Yamaha TMAX review | 2022 Tech Max super-scooter


The fact that you’ve opened this article tells me that you’re one of the more open-minded riders out there. Sure, the Yamaha TMAX super-scooter isn’t going to be for everyone, but to dismiss it – like so many do – as being ‘just a scooter’ is to miss out on one of the most versatile machines on the road. It really is a true all-rounder.

First launched in 2001, the TMAX is in its eight generation, with over 350,000 sold worldwide. 85% have gone to homes in Europe and the UK, though the biggest market is Italy, with a 37% share of that chunk. France accounts for 34% of those sold, while Spain has 14% and the rest of Europe has the remaining 15%. It’s no secret that the UK takes just a fraction of these, which is why we only get the top-spec Tech Max version.

But have British riders been missing out? I rode just over 100 miles on the launch to experience the new model, on a variety of routes from city streets to motorways, and mountain passes to tight farmland tracks. And I’ve also spoken to several owners to find out why they keep buying TMAXs once they’ve given one a go…


For and against
  • Outstanding versatility
  • Brilliant in the city AND the open road
  • Genuinely high build quality
  • Doesn’t give the punch of a motorcycle
  • Not cheap (but it’s easy to see the costs)
  • Belt change every 12,000 miles
Yamaha TMAX review | 2022 super scooter

The Yamaha TMAX super-scooter isn’t going to be for everyone, but to dismiss it – like so many do – as being ‘just a scooter’ is to miss out on one of the most versatile machines on the road. It really is a true all-rounder.

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2022 Yamaha TMAX Tech Max Price

The Yamaha TMAX Tech Max that we get in the UK costs £12,500, which is indeed just £800 less than the new MT-10, for instance. But keep in mind that it has all the same parts as a motorcycle, including quality forks and brakes, the drivetrain, chassis etc. And look closely and you’ll see the fit and finish is excellent. Yamaha’s keen to call it a premium product, and to be honest it does stand out above the very good, but built to a cost and sometimes a little plasticky MT motorcycle range.

Like everything, bikes have got more expensive, but the TMAX isn’t some budget scoot – it’s a high-quality motorcycle that happens to be fully automatic.


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Power and torque

Making 46.9bhp @ 7,500rpm and 41.1 lb-ft @ 5,250rpm, the TMAX has no problem overtaking on country roads, or easily topping out at well over 100mph on autobahns.

It’s making similar (in some cases more) power and torque compared to a typical 500cc parallel-twin motorcycle, but don’t expect the same feeling of performance. While this Yamaha does pull strongly and has no problems getting away from the lights, the Constant Velocity Transmission (CVT) doesn’t offer quite the same punch that you can get from a traditional gearbox.

But that doesn’t make it boring by any stretch; we rode it though twisting mountain roads and I can honestly say it was thoroughly enjoyable, pulling strongly out of bends and making short work of passing the local cars. It won’t get you worrying that it’s going to spit you off if you crank the throttle too hard, but remember that this is a 500cc bike. It’s not a race machine.

The throttle’s controlled by Yamaha’s new Acceleration Position Sensor Grip (APSG), which is basically a Hall-effect sensor attached to the throttle tube. Yamaha has had ride-by-wire for years, but it previously used a traditional cable from the throttle to a potentiometer under the tank. Both systems are translated by the same YCC-T (Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle), and it’s no step back. Yamaha quotes it as a feature, but it feels just like you’d expect a throttle to… if it hadn’t been mentioned, nobody would be any the wiser and at least there are no cables to worry about lubricating.


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Engine, gearbox and exhaust

The Yamaha TMAX’s Euro 5-compliant motor is a 562cc dual-overhead-cam liquid-cooled parallel-twin. I remember working on Bike magazine when the rumours first started around a 500cc scooter in the days that most scoots were two-strokes. We were disappointed to find out the TMAX was a four-stroke, but while it would have been a laugh to ride a scooter with a CR500 motor shoved inside, it wouldn’t have made for the massively successful and popular, versatile machine we see now. Though there are some super-charged versions floating about…

The engine has a 360° firing order with a ‘horizontally-opposed reciprocating piston balancer’. It’s exclusive to the TMAX and replaces a more traditional rotary balancer, which would take up more space. This system dampens the vibrations right down to give an incredibly smooth ride, while keeping as much room as possible under the seat. You’ll get a full-face helmet in there easily (upside down), even the Arai Quantic with its large rear spoiler. Oh, and that boot has a little lamp in it. Nice.

