G is really low and the seat height was also a very friendly 800mm

2. The trainers in this school were very methodical ( and strict as well ) than the previous school. They went to great lengths to break down the technique into smaller components and got us to really understand well how to crack each obstacle, whereas, at the previous school, the trainers largely just demonstrated the overall technique and expected the learners to learn by sight

Let me take a pause here and continue my license journey in the next post
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Old 19th November 2022, 17:32   #2
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re: Obtaining a Class 2 license in Singapore | Yamaha Tracer 9GT Initial Review

The day of the traffic police test:

After having completed all my lessons in a span of around 3 weeks, the earliest date available for the traffic police test was around 40 days away. Went ahead and booked it and after that the wait was painfully long. More than the wait, the mental stress is just too much - its like how you start of something important - but can't be done with it for external reasons and have to endure that phase until you can finally be back in control and complete the task in hand.

In that 40 day period, pretty much 24X7, I was mentally playing the circuit and technique so that the muscle memory doesn't fade. I also had booked a practise session around 5 days before my test.

As the D-day approached, there was a minor set back ( which it wasn't eventually ) by way of my 2nd COVID infection. It turned out to be as bad as the first one and this was just around a week before my practice session. I took a decision to postpone my practise session ( and a good one at that because, on that particular date, while I had recovered, I was horribly brain fogged and tired ). The next available practise session slots were either the day before my test or 2 days before. I really didn't want to practise so close to the test, so I chose the one that was 2 days before.

The practise session was largely uneventful. All those 40 days of playing back the circuit and technique in my mind was helping because I found my muscle memory was largely in tact. In fact, I was overdoing the slow and fast obstacles and one of the trainers advised me not to aspire for very lofty timings and just do the bare minimum required to clear the test - because anyway there is no credit to doing better than the traffic police stipulated timings.

A quick recap from my earlier thread on how the test evaluation works like.

1. The entire circuit is a combination of riding techniques to be followed in various live traffic situations and you are evaluated at every step by watch eyes of the traffic police who would be manning the multiple posts created across the circuit
2. The obstacles are as under
a. S course - shape of 8 to be completed within a certain time with a specific technique - no clutch or braking inside the course and indicator on/off at the right times and correct blind spot checkings.
b. Crank course - simiar to S, but a shorter and sharper turning course with same rules as above
c. Narrow plank - balance through a narrow plank and stay on it for a minimum stipulated time
d. Pylon - go quickly through a set of cones placed closed to each other with quick movement of body weight to both sides
e. emergency brake - pick up speed to 45kmph and carry out an emergency braking manouevere over a wet road with a specific technique
f. bumpy course - go over a set of narrow/sharp bumps in the half stand position with a specific technique ( throttling into every bump and maintaining a minimum time within that course )

( dropping the bike, foot down, dropping off narrow plank, hitting outer barriers/cones all qualify as IMMEDIATE FAILURES - you can park the bike and go home ). Any other defect will fetch between 2-6 points

3. That apart, you have a incline start stop segment and a blind wall crossing over segment.

At the end, you can earn between 2-8 points for all kinds of ridiculous things like

1. Did not signal at the correct time
2. Incorrect technique
3. Did not wait at junction/did not give way to oncoming traffic
4. Waited too long !!!
5. Wobbly during lane changes
etc , etc ,etc

If you total up 20 points ( and even if you did not fail any obstacle ) you are still out.


My test largely went uneventful. I was the first one out in the sequence. The line up is based on age ( first ) and residency status (next ). So older foreigners go first - and that was me. The youngest local would have been last in the sequence.

Going first has the below considerations.

1. The traffic police is fresh from their morning breakfast and all charged up to keep a close eye on you AND ONLY YOU before no one else has come into the circuit yet !
2. Once you finish - you also have the LONGEST WAIT - waiting for all the rest of Class 2 and Class 2A aspirants to complete their course, the traffic police to complete their evaluation and the results to be announced.

Except for 1 area where I thought I made a technique error ( during the emergency brake, my left foot got off the peg a bit earlier than I reached the full stop ). Otherwise I was largely confident that I made it through. But the wait was around 2.5 hours after I finished and you can't go home. You remain within the school until results are announced.

