The scooter that scares motorcycles…
No offense to die-hard bikers who have often never tried it, TMax invades our cities … and our roads! Fashion effect or well-born machine in line with its market? Test.
One thing is certain: the TMax leaves no one indifferent: we love or we despise ! Appeared in 2001, Yamaha’s maxiscooter immediately accentuated the divide between scooters and motorcycles. Precisely because, by its sporting pretensions, it tramples the beds of machines equipped with a mechanical gearbox….
The TMax alone is a small revolution in the world of motorized two-wheelers. Many candidates for the A license enroll in motorcycle schools to switch from the 125 cc scooter to the 500 and it is common to see bikers take back their sports car to buy the Yamaha troublemaker … So what makes run all those TMaxmaniacs ?
Since its release, the TMax has undergone some modifications. In 2004, he switched to injection, gaining 4 horsepower. It also adopted a larger diameter fork and a second front brake disc. Finally since 2005, it can be delivered with optional ABS at 450 €.
|Paris, 10/11/2006 – The French benchmark in terms of maxiscoot is on its 31st ! Video Site.
The TMax of our test wears its very classy "Black Max" livery. A limited series which is unfortunately not available with ABS and which costs 155 € more than the basic version. For this price, it offers a matte black paint of the most beautiful effect, red brake calipers, a two-tone red / black saddle and polished rim edges..
However, these devices promise you unexpected success at all times! From the courier to the upper frame, they only have eyes for the machine! To believe that any normal boy who is between 15 and 55 years old dreams of a TMax…
A sword of Damocles: theft
This is also what makes it its main flaw: the TMax attracts lust in proportions rarely reached in France. Since its launch in 2001, this scooter has been at the forefront of motorized two-wheeler flights. The adoption in 2004 of a coded key immobilizer somewhat mitigated the phenomenon, but it remains a concern.
In addition, as thieves can no longer steal the machine when it is locked, they turn to violent theft, "bike-jacking", which can prove to be much more dangerous and traumatic than a classic theft during the trip. parking … Don, inevitably, on the handlebars of such a pretty TMax, we can’t help but think of these sad perils…
When stationary, the TMax seems low and very long. And that’s not just an impression, because its wheelbase is a good ten centimeters longer than an average motorcycle, or 1,575 mm. But once in the saddle, we quickly forget the respectable dimensions of the machine.
If its saddle height of 795 mm does not pose a problem, its width, on the other hand, could hamper the less than 1.80 m as it requires to spread the legs when stationary. That said, this is not a crippling problem because the center of gravity of the scooter is very low and its perfect balance..
The position is pleasant and natural – for a scooter. You can choose a sitting position with your feet under you, or a more lying position with your feet forward. This last position, apparently comfortable, will nevertheless be hard to hold over the long haul because the lower back then acts as a shock absorber for the upper body: guaranteed back pain. !
Not the most practical
If the finish is excellent, the equipment offers the minimum union compared to other maxiscooters: no on-board computer, no 12 V socket, no coupled braking or electric mirrors: the TMax is closer to the standard motorcycles.
Its dashboard consists of a very readable analog speedometer and tachometer that surround a digital window. This offers a fuel gauge, an odometer, two partial trips (plus one that is triggered when switching to reserve), a clock and the engine temperature. In short, nothing more than a recent motorcycle !
The commodos are specific to driving a scooter: the rear brake is in the left hand! There is also a parking brake which locks the rear brake when parking on a slope as long as the machine cannot be left in gear.
A small, rather impractical (narrow and too deep) and non-lockable storage compartment is located in the apron on the right. Storage space under the saddle – illuminated, please! – seems very bulky when you come from the motorcycle but irritates the "scooterist" who had more room on his scooter 125! Indeed, the TMax can only accommodate a full face helmet not too large and rain pants..
This lack of space under the saddle is due to what makes the TMax special compared to its competitors, except the Suzuki Burgman 650: the engine is not integral with the wheel and the rear suspension, but located in a chassis. close to that of a motorcycle.
Another specificity, the Yamaha has a larger diameter wheel at the rear (15 ") than at the front (14"). The reverse of the Burgman 650, in particular. All this is supposed to give the TMax a dynamic behavior far above that of traditional scooters..
The king of the city
It is not possible to start with the side stand. As with all scooters, you can only heat the TMax on its center stand but both are easy to use. No starter, the injection manages the idle which is around 1200 rpm.
The automatic transmission begins to pull at around 1,500 revolutions if you turn the handle frankly and around 1,900 revolutions if you go smoothly. This is appreciable because not very brutal during maneuvers at walking pace. The automatic gearbox also offers the advantage of eliminating the jerks of injection from which many recent motorcycles suffer..
