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2009 Yamaha TMAX Scooter Review

Friday, December 4, 2009
MAX Factor

If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, swims like a duck...it might not be a duck. It could be a particularly duck-like loon. In the case of Yamaha's quirky TMAX super-scooter, it's a loon that can fly faster, dive deeper and honk the crap out of any duck on two flippers. Leaving feathery analogies behind completely, the TMAX is the fastest, best-handling scooter I've ridden, and in fact may be in my top ten for best-handling streetbikes. Period.
Urban scooter commuters are sure to enjoy the 40 hp the TMAX produces and as well as the large storage area for those unexpected shopping list stops.
At first glance, the Yamaha TMAX may look like a scooter, but it handles like a sportbike... So could this truly be a super-scooter?

“But it's a scooter,” you say, “how can this be?”

Good question, and to answer it, I'll tell you that the TMAX (sorry about the all-caps, but that's how Yamaha spells it, presumably to associate it with the VMAX) isn't really a scooter, but some kind of scooter-sportbike hybrid. To explain, I think we have to actually define what a scooter is, which is tough to do. To determine scooter-iness, we have to find more than one of the following elements: a step-through design, an automatic transmission, an integrated drivetrain/swingarm unit and whether or not the rider looks like a big old fruit tooling around town. The TMAX, arguably, only has one of these elements, the automatic transmission. If I look like a fruit riding it, it's only because I look like a fruit on whatever it is that I'm riding.

Under that bright-yellow wrapper, the TMAX has the bones and heart of a serious sportbike. No, really. You may have heard that about other scooters, and some scooters have race-replica paint schemes, radial tires, dual disc brakes and other hallmarks of high performance. But when you flog them, they reveal themselves to be what they really are: scooters. Scooters, no matter what they look like, are usually built as cheap, reliable transportation, so scooter
The frame of TMAX is similar to a street bike chassis.
Using the engine as a stressed member of the frame, the Yamaha TMAX doesn't sport the typical scooter running gear once the bodywork comes off.
engineers make decisions sportbike engineers wouldn't touch with a 10-foot brain. Look underneath the front fairing on a scooter and you'll see spindly fork tubes and fork assemblies missing the top triple clamp. The frames are often sloppily bent mild-steel tubes that look like they were made for a dolly and if it's a big scoot, the weight of the combined swingarm/motor unit exceeds that of an Olympic swimmer. Sound like a recipe for an ill-handling, wallowy sow of a bike? That's only because it is. And since the TMAX is wrapped up in the chador of sporty-yet-bulbous bodywork, you'd assume it's just another one of those big maxi-scoots: fast enough for freeway commuting, comfy and good for getting groceries, but nothing a serious dude like yourself ever needs to ride.

Which is why the first time I saw a photo of a nekkid TMAX my eyes popped out of my head, accompanied by a cartoonish “a-ooo-gah” sound. Feast your eyes on what is clearly a sportbike, albeit one designed for Billy Barty. The engine is a stressed member, sandwiched between two controlled-fill cast aluminum frame beams. An aluminum swingarm (with a low-maintenance internal chain drive inside) bolts to the back of the motor, and a non-adjustable, linkage-less shock holds it up. Front suspension is a non-adjustable 43mm (43mm!) fork held in a motorcycle-style triple clamp, complete with top and bottom clamps. The brakes are similarly serious: dual four-piston monobloc (monobloc!) calipers and 267mm discs up front and another 267mm disc in back with a single-pot caliper. Grippy Bridgestone BT-012 radials adorned the tester I rode: who knew they made them in 15-inch sizes? And don't forget the hollow axles: gotta have those hollow axles for maximum rigidity. You betcha.

A third dummy piston works as a counterbalancer in the TMAX.
DOHC and fuel injection are just a couple of the perks on the TMAX super-scooter.
The motor is just as remarkable as the chassis, if not more so. It's a 499cc liquid-cooled, DOHC 8-valve parallel Twin: most scooters get cheap, reliable Singles. It's pretty high tech, with fuel-injection, 11:1 compression, forged pistons, ceramic-coated piston liners and a third dummy piston that works as a counterbalancer. And talk about downdraft: the injectors and airbox are mounted on top of the engine, with the exhaust ports pointed straight at the ground. The engine has all the visual appeal of a toaster oven, but it sits about as low to the ground as you can get, giving the TMAX the center of gravity of a sumo wrestler after five hours at an all-you-can-eat pasta buffet (add $1.95 for unlimited meatballs). Transmission is via CVT.

Yamaha's media rep Kevin Foley was gracious enough to meet me 100 miles north of L.A. with a TMAX so I could swap him for another Yamaha I was testing. That meant my first impression of the bike would be on the soul-crushing boredom that is I-5 through California's Central Valley. After loading a bit of luggage into the TMAX's vast underseat storage (big enough for a full-face helmet and then some: there's also a luggage rack that's plenty big for the 46-liter trunk in Yamaha's accessory catalog) I straddled the bike, noting the tall, wide seat and high center portion of the bike: it's not a step-through, meaning you have to mount it like a motorcycle by throwing a leg over, and shorter riders aren't going to be flat-footing it at stops. But the difficulties stop there: make sure the parking brake is disengaged and twist the throttle—the bike leaps forward with a not-quite-Single, not-quite-Twin exhaust note that probably would sound pretty sweet with an open muffler (our friends at Leo Vince just happen to make one...).