Surprisingly/shockingly, when they announced the results, while I had cleared and got my license, when i received my evaluation sheet, I noticed, i had accumulated 18 points ! That was a shocker but I was also relieved that I made it because just one more negative mark and I would have failed ( there is no item that carries a negative 1, the minimum negative mark is 2. Hence 18 is the absolute borderline ).

This also brings out how important it is for one to be absolutely to the point in this test because, even for someone like me who thought that I had completed the course really well, I ended up with 18 points. So if you are even slightly casual about it, you will definitely have to go home and wait for the next test appointment after a month.

With the outcome in my favour, I was quite pleased and headed back home with a lot of relief. After 40 days, I got good sleep on that day. But the next challenge was to start from the very next day - the hunt for the next ride. More on that in the next post.
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Old 19th November 2022, 18:43   #3
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re: Obtaining a Class 2 license in Singapore | Yamaha Tracer 9GT Initial Review

The buying process for my next ride ( Class 2 )


As mentioned in my previous post, there was a long wait of 40 days between my completion of lessons and waiting for the traffic police test. With such long waits come worthwhile activities that we bikers end up doing. So I was already doing my research and shortlist of potential candidates for my next buy.

Some key criteria were

1. Touring ready/worthy
2. Adventure capabilities were an added bonus
3. Preferably 2018 registration years and newer
4. Preferably run less than 40-45k kms ( max 50k kms )
5. Mental budget - This was not very clear to me but I broadly had a figure in mind and was willing to plonk a little over twice of what I spent for my Class 2A bike ( the Honda CB400 )

Point to note here is that I wasn't going down the path of buying new. Always preferred pre-owned route since it gives more choice, depreciation hit taken mostly by previous owners, usually comes kitted out and hence don't have to shop around for the basic accessories.

Based on the above criteria and the actual availability of used samples, the below models were in my initial short list

1. BMW GS1200 (2013 LC model onwards ) - exception to criteria 3 above since 2018 onwards samples were well well over my mental budget
2. BMW GSA1200 ( 2014 model onwards )
3. Honda Africa Twin ( CRF1000L/A/D )
4. Kawasaki Versys 1000
5. KTM 790/890/1290 Adventure ( R/S for the Super adventure alone )
6. Triumph Tiger 800 series but preference was only for XRX ( wasn't too keen for the offroad biased XCX)
7. Triumph Tiger 900 series -GT, Low, Pro, Rally Pro
8. Triumph Tiger 1200 XCX /XRX explorer
9. Multistrada 1200/950/1260
10. Tenere 700
11. BMW F800/850 GS/A


I followed the same process I carried out last year for my Class 2A hunt and it has really helped me well in arriving at a valuation for a bike in the most possible "scientific" manner by just sheer data crunching. Without going into finer details, what I do is start collecting data points on listings over a 1-2 month period and tabulate key data points like model details, mileage, listed price, dealer/direct seller, how long it remains unsold etc and derive model specific depreciation values based on additional parameters like condition, accessories etc. This helps me carry out a more informed bargaining process than just randomly throwing numbers at sellers. It has helped me mostly - but in some cases, the model requires tweaking. In some cases, sellers are too attached to the price they have listed and I have been very clear that its best to just WALK AWAY and not up your price beyond a certain margin because there WILL ALWAYS BE ANOTHER GOOD BIKE coming up.

Now, from the above list, a few models were quickly dismissed for the reasons mentioned below.

1. Triumph 1200 series - I realised they are just too heavy. I checked out one sample at a dealership and I couldn't even get it straight off the side stand !
2. Tenere 700 - Too expensive since they were mostly 2020 onwards samples and I found the seat height too high, the bike too offroad focused and very bare bones
3. F800/850GS - Just not enough relatively newer bikes since this model has not sold well in Singapore
4. Multistrada series was in the B list since I did not want to burn my fingers with Ducati as my first big bike purchase. I also observed that these bikes depreciate like crazy and was worried if I will also struggle to sell mine a year or 2 down the line
5. 890 Adventure - 0 used samples
6. 790 Adventure - very few used samples and upon closer look, I didn't quite like the look of the bike itself
7. Kawasaki Versys - lovely bike. But even dealers warned me that Kawasaki parts availability in Singapore is the worst among the big Japanese brands ( no wonder, used Versys 1000 were priced so very attractively ).

