Radar Confirmed on Yamaha Tracer 9 GT

New patents confirm radar is coming to sport-tourer.

Spy shots obtained earlier in the year show the new radar system as equipped on Yamaha’s Tracer 9 GT. Now, patents leave no doubt that it’s on the way.S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Back in July, we brought you some spy photographs of a subtly updated Yamaha Tracer 9 GT fitted with a plastic cover panel between the headlights that appeared to hide a radar sensor. This suggested the Tracer would become the least expensive motorcycle yet to get radar-assisted cruise control and safety systems. Now there’s confirmation that radar is precisely what Yamaha has been working on in an effort to develop a system that’s operationally impressive, well protected, and hidden from sight.

Not only will the Tracer 9 GT become the most affordable new bike on the market with a front-facing radar unit fitted, allowing the adoption of adaptive cruise control and emergency braking systems, but it’s arguably the most elegant incorporation of radar that we’ve yet seen on a motorcycle. Ducati’s Multistrada V4, KTM’s 1290 Super Adventure S, and BMW’s R 1250 RT and R 18 have all brought radars to the market, either as options or as standard, but all leave their identical Bosch-made radar sensors on full display as square wart on the nose of each machine. Only Kawasaki, adopting radar on the latest version of the Ninja H2 SX, has put the same Bosch sensor behind a thin plastic cover that doesn’t interfere with the electromagnetic waves it emits and receives, yet hides the ugly electronic unit from sight.

In this illustration you can see how the Bosch radar unit nestles in between the Tracer 9 GT’s lower headlights.Yamaha

Yamaha is following in Kawasaki’s path, but where the H2 SX had to be restyled to create a spot for the radar and features a slightly strange, blanked-off mouth under its headlight where the radar resides, the radar-equipped Tracer 9 GT looks all but identical to the non-radar model in production right now. Yamaha’s new patents show how the radar sensor (again it’s the Bosch-made unit that’s so far been the only front-facing motorcycle radar to reach production) sits between the low-mounted main headlights, under the bike’s nose. Yamaha’s challenge, and the focus of the patent document itself, has been to create a mounting system that’s solid, insulated from vibration, and mounts the radar far enough forward to ensure a clear view of the road ahead. The solution is a fairly straightforward bracket attaching the radar to the same mounting points as the headlights, taking advantage of the Tracer’s styling to put the radar far enough forward for an unrestricted view while keeping it well hidden underneath the main nose bodywork.

This illustration shows the radar concealed by the cover.Yamaha

As the patent goes on to explain, a thin cover can then be fitted in front of the radar sensor itself. Made of material that’s transparent to electromagnetic waves (polyethylene, polypropylene, and ABS resins all fit the bill), it doesn’t impact the sensor’s efficiency provided it has a smooth finish. As well as eliminating the last of the visual downsides to the adoption of the radar, the cover is also intended to provide protection for the sensor itself. The cover prevents mud, gravel, water, or insects from hitting the radar sensor directly and should be easier to clean. What’s more, if scratched or chipped by stones thrown up from the road, it can be quickly and cheaply replaced. Additional details mentioned in the patent are the way in which the radar’s mounting bracket and cover have been designed to allow the radar sensor’s aim to be adjusted, in much the same way as you’d adjust the aim of a headlight, without having to remove the cover.

In this image you can see the radar unit that will be hidden under the cover.Yamaha

All indications are that the radar will be introduced as an option on the Tracer 9 GT in 2023, becoming Yamaha’s first entry to the growing array of radar-equipped bikes on the market. Given the affordable nature of the Tracer itself (starting at $14,999) and the relatively low cost of the radar sensors themselves, it’s likely to be the cheapest way to get a bike with adaptive cruise control in the near future.