I’VE been a bit smug about how easy my long-term test bike, a Yamaha TMAX, has made winter.
I do a 120-mile round-trip commute which on other machines would be harrowing enough to shorten your life. But December and January have just felt like a longer-than-usual autumn.
While other riders have used their bodies to slice through freezing winds, I’ve used the scooter’s vast bodywork and tall screen. Their legs and feet have been battered like windsocks, mine have been sheltered in a footwell.
I thought only thick snow on the ground would stop me riding even for one day. Until one morning when, as you’ve probably guessed from the main image, I pressed the starter button and the battery was having none it. I’d parked in my garden (I’ve got two ground anchors and don’t live in London, where Mayor Sadiq Khan has said motorcycle firms need to make bikes harder to steal to stop moped crime). The mercury had evidently dropped well below zero in my absence.
Where is a TMAX’s battery? I had no idea. I looked it up – but by then I was at work, having got the train. I connected the charger in the dark that evening and it juiced it up, but not fully. Just enough to start the engine.
The battery's shot and needs to be replaced. My fault - that’s just what happens when they are exposed to extreme cold. It’s as though the TMAX has made winter so easy that I’ve become complacent about what it can do. Like some car drivers.
The TMAX is due for its second service anyway, at 6,000 miles, so I’ll get it swapped then.