Our long-term TMAX has been with us since May and has certainly been useful to have around, especially for a few longer trips when time is precious and I need to get there (classic scooters can’t be relied on 100% to get you there and back without bits breaking or falling off).
My latest trip was up to Northumberland to visit my mum last weekend. I was travelling two up and staying for the weekend and it’s at times like this you realise that having underseat storage is great but you still need more storage space for practicality. If you have a pillion you can’t strap things to the seat either so I opted to fit a Givi 56-litre top box (we’ll be reviewing that soon).
Hard luggage has its advantages, you can fit and forget it (even though it can be removed very easily), your stuff stays dry and things are out of sight and relatively safe if you leave the scooter. The downside to hard luggage is that you can’t squash stuff in like you can with a roll top bag, or similar soft luggage. This meant that on the 180-mile trip north last Friday we couldn’t get everything in we needed so had to jettison a few not-quite-so essentials (hairdryer etc.). Thankfully we weren’t camping or we’d never have managed to get a tent and sleeping bags on as well. I can actually fit two weeks worth of clothing and camping equipment on the rear carrier of my Lambretta and tour Spain on it. Whereas maxi scooters are hard work to load up.
Riding with a fully-loaded top box affects the handling characteristics a bit as well, it sits high up and on the way up north we filled it with heavier stuff, like wash bags, shoes etc. This left the front feeling a little light and if I took my hands off the handlebars at 30mph it tried to do a tank slapper. We learnt for the way back though and put the heavier items beneath the seat instead, that cured the wobble. Talking of loading the underseat space, it’s worth noting that if you cram it full and have hard items at the top you’ll feel them through the base of the seat, making the ride less comfortable. I’ve found that out with a few scooters so it’s not a fault of the Yamaha, just rider packing error. The seat bases can’t ‘give’ as much if they’re loaded to the max.
f you’re a maxi or mid capacity scooter/bike owner who struggles with luggage we may well have a product to help you soon. Let us know if you struggle to load your scooter up and if you use a top box or not in the comments, or email us at: Editorial@ScooterLab.UK
Fast & agile
Blasting to the seaside and back is a doddle on the TMAX, it’s quick, agile and comfortable. Agile was a good attribute on the way there with miles and miles of standing traffic to filter through. Trying not to get any self-imposed ‘penalties’ for putting a foot down on the motorway whilst filtering is a game I like to play to make filtering more enjoyable. The TMAX can handle fast or slow perfectly, it’s a very well-balanced scooter. As you’d expect for such a well-evolved machine.
Two up comfort
It’s a roomy scooter when two up, my pillion was quite happy with her perch, although her view included the speedo so I was told off on a few occasions. She was also worried that I was going to run out of fuel (the gauge was flashing for miles), I tried to reassure her that it comes on unnecessarily early but she wouldn’t believe me. The result, I filled up with just 10.58 litres (meaning I still had almost 4.5 litres left). The whole 429-mile mostly motorway return journey cost £49 in fuel and included a big detour to Manchester on the way home. It works out at around 54mpg (the digital dash said 56mpg so it’s not far out) and I wasn’t hanging about on the way home. Still not a cheap trip but much more fun, quicker and less bother than doing it by car.
Two up comfort is important on a scooter of this calibre and for once my other half wasn’t complaining. The flip out pegs are well placed, the seat is both roomy and comfortable and she wasn’t blasted too much by the wind. The Givi box also gives your pillion something to lean on, although a back-rest pad would be a bonus.
The TMAX is quick enough for most people, it’ll sit at 100mph if you fancy it and to be honest there’s not much that overtakes it (the top GPS speed I’ve seen is 108). It even gets a nod from appreciative bikers on the road, although I imagine half of them think it’s a bike rather than scooter hooning towards them in a big black blur. It handles much more like a bike than a scooter as well, a result of Yamaha using a swinging arm, rather than swinging engine like you get on most scooters. As a result, it’s easily capable of showing a few middleweight sports bikes up on your favourite twisty route, even when you’re riding twos up.
All in all I’ve loved riding the mighty Yamaha so far, even though most miles covered have been riding to places for work (I usually use classic scooters for pleasure). I already knew I liked the TMAX as a maxi scooter but living with it confirms things. It’s good looking and mean in its all-black livery, with Akrapovic exhaust and tiny black sports screen. It rides superbly and has power on tap when you need it. So far so good. If you’re a biker reading this and your bike is going in for a service maybe see if your dealer has a TMAX demo you can borrow for the day, I’m sure you’d enjoy it.
Long termer in numbers
Yamaha TMAX 530 Original: £9999
Sports screen: £74.60
Mileage when collected: 80
Mileage now: 1543
Average MPG: 54
Summary so far: King of the large capacity sports touring scooter class
Contact: Yamaha UK
New products always in development…