Yamaha TMax maxi-scooter test

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The two top-of-the-range versions of the Tmax are rich in electronics and comfort and safety equipment

In-line twin, 46 hp, 53 Nm, traction control, range from € 11,499

Whether we like it or not, we can safely say that the Yamaha Tmax has revolutionized the practice of motorcycling through the 5 generations marketed since 2001. The first large scooter that can be considered by real bikers as a mount that is both credible and almost ideal for everyday life, it has sparked unprecedented enthusiasm for a scooter. Just look at the many clubs and user forums … a challenge for a scooter, even maxi-scooter !

The Yamaha TMax, TMax DX and TMax SXThe Yamaha TMax, TMax DX and TMax SX

Inescapable proof of its brilliant success, it has also left its status as a commercial proposition among others to become almost a generic term on its own: in the same way as Harley-Davidson in the world of customs and the BMW R 1200 GS among the big trails, the Tmax embodies the big scooter with a sporting tendency. The proof ? In Europe, on the market for large scooters of more than 500 cm3, the Tmax has always taken more than 50% of the market share in this segment and each evolution of the model makes it climb towards a status of almost monopoly! Thus, in 2008, 66% of large scooters sold in Europe were a Tmax; in 2012, during the relifting, it rose to 68%. Then, the novelty effect fades and it goes down a little, to 54% in 2013 and 52% in 2014, to go back up to 62% in 2015, when the Tmax recovers a keyless start. At the end of 2016, Yamaha stopped the counters: the Tmax still made 53% of the sales of large scooters in Europe and its total production exceeds 250,000 units. !

Yamaha TMax reviewYamaha TMax review

Of course, we could continue to align the figures and that would surely please the Yamaha teams who communicated them to us, but analyzing the following few figures allows us to fully understand how Yamaha is developing its flagship product and to understand what makes the 2017 model with these precise characteristics. What you need to know is that:

  • There is a high rate of renewal and retention among Tmax users. Thus, when the 2004 evolution appeared, 18% of buyers already owned Tmax. This rate rose to 20% with the appearance of the 2008 generation, to 32% in 2012 and to 41% in 2015. Moral of the story: when Yamaha makes a new Tmax, Yamaha knows that it is full (41% during latest statistics!) of Tmax users will buy it. Customers are almost as captivated as at Apple: that’s a business plan !
  • Second, the owner of Tmax is no small winner and he only wants the best! Over time, Yamaha began to produce "special" (therefore more expensive) series: remember the Black Max, Silver Max, White Max, Bronze Max etc. Well, last year these "special" series accounted for 52% of Tmax’s sales. And it is rumored that we are expecting a limited version with a big name in the car industry in 2017. Moral of the story: the more Yamaha makes Tmaxs that are a little bit exclusive and therefore more expensive, the more Yamaha is sure to sell them. !

Hence the arrival for 2017 of a range of three Tmax: the standard model, the SX, more sporty (with driving modes and the MyTmaxConnect application) and the DX, more luxurious (with adjustable suspensions, electric bubble , cruise control, grips and heated saddle), each of these versions having its specific color (silver for the SX, satin blue for the DX, the three versions also being available in black). Of course, the prices go up: 11,499 € for the Tmax, 12,299 € for the Tmax SX, 13,299 € for the Tmax DX. It’s starting to add up for a scooter, no ?

Yamaha TMax DX reviewYamaha TMax DX review

Discovery

No doubts, the aesthetic filiation is always there. But looking at the details, the spirit has changed a little bit: thicker at the front, wider at the rear (in order to increase the trunk volume, which was not the strong point of the previous models. and the 2017 model can now integrate two jets under the saddle, provided they are positioned in a somewhat ingenious way), the new proportions give the Tmax a slightly less sporty posture. Nothing illogical to that since Yamaha wants to position the Tmax as a little more "premium".

Yamaha TMax DX headlightsYamaha TMax DX headlights

Notwithstanding, we recognize the spirit of the lineage in particular thanks to the central arch in the shape of a boomerang. Despite this and despite the presence of LED lights at the front and rear (where the optics are now split and no longer borrowed from an R1 as in previous vintages), the look is more neat . The Tmax continues to improve its level of performance, with little touches such as a new meter with a blue background and central TFT screen, small aluminum-like veneers on the dashboard and the central apron, with version identification plates. SX and DX … All this can only enhance the owner, even if, looking in detail, we still see that the assemblies call for many visible screws..

