Motorcycle test drive
This year, Yamaha introduced the fifth generation of its flagship maxi scooter, while departing from the once-given concept of the “city lighter”. In what direction did the fantasy of Japanese engineers move this time?
The Yamaha TMAX is an iconic device. Since the advent of the first generation of this maxi scooter in 2001, each new generation has occupied the top lines of European CVT ratings. Such success is fully justified, because it was TMAX that made a real revolution in the world of large “stools”.
It differed from its competitors in a frame with high torsional stiffness, and most importantly, a pendulum rear suspension with a chain drive and a motor tightly mounted in the frame. While other manufacturers continued to use the engine crankshaft and CVT as a rear suspension arm, the innovative Yamaha chassis stood out for its gambling handling and the habits of an “adult” motorcycle.
The scooter gradually evolved, but in each new generation it remained faithful to the ideals laid down a decade and a half ago, being the most athletic and provocative, while practicality and fitness, for example, for long trips, were put in the background. So it was before the advent of the current, fifth generation, which simply turned over the idea of TMAX.
An apple from an apple tree?
The novelty of this season, in fact, is a deep modernization of the previous generation of TMAX, which appeared in 2012. The power of the engine, which now meets Euro 4 standards, has remained the same, and changes in the chassis have to be caught with a microscope: here’s a new frame, which has become 9 kg lighter than the previous one, here’s the wheelbase, reduced from 1580 to 1575 mm; the rear pendulum has become a little longer, adding stability at high speeds, while the front brake calipers have received radial mounts … Against this background, the width of the drive belt, reduced from 40 to 25 mm, looks like a very significant innovation!
But while in terms of the hardware of the chassis and the TMAX motor, it has not gone far from the previous generation, but electronics and design have risen to a whole new level. Fully diode lighting adds brightness to the appearance, the taillights are spaced on both sides of the tail, there are lights with a predatory backward tilt and stylish plastic contours. Only the silhouette and the overlay on the central tunnel echoes the predecessor – a trademark of all generations of TMAX.
In terms of the abundance of electronic systems, the novelty definitely marks in the premium segment: the Yamaha production range includes a complete set and more modest, but only the top DX for 890,000 rubles will be presented on the Russian market. Expensive? For the past generation, which had nothing but an ABS system – perhaps, but for the current – more than worthy. The standard heated grips and saddles, as well as the electric adjustment of the height of the windshield, are innovations that fade against the backdrop of a keyless entry system and electronic “gas” handle, which has opened up completely new possibilities.
Cheer him up with electricity!
From now on, TMAX has not only traction, but also cruise control, as well as the ability to choose one of two engine operation modes: economical Touring and peppy Sport – two extremes, which, in my opinion, it would be great to dilute with some kind of medium, urban mode. The dashboard retained a pair of proprietary dials of the tachometer and speedometer, between which there is a TFT monitor that displays the readings of the on-board computer, engine operating modes and heating settings.
By the number of buttons, this newcomer is also a record holder – by pressing them, the gas tank hatch and seatpost capacity are now opened, the ignition is turned on, the steering wheel and the central stand are locked. However, the abundance of keys against the background of a new, rich and interesting design of the pilot’s workplace is not annoying and does not require long getting used to – everything is located logically and conveniently.
The attitude of the Japanese towards “baggage” has fundamentally changed. If all previous generations of TMAX were famous for the modest volume of the storage compartment located under the seat, then the new model boasts almost twice as much boot volume. But the glove compartment, located to the right of the steering wheel, on the contrary, will not accommodate anything more than a half-liter bottle of mineral water. But at the bottom there is a regular cigarette lighter connector, which allows you to charge gadgets on the go.
For landing, the comments remained the same: due to the wide central tunnel, there is not much space for the pilot’s legs. And although they can still be placed in two positions (horizontally to the surface and at an angle), owners of large sizes of shoes will be cramped. The height of the saddle and steering wheel has remained at the same level, and it’s comfortable to sit, but at extreme angles of rotation the steering wheel strives to cling to its knees. But wind protection thanks to an adjustable windshield has improved by an order of magnitude.
So can we talk about the new generation of the cult TMAX? Of course! And let the technical specifications on paper hardly change.