Yamaha's XMax 300 is an ideal mid-capacity scooter for those after highway capability or something more comparable to a motorcycle. Review by Kris Hodgson, Images by David H.
Scooters are a great option for those who don’t want or need a car (or additional car), whether that be due to parking restrictions, expense, convenience or just liking to ride. Moving past the smaller capacity options you get offerings like the XMax 300 which has small capacity motorcycle performance, all the convenience and a competitive price of $6,999 + ORC.
I wouldn’t own an XMax 300 (check out our XMax300 Video Review here) instead of my motorcycle (I’d take the TMax in that scenario), but as an additional smaller capacity run-around and commuter it’d be right up the top of my list, especially for two-up duties. It’s an easy machine to do everything on, meaning if you’re a family of two-wheeled nuts it’s a good option for when you don’t want to take out the big guns. Just being automatic also takes a lot of the annoyance out of traffic too. In fact it seems like a great prospect to replace our 14-year-old clapped out 250cc scooter.
Of course it’s also an ideal choice for anyone if you’re after the convenience of a scooter, with the freeway and even high speed cruising ability of a motorcycle (of similar capacity). In other words none of the limitations of a small capacity inner city scooter, some of which could stretch to highway speeds on occasion for a short dint, but which is not a risk I’d be happy taking regularly. Pick the right tool for the job, and you’ll be happier in the long run, believe me.
There’s just the right mix of performance, technology, fun and storage to impress, and the bike is a bit like a mini-TMax, with the same futuristic styling, but lighter and more diminutive stature. The styling is subjective, but I find it a bit more proportionate than the front end on the TMax and a fair bit sportier too.
As some comparison, the XMax has significantly more power than the NMax (155cc) up top, and is actually a little less punchy on throttle opening, which I personally prefer. It’s heavier, a bit more bulky and a little less nimble, but features some mod cons with the keyless fob, central locking and traction control. The build quality is also a step up from the NMax, with larger 15in front and 14in rear wheels.
Compared to the TMax 530 SX there’s less top end and torque, but you’ve still got what I’d call plenty for a scooter, and you trade off that more top end touring prowess for a cheaper buy in (half the price!) and no ride modes. It’s also not as stable as the TMax at slow speeds which I could crawl along on, with both feet up, but it feels narrower and is much easier to move around for parking, and will be more confidence inspiring for smaller framed riders than the TMax when it comes to putting your feet down. The 775mm seat height is short, but keep in mind the XMax is kind of wide, which offsets this to a degree.
As mentioned the powerplant offers good power, with the liquid-cooled four-stroke single displacing 292cc and producing 27.6hp. That’s a fair bit down on some of the 300cc sportsbikes which produce between 30hp (CBR300R) and 42hp (YZF-R3), however the delivery and accessibility of the power more than make up for that fact. When it comes to opening that throttle all the way at a set of lights, you’re well ahead of anyone except the leadfoots in performance cars and any motorcyclist having a bit of a crack.
Transitions up and down through the V-Belt automatic transmission are smooth and effortless, and even cruising at 120+ the XMax was at home, with more to give.
Forks are motorcycle style, with dual rear shocks, and while speed bumps and low speed potholes can be a bit rough, the overall ride is sporty but smooth. Brakes are a single 267mm front rotor with two-piston caliper and quite strong all things considered. You don’t have the same weight distribution as a motorcycle, and it really felt like performance was on par with the dual rotor setup on my wife’s 250cc scooter. There’s the obvious stopping distance limitation with this style of motorcycle (a scooter) so that’s just something to keep in mind if you like to ride a scooter like an idiot, like me.
The smaller rear disc is good for control and lower speed stopping, but basically you need to use both brakes together for maximum effect. This isn’t a motorcycle afterall, like I said, totally different weight distribution.
Overall comfort for me was good, with the feet down position the most natural at basically any speed, I could move my feet into the sportier upwards position but it felt less natural, even after a few weeks with the scooter. Reach to the ‘bars was natural, with reasonable wind protection from the screen.
The central locking console allows steering lock, access to the underseat storage, and the fuel cap, just put it into the ‘Open’ position to activate the Lid and Seat buttons. As long as you’ve got the key fob within range everything will activate. I actually never used the key button.
Talking of underseat storage, it was exceptional on the XMax, it’ll fit two full face helmets with room to spare, which to me is a dream come true. That means a single helmet, jacket and extras (like a medium size backpack) are easily stored, and everything is locked away out of sight when you leave the scooter. No additional storage needed. Add a top box and you’d be able to do a decent shop with this scooter, how’s that for convenience? There’s also two deep glove compartments for a bit of extra storage, with easy access on the move.
One day we fitted a full face helmet, my laptop backpack including 17in laptop and peripherals, plus a motorcycle jacket under the seat, with a bit of room to spare!
Our test machine did seem to have slightly bent ‘bars, which was most noticeable on sharp right handers, where there was a lot of resistance, but it’s possible it was just tied down for transport a bit tight. Aside from this it was a great machine and one I was happy to spend several weeks on, doing my 150km each day commute and generally having a bit of fun.
Sure it’s not as fun as a motorcycle if you’re going for a run through the twisties on a weekend (although it’s capable) but being an automatic makes the day to day duties easy, even if you’re crawling through traffic. So if you thought the TMax was a bit pricey, check out the XMax 300, it’s the next best thing and a very capable scooter.
2018 Yamaha XMax 300 (LAMS) Specifications
Price: $6999 RRP + ORC
Claimed power: 20.2kW (27.6hp)@7250rpm
Claimed torque: 29Nm (21.4ft-lbs)@5750rpm
Kerb weight: 179kg
Fuel capacity: 13L
Colours: Quasar Bronze, Lunar Grey
Engine: Liquid-cooled, four-stroke, single-cylinder, DOHC, four-valve, 292cc, 70 x 75.9mm bore x stroke, 10.9:1 compression ratio
Suspension: Telescopic forks, 110mm travel, Unit Swing rear suspension, 79mm travel
Brakes: 267mm front rotor, 245mm rear rotor, ABS
Tyres: 120/70 – 15in, 140/70 – 14in,
Seat height: 795mm
Overall length: 2185mm
Overall width: 775mm
Ground clearance: 135mm
Instruments: Multi-function LCD
Warranty: 24-month, unlimited kilometre
2018 Yamaha XMax 300 (LAMS) Gallery
The Verdict | Review: 2018 Yamaha XMAX 300 Scooter (LAMS)
For $6,999 +ORC the XMax 300 offers performance comparable to a motorcycle in the same capacity, with extremely good standard storage, and some great technology. This includes traction control, ABS, a keyless locking system, central locking and LED headlights. This makes it an amazing option for those who want the convenience of a scooter, but with highway capability and a high finish quality.