Yamaha TMax DX CounterYamaha TMax DX Counter

The Tmax, now, is very techno. We already knew the keyless start, it appeared on the evolution of 2015. But on condition of not choosing the base Tmax, with the SX, for example, we already have driving modes. D-mode is selected on the right stalk and allows you to choose between full power (46 hp) in Sport mode, or reduced power (38 hp) in Touring mode. That’s not all: traction control is standard on all three versions and can be deactivated by entering the menus, which is done on the left stalk. One regret: this traction control is in on / off mode and it is not linked to the level of D-mode. So, if by a curious desire, we deactivate it with D-mode on Sport and it suddenly starts falling frogs (that’s an expression), it is easy to switch back to Touring (even while driving, we can change D-mode), but that won’t reset traction control. It is kind of a shame.

Yamaha TMax DX left switchYamaha TMax DX left switch

And that’s not all. On the SX and DX and in collaboration with Vodafone, Yamaha presents the MyTmaxConnect: basically your scooter is connected to an App which can not only act as a GPS linked to an on-board computer (you can follow all the parameters of your journeys), can set speed limits not to be exceeded and send you alerts in the event of excess, but it can also give alerts in the event of an attempted theft, or even have Vodafone directly notify the police. order if a criminal action is noted. In this register, also note that when the ignition is off and the steering blocked, the center stand is also blocked, which complicates the transport of the scooter in the event of an attempted theft..

Yamaha TMax DX beltYamaha TMax DX belt

And that’s still not all! On the DX, which squarely acts as a GT, we have a cruise control (easy to operate, on the left stalk), an electric windshield which rises to an amplitude of 135 mm (the other two versions have a manual adjustment and an amplitude of 50 mm), while the grips are heated and the saddle too, but only for the rider.

Yamaha TMax tail lightsYamaha TMax taillights

What is less noticeable are also the evolutions concerning the chassis: new frame, new wheels and new tires (the all new Dunlop RoadSmart III SC) lighter, new shorter exhaust and allowing to refocus the masses. The Tmax has thus lost 9 kilos, which is not negligible and should be felt when driving.

In the saddle

We did most of this test on the top-of-the-range DX version, with a few tens of minutes spent riding the SX. The standard Tmax was not available for this first presentation of the 2017 vintage. In all three cases, one thing in common: the saddle is 800 mm high and in addition it is a bit wide. In fact, the very short on legs will find that the Tmax is a little bulky and to move forward on the saddle is useless, because the gonads are then found posed on a plastic console which integrates the opening controls of the saddle. and the tank opening.

Taking care of the practical aspects, there are also two storage compartments whose magnetic opening is blocked when the ignition is not on. A large square button on the right stalk allows both to power on the machine (remember, the key remains in your pocket) and to start. Driving mode chosen, traction control on, bubble at the right height, right ambient temperature (for real, this test having been carried out in South Africa by more than 25 ° C, we have not tested), but the Tmax has everything to put its pilot in the mood. With the button on the left thumb, you scroll through the menus and the selection of the different options is very easy.

Yamaha TMax SX reviewYamaha TMax SX review

In the city

The new Tmax is not either a revolution compared to the old one and the qualities which one knew him its renewed. They first fit in an in-line twin, admittedly relatively lively, but above all very round, supple and smooth, with a connection to the throttle that can be described as absolutely remarkable. Thus, the movements smoothly and in traffic are done both with finesse and with an impeccable level of precision. All this is therefore new to the program and we will appreciate the presence of traction control on the white stripes or cobblestones. We tested it on patches of white sand that the wind had sent on the road in South Africa: it works well !

Compared to Sport mode, Touring mode reduces power from 46 to 38 horsepower, but also the liveliness of grip response. If the Tmax is relatively nervous in full, the Touring mode really tempers the response to the grip and under 5/6000 rpm, the difference is obvious. One might even think that with the presence of traction control, this mode is not necessarily essential, especially since the two electronic aids are not linked and when as long as we keep TCS, we have an angel Guardian.

In fact, the weight gain allows, according to Yamaha, the new Tmax to reach, during sustained acceleration, the 200-meter mark with an 8-meter lead, ie two Smart and a cyclist, compared to the previous vintage. The Tmax therefore retains its title of king of the red light.