Storage on the Yamaha TMAX is ample with plenty of room for a full-face helmet and other items.
The TMAX has a gracious amount of space under the seat for storage, with a full-face helmet fitting with room to spare.
It's fast, plenty fast enough to charge past any kind of traffic you're mixing with. The long-stroke motor means plenty of torque, and it's kept in its sweet spot by the CVT's tuning. Fueling is good, although there is a slight hesitation off idle: no big deal if you're used to scooters. Top speed is somewhere around 100 mph, although it's hard to tell; when I compared the speedo to a motorcycle-mounted GPS unit it read at least 10 percent optimistic. But it can cruise at a steady 80-plus indicated without breaking a sweat, and that broad seat means you'll be comfy for a few hours. Longer than that and the feet-forward riding position will put your ass to sleep. The windscreen provides good protection, although the wind noise is pronounced. Yamaha's accessory catalog has a larger replacement which should help. It's not a bad place to pass an afternoon, and the four-gallon tank will let you go over 150 miles between fill-ups. Yamaha claims 47 mpg, but I averaged 42. So I like to ride fast. Save the hate mail for Consumer Reports, hypermilers.

Economy? Range? Comfort? Any maxi-scoot has that. Get off the Interstate or city streets (where the TMAX is convenient but massive overkill) and prepare to be surprised. With a low c-of-g and smaller wheels, TMAX is very easy to toss into turns and incredibly confidence-inspiring, reminiscent of the three-wheeled Piaggio MP3 I rode not too long ago. Except the TMAX isn't hampered by the unsprung mass of the MP3's engine and drive unit, meaning the suspension works better and the scoot can accelerate quicker. On a very twisty road, I found myself carrying much more corner speed and keeping up with guys on faster, lighter bikes.

“This is ridiculous,” I found myself thinking, “I'm riding a scooter!” “Say,” the guys said at the rest stop, “you were
The 499cc DOHC engine propels the TMAX forward with plenty of torque  but there is a small hesitation off idle.
Scooter or sportbike? Yamaha's TMAX splits the difference.
going really fast on that scooter.” I let a couple of them ride it, just to make sure I hadn't been bitten by a radioactive MotoGP-racing spider, giving me super-scooter-riding powers. Nope, the other guys noted it too, remarking on how low and stable the bike felt in turns, like a two-wheeled go-kart. Conceptually, it's not too far away from Dan Gurney's thumper-powered Alligator recumbent motorcycles, and everybody raves about those, too. The rigid chassis components, long wheelbase and good suspension (although the back would be better with a linkage) help you go where no scooter has gone before. It's kind of scary at first. Luckily the brakes are strong (but not as vicious as you'd expect, thanks to the bike's weight and long wheelbase) and the TMAX retains a scooter's friendly, forgiving nature.

Of course, there are limitations. Lean angle is limited, if better than your average Maxi, and the bike's 489-pound claimed wet weight (which sounds like a lot, but it's about 100 pounds lighter than other bikes in this class) is always apparent. And of course, we all need...more...power, Scotty. With something around 40 hp meeting the pavement, the TMAX will stomp most any other scooter out there but wheezes trying to keep up with a single-cylinder supermoto as soon as the road straightens out. What's a-matta' Yamaha? Can't get a YZF-R6 motor to fit under there? Please keep trying.

A final surprise: the TMAX's $8490 MSRP for 2010. Seem high for a scooter? Actually, it's on the low end of the super-scoot spectrum, compared to Suzuki's $8699 Burgman 650 or the $8499 Honda Silverwing. It's also a grand less than a 600-class supersport, and this is the highest-tech scooter around, a Bimota Tesi 3D you can ride while wearing polyester gym shorts (please wear underpants). But is it a scooter? Well, it isn't not a scooter, but it is definitely more than a scooter. Is that at all helpful? If not, you can just keep calling it a duck.
2009 Yamaha TMAX Photo Gallery
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Yamaha TMAX Scooter Specs
Engine: Parallel twin 4-stroke 
Displacement: 499cc
Bore & Stroke: 66 x 73mm
Compression Ratio: 11:01
Horsepower: 40 hp claimed
Cooling: Liquid cooled
Fuel System: EFI
Ignition: Digital TCI
Transmission: CVT
Final Drive: V-belt 
Wheel Base: 62.2 in.
Seat Height: 31.5 in.
Front Brake: Disc
Rear Brake: Disc
Front Tire: 120/70-15
Rear Tire: 160/60-15
Fuel Capacity: 4 gal.
Dry Weight: 489 lbs. (wet)
MSRP: $8,499
Yamaha Dealer Locator

