MCCruise bought our Tracer because it was throttle-by-wire - and we needed a bike to develop throttle-by-wire cruise control at that time. That was nearly six years ago - hard to believe!
This isn't a 'show pony'. This a pretty damn fast 'workhorse' - setup for touring on and off-road. We developed the MCCruise for both and while I always advocate using traction control off-road in conjunction with the MCCruise, you will find the cruise is remarkably good on both road surfaces.
I have used our new slim switch mounted on the LEFT of the left switch block for ease of access, though I did have to cut down the left rubber grip to achieve that.
The bike has done very few kilometres, as it was purchased for research purposes - a role it has fulfilled admirably!
But soon it will have to go! As soon as we get MCCruise working on our new KTM390, it will have to become our research vehicle - can't afford multiple bikes - so if you are planning a trip around Australia, as I am, this might be the bike for you! Inclusions:
- Raised Ventura bars make the bike much more comfortable. I don't like the factory bars: the angle is wrong and doesn't fit flat in your palm and it was too low and too far forward for me;
Note: The rearset bar from the mirror mounts is a special adaptation for me alone - so parasthesia doesn't set in and numb my hands.
- Quadlock & Ram mounts are recommended and could be negotiated in any sale.
- Factory panniers are included - barely used.
- In my travels, I find a largely empty Givi Top Box is indispensable for storing your helmet safely, when you stop. I recall on my first visit to Graceland (Memphis, 2008) being disappointed because we couldn't safely lockup our bikes and travel gear, so we didn't go in. I didn't make that mistake on my return trip the following year - 2009.
- I find panniers are good for stuff you don't need to get at during the day - sleeping bags, tent gear, whatever, but the Gearsack on the pillion seat with its lockable zipped pockets is king for me for the little things you need to get at regularly - sunscreen, lip balm, gloves, wet eather gear, you name it. Steve & Frank designed and manufactured my Gearsack rack as an integral part of the Top Box support:
This is my smaller bag, but the fully packed, bigger Gearsack acts as a great back rest while touring.
- The rider's seat has been reupholstered to make it more comfortable - a compromise between making the seat too tall and delivering more padding.
- I find touring pegs a huge help in long distance travel. My 2005 Yamaha TDM900 has no less than four different leg-seating positions. I added the sliders to this bike specifically to incorporate 'touring pegs' into the design.
- The Tracer's side-stand is too short IMHO - the bike leans over too far and the centre of gravity of the bike on the stand isn't right either. The side stand extension and large pad helps, but you still need to take care where you park with the bike fully loaded.
- The OEM hand-guards are pretty useless in protecting your hands from cold and wind. These hand-gaurds offer better protection. Obviously not designed for traversing thick bush, but as wind protection they are vastly better:
- A centre stand is indispensable for packing the bike more easily,
but also critical for lubricating the chain! Chain-life is extended immeasurably by a well-lubricated chain. My favourite is Castol chain oil which routinely gives me 50 to 60 thousand kilometres from a good quality chain, but you have to be able to apply it easily - that is key. Frank recommends you put the bike on the centre stand....let the engine warm up and idle slowly, then put it in first gear. Apply the spray to the rollers then also on each side row of links spraying down into their ends to get to the O-rings as the bike idles in first gear. (Frank worked for Timken Bearings for years and knows a LOT about stuff like that!)
Once applied through one full revolution of the chain for each of the following - on the rollers, the inner link ends and outer link ends, gently depress the rear brake lever, balancing the throttle to make the rollers turn under load, such that the engine rpm stay as slow as possible so the oil/grease doesn't get thrown off the chain.
- This bike has special additive in the front forks to reduce friction and wear. (I propose to offer it on a trial basis to the Triumph XC900 crowd to reduce stiction and potentially solve their front end issues. I have also used Honda UC additive (developed by Honda to prevent wear on the 'cheese'; camshafts on the VF750 in the mid eighties) to reduce internal engine wear since it was run-in. I swear by this stuff and use it in all my bikes, once they have been run-in.
- All-in-all, I think if you want a bike you can simply climb aboard and go to the ends of the earth and back - reliably, you can't go past this one. It will be priced accordingly, but I would even consider a buy-back at the end of your trip if you look after it, if you are coming from overseas. I hate selling good bikes, but I can't keep them all - I have four!
I sold my TDM900 with 54,000km on it, to a mate and after replacing the battery (very embarrassing!) he rode to Cairns and back and it is still going strong. Routine maintenance is crucial and I change oil and filter every 5000km. I wish I had NEVER sold my 1994 VFR750 with 106,000km on it! The new owner got sideswiped and wrote it off a few months later.
- If you are planning a trip and have some interest - let us know. If we can get the connectors for this KTM390, the Tracer will go on the market soon thereafter.