Before I go into the buying process, I had also listed by CB400 SUPER FOUR for sale around 20 days before my traffic police test since I wanted to give it some lead time so that I can close out the same as soon as I get my class 2 license. Surprisingly, I found a buyer almost within a week of listing. In fact 2 buyers queued up with quotes very close to my listing price. But one of them won the deal because he was kind enough to allow me to hold on to the bike until I clear my test and get my next ride. That was really nice of him and we agreed to informally finalise the deal with a token advance payment and I confirming via the listing portal that the sale will be to only him. It was a deal of trust at the end of the day and both of us held on to our side of the deal.


So what was left of the short list was

1. BMW GS1200 (2013 LC model onwards )
2. BMW GSA1200 ( 2014 model onwards )
3. Honda Africa Twin ( CRF1000L/A/D )
4. KTM 1290 Adventure
5. Triumph Tiger 800 series but preference was only for XRX ( wasn't too keen for the offroad biased XCX)
6. Triumph Tiger 900 series -GT, Low, Pro, Rally Pro


I was totally enamored by the GS/GSA ( contrary to my earlier hatred to the design ), so much so that I was watching every available video on You tube on these models and reading up a lot of reviews. I also viewed the most number of GS/GSA listings in person. Every viewing gave me a gradual step up in confidence that I could handle this beast and some where during that process, I was convinced that even the GS wont do and I needed ONLY THE GSA. To me the GSA was like a well build German beer drinking thug with that broad tank signifying a strong upper body and the wide pannier set up signifying a strong pair of legs. In practical terms too, the boxer set up is so sweet and does wonders to weight distribution that I found it quite ok to push the bike around, mount and dismount and eventually even figured out how to get the centre stand on. Mind you - I am just 174cms and 68kgs and MOST reviews would have discouraged people of my built from buying one.

Unfortunately, I just couldn't finalise a deal on any GSA I saw. Either they were over priced, too many ownership transfers or slightly poorer condition. There was 1 GSA that met all my criteria and came in shiny triple black but by some cruel twist of events, this one just slipped out of my hands. That was quite a set back for me and the next few days, I really couldn't get back into the bike search mode, sulking over this loss.
Likewise, another loss was a beautify Tiger 900 in showroom condition run - just 900kms and loaded with all touring accessories - but somehow, someone quoted a price much higher than my "scientific evaluation"

With these losses, my remaining list was left with some Africa twins ( none of which impressed me or met my expected price points ), a handful of 1290S/R which, although priced well, were with dealers and I didn't quite like their condition.

I had hit a wall in my bike search and by now, it was 2 weeks AFTER my Class 2 license test. So that means, it was a little over 3 weeks since the buyer of my CB400 had paid the advance. I did not feel it appropriate to continue using the CB400 and decided to atleast complete the sale deal. A day before the buyer came to collect the bike, I took a rental Yamaha Sniper step thru for a 1 week period hoping to find my next ride by then.
With a heavy heart, I let go the CB400 which served me really well for a little over a year and a little over 10,000kms. In the run up to the sale, to convey my appreciation to the buyer who had waited so patiently, I did the below

1. Got the bike's annual inspection completed well in advance although it wasn't falling due yet - which gives the buyer 1 year's peace of mind
2. Cleaned and waxed the bike the way I used to do once every 2 weeks
3. Tanked up the fuel


Now back to my bike search - As mentioned above, I was really running out of options and was in Day 4 of my rental period when I gathered my thoughts and laid down my priorities once again. This time, with greater clarity, I realised, my true priorities were only the below

1. Nimble and easy handling within the city ( I do around 50kms on most days and about 70-80kms per day on some other days and 60% of this is with my son as pillion and he is a 6 footer )
2. Touring expressways

With adventure riding out of the way, I realised I could broaden my search to one more, very popular model in Singapore - The Yamaha Tracer 900/GT.

NOW, NOW - there was a problem. I just did not like the look of the Tracer until the model year 2021. Its the 2021 model year onwards that Yamaha actually updated the looks to that alien eyed face similar to the MT-09, made significant changes to the rest of the bike on top of the MT-09 to make it truly touring worthy and added a whole bunch of desirable electronics that are a must have these days. Problem was, there was just 1 single sample of a 2021 face lifted Tracer 9GT ( as its called now ) with a dealer and I felt it was overpriced. Kind of back to square 1 then.....


Or was it.....