And too bad if this reputation is based on a deception, because the modern era goes to the buzz and the short cut, without trying to understand the bottom of things. That the Tmax accelerates relatively strongly is a fact. But what is equally important is that any insignificant limit motorcycle, like a 1998 Honda 500 CB or a 1994 Suzuki 650 DR, actually accelerates more than it does. But for that, you have to master the art of the dragster-style start and not worry about the longevity of the clutch. And obviously, the driving license, we do not train for that. Which is a shame, but it therefore allows the Tmax to consolidate its reputation.

And this with the greatest ease. Which brings us to the second part devoted to the behavior of the Tmax in town.

And be careful; what follows contains explicit language and could offend sensitive souls. Le Repaire therefore declines all responsibility and encourages you to go directly to the next paragraph entitled "highways and main roads". But the truth is that:

The Tmax makes you stupid. Completely silly.

In theory, humans are supposed to be altruistic, to love their neighbor and to show kindness. But that is the theory. Because he can also be an impulsive and vaguely aggressive being, thinking only of himself and behaving for the sole purpose of satisfying his impulses. Hell is other people, said Sartre, and in the cities, there are plenty of others. Suddenly, it takes up space. Many places. The Tmax, by the liveliness of its accelerations, can take advantage of every opportunity to gain space. It is very effective for this.

In fact, it quickly satisfied a certain category of users. Often, we recognize them. They look like they come from a sect so much they are all dressed the same: Canada Goose jacket, Roof helmet with the small red dewclaws raised on the skull, sinister appearance, 3-day beard and contemptuous jowl, iPhone stuck in the helmet, branded sneakers and small luxury bag (a fake, obviously), slung over the shoulder. Of course, the exhaust is approved "me, life in society, nothing to give a fuck" and the stuff is driven by its owner to great short bursts of gas and jerky, as if the author were seized with masturbatory spasms. Freud, the great one, would surely have things to say about it.

It’s easy to laugh at, because it has been found that even on intelligent, respectful and well-behaved people (our good David M., great orderer of the Den and your servant are examples among others), in short , it was found that the Tmax could modify the behavior of people who were nevertheless normally educated. Take the most loving of fathers, the most responsible of citizens, the most zealous of taxpayers and put him on a Tmax: he will start driving like a con. On his handlebars, even the Dalai Lama becomes a curd !

In short, before the greatest experts in neurosurgery look into his case, you must be warned: the Tmax is a weapon in town and on its handlebars, we quickly have the feeling that we have just obtained a port of armed…

Yamaha TMax in townYamaha TMax in town

On highways and main roads

Almost 180 meters: when it was released, the Tmax hit the headlines and the years that go by do not affect its performance or the ease with which it obtains them. Thus, on the national road, by modulating the throttle a little, we count on a variator that does not slip too much to be almost at 4500 rpm at 90 km / h. On the highway, the DX’s electric high bubble changes everything: now, a tall pilot (say, almost 1.90) can ride with a jet helmet and the visor open. The airflow also spares the shoulders, but you still feel aero eddies in the legs.

The cruise control will then be an asset to swallow substantial distances, while the quality of the chassis means that the stability is not challenged, unlike many scooters which play the flying sausage as soon as the speed increases a little..

Aerial viewAerial view

On departmental

Bumps, fast corners, tight curves: we had plenty of material to put the Tmax to the test during this test. And it makes recognize that it is just bluffing, in particular by its capacity to enter the curves by loading the front axle and without feeling any blur or pendulum movement of the steering column, as would be the case on most of the others. big market scooters. You can also easily tighten a trajectory when the turn closes, with a precise front axle, good tires, easy to adjust brakes. That is in the absolute.

In the relative, we still manage to find the limits and they appear a little earlier than on a motorcycle: on the attack, it is not too complicated to put the stand on a curve and on bumps, we may find that it lacks rigor, bounces back and widens the trajectory. But let’s put the debate back on track: in the world of scooters, except for the BMW C 600 Sport, there is the Tmax and the others.

Moral of the story: by keeping a little margin, you can be a fanatic biker and have a lot of fun riding the Tmax, thanks to the frankness that is his in the entries of bends and we even come to hope to fall on the way to other bikers, just to teach them a lesson !

Yamaha TMax on departmentalYamaha TMax on departmental

Part-cycle

New: frame 30% lighter than the previous one (with a rear part now in plastic and no longer in aluminum, imposed by the space gained in the trunk), swingarm 40 mm longer, wheels, tire allowing gain 1 kilo, transmission belt lighter by 130 grams (and narrower by 15 mm, at 25 against 40) the Tmax underwent a cure and in the end, 9 kilos of saved.