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eggman   May 4, 2013 10:28 PM
Actually the TMAX is 500cc, but still remains a bit much for urban commuting/errands. Further, Honda actually offers a pair of 150cc scoots (I own one), but still neglects the considerable middle ground between 150cc and it's 600cc Silverwing, while Suzuki only has it's excellent Burgmans. Why not a 150-250cc Suzuki scoot? Not everyone has access to Kymco or Sym..
eggman   May 4, 2013 10:21 PM
I've no doubt that the TMAX is a real hoot. I'd prefer to see Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki offer bikes in the 150-250cc range here in the U.S. For me, scooters add some fun and excitement to urban errands and commuting to work, and 600cc is overkill. YMMV.
Jon Justman -Untitled  January 18, 2011 10:45 AM
You are a phenomonenally funny writer, and an exceptional one as well. I was just surfing the site and started reading about scooters (I'm on major drugs due to a surgery). Your reviews are hysterical! Not sure if you still work here (where here is I have no clue) but I'm on the lookout for more of your writing. And I think I need a TMAX scooter to go with my Ducati Monster 1100S! Seriously! Can I strip off the fairing and make it a scootfigher? Seriously!!
ret c/o -harley  January 16, 2011 06:06 AM
its tough riding my harley when its broken down all the time. i need a pizza box just to catch all the leaking oil
telepicker -T MAX  December 4, 2010 02:39 PM
I just purchased a (leftover) new 2009 T Max .I am 63 yrs.of age and haven't ridden since the mid 1970's .The Max suits me to a "T" ! For all the redneck comments I've read in regards to scooter riders it seems as if H-D 's only appeal to the ignorant and illiterate! "Nuff sed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
patrick -patman  September 25, 2010 07:12 PM
My dad bought me my first bike in 1974, a H-D ironhead sportster and I have owned close to 20 bikes since. My last ride was a 07 heritage springer which I miss more than my favorite dog and my best lay! Due to the economy and some unsavory types I lost everything and have been reduced to riding a rented scooter (an 08 yamaha majesty) at first I rode with a bag over my head but I realized that this is the most comfortable bike Ive ridden. I ride side streets and I-5 thru Tacoma (90 miles roundtrip) to work each day and anyone who knows the pacific NW can tell you the weather sucks, summer lasts every bit of fifteen minutes and it rains winter spring and fall. The scooter doesnt care and I stay as dry as I would on an electraglide. Good job to the metric minds for perfecting somthing that I thought was only for Italian fashion commercials. And for the authors of the printed wisdom about sexual orientation and motorcycle ownership, I consider myself lucky to have a job and to be healthy enough to ride and in this economy thats alot! So I dont think it matters who screws who as long as your riding and your sex are both safe you'll be OK.
royalstar -who still cares  July 2, 2010 07:51 PM
@ Mcguire-sewer rat: my comment about sexual orientation was in response to all the previous comments accusing scooter riders of being gay or in 'alternative' lifestyles. I'm straight, married w/12 kids & 14 grandkids and I can just wish I had as much as a scooter. As I said, a person's proclivities has nothng to do with what they ride.
@ TommyTurd: ya just gotta understand that lots of folks can show their a** without droppin their pants, they just open their mouth! When the negative remarks come, I would have to say something like 'aint u glad u aint makin' the payments' or 'arent u glad I'm ridin' it instead of u?' then just walk off with a smile on my face. U would probly get the last laff watching their jaw drop!! Safe riding guys!!
royalstar -who still cares  July 2, 2010 07:50 PM
@ Mcguire-sewer rat: my comment about sexual orientation was in response to all the previous comments accusing scooter riders of being gay or in 'alternative' lifestyles. I'm straight, married w/12 kids & 14 grandkids and I can just wish I had as much as a scooter. As I said, a person's proclivities has nothng to do with what they ride.
@ TommyTurd: ya just gotta understand that lots of folks can show their a** without droppin their pants, they just open their mouth! When the negative remarks come, I would have to say something like 'aint u glad u aint makin' the payments' or 'arent u glad I'm ridin' it instead of u?' then just walk off with a smile on my face. U would probly get the last laff watching their jaw drop!! Safe riding guys!!
Dr. J -Love the T-max  June 24, 2010 05:13 AM
I'm a Commander in the US Navy and love the T-max...and am not gay.
Tommy Turd -Responce to RoyalStar "who cares"  June 14, 2010 01:10 PM
"who cares" thats easy to say and I agree with that, I wish everybody would think "who cares"
I mind my own business, I don't ride my Tmax with anybody, I don't make fun of anybody elses bike, but everywhere I stop my Tmax gathers attention and the insults start!
I get so much harrassment and insults, curse words I am about ready to explode and end up punching somebodys head inside out!
I don't seek attention, I even advoid stopping where I want to stop just to advoid people cause I know I will be harressed, made fun of and pointed and lauged at, and what really buggs me is people that NEVER was on a motorcycle have to cut down and critize it!
Mcguire -sewer rat  June 12, 2010 05:33 AM
When did this become a sexual orientation forum? I have a Royal Star tour deluxe when I want to cruise and a Aprilia Milie for when I want to play. I rode a scooter when I went to Italy a few years ago and It was a lot of fun. Of course everyone rides them over there so there is no geek factor. What keeps me off of one in the USA is the interstate highway. Those big trucks move a light bike around a lot and in Atlanta 70 mph fast moving heavy traffic is the norm.
royalstar -who cares?  June 5, 2010 09:17 PM
I've read all these comments about the TMAX review and scooters vs. big bikes. Sounds like a bunch of 4th graders arguing about who has the best toys. Who cares? Who are you buying the ride for? Yourself or whoever might see you on it? Who is going to get the benefit of what you are riding? You or everyone else on the street? If you signed on the dotted line and put out the cash, dont worry about what everyone else thinks about your ride. THEY aint making the payments are they? REAL MEN dont care what anyone else thinks about what he rides. ALTERNATE LIFESTYLE? I've always been under the impression that riding a 2-wheeled conveyance IS the alternate lifestyle compared to riding in a 4 wheeler. I dont care what you ride--what you do in the bedroom is your business and has nothing to do with whatever style of Motorcycle or Scooter you choose to enjoy. Grow up! Enjoy the ride--lose the watches.
Tommy Turd -1st choice was Suzuki Burgman  May 21, 2010 10:16 AM
If you want to know why I bought the Yamaha Tmax?
Because I was forced to!@
My first choice was the Suzuki 650 Burgman, but only one Suzuki Dealer in 3 states had them in stock and that dealer stuck his nose up in the air and wanted full msrp price plus $800 prep charge, a total of $9700! I offered him a price of $8K, he snobby said "why should I sell it to you for a reduced price when another customer will give me full price for it"?
I told him to stick his Burgman up his you know what and went and bought the Yamaha Tmax for $5495, and I am glad I did, I got a better scoot for much less money.
I am very happy with the Tmax and knowing 2 Burgman Owners the Tmax proves to be more relaible, but I admit less power than the Burgman, but so what? My Tmax will easy go any legal highway speed with no problems, I don't cruise all day at 110 mph!
I have a aftermarket Givi Windscreen installed that greatly improves the wind buffeting, I can ride down the road a 70 mph with a hat on smoking a cigar and hear the birds singing in the trees with no wind noise. Now I am working on a cup holder , its a mini Gold Wing at 1/4th the price!
Tommy Turd -Built for me  May 3, 2010 04:44 PM
I am 52 years old, been riding motorcycles long before motorcycles became popular, I am experienced to ride any bike at any speed better than most. I HATE cruisers cause they are too heavy and uncomfotable, i'm getting too old for crotch rockets, but I "LOVE" the Tmax, it serves a purpose for my needs, I don't need the fastest, baddest, shinniest show off bike out there! I buy a bike for my needs, not to impress anybody and none of my friends are impressed with the Tmax, but I am impressed and thats all that counts.
Go ahead, point and laugh at my scooter,, I don't care what you think! All I care about is ME! and what I like to ride.
The big surprize was the handling the Tmax has, no, I'm not going to win any races with it, but I didn't buy a bike to race.

