Road Test

Yamaha TMAX long-term review: I thought I could ride every day through winter. Winter disagreed.

Arctic blast: 1. Battery: nil


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.

This is as much charge as the battery will now take.

The TMAX is due for its second service anyway, at 6,000 miles, so I’ll get it swapped then.

Back when it was warmer.



My commute is 50 miles each way, and I do it through the winter. I work from home when there is snow on the road, as we did for a few days last December.

I ride an R Nine T. You don’t need a scooter to do long commutes in all weather.

If you're riding a bike all winter, you're either someone who loves cleaning bikes or your bike is dissolving.
As the tester says, keeping your legs and feet out of the cold and muck is best done on a scooter. And blasting the plastic bodywork with a power washer every few days is infinitely easier than cleaning a 'proper' bike. Especially a naked.

LS650's picture

I used to boast that I rode my bike all winter long. Eventually I got tired of cleaning my bike and dealing with cold wet gear. Now when the weather is crap I get smart and drive my car.

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