On day 5 of my rental - i spotted a new listing from a direct owner of a very very low run Dec 2021 sample that looked dashing in the traditional Yamaha silver/blue colour scheme. Reached out to the owner, viewed the bike and a deal was made pretty quickly. I did have to budge from my original offer, but I felt it was an acceptable budge given the condition of the bike, the purchase being within my mental budget and overall the Tracer 9 GT being actually truest to my priorities.

At around 220kg wet weight, it was very well manageable for me ( after having spent a year on the 210+Kg wet weight Honda CB400 ). And thus came and end to a long and arduous search process for my first CLASS 2 ride.

More on the initial impressions and pictures of the Tracer 9GT shortly after I complete taking some good pictures.

Thanks for reading this far.
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Old 20th November 2022, 19:13   #4
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re: Obtaining a Class 2 license in Singapore | Yamaha Tracer 9GT Initial Review

The alien face has arrived and have just about done around 250kms. Will come up with detailed initial review in the course of December. Some initial pictures.
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Old 21st November 2022, 09:36   #5
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Re: Singapore: Obtaining a Class 2 license and hunt for next ride | Initial review - Yamaha Tracer 9

That was an excellent read! Thanks a lot, and ride safe chief o7
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Old 21st November 2022, 12:32   #6
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Re: Singapore: Obtaining a Class 2 license and hunt for next ride | Initial review - Yamaha Tracer 9

Nice one! The bike looks fantastic. You will need to take her across the Johor straits to truly experience the potential.

Your photos bring back memories of Singapore where I lived for many years before moving out recently. I had made up my mind back in 2019 to get a motor bike myself in Singapore and thatís when covid stuck and we all went to working from home forever and borders shut. I could no longer justify the purchase as I knew the usage will be very low.
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Old 21st November 2022, 14:00   #7
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Re: Obtaining a Class 2 license in Singapore | Yamaha Tracer 9GT Initial Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by narayan View Post
The day of the traffic police test:


Surprisingly/shockingly, when they announced the results, while I had cleared and got my license, when i received my evaluation sheet, I noticed, i had accumulated 18 points ! That was a shocker but I was also relieved that I made it because just one more negative mark and I would have failed ( there is no item that carries a negative 1, the minimum negative mark is 2. Hence 18 is the absolute borderline ).
My older brother also has the Class 2 license and in spite of being an experienced rider, he accumulated 18 points during his traffic police test. He went to the Ubi Comfort Delgro course for the license.

The Singapore traffic police examiners are indeed very strict and penalize you for a small mistake. My brother's friend racked up 50 demerit points in the traffic test - all were due to not checking blind spots properly, not operating the bike properly, going too slow, wobbling... goes to show how nuts things are in Singapore.
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Old 23rd December 2022, 17:06   #8
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Re: Obtaining a Class 2 license in Singapore | Yamaha Tracer 9GT Initial Review

Its been 1 month so far and I couldn't clock much mileage as expected since for half of this 1 month period I was abroad and secondly, I haven't been able to do any long distance trips yet. My usual within city commute is around 30-60kms per day depending on whether my son's school is open or if I am working from office etc.
Most of my commute is in smooth expressway or relatively less congested city traffic.

Having completed 1000kms here is my initial review.

Looks, ergonomics, comfort:

While looks is a matter of personal taste, Yamahas are generally considered well designed and bordering on eye catchy and beyond the "neutral" design approach that possibly Honda follows (exceptions do exist ). Likewise, the Tracer 9GT is generally a good looking bike. It will catch the attention of bikers for sure but at the same time its not drop dead gorgeous or extremely attention grabbing that any "aam admi" will also notice it in regular traffic.

Dimensions are proportionate with a bias towards front end bulk to give that muscular tourer look. At the same time, the 2 side panniers add bulk to the rear giving it a strong "lower body" look as well.

The front end is dominated by the alien head light set up which actually are the DRLs and the low beam is the right side lens at the bottom (from the rider's perspective ). The left side lens is the left side. So, if you are at low beam, the DRLs and the right side only light up - which is a bit weird but then, you aren't seeing it while riding so it doesn't matter.

The 2 fins at the front in blue help in directing air to the engine and to your legs as well. They don't really protect your legs from the wind blast but overall keep the engine head away from your lower body.