The CVT transmission pulls smoothly from a standstill as you twist the throttle and picks up very well (fun for surprising cars). There’s a noticeable difference between the sportier ‘S’ mode and the ‘T’, or ‘traction’ mode. It wasn’t drifting out of corners on the dry launch, but some riders might prefer the slightly more gentle throttle response in wet weather, though the switchable traction control means many will leave it in ‘S’.

A CVT ’box might not be as engaging as kicking a lever up and down, but if you spend a lot of time in traffic you’ll really appreciate it. And on twisty roads, at least you know you’re always in the right gear!

The TMAX’s engine is fairly quiet, which Yamaha says gave more room to tune the exhaust for a sportier note. To be honest though, it doesn’t sound fruity to me, either when I’m riding it, or following one. Even the optional Akrapovič pipe doesn’t really seem to make much difference (though it does look good).


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2022 Yamaha TMAX Tech Max Economy

Yamaha claims 58.9mpg out of the TMAX, which given the 15 litre tank would mean a range to dry of 195 miles. On the test ride – which is always heavier on fuel than normal riding – I saw 55.4mpg, which is still pretty good, but owners I spoke to have seen a lot more (see below), and the figures are unchanged from the previous model.


Handling, suspension, chassis and weight

Along with its cosmetic update, the new TMAX gains 10mm of ground clearance. Combined with its 41mm upside-down forks that have slightly firmer damping for 2022, it makes for a surprisingly capable machine.

It’s impossible to state for a fact without riding the previous model back-to-back on the same roads, but having been on the launch of the older TMAX, this new one does seem a bit harder to deck out. Even on the tightest roads, we were ‘making good progress’ and I only had the centre-stand skim the ground once, as I hit a bump mid-corner. No drama, just a slight scrape sound.

Some of the machines came back with scuffs on the exhaust heatshield, and a couple on the front lower fairing, but like any bike, it depends how you ride it; force it down while keeping your body away from the ground – or make a smooth bend into a 50 pence piece – and it can touch down. But that’s not how you go fast, and the TMAX certainly has no issues with getting seriously hustled.

The wheels are using Yamaha’s new spin-forging technique, which makes them 10% lighter at the front and 6% lighter at the rear. Again, I can’t remember how much better it is than before, but the TMAX certainly turns in quickly and effortlessly, while remaining stable even at high-speed, however hard you try to unsettle it.

It’s great to see metal right-angled valve stems on the wheels, making it a lot easier to pump up the tyres. They’re not the most elegant, but they’re a lot easier to reach than traditional stubby rubber ones.

The Yamaha’s 220kg is carried fairly low, but that doesn’t seem to make it want to push into corners, and it’s very easy to manage when turning it around in the road. While you don’t get quite the turning circle of a tiny 125cc scoot, it’s still easy to get through traffic and perform U-turns, plus the slightly narrower form of the re-style means that, despite the seat remaining at 800mm high, it’s easier to get your feet down. I’m 5’10” and can get both flat on the floor, and it definitely feels more confidence-inspiring (even when you do cock-up a U-turn on a Spanish road while turning around for photos).

The rear shock is adjustable for preload, though unfortunately it doesn’t have the remote adjuster I’d expect of a premium machine; you’ll find the C-spanner (and presumably some plasters for the skinned knuckles) in the tool kit.


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Yes, that’s a decent length mudguard as standard!


2022 Yamaha TMAX Tech Max brakes

The front discs are bitten by a pair of Yamaha’s trade-mark radially-mounted semi-monoblock* calipers. Despite the revised damping giving a comfortable ride, dive is very well controlled. Of course, having the rear brake on the left bar, in place of the clutch, means it’s really easy to combine it with the front, or drag it into a bend to keep things settled.

The TMAX of course has ABS, and you might find yourself triggering the rear as you get used to it, but it’s refined and well set up.

While it could be argued that it’s not necessary on this bike, I was a bit disappointed to not find cornering ABS on such a premium machine; the lack of an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) means the Yamaha can’t make the adjustments necessary to refine the braking modulation when the effective rolling radius of the tyres changes in a bend. Nobody had any worries during the launch, but it’s become a safety feature that many riders appreciate simply knowing is there.

* Yamaha’s calipers are ‘semi’ monoblocks as they’re not machined from the inside to accommodate the pistons. They’re a single casting so don’t have a join in the middle, which is where the flex can occur in traditional calipers, but they’re bored from the outside, then plugged with those distinctive aluminium plates.


