First riding impressions of the 2017 Yamaha TMAX

First impressions 2017 Yamaha TMAX

Visit Nice, Rome or Malaga this summer and you’ll most certainly be blown away by the volume of big scooters flying around. OK, we’ll disregard the poor choice of safety clothing or footwear by the majority of riders but the point is their popularity is huge in Southern Europe is not matched in the UK.

Here we are then, in South Africa today at the world media launch of the 6th generation of Yamaha’s popular maxiscooter, the TMAX. With a 530cc parallel twin producing a little over 45bhp, the big, luxury twist ‘n go has been a big seller for Yamaha since it’s original introduction back in 2001.

In fact, even though the UK is such a small market for the most maxi of Yamaha’s maxi-scooters, 250,000 have been sold throughout Europe over the past 16 years but more than 2/3 across Italy, Spain and France.

For 2017 the latest edition features a range of changes to the bodywork, engine, chassis and electronics and will become available in two versions for the UK - TMAX (£9,399) and TMAX DX (£10,699) - on sale from Yamaha dealers from April. The base model comes in just the one colour, Midnight Black, while the more heavily specced DX version comes in either Phantom Blue or Liquid Darkness.

At that price, you could buy an MT-10 for just £100 extra so what goodies does the DX version of the TMAX offer to warrant its price tag? At 216kg it’s no featherweight, but it has been on a diet since the 2015 incarnation and now weighs 9kg less thanks to a new lighter weight chassis, near rear frame and V-Belt.

A refined motor fits in a newer position to help balance the bike while styling changes offer a more compact look yet a larger underseat space, one of the TMAX’s biggest selling points.

New headlights, taillights, a plush multifunction TFT instrument display with intuitive, handlebar-mounted controls make it a whole lot easier to play with the brightness of the display, reset your trip or scroll through the 10, yes 10, options of heated grips.

The engine refinements include a new air cleaner box, injectors and oil cooler and filter plus a redesigned crankcase and exhaust. New wheels and tyres plus 2 engine running modes; T for Town and S for Sport. The DX also gets cruise control, an electronically adjustable screen with a 135mm range and adjustable rear suspension.

BikeSocial’s Michael Mann is in Cape Town, South Africa at the International Riding Launch of the TMAX and has been riding the DX version Yamaha big scooter, equipped with the new Vodafone tracking system designed to assist with plotting routes and speed limits but mainly to track where the bike is at any time. After putting the first few miles on the clock, Mann has called in with this to say:

"We've covered around 50 miles of roads that combine a splattering of Cape Town's city centre and plenty of stunning, sweeping, beachside roads that have shown both the TMAX's filtering and sportier capabilities. In spite of its size the big maxi scooter is a dexterous beast. Weighing almost as much as an Africa Twin is worthy of note, but it's centre of gravity is low and the wheelbase is well suited for nimble manoeuvring through the traffic. Yet it's stable, smooth and comfortable when on a mission to get someplace quickly!

All the technology packed into the new bike is easy to operate even with the multiple buttons across the handlebars. The electronically operated 135mm screen flies up and down quickly and is highly effective. Cruise control is as easy as an on/off button then set with a rocker switch.

As with all scooters, the left-hand lever operates the rear brake and this helps settle the bike under braking for the faster turns. The ABS cuts in too early for my liking but from a safety perspective, prevents hooliganism! Parked on an incline? No problem, the ungainly-looking handbrake is just a quick flick away from keeping the bike still.

Of the two riding modes, T is for touring and makes the throttle delivery softer. For the more relaxed ride, it'll be ideal. I prefer 'S' for sporty which actually isn't that aggressive and one of the key points to the development of this model in my opinion. The throttle reaction, however fast you can open or close it, remains unsnatchy and is one of the keys to how well the TMAX performs. The bike is well settled and not lurchy on its suspension when either closing the throttle or on the front brake. Cruising along at 60mph the revs sit at 4,000rpm but crack the throttle open for an overtake and there's plenty of go.

The white elephant in the room is still the £10k+ price but it's becoming easier to justify with its all-around ability, the tech stuffed into it and the enjoyment it gives."

His full and thorough review including video will be published soon.

Yamaha TMAX DX, revised for 2017
2017 version of Yamaha




Traction Control



Bigger underseat storage



TFT instrument panel



Keyless smart key



Centre stand lock system



Battery charging socket



Ready-connection for D'Air Safety system by Dainese



D-Mode - T or S riding mode



My TMAX Connect



High quality interior detail finish



Cruise control



Heated grips and seat



Electrically adjustable screen




Front suspension system

Telescopic forks

Front travel

120 mm

Rear suspension system 

Swingarm with  preload and damping adjustment

Rear travel

117 mm

Front brake

Hydraulic dual disc, Ø 267 mm

Rear brake

Hydraulic single disc, Ø 282 mm

Front tyre


Rear tyre



Overall length

2,200 mm

Overall width

765 mm

Overall height

1,420-1,555 mm (adjustable windscreen)

Seat height

800 mm


1,575 mm

Minimum ground clearance

125 mm

Wet weight

216 kg

Fuel tank capacity

15 litres