The Tmax was built for me
Nice job Yamaha!
Jim -My TMAX  April 23, 2010 09:11 AM
I love my TMAX. It is easy to operate, (no need to worry about clutching or shifting or foot braking) just twist and go. The ultimate ride.
Frank St. Clair -Mr  April 13, 2010 03:40 PM
Automatic transmissions sure are nice for those of us with disabilities. I've got too many pins in my left foot and leg to screw around shifting anymore, especially with a shaft drive bike. Of course, you can still play dress up in leather like a fister AND ride a scooter. If you want to be a real man, of course. Like they say in the City By the Bay, Real Men Love Men, eh?
Room for both -Isn't their room for both super scooters and Cruisers?  April 5, 2010 12:11 PM
I am considering my 1st bike. I would like to get a HD, but I don't want to spend 20K to have it messed up because of my inexperience on the road. So...I'm considering starting on the Scoot...then moving up. I don't see a scooter as an "alternative lifestyle." That's pure craziness. Sound like a Junior High kid worrying this friends think he's gay because he has a poodle or something. Graduate from middle school and realize the both classes of bikes have their purpose--following and utility.
milwaukee mike -TMAX  March 29, 2010 07:06 AM
Wow... u guys sure got worked up over what I said.

Take a chill pill. Are all scooter riders so defensive of your ride??? It seems to me like u guys have a sense of inferiority complex.

It doesn't matter what I said, I was just STATING MY OPINION, as you all too.

So don't be so offened and girly about it. GROW IT, IT'S A REVIEW and anyone can make comments.