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Comfort over distance and touring

For 2022, Yamaha has tweaked all three points of the ‘rider triangle’; the hand, foot and bum positions. The bars are swept back 7° less, and up 2.5° more, as well as offering more space on the footboards and providing an adjustable backrest that can move forward by 15 and 30mm. I tried this, but preferred being able to shuffle about more on our test ride, though many riders did like being able to jam their bums against it. It’s easy to slide it forward thanks to a button under the seat.

You’re pitched slightly more forwards on the new machine, which will alleviate some pressure on your rear, though I found myself wriggling a little towards the end of the ride. Still, there’s bags of room to move your feet around, including getting them upright on the front.

Pillion capacity is very good – I had a sit on the back and found it comfortable, with plenty of space between my belly and the rider’s back. The passenger’s hips are now 15mm higher, and the pegs are 5mm lower, so there’s plenty of room. Don’t underestimate the potential of the Yamaha TMAX as a tourer.


These shots show what appears to be little movement in the screen, but it does make a big difference and is very quick and easy to use. No wonder owners rave about it


The electrically-adjustable screen is easy to move to any position using the joystick on the left bar, and it’s been redesigned for reduced buffeting. Owner of the previous model and MCN road-tester Michael Neeves said it didn’t feel much different to the old one, but most riders liked that anyway.

At 5’10”, I found with it set to maximum height I could ride with my visor open and no buffeting up to about 60mph. Above that there was some buffeting to my lid, but certainly far less than on many other bikes I’ve ridden recently.

On twisty roads I preferred having the screen down, as while it’s optically excellent, I did find the fractional distortion due to the shape to be a little distracting. Plus it just felt more sporty.


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Rider aids and extra equipment / accessories

There are plenty of genuinely useful features on the Yamaha TMAX that make it a great city and touring bike. As it did before, the Tech Max that we get in the UK has:

  • Cruise control
  • Heated grips and seat
  • Keyless ignition
  • Locking centre-stand
  • Illuminated storage space

You’ll also find illuminated switches, which are great (though the controls on each side of the bar are fairly uncluttered), but it’s the new colour TFT dash that’s the highlight.

There are three choices of dash display, and it’s easy to access all the information options, heater controls and the screen height with the simple to use thumb-stick. There’s plenty of customisation available too – for instance, when riding you can select one of three temperatures for the heated grips or the seat, but in the settings you can change each of those three to be anywhere between 1 and 10. While we were riding in about 16°C temperatures, the heated grips didn’t seem to be as powerful as they could be (even at maximum). The heated seat was another matter though, really warming the bum up quickly.



While it wasn’t set-up on our test bikes, connecting the free Yamaha MyRide app on your phone via Bluetooth offers calls and music via your own Bluetooth intercom, as well as weather info and the ability to read tests when you’re parked. Download the Garmin Motorize app and you can connect via WiFi or the USB port in the front cubby box (this charges too of course) to mirror the navigation on the phone’s screen, giving full mapping on the TMAX dash. This does cost £3.99/month or £33.99/year, and unfortunately you can’t use TomTom or Google instead. Personally, I find the Garmin navigation system to be a bit old-fashioned, and really don’t appreciate the constant pop-ups, not least the distracting one that appears every time you switch it on to warn you not to be distracted.

The front cubby has a pull-out plate with rubber straps to keep even large phones safely in place, plus there’s a little more room for some extras; you could probably get a couple of tubes of Smarties in there as well as your phone, but keep in mind that this storage isn’t lockable, so beware of hungry thieves.

The dash is very easy to read and one of the best I’ve seen for a long while. It’s also got a good-sized sunscreen above it, and an effective anti-glare coating that I found worked well even with the sun directly behind me.


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With keyless ignition, you can start the TMAX by holding the back brake and pushing the ignition on the right bar. The centre button allows you to power it up or turn it off, as well as release the seat, which then just needs a little flick to lift on its gas strut. Don’t underestimate just how useful it is to have all this space so accessible.

That main button will also lock the steering and the centre-stand, if the bike’s on it, making it a lot harder to push away in a theft. Of course, there’s also plenty of room under the seat for a chain. Unfortunately, Yamaha has dropped the factory-fit tracker of the previous model. You can check our reviews of aftermarket trackers and the best motorcycle locks here.

The filler cap can be opened by just pulling up the centre flap within two minutes of shutting the bike off, making fuel-stops easier, and an alarm will sound if you don’t shut it properly. It’s the same loud beeper that tells you you’ve got the side-stand down, which did get a little irritating.


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What