We get a second opinion on Yamaha's mighty TMax 530 SX from an everyday scooter rider. Test by Samantha Kimber, Images by Kris Hodgson

One look at the Yamaha TMax and you have to ask yourself, what is it? Is this a scooter? I was shocked to find it was; the styling, capacity and exhaust all made me think I was about to hop on a touring motorcycle.-

In fact, my parents (both non-riders) asked me this several times, not believing the answer when I told them. The TMax initially confuses, but then sparks interest. This disbelief creates desire for the model that may be intentional, and might actually work in Yamaha’s favour.

Yamaha's TMax 530 SX is their maxi-scooter, a high performance offering capable of touring

Yamaha’s TMax 530 SX is their maxi-scooter, a high performance offering capable of touring

I had the opportunity to ride the TMax in both wet and dry conditions. When moving it’s very comfortable; your posture is relaxed, the seat is wide and soft, and you have the opportunity to rest your legs in two positions. I couldn’t fault the tyres, brakes or suspension, and the screen provide great wind and rain protection on the motorways, all of which ladders up to create an exceptional riding experience.

As a scooter it’s fairly intuitive to ride, just start it up and take-off. The Smart Start was new to me, and something that left me feeling a little anxious as I rode (what if the key falls out of my jacket?) but with more time riding my confidence in the system (and pocket) grew. I wasn’t 100 percent sure what all the buttons and levers on the console were for at first, but it’s something an owner will take the time to learn.

A low centre of gravity and smooth acceleration make the TMax fun to ride

A low centre of gravity and smooth acceleration make the TMax fun to ride

The bike has a low centre of gravity making it well balanced, although I found I had to use my weight, and lean further when taking corners, than I was used to with my 250cc scooter. Most surprisingly I found the TMax exceptionally smooth when accelerating, and stable on the motorways in Sydney. Speed will creep up quickly on you if you’re not paying attention; and at 100km/h you won’t remember you’re even on a scooter.

 

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However, given the height of the machine I needed to shift forward when I came to a stop and I encountered the first of two minor issues; to reach the ground I would end up shifting onto the centre console. The centre console is hard, and it should be, it’s the opening to the petrol tank. I had to adjust my stopping behaviour to ensure I could still reach the ground, most often shifting to one side. This might sound unusual to some as both feet on the ground is not typical behaviour on a motorcycle, but it is for me when riding a scooter.

With good manoeuvrability the TMax's weight isn't felt on the run, but having to reverse the bike out of a parking spot or similar is another thing entirely

With good manoeuvrability the TMax’s weight isn’t felt on the run, but having to reverse the bike out of a parking spot or similar is another thing entirely

The second minor issue experienced was in attempting to reverse the bike. At 213kg the TMax is fairly heavy for a scooter. For those who admit to having no upper body strength like myself, I had to put in a lot of effort to get the bike to move backwards. This wouldn’t be a problem experienced by everyone, and in fact I believe with continual use it would become easier. [Editors note: The trick is bracing against the seat and using your legs to push the scooter backwards, however on a steep incline this can still be difficult.]

Overall, the Yamaha TMax is surprising. It’s not what one would normally define as a scooter, which means it’s less likely to be used for the everyday commute; lane splitting would be more challenging, and you would have to think about how and where you’ll park. But as a tourer it has great potential, and as a rider and passenger it won’t disappoint. Especially with that generous underseat storage!

For motorcycle like performance in a scooter package, with some street cred, check out the TMax SX

For motorcycle like performance in a scooter package, with some street cred, check out the TMax SX

2018 Yamaha TMax 530 SX (LAMS) Specifications

Yamaha-Motor.com.au

Price: $14,499 + ORC
Warranty: Two year, unlimited kilometre
Colour: Matt Silver (Tested), Liquid Darkness

Claimed power: 34.2kW[45.9hp]@6750rpm
Claimed torque: 52.3Nm[38.5ft-lbs]@5250rpm
Wet weight: 213kg
Fuel capacity: 15L
Engine: Liquid-cooled, parallel twin-cylinder, four-stroke, four-valve, 68 x 73mm bore x stroke, 530cc, 10.9:1 compression, EFI, TCI, Traction Control, D-Modes
Transmission: V-Belt, Automatic, CVT

Chassis: CF die-cast aluminium frame, aluminium swingarm
Seat height: 800mm, Wheelbase: 1575mm
Suspension: 41mm USD forks, 120mm travel, single shock absorber, 117mm travel
Brakes: ABS, Dual radial four-piston calipers, 267mm rotors, single rear caliper, 282mm rotor
Wheels & Tyres: Five-spoke alloy, 15 inch wheels, 120/70 – 15, 160/60 – 15

Instruments: Dual analogue clocks (speedometer/tachometer), central multifunction digital display

Storage: Underseat storage to fit a full face helmet with light that activates on opening, Glove box with cigarette lighter type power fitting

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