Peace out
Newbie 101 -What is the problem ?  February 6, 2010 07:50 AM
I don't understand all this nonsense. I am a 47 year old on the verge of purchasing my first 2 wheeler. I just came back from the cycle show in NYC. I loved all of the bikes there. My two favorite was the Honda Shadow Spirit and the Burgman 400. I even tried out a Harly 883 iron, but the riding position was not for me. Same for the Kawasaki Ninja's. Isn't the whole idea of riding to have fun? We are all riding for the same reason I assume. Does it matter what we ride? Why can't a TMAX ride alongside a Harley and just enjoy the experience of riding? Am I more of a man if I wear leather and ride a cruiser? NO!!! Am I more intelligent if I ride a TMAX or Silverwing? NO!!! Let's just enjoy the experience and respect each others choices. As long as you don't hurt anyone or try to impose your beliefs or opinions on someone else just live and let live. By the way, I am getting a great deal on a 2009 Burgman 650 ($6500) so I think I'm going to go with that one. Let's play nice (LOL).
Simon & Tess Moore -TMAX  February 3, 2010 02:28 PM
My wife owned a Suzuki Burgman 400 for a few years. The biggest problem with maxi scooters is that they wallow/drift round corners, bottom out on country roads and the two up riding is some times tricky with stopping. I think the Honda DN01 is a nice steap in the right direction.
tmax man -only tmax  January 24, 2010 12:46 PM
parce qu'elle est la meilleure pour l'attaque
david -vtwin chongo  January 19, 2010 08:58 PM
milwaukee mike I ridden the tmax and majesty and I'm getting ready to buy a tmax. Does that make me gay. I have a zx14 sv1000s and cbr 900rr. I had harelys in the past they DO NOT PERFORM . The only thing good is wasting time polishing the chrome. I've pretty much ridden all the bikes out there with 100"s of thousands of miles riding time . I do no some harely banditos in san antonio ,texas. that are gay. I rode with them one day , I smoke them with a scooter in the twistys and the straights!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
david -vtwin chongo  January 19, 2010 08:57 PM
milwaukee mike I ridden the tmax and majesty and I'm getting ready to buy a tmax. Does that make me gay. I have a zx14 sv1000s and cbr 900rr. I had harelys in the past they DO NOT PERFORM . The only thing good is wasting time polishing the chrome. I've pretty much ridden all the bikes out there with 100"s of thousands of miles riding time . I do no some harely banditos in san antonio ,texas. that are gay. I rode with them one day , I smoke them with a scooter in the twistys and the straights!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Gabe Ets-Hokin -Author  January 14, 2010 05:33 PM
Hey guys, Thanks for reading my story and all your comments, good or bad. I'm always interested in feedback, so you can ping me anytime: getshokin at gmail.com.
Bob -SPOT ON  December 30, 2009 08:09 AM
Bruce, you are spot on right. If we really were just going for performace, we'ld all be driving cars. A common V6 will easily beat many of the bikes on the road, sure right of the line we'll be faster, but in no time will a common V6 overtake us, unless you are on a Hayabusa or B-King, but there ain't much of us on those kinda bikes.

Let's face it, we ride for fun for the enjoyment, so let's not bitch about who rides for what reason. If you really want a performance machine, get a car. You'll go fast, quite, NO WIND, with traction, braking, and even airconditioning.
Harley Rider -I love my ride  December 30, 2009 08:02 AM
I love my HD for the way it sounds, looks, and rides. Not all HD's ride like a rusted pipe.

Remember we're all in for the ride... we shouldn't let one individual influence the perceptions of everyone. Stereotyping the HD group is as bad as HD riders stereotyping scooter riders.

If we weren't in for the enjoyment of what riding gives, then wouldn't we all be DRIVING all the time mon-sun, instead of choosing to ride our bikes on a beautiful day?

Peace and love.