That’s a lot and the Tmax has thus gained even more agility and precision, it is undeniable, especially as the new exhaust, shorter by 77 mm and higher, helps to re-centralize the masses. However, the DX’s comfort equipment requires it to return 3 kilos. Despite everything, the results remain positive !

Yamaha TMax three quarterYamaha TMax three quarter

Brakes

The Tmax uses a dual 267mm disc at the front and a single 282mm disc at the rear. The device is generally sufficient in view of the rather high performance of the machine and the precision of the dosage on the controls is praised. When attacking on bumpy roads, we only regret that the ABS is quite sensitive at the rear. However, you can brake hard and even on the corner in a curve without disturbing the behavior of the scooter..

Yamaha TMax DX front wheelYamaha TMax DX front wheel

Comfort and duo

No duet on this test, so we will not comment. The comfort is pretty good, even if the "small" wheels and the suspension travel less consequent than on many motorcycles (120 mm in front, 117 mm behind) that the small bumps are sometimes retransmitted sharply. But nothing dramatic about that! What is obvious is that the luxurious endowment of the DX makes the Tmax a machine whose level of comfort is unprecedented in scooters, with in particular the heated saddle, which however only concerns the driver. The protection of the DX screen is also quite remarkable. The seat, however, will be less soft than on a Suzuki 650 Burgman, but it should be borne in mind that the Tmax is still and always a sporty scooter..

Yamaha TMax DX saddleYamaha TMax DX saddle

Practical aspects

The double novelty is the comfort provided by the MyTmaxConnect App which allows you to geo-locate your scooter and be warned in the event of an attempted theft. Given the lust exerted by this machine, it is not a luxury that we can refuse. Subscription to the system is free for the first year and should be around € 90 per year for subsequent years..

The other point that will appeal to regulars is the more generous trunk. We can now put two small jets, but by placing them in an ingenious way. The Tmax still does not have the luggage compartment of the BMW C 650 GT or the Burgman, but it is progressing slowly.

Yamaha TMax SX trunkYamaha TMax SX trunk

Consumption / autonomy

With its 15-liter tank, the Tmax should guarantee an autonomy of at least 300 kilometers because we achieved 4.8 l / 100 (value of the on-board computer) during this test and the press tests are never very reasonable. The fuel gauge is located in the middle of the dashboard, on the TFT screen and is easy to read.

Yamaha TMax test on nationalYamaha TMax test on national

Conclusion

The previous Tmax had great qualities, such as being not only comfortable everywhere, but doing it with rigor or even being able to give pleasure to its owner, even if he was a biker. It was not a challenge from a machine whose technological bases and ergonomics were so different from a traditional motorcycle and this obviously contributed to its success..

For 2017, all this is unchanged and the Tmax retains the same fundamentals. The captive customers will be sensitive to it. Where it is progressing is in its modernity: electronic aids, traction control, driving mode (admittedly a bit of a gadget), high-end comfort, connected machine, the leap made is not marginal. And too bad if the price rises accordingly. Tmax customers do not only want Tmax: the past has shown that they want the best of Tmax and this is what is offered today. So expect to see them everywhere !

Strong points

  • Astonishing overall level of performance for a scooter
  • Driving pleasure in all circumstances
  • High level electronic staffing
  • Monitoring (anti-theft) by App
  • Stability in curves and turns
  • Bigger trunk than previous editions
  • State-of-the-art comfort equipment on DX

Weak points

  • Prices soaring a bit (DX)
  • Traction control not connected to D-modes
  • D-mode a little gadget, by the way
  • A fraction of the Tmax clientele is sometimes reluctant
  • Certain impact on neuronal balance…

The technical sheet of Yamaha TMax, SX and DX

Test conditions

  • Itinerary: 180 kilometers of city and road (mountain and coastal road) in the vicinity of Cape Town (South Africa)
  • Motorcycle mileage: 180 km
  • Problem encountered: we met baboons on the side of the road towards the tip of the Cape … It’s dangerous, baboons.

Yamaha TMax SX and DX video test

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2 thoughts on “Yamaha TMax maxi-scooter test

  1. I had a 650 Vstrom travel edition, that happiness … but solo, for the duo I found it not great on mountain roads! the same in 800 I bought because the 1000 did not convince me in terms of approval (protection, comfort etc …)

  2. outch! The options !!! It feels like Ducati !

    At the technical level, there is better, remains that at the aesthetic level, I do not agree (I preferred the old headlights and the pots under the saddle).

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