From the first laps of the wheel at low speed, the general balance of the TMax is really impressive. The front axle is perfectly neutral and the stability of the chassis is impressive. When you get to the traffic light at a walk, you would almost forget to stick your leg out to stop, so serene you are !
If the "scooter rider" will immediately feel at home, the biker will be a little disconcerted at the start of not having anything between his legs. Be careful, nothing sexual, but it is disconcerting not to feel the reactions of the machine by squeezing the thighs on the tank and not being able to put pressure on the footrests either..
After a few kilometers, however, we quickly understand that the TMax can be driven – or even piloted – as simply and naturally as possible. We just counter-steer with our arms and put some of our weight inside the turn.
Its stability in no way hinders its liveliness and maneuverability. The Yamaha Maxiscooter is a real bike. When it comes to moving in traffic jams, the smoothness of the engine and transmission combined with the ease of the chassis work wonders. As for the turning radius, without being extraordinary, it remains correct.
Only the generous dimensions of the machine could be a handicap to slip into mouse holes. The highly legible and vibration-free mirrors are perfectly positioned: they go above those of most sedans and below those of pickup trucks. Only the mirrors of the minivans prevent it from slipping through traffic jams.
Crime push !
But the main asset of the TMax is of course its engine and its famous automatic transmission which make it the terror of cities … When starting a fire, it puts everyone in agreement. If he is a little lazy for the first five meters, he really gets excited to propel himself to 80 km / h in less time than it takes to say it…
The fairly short pull of the throttle contributes even more to increasing these cannon starts at all fires. Of course, any motorcycle of at least 500cc can catch a cold on a TMax when starting up. But his pilot will quickly run out if he renews this effort at each crossroads !
For comparison, the direct competitor of the Yamaha, the Suzuki Burgman 650 – with its 150 cc and its additional 11 hp – does better in acceleration and top speed, but provides much less thrill..
This is also what we love about TMax: its push-to-crime side! But beware of the other side of the coin: it is difficult to stay calm with this machine! As the cycle part collects without flinching the pranks of the mechanics, the pace in town as on small winding roads can be really high…
In built-up areas, you have to be honest about yourself if you want to keep a few more points on your license. In addition, the sound of the exhaust is extremely pleasant and contributes a lot to driving pleasure. The angry sound is closer to that of the 450 cc single cylinders of the latest enduro motorcycles than that of a classic twin. Moreover, many TMax owners equip their mounts with adaptable mufflers … not that quiet. !
A scooter for pilots … and travelers
The TMax is therefore the first scooter to be able to offer sporty driving … Without danger! To be convinced of this, just count the ever increasing number of people participating in the Moto Tour! They are also far from being ridiculous in this event which gives pride of place to ease of driving rather than pure performance..
If we can therefore override this somewhat unnatural position for the attack, the TMax behaves very well and remains healthy. The front axle seems riveted to the ground while the chassis remains neutral and unfazed.
Its powerful braking is effective and reassuring. We just blame the dual piston front calipers for a lack of bite when taking the lever. Due to the machine’s fairly long wheelbase, the rear brake is more than a retarder: it is really effective. But beware of blockages during heavy braking !
The TMax, thanks to its engine and its dynamic qualities, offers real travel skills and allows a very respectable cruising speed on the motorway. The original windshield protects well but reflects some turbulence in the helmet of older pilots. At high speed, it also creates an unpleasant depression in the pilot’s back which pushes him forward..
Autonomy, meanwhile, is not extraordinary. This is not due to a very high consumption – although the TMax consumes a lot for a 500 cc (5.9 l / 100 km over the whole of our test) -, but more to the tank which contains only 14 liters. . In the best case, we go into reserve after 180 km.
This maxiscooter can also be enjoyed in pairs, subject to opting for a top-case or a passenger backrest. Otherwise, the too upright position of the passenger prevents him from effectively withstanding acceleration and braking. In duet with some business, the power is suddenly a little tight. Many TMax owners dream of a successor of 600 or 700 cc…
The TMax may not be the best in performance or handling, but it shines with its consistency and the perfect harmony between its engine and its chassis. This alchemy probably explains the pleasure that one experiences on his handlebars and the incredible success that he meets..
That die-hard bikers rest assured: the Yamaha maxiscooter is not ready to dethrone motorcycles either in terms of pleasure or pure efficiency. But the TMax fills the gap that existed between the motorcycle and the scooter, and it does it very well. !
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