rk -comparison  December 25, 2009 11:03 AM
why don't you compare apples to apples? bergman 400, to this yam, not a 650 or a silverwing! The bergs are awesome handling in very windy conditions, stable and very flickable and fun. How does the yam stack up against the berg?
rk -comparison  December 25, 2009 11:03 AM
why don't you compare apples to apples? bergman 400, to this yam, not a 650 or a silverwing! The bergs are awesome handling in very windy conditions, stable and very flickable and fun. How does the yam stack up against the berg?
Scooter Don -RDB - TMAX  December 14, 2009 08:57 PM
Hey RDB - TMAX , I'm very capable of using a clutch, In fact I won a few enduro nationals in my younger days. I'm 40 years old now and also ride a Versys as well as a Yamaha Morphous 250cc scooter and a Yamaha Majesty 400cc scooter. I also have a bunch of dual purpose and dirt bikes. Both scooters are a blast to ride, much more comfortable than the Versys or any one of my motorcycles and head and shoulders above all of them for around town and short commutes. I've owned four scooters within the last two years and when I'm heading out the door I find myself picking a scooter over my bikes, more and more. TThat automatics make much more since for the majority of people in the majority of situations is confirmed by the fact that over 96 percent of passenger vehicles sold in the US are Automatics. This idea that the only good reason for scooters is to accommodate people who can't shift is a bit silly. You don't really believe this? I have a 2004 Honda S2000 (manual) and a 2006 Honda Ridgeline (automatic) I don't own and drive the Ridgline because I am incapable of using a clutch. I own and drive the ridgline because it's more comfortable not to have to shift and makes more sense in the vast majority of situations. I own and ride the scooters for the same reason. There is not a biker who has ridden my scooters who has not returned with a huge grin on his face. Take one for a ride and get over your childish perspective.
RDB -TMAX  December 14, 2009 07:20 PM
The problemn with this "style" of bike in general, is the fact that they are now de-riguer and the pricing reflects it. You are paying way more for the ride than what an equivalent dollar will get you elsewhere. My latest new purchase was a Kawasaki Versys that was purchased for $2500 LESS than the TMAX. I suppose the TMAX has bigger under-seat storage, but after that there is not one other thing that makes it worth owning. My ride is a half inch taller, 100 lbs less and gets better mileage. It is faster, stops quicker, looks better (YMMV)and can go up a mountain two up. And you know what else? On average I am claiming 50 mpg no matter how I ride it. Scooters? Only if you are completely incapable of using a clutch.
fast2win -Image and life style  December 12, 2009 09:28 AM
I look like BMF, getting off anyhing I ride. Dont need special clothes or a certain bike. Scooters are really practical. I had a Vespa for a while and it was great fun to ride around city streets. And when I got off it, guess what . I was still a BMF. The reson I would consider a scooter though is partially for good milage and this thing sucks gas . My R/T gets better mileage. And yes I look like BMF getting off of it too. If take's a Harley to make you look like a bad ass, guess what you aint no bad ass.
Olof Malmlof -TMax vs. Harley  December 9, 2009 02:32 PM
I live in the US and have two T-Max's in the French Riviera. Agree if you are into a commercial lifestyle - buy Harley - and all the T-shirts, leather jackets with wings and flames. The rich and glamorous on the Riviera have one thing in common with the real mountain road enthusiasts of Provence: T-Max!
Kcrunch1 -TMAX  December 8, 2009 09:43 PM
Thanks Gabe, I demo the TMAX at the IMS and could not believe the performance of it. Truely inspires confidence and insane riding. As mentioned the seat is tall at 32.5 in. and the wind noise buffetting is serious bad, also storage underseat is lacking compared to Burgman, Silverwing, Majesty but same as Piaggio BV500. A week ago I bought a 08 Suzuki Burgman 400 and it's almost as good as the TMAX. Lacks the same power output but makes up for it when I get 70-75mpg. The only thing is the feet forward position seems to hurt my lower back. Otherwise I would absolutely love it. I maybe shopping for a new bike again soon. Last bike was 02 BMW R1150RT, crap mileage but luxury ride and good in the twisties.
Mark Daniels -Scooters  December 8, 2009 04:41 PM
man, this is a real hoot. HD'ers think they're are the only ones who ride a bike. Hmmm. All motorized 2 or 3 wheel conveyances are bikes. Personally, I think HD'ers, on the whole, are some of the most suckered folks around. Pay twice as much for basically a pig of a ride, that is mis-timed to get a particular sound, and they get to pay huge sums of cash for that circus they call a "lifestyle". Whatever. I ride a Burg 650 now, tested a T-Max when it first came out for a shop and was mightily impressed. Tore up the roads. The Majesty was a really fun ride, a little light for freeway only because of the wind buffeting, which the Burg handles magnificently. Add to that the cargo capacity AND the economic fuel use and well, there really isn't isn't much left to talk about, is there now? I've ridden alot of bikes, and the maxi-scoots are some of my favorites for all around riding enjoyment. I don't do track, so won't comment on that, and the sportsbikes are for kids, and most of them riding today are incapable of riding it safely or to the extent the bike is capable, but be that as it may, for a pure commuting bike, or for long distance travel, if you don't want a massive tourer like a Gold Wing, or a Victory Vision, the SuperScoots today offer the best of all worlds, fuel economy, comfort, cargo capacity, performance and longevity and quality. Need more?
a-man -TMAX  December 8, 2009 04:08 PM
Real men ride motorcycles; preferably Harley Davidsons? Scooters are those riders that are proud of their alternative lifestyles? . . . or real men ride whatever they want and don't care what other people think about it. Others dress up as pirates/convicts, plop their big butts on Harleys, and parade around trying to look tough.
Realman -real men  December 7, 2009 01:28 PM
Hey milwaukee mike , It's good to know "real" men like you are still out there! I bet you wouldn't drive an automatically cage if it was given to you! Not you. NO WAY. A real man would never do such a thing! Keep it real!
Mxster -OMG lol  December 6, 2009 04:50 PM
I Love how people get into huge arguments and discussions that are completely irrelevant to the subject of the article. PLEASE save us serious Moto-USA readers the agony and complain elsewhere. I enjoy sharing info about the products and discussing the article with other readers. but its nearly impossible when people spam the board with hateful and pointless comments. But thank you Gabe for a great and detailed Review.
RT Rider -Scooters  December 6, 2009 12:57 PM
I have had 3 Yamaha Majestys, 1 Honda Silverwing and a Aprilia Scarabeo 500GT scooter. The Majesty's were 400cc's and the Silverwing was 632cc's. They were fun, easy to ride, got good gas mileage and had great resale. I traveled all over the U.S. on those scooters. The new 2010 Suzuki Burgman 650 has heated seats and grips now. If I was to buy another scooter it would be the new Burgman but Suzuki is not importing 2010 bikes to the U.S.
JayBee -Big scooters  December 6, 2009 12:45 PM
The folks that bad mouth large scooters (and small ones too) just do not get it. The big scooters are nothing less than easier to access motorcycles. I have a friend who rides a Bergman. He does so because medical problems make it very painful for him to get his leg over the seat of a standard motorcycle. If it were not for the Big scoot he would not be riding. He has no problem keeping up ( We ride responsibly, not all out like many dumb@55s ) when we ride and enjoys himself. Is not the enjoyment what it is all about?

