Yamaha TMax 560: New large scooter in the driving report

Yamaha TMax 560 driving report

The even thicker Max

Yamaha sends its successful TMax scooter into the seventh generation. With more displacement, the 560 should appear even sportier without sacrificing comfort. We have already been able to drive it in Portugal.

AT.When Yamaha presented the TMax 500 to the astonished press in the summer of 2000, the world of scooters suddenly changed. Because until then, the mostly small-wheeled plastic bombers had at best 250 cc and around 20 hp. Which is definitely enough for brisk progress in urban areas, but sets early limits to driving dynamics in open terrain. In addition, the drive unit, shaped as a drive unit swing arm with correspondingly high unsprung masses, severely restricted the options for chassis tuning. On top of that, most of the scooters at the time were designed for utility rather than fun.

With the TMax, that changed radically. The key data alone caused noise in the ranks of the reporters: 40 hp. 160 km / h. Two cylinders. Less than 200 kilograms dry weight. 14-inch wheels, even 150 at the rear. How does that work?

Fundamentally new scooter concept

It went, and continues to do so today, because Yamaha started with a blank sheet of paper when designing it. The heavy twin was firmly screwed to the frame, a light aluminum swing arm, in the left arm of which the encapsulated chain drive was hidden, ensured the wheel guidance. At the front this task was taken over by a solid double bridge telescopic fork. This concept was the cornerstone for the outstanding performance in the scooter segment in terms of driving dynamics and handling. A TMAX never had to hide from motorcycles in its performance class either.

The concept came and is particularly popular in Europe, where 84 percent of all 330,000 Maxes sold since the market launch in 2001 have found their owners. By the way, as market research found out, they are almost always male, between their mid-30s and mid-50s, frequent drivers and like repeat offenders when buying new vehicles. Because even good things can still be improved.

As revolutionary as the TMax was when it was first introduced, its further development was quite rightly evolutionary. Yamaha speaks of a total of 7 generations, including small model updates. The biggest jump was in 2012, the frame material changed from steel to aluminum, the rear-wheel drive from encapsulated chain to toothed belt, the twin added 30 cm³ and the dress was tightened a bit. In 2015 and 2017 there was a small lift or new equipment variants and now Yamaha saw the time come once again to lend a hand to the Max. Which brings us to the present and to Portugal, where the Japanese invited them to take a test drive with the 2020 vintage.


The increase in displacement brings two horsepower

Externally, not much has changed compared to the 2019 model. At the front, the indicators with LED technology also shine, the rear light has been redesigned. It is only locked and unlocked using a smart key. A lot more hand was put under the dress. Two millimeters more bore increased the displacement from 530 to 562 cm³. The diameter of the inlet valves grew by one to 27 millimeters. In addition, the entire crank drive has been revised, whereby the special feature of the TMax Twin has been retained: It is a synchronous rotor, that is, both pistons run in parallel. Anyone who has ever moved an old English twin or a Yamaha XS 650 knows that this concept produces a nice sound but also terrible vibrations. The fact that the Max sounds, but hardly vibrates, is due to a counterweight, also shaped as a piston, that moves 180 degrees offset to the two drive pistons. So, in a way, the TMAx has a three-cylinder boxer engine.

Due to the increase in displacement, power and torque increased moderately. The power by two hp to 48, but with a significantly increased nominal speed, the torque grew by three to 56 Nm with still 5,250 rpm. The working range of the modified variator is located at almost exactly this speed. Their gear ratio became a bit shorter overall, ditto the secondary gear ratio of the toothed belt. As a result, the new TMax should sprint ahead even faster than its not exactly phlegmatic predecessor. Nevertheless, Yamaha specifies the standard consumption of 4.8 instead of 5.3 liters.

Track-stable chassis

So much for the theory that shares the same color as Himmel and Roller: gray. It starts. The morning rush hour shows that the scooter is perfectly balanced. During the slalom through the columns of cars, it can be directed with millimeter precision. The gas can also be dosed sensitively. This is important because there is often only a few centimeters of space between the scooter and car mirrors. The drizzle does not make things any easier, but the fine-tuned traction control that cannot be switched off prevents the loss of the same if a bitumen stain, cobblestones or white lane markings cause a significant increase in slip during an intermediate sprint.

The fact that the spring rates in the upside-down fork and shock absorber have been increased minimally is not noticeable with this driving style. On the other hand, the fan starts up very often despite moderate temperatures and additional water supply from below. Which raises the question of whether the reduction of the coolant to just 130 cm³ was not something over the target.

At some point even the longest traffic jam will come to an end. On the April 25th Bridge, better known as the Golden Gate Bridge of Lisbon, the roadway runs around 70 meters above the ground and wants hot water. Both rain and wind have freshened up properly. Most of the oncoming two-wheelers have already positioned their feet close to the ground, because the gusts shake the bridge ropes and vehicles. The axes of the journalists’ troop also sway, but they do not give way, and their feet can stay on the running boards, protected from wind and water. Nevertheless, the heart rate drops significantly when the end of the almost 2,300-meter-long structure is reached. The journey continues towards Setúbal and on the coast the rain gives way to fog. The Yamaha copes with this forced crawl speed without any problems.

Sporting talents are retained

At some point, however, the sun can prevail, the streets dry up, and Max can show what he’s got. In terms of sportiness, no other scooter can hold a candle to it. Not super handy, but still agile, it can be thrown into the corners, freedom from sloping positions is not an issue, at least solo. In S mode, it speaks a little more directly than i T mode. It reacts calmly to braking in an inclined position, meaning neutral. The braking effect is appropriate to the sporty habitus, only the ABS works, typical for Yamaha, with quite long control intervals. But that cannot spoil the joy of driving in the long term. The way back leads over the 17 kilometer long Ponte Vasco da Gama in the best weather. If you are not careful, there will be 160 things on the clock on the track. This is not a problem for the TMax, but the local executive could prepare one for the driver, so we let it roll out and enjoy the view of the city as well as the windshield behind the windshield, which is continuously adjustable by 135 millimeters on the Tech Max model.

TMax with a high price level

Despite all the sportiness, you don’t pinch anything even after several hours of driving. Either a full-face helmet and small items can be stowed under the bench. Or two open face helmets. All in all, the TMax is a well-rounded affair. But no rose without thorns: The Standard Max costs 11,990 euros, the Tech Max variant used during the presentation a proud 13,699 euros. In addition to the said adjustable sign, there is also a cruise control, heated handles and seat bench, a spring strut adjustable in the spring preload and a connection to the personal smartphone called TMax Connect with which all kinds of important and less important information can be called up. Both will be available from December.

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