Wsome scooters are fit to be a status symbol. Let’s put it bluntly: the types that the market has to offer are rarely beauties or sporty, attractive figures. Most often, utility, chubby, and quirkiness go together. Accordingly, scooter riders run the risk of being classified as pragmatically oriented people who put things of taste in the background. At least when it comes to choosing the means of transport.
Exceptions prove the rule. They do exist, the prestige objects of the practical kind. The nostalgic Vespa is one of them, as is the futuristic BMW electric scooter. The Yamaha TMax is a fixture in this circle. It may be of Japanese origin, but at heart it is so southern European and cool in terms of sunglasses that thousands of Italians, French and Spaniards use it to drive around the outside mirrors of traffic jam users who are plagued by four-wheelers.
What’s more: A TMax doesn’t blare like a scooter, it hums with a deeply sonorous voice to the pit of your stomach. People like to wear a fashionable, civilian outfit and an arrogant, relaxed facial expression. The TMax is the double espresso on two wheels. Its special position is made clear by the fact that many owners have special accessories fitted for individualisation, as is otherwise only the case in the motorcycle world.
Motorbike – a good keyword. When the first TMax generation came onto the market in 2001, Yamaha had created something completely new, a sports scooter in maxi format, which approached the motorcycle world in terms of technology and handling. Since then, more than 350,000 units have been sold in 87 countries, around 85 percent of them in Europe and the majority in, see above, Italy, France and Spain. But the great Max is also valued and revered in Germany.
A revision is due every three to four years, and now the eighth generation is on the market. As usual, Yamaha avoids the installation of a clunky, scooter-typical power train swing arm and instead relies on the sophisticated solution of an engine rigidly bolted to the aluminum frame. It drives the rear wheel, which is guided by an aluminum swing arm, by means of a CVT belt transmission and toothed belt. The high-torque two-cylinder engine with a displacement of 562 cubic centimeters delivers 48 hp. Its standard consumption is 4.8 liters.
Due in the spirit of the times
With its stable chassis, the high-quality, tightly damped suspension, the gripping brake system, two driving modes, traction control plus a noble overall appearance, the TMax stands out from the scooter monotony. He’s always been the one who hits the commuter traffic on weekdays and goes to play with the bikes on the weekends. When it comes to changing from the everyday duty to the freestyle program out of the city onto winding roads in the countryside, he makes it his task to stick motorbikes in the rear-view mirror. Fast lane speed on the Autobahn does not make your knees tremble.
The engine and drive remained practically untouched for the 2022 model year, and Yamaha also changed a lot. Some of it was also really due in terms of the zeitgeist. Inevitable was the arrival of the 7-inch color screen in the cockpit with a choice of display styles plus smartphone connectivity options via Bluetooth, WiFi and USB. There is a mobile phone compartment and options for listening to music and making phone calls, provided a suitable helmet with headset is available.
You can also hear the instructions from the Garmin navigation system. However, in order to conjure up its map on the screen, you need two apps on your smartphone – one from Yamaha and another from Garmin. For the Apple Carplay generation, this is probably the second-best solution at most, especially since a fee is required for the Garmin app. However, the functionality of the Garmin navigation is then available and not just simple route guidance.
Navigating through the menus of the on-board computer works well with a joystick on the left of the handlebars, although in the heat of the city battle the little lever is occasionally confused with the adjacent turn signal switch. Unfortunately, the indicators themselves always have to be deactivated manually, as there is no automatic switch-off, which would actually be expected with a premium product like this at the premium price of 12,700 euros plus 400 euros in additional costs.
In terms of design, the Yamaha has become crisper, more compact and more angular. In the new fairing sits a headlamp conglomerate with a piercing look that, together with air intakes and indicated little wings, suggests assertiveness. The modified lens offers excellent wind and weather protection. The running boards and the seat, which is equipped with an adjustable driver’s backrest, have been lengthened. The narrower waist accommodates people of short height; you can reach the ground better than before when you stop. The new handlebar is a gem made of forged aluminum and aligns the upper body more actively forward, towards the front wheel. Lighter wheels and modified chassis settings serve to increase agility.
The price of sportiness: the TMax still has no real step-through in front of the seat; to get on you swing one leg over the stern. The storage space – at most a full-face helmet plus small items – is not ample, many commuters make do with a top case or the “Urban” accessory package. More than half of the customers opt for the luxurious “Tech Max” version of the TMax. Special features: electrically adjustable disc, heated grips and seats (a bit weak for single-digit temperatures), smart key, backlit central switch, cruise control, adjustable rear wheel suspension, cost 15,200 euros. Yamaha knows what TMax fans want. And that they are willing to dig deep into their pockets.
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