I also hear / see a bunch of complaining about the scoots not having tons of HP. With CVT transmissions they do not need tons of HP, plus they are not intended to be competition level race bikes.

Go take one for a ride and you will be surprised at how fun they can be and at normal sane riding paces you can completely forget you are on a scoot.

Jerzy -Tmax  December 6, 2009 11:12 AM
Milwaukee Mike we know you ride b!$&h on a scooter so whats with all the negative comments.

thesoapster -Wow...  December 5, 2009 07:53 PM
I'm pretty sure most people's sarcasm detectors have been shut off. Even if he's actually serious, you're not changing his mind anyhow.
WingMan -T-Max & Harley  December 5, 2009 02:21 PM
Milwaukee Mike says real men ride Harley's. Well, I ride a Goldwing with a local club. We go on trips and we do have a few Harley's in our group. The Harley riders know they have to ride at the back of our group. First they do not have enough horsepower to pass cars unless they get a long run at it and we do not want them holding up the whole group. 2nd is they are noisy and they stink. Harley's burn oil and I don't care what year or model, they all burn oil and nobody wants them in front of you. With a Harley in front of you after a while your clothes stink like oil. The Harley owners have put loud exhaust on there bikes so they have to ride in the back because nobody wants to listen to that terrible racket. I think they put the loud exhaust on to make up for the lack of horsepower. It makes them feel like they have some power. ALSO, we have 2 couples with scooters that ride with us. A Honda Silverwing and a Burgman 650. Two of the Harley guys in our group said there softtails could beat the scooters. Well, they were very embarrassed when the scooters made horsemeat out of them. It was not even a close race. Every year the motorcycle manufactures improve on there bikes except HD. It seems they just add more crome or a new paint job. Harley's are overweight and very underpowered. One of our group spent over $4,000 on some kind of screaming kit just to get a few more horsepower. He admitted he wasted his money. He has been trying to sell his Harley to get a Goldwing but there are just too many Harley's for sale and he can't get anywhere near what he paid for it. He took my Goldwing for a 30 mile loop and came back amazed. He said he has been riding HD for so long he never really looked at anything else. I rode his 07 loaded dresser and could not believe what a terrible bike it was compared to my Goldwing. It had no power, a lot of engine heat and a lot of vibration. I just can't imaging riding that bike all day. I could not even hear the radio over the engine noise. It is just a tractor radio though. No power compared to the 6 speaker system on my Wing. Of course HD sells these poor people on the HD Lifestyle which is a bunch of crap. They suckered for that and bought all the HD stuff like decals all over the car windows, vests, pants, shirts, shoes, underware, socks, and they even have HD clocks at home. HD should spend a little money improving there motorcycles instead of selling clothes and that kind of stuff.
Ty -Excellent Review!  December 5, 2009 12:41 PM
I'm far from the most experienced riders out there, but I've had some experience. I've owned an R1, an R6, a YZF1000R, a VFR800, a CBR900RR, a GSX-R750, SV650, etc. Of all the bikes that I've owned, by far the most FUN bike to ride was a Majesty. Really about the only thing lacking from it was the power (and acceleration!) of a sportbike (but, in practical terms, there was just about always enough power to escape car traffic). Handling-wise, aside from an aluminum frame, it does have a more typical scooter-frame (no top triple-clamp, e.g.), so it doesn't have the rigidity, stability, etc., of a sportbike (nor the lean angle), but, in terms of being flickable around town, it is just a fricking hoot. Riding the R6, the VFR, a Hurricane that I also had, I always used to think, "Man, this is a fun bike." Well, riding the Majesty (and also to a slightly not-quite-as-much-fun-but-nevertheless-still-more-kickass-fun-than-any-sportbike-I've-ridden extent, the Aprilia Atlantic 500), I would always be thinking, "MAN, THIS IS A FUN BIKE!" I haven't ridden a TMAX, but I would expect that it would be even more entertaining to ride than the Majesty. BTW, thanks, Gabe, for, besides the humor, pointing out things like the frame extending up to the top triple-clamp, the CF casting, the engine-as-stressed-member, etc. I didn't know about these on the TMAX, and these are not attributes pointed out in any other previous reviews on the TMAX that I had read. The top triple-clamp, I didn't think any scooter had that... Excellent. About the only (minor) downside that I can see for the TMAX (besides superbike power, but, at this point, that's really just fantasy) is the relative paucity of room in its trunk (compared to, e.g., the SWing or the Burgman, or, it looks like, even to the Majesty), but this can easily be remedied with a huge gear bag and a couple of bungee straps. If you are so unsure of your masculinity or of your latent homosexual tendencies that you need to belch out your macho bravado at every opportunity, and belittle everyone else, as in your primitive little mind, their belittlement somehow raises your fragile little ego, than you've probably never even sat on one of these scooters. If you haven't, you really have missed out. If you can't have fun on one of these things (at least the Majesty, the Atlantic 500, and likely the TMAX -- the SWing and the Burgman, in comparison, are nowhere near as fun), I strongly urge you to check in with your friendly cardiologist, or, probably more appropriately, your coroner.
CARL -650 BURGMAN  December 5, 2009 10:37 AM
Keith B -For milwaukee mike  December 5, 2009 09:42 AM
I ride a TMAX. I'm not into any alternative lifestyle. Several family members have large Harleys and I've had a number of opportunities to ride with them. The ride very fast. I had no trouble at all keeping up. When we got to the twisties, they held me back and they wound up pulling over for me so that I could enjoy the curves. The claimed lean angle is 50 degrees. Most Harleys are 33 degrees at best (other than the XR1200).