Seats are super comfortable for both rider and pillion. As seen in pics, both seats offer a wide base for people of various build. For me, just about 2/3rd of the front seat is all I need. Seat height can be 810-825MM. I have kept it at the lower position where I can almost flat foot but comfortably half foot on both sides. the 825mm position is also fine and I will probably use it during touring. The front seat is finished in alcantara while the rear seat has a premium rexine kind of finish and has a nice crest at the front portion to prevent the pillion from sliding forward (although the seat itself is flat ). There is a small underseat storage space where a tiny tool box is kept by Yamaha but you can add another small pouch with some documents possibly.
Bar position is such that you get a straight up touring type position. My bike came with bar risers which further accentuates this set up. Good quality hand guards come standard which also provide wind protection - speaking of which - the standard windscreen offers good protection from straight up wind flow. It is manually adjustable and on the fly but highly recommended that you always make such adjustments safely while stationary. I have a tiny pop up screen as well which is meant to break the impact of the wind at the tip of the stock windscreen - although i am not sure if it does this job well. I will probably remove it after my first tour, if I dont see any benefit. During cross winds, you definitely get thrown around ( this is common in expressways in Singapore ). One can also see the windscreen moving back and forth (which I presume is normal as a part of the design to absorb the wind impact ).

Feet position is true the touring intent of this bike and is only slightly rear biased. There is an additional position where you can manually fix the left and right pegs such that you get an even more rear biased set up which possibly gives a more sporty feel. I am now set up in the first position.
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Old 23rd December 2022, 17:24   #9
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Re: Obtaining a Class 2 license in Singapore | Yamaha Tracer 9GT Initial Review

Comfort (continued ) with touring credentials :

While I covered the ergonomics and wind protection in the earlier post, let me finish of this post with the additional touring related features this bike comes kitted with.

Storage:

You get 2 side panniers made of hard plastic straight from the factory and each have a 30Lit capacity. The good thing about these are
[list][*]Can fit a full size helmet [*]Comes with a cross strap to secure your stuff[*]Lockable with the same ignition key[*]Simple way to open/shut or even completely remove and carry it like a suitcase[*]Come with a strong stay rope that keeps the lid in place as you load your stuff[*]Has 3 mounts - 2 at the top and 1 at the bottom to ensure the pannier's don't create any vibration on the move

Apart from the above, I have a 47L Kappa top aluminum top box which holds 2 chin helmets comfortably and space for gloves, helmet caps and possibly a small bag. I am assuming, it can also hold a full face helmet + a half face also. Haven't tried yet though.

Lastly, I had these 2 soft side panniers that i bought very cheap online and was using in my earlier CB400 that were lying unused. Although I was good with the available storage, I thought of using them to distribute the weight further and create easier access for my regular stuff which I have to keep keying in for otherwise. After trying various positions to mount them, this is my current set up. I hope to test this out in the coming weeks before I finalise on this position. While these soft panniers are super sturdy, in their current usage, I don't plan to load them much since I already have so much more storage by way of the top box and the hard cases.

What do I carry on a daily basis ?

a. The top box has 2 chin helmets (which is the most common form factor here in Singapore ) + the cards that I need to pay for parking
b. The right side hard pannier has 2 riding jackets ( 1 each for me and my son )
c. The left side hard pannier earlier had both our rain coat sets (top and bottom ) and a cover for the motorcycle which I use when I have to park under the hot sun for extended hours. Now, I have moved the rain coats to each of the soft panniers. So just the bike cover alone stays in this hard pannier
d. The soft panniers in addition to carrying 1 rain coat set, have my riding gloves, helmet caps, cleaning cloth, chain lube and a L valve ( which I use to fill air since the stock valves are the vertical ones which are inconveniently placed - why Yamaha ?!! )


Quick shifter:
There is a 2 way quick shifter. I am just about experimenting this because I am still wired to use the clutch. It is pretty smooth but I still haven't gotten myself to not have to close the throttle while using it. So I end up closing the throttle even while quick shifting. I have not done down shifts yet

Cruise control:
Available from 50kmph and 4th gear onwards. Not tested yet
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Old 23rd December 2022, 17:37   #10
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Re: Obtaining a Class 2 license in Singapore | Yamaha Tracer 9GT Initial Review

Engine, Transmission, Fuel efficiency

Not going into the technical details but this is a 3 cylinder approx 900cc 6 speed machine.

