2015 Yamaha TMax Test

2015 Yamaha TMax Review - To the Max Scooter
2015 Yamaha TMax

Reviving Yamaha’s long-standing moniker for its maxi-scooter, the TMax returns this year, and it is sportier than ever. Sure, there are motorcyclists who turn their noses up at scooters, and we have all seen the politically incorrect Internet memes aimed at these typically utilitarian two-wheelers.

However, the 2015 Yamaha TMax is definitely something different. Powered by a 530cc liquid-cooled DOHC twin, the TMax can take you from 0-to-80 mph in much less time than you would ever expect. Even more impressive, Yamaha has afforded that peppy motor with a chassis that is more than willing to handle the power produced.

Weighing in at a manageable 485 pounds with its four-gallon tank filled, the TMax gets all sorts of goodies that you don’t expect to see on a scooter—a controlled-fill die-cast aluminum frame, 41mm inverted forks, a horizontally mounted single shock (engine is sprung weight), twin 267mm discs with four-piston radially mounted calipers, and wide 15-inch Dunlop Sportmax GPR-100 radial tires.

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With a wide seat sitting 31.5 inches above the pavement, the tallish TMax is not oriented toward beginning riders, despite the relatively compact ergonomics and a motor that is easy to handle at low rpm. Engagement of the constantly variable belt transmission is gentle, and the initial hit as you get underway is light.

Once the TMax picks up a few revs, hang on—power and speed builds very progressively. It is seriously ready to put the power to the ground and get you up to freeway velocity in a hurry, and offers the stability to comfortably navigate extra-legal speeds.

Of course, all it takes to keep the TMax docile on crowded city streets is to mind your right wrist. You can bop around all day as casually as you would on a Zuma 50F, if you prefer.

Much more agile in town than your typical maxi-scooter, and perfectly capable of splitting lanes confidently, the TMax wakes up every morning — via a keyless fob and a push of the start button to rouse it — just hoping for a run through the canyons.

Few think of scooters as sporty, but the 2015 Yamaha TMax will change your mind. It has the rubber, suspension, and chassis to make time in the twisties. Sure, the 62-inch wheelbase is long and adds stability, but the 25-degrees of rake and 15-inch tires make the TMax willing to turn accurately and confidently, plus there is ample cornering clearance.

Certainly, those radially mounted twin discs have something to say when it comes time to slow down into a corner. Disconcertingly, one of the things the rear brake tells you is to activate it gingerly, as the TMax is oddly lacking ABS and the back wheel will skid. Those who like to back scooters into a corner will rejoice, no doubt.

The compact ergos will likely dissuade most riders from turning it into a tourer, but for riding around town, through the twisties, and on the freeway, the 2015 Yamaha TMax is a tough scooter to beat.

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Story from Ultimate MotorCycling magazine; for subscription services, click here.