On top of all that, I'm averaging 54 MPG and my insurance with maximum liability coverage is less than $250/year.
thesoapster -Still a scooter  December 5, 2009 06:44 AM
To me, "splitting the difference" does not produce a sport bike for sure. A 489lb 40hp scooter with a "limited lean angle" definitely does not pass as sport. And it's $8500. Really? That's almost enough to buy a Street Triple (a comfy standard) brand new. Never mind what you could get used for $8500. A very comfy, more powerful ride. The MadAss that was mentioned here in the comments and was reviewed before was a much more desirable ride to me. It actually just seemed damn cool. This, on the other hand, is part of a category that I usually brand as the least cool. At least Yamaha seems to be kind of trying to make it more sporty, but I'm not really convinced.
Mitch -I've said it before...  December 4, 2009 10:01 PM
Mike, I know Harley owners who are gay, so I guess that makes them real men. None of the scooter owners I know are gay, so who has the "alternative lifestyle" now? I am intrigued by a quote in the review: "To determine scooter-iness, we have to find more than one of the following elements: a step-through design, an automatic transmission, an integrated drivetrain/swingarm unit and whether or not the rider looks like a big old fruit tooling around town." If that is the criteria your website uses to define a scooter, then why do you continue to place the Sachs MadAss 125 in the scooter category when it clearly meets none of your requirements?
RickRussellTX -Now I'm worried  December 4, 2009 06:15 PM
I only chose my ride to please you, Milwaukee Mike. As you know, two-wheeled drivers are pathetic fashionistas whose only concern is how they appear to others. Without the validation of appearance leaders, particularly you Milwaukee Mike, my life is now devoid of meaning. I'm glad that you've found acceptance in your peer group with your choice of two-wheeled transportation -- peer acceptance is the most important thing, right? Nice to read a scooter review that isn't distinctly apologetic. Is there any harm in enjoying the enhanced comfort and ease-of-use of a scooter? Certainly not. The writers of Car & Driver don't apologize when driving a fine luxury car, and neither should a motorcycle magazine be concerned with the commercial classification of a two-wheeled vehicle. Good design and engineering come in many forms.
AL -TMAX  December 4, 2009 06:15 PM
I wonder how a HD would compare in a shoot out? That would be interesting, especially in the curves. Chicks dig scooters! Also in traffic a CVT is a lot more comfortable than holding in the clutch up shifting, down shifting in most urban areas. Harley riders aren't an alternative lifestyle?

x2468 -dumby cylinder?  December 4, 2009 06:05 PM
Sounds like a big waste of weight to have a 3rd dumby cylinder. I've never heard of that before. I wonder if you could tool it around to turn it into a 750cc triple? now that'd be cool. The picture of it without body work is cool though
milwaukee mike -TMAX  December 4, 2009 05:32 PM
It is still a scooter. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's till a pig.
And as the writer said "If I look like a fruit riding it, it's because I look like a fruit on whatever I'm riding on", so that proves what I've said so many times before. Scooters are for those riders that are proud of their "alternative lifestyles". Real men ride motorcycles; preferably Harley Davidsons.