The engine note is a grunty triple kind of sound. Not a smooth growl/wail like an inline four that I experienced with the Honda CB400. The sound track under acceleration is definetly enjoyable. It actually makes a mix of various sounds. There is this low base grunt mixed with hisses, pops, whistles and cracks that all play together and very unique and enjoyable to hear. Very different from what I was used to from my previous bike (of course the Vtec wail is something i will miss for sure ).

Power is strong and punchy from low down and I haven't reached any rpm where it drops off. I am yet to really push this bike hard as of now. But very pleased with the engine response and the linear power delivery.

There are 4 drive modes. D1,2,3 are about progressively poorer throttle response. When I took delivery of the bike, it was in D1 and it was crazy but surely manageable. But I have set it up for D3 now since most of my riding is with my son and I prefer a more sedate throttle response. D4 is for rain with reduced power on top of D3. Never tried it so far.

Transmission is a bit clunky going from N to 1 ( as with most large capacity bikes ). But what irritates me sometimes is that it hits N when I go from 1 to 2. After 2, gear shifts are super super smooth. Down shifts across the range is smooth with a decent dose of engine breaking.

Fuel efficiency is pretty decent. I am now at 20+ kmpl for my 1000km running. In pure expressway runs on "uncle" mode, 23-24kmpl should be easily do-able. In city mode, its expected to drop to the 18kmpl range. Overall this is good fuel efficiency compared to my earlier 400cc inline 4 Honda. Fuel tank capacity is 19l - hence that is a good range for touring purposes

Exhaust is a underbelly type which is something I really like because there is no end can popping up on one side fouling with pillion comfort or reducing the pannier capacity on that side. With pure touring credentials, this set up is ideal and the sound track is sweet
Attached Thumbnails
Obtaining a Class 2 license in Singapore | Yamaha Tracer 9GT Initial Review-img0915.jpg  

Obtaining a Class 2 license in Singapore | Yamaha Tracer 9GT Initial Review-img1195.jpg  

Obtaining a Class 2 license in Singapore | Yamaha Tracer 9GT Initial Review-img1194.jpg  

Obtaining a Class 2 license in Singapore | Yamaha Tracer 9GT Initial Review-img1189.jpg  

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Old 23rd December 2022, 17:54   #11
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Re: Obtaining a Class 2 license in Singapore | Yamaha Tracer 9GT Initial Review

Brakes, suspension, switch gear, dash, driver aids

Braking duties are done by twin 298mm discs upfront and 245mm at the rear. The pedal feel is a bit soft and took some getting used to but the bite is strong after that initial soft feel.

Suspension - there is the fancy KYB electronic active suspension which comes with 2 standard modes. In addition you can play around with the settings to customise to your needs. I run in mode 1 which is set for smooth roads. that apart you can manually set the preload on both front and rear. On Singapore roads, i dont have much complaints. But once you set it up for such road conditions and you encounter that odd road unevenness or pothole ( due to lot of civil works going on at various places ) you will notice some momentary harshness but you can also feel the suspension adapting well when there are longish undulations or sharp imperfections like interconnections at bridges or tunnels.

Switch gear - The switch gear are of very good quality as expected in a bike at this price point/segment. They arent the matt finish type which usually gets dull with time. These have a nice rich glossy coating.
Left side - Cruise control, mode selections, low/high beam, horn , hazard light and indicators
Right side - engine start stop and menu toggle switch

Feel is good and you get firm feedback as switches engage or disengage. The menu toggle is quite small and also needs some getting used to, especially when wearing gloves. But then, you aren't going to use it always

Dashboard

There are mixed reviews on this unique split design that Yamaha opted for this model. I am also of the camp which feels that one single larger dash would have been better. Having said which, this set up has some degree of novelty if that is something that appeals to you.

The left side panel has some tell tale lights at the top and at the bottom you get the below
a. RPM
b. speed
c. suspension, drive , tcs and brake control modes
d. odo, trip
e. a few other stuff !

The right side panel also has some tell tale lights at the top and at the bottom you get to choose what you want to be shown in a quadrant format. I have set it up for temperature, fuel efficiency, trip odo and fuel tank capacity. So in summary, you get to see pretty much the same things that you see on the right side, in bigger font on the left side ( big deal isn't it ! ).

There is no phone pairing or navigation feature - which Yamaha could have considered given the touring credentials. This, I feel is a serious miss


There are tons of driver aids and I honestly haven't even read through what all exists and what each one of them do. I spent some time reading through the manual in the first week, but I have to do more of that soon. But meantime, this link has all the details. Basically, this bike is LOADED.

https://www.yamahamotorsports.com/sp...-9-gt/features
Attached Thumbnails
Obtaining a Class 2 license in Singapore | Yamaha Tracer 9GT Initial Review-img1197.jpg  

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Old 23rd December 2022, 18:02   #12
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Re: Obtaining a Class 2 license in Singapore | Yamaha Tracer 9GT Initial Review

So this is about it from my first 1 month and 1000kms odd.

I have to say that this bike is very manageable in city traffic and with a pillion, you can do low speed maneuvers between cars as you try to get to the front at the traffic lights. I should also admit that the Singapore model of licensing gave me good exposure to various driving techniques which I could deploy easily to manage such a large bike very early in my biking "career". Lastly, one area that is often discounted or possibly not given enough attention to is one's own body fitness. In my view, anybody with reasonably serious ambitions to get into biking should pay some attention to their overall body fitness. In particular, over the past 3-4 years, I have significantly upped the ante in terms of lower body strength ( something which we Indians usually ignore due to the fear for the leg day at gym ! ). Lower body strength is 90% of what you need as you step into the bigger class of bikes because big arms and shoulders won't get you far in terms of managing these beasts. In fact, if you depend too much on your upper body, you will invariably drop your bike more often and sprain your back in the process.

I have also invested in some decent riding gear for myself and my son given the time we spend on the road with our day to day commute. Although it adds a bit of inconvenience kitting up every time before you ride, it surely adds to your overall confidence and is an insurance against minor to moderate injuries. I will write a separate post in due course on what I purchased and how the experience has been using them.

Thanks.
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Old 23rd January 2023, 13:38   #13
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Re: Obtaining a Class 2 license in Singapore | Yamaha Tracer 9GT Initial Review

Finished a 800km ride into Malaysia over the weekend. Some observations about the bike from this trip

1. Seat is firm and hence required periodical butt adjustments after around 120-130kms into the ride. Have to look for more comfortable options before venturing into longer rides

2. Engine performance was flawless. Fuel efficiency was very good for a 900cc - I got 24kmpl. Was mostly ridden at a constant 110kmph which is the speed limit in Malaysian expressways and some rural roads at around 80-100kmph

3. Didn’t use my top box since it was a 2 day trip. Side panniers were sufficient. Since I was carrying a bike cover and a full rain coat set, both boxes ended up being full after factoring in clothing, shoes etc

4. Wind protection, contrary to expectation, was pretty ok. The riding gear from Komine also served me well (mesh jacket and pants and touring shoes ). Like other firm shoes, these are not great for walking around, so the need to carry another pair in the luggage

5. I’ll need to figure out some rain protection for my phone because it rains often and sometimes very heavily in these parts throughout the year

6. The top to bottom separation segment of the instrument cluster is a place where a small puddle of water collects in heavy rains. Though it doesn’t affect vehicular function but is irritating to watch

7. Used the quick shifter and cruise control regularly and realised their benefits. However, on the rural roads, I didn’t use the cruise control for safety reasons and also to give some exercise for the idle right wrist. Also mentally I’m not ready to use the QS for downshifts yet. For some reason my brain tells me it will spoil the gear box. Have to get over it.

8. Suspension is on the firm side despite having 2 electronic settings. This is a drawback Yamaha needs to address atleast in their next model year. It’s fine most of the time in smooth roads but road patch works or small imprecations can be felt with harshness. Also smooth depressions and crests or road to bridge interconnections can throw you up in the seat if you don’t slow down to double digits

9. One of the benefits of riding into Malaysia is the ability to tank up at lower costs. 95 octane costs around $2.7 which is around INR 160. In Malaysia 95 Octane is just around RM2.1 which is INR45. But wait, Malaysia has banned sale of subsidised 95 octane to foreign vehicles. So you have to pump in 97 which is still cheaper at RM 3.4 which is INR 84. Big picture - not much savings for a bike but car owners save quite well.

Next trip planned for further north into Malaysia or possibly Phuket

Last edited by narayan : 23rd January 2023 at 13:46.
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