Long-term review: Yamaha TMAX

Call this a moped?

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Steve Farrell's picture
Submitted by Steve Farrell on Thu, 18/05/2017 - 10:39

 

THERE’S a crime-wave sweeping London which you’ve probably read about if you’ve been anywhere near a newspaper recently.

You probably share my outrage at the ‘moped muggers’ who seem to think they can get away with anything.

And also possibly some of my irritation at the press for calling them ‘moped muggers’ when they don’t ride mopeds.

Mopeds are less than 50cc; the muggers seem to prefer larger-capacity scooters. They are (perhaps unfairly) linked to the 530cc Yamaha TMAX, as evidenced by a vigilante leaflet which someone stuck on a noticeboard at the Ace Café asking riders to go ‘TMAX hunting’ with ‘Jack Th’ Lad’.

 

Calm down, Jack. We’re not all thieves. I’ve got one as a long-term test bike for the year.

The association seems unfair because the robbers aren’t fussy. They like scooters for their ease of use and the TMAX just happens to be probably the best, so obviously they’ll take it if they can.

Here’s why:

  • It’s fast. Snap open the throttle of even a big twist-and-go from standstill and automatic CVT transmission typically takes a moment to wake up. Only once rolling does it catch up and respond with full power, as though it’s been busy with something else and you caught it by surprise. I remember a Suzuki Burgman 650 feeling exactly like this when I last rode one, in 2013. But the latest TMAX, updated for 2017, does not. Whack the throttle fully open at the lights and the initial response feels incredibly strong for a twist-and-go. In damp conditions I thought the back might spin-up. It didn’t but I’m sure it was close. It quickly seems to give you the maximum 39lbft of torque and keeps delivering it all the way to an indicated 60, 70, 80mph. Counting in my head, I’d put the 0-60 time at around six seconds, so still way off even middleweight motorcycles but also way ahead of the traffic. The 45hp parallel twin is likely to deliver a top speed of a smidgeon over 100mph.
  • It’s extremely easy to operate. All you need to do is keep the throttle open. An arrangement of gaffer tape could do it.
  • It handles. Obviously some steering will be required sooner or later but that’s almost as easy, with the small, 15-inch front wheel aiding rapid changes of direction. The TMAX has always been one of the sharpest handling maxi-scooters. The big seat, the footboards and the riding position ensure you don’t have quite the same relationship with the tyres that a motorcycle gives you, but the TMAX isn’t so far off that standard as most. At 216kg it’s a lightweight by maxi-scooter standards. The Burgman 650 is 60kg heavier.

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