I asked my friend and colleague Pascal Bastien to take the TMAX 500 for a quick spin. Yamaha claims it's a sport scooter with motorcycle-like riding dynamics. What does a true biker think about that? Well, according to Pascal, the TMAX is a scooter and will always be a scooter, but...
|The styling is reminiscent of today's 50-cc models with their slender lines and sporty looks.|
Pascal loved the styling of this Yamaha, which is radically different from other maxi scooters. Yet, it's reminiscent of today's 50-cc models with their slender lines and sporty looks. Protection against the elements is worthy of a grand touring motorcycle. That's why I like scooters for daily use.
However, Pascal found that some of the plastics were rather cheap, like the fuel cap's. While frame rigidity is significantly improved, the TMAX is far from a sporty motorcycle and light-years away from a superbike. He's the expert; I believe him. On the road
The TMAX is the first large-displacement scooter with truly sporty dynamics on the road, he said. For sure, I would have to agree. Pascal also found the machine's cornering speed quite surprising: 90 km/h was the slowest he ever got at the apex of a highway on-ramp. The TMAX does a nice job of leaning into corners.
He confirmed Yamaha's top speed claims for the 2009 TMAX, reaching 176 km/h with the wind in his back and 160 km/h with the wind in his face. That said, he told me he was unable to get the most out of the engine due to the automatic transmission, particularly during passing maneuvers.
While acceleration figures are surprising, the feeling they provide is somewhat disappointing. Pascal found the exhaust note and mechanical feel little inspiring.
|The TMAX does a nice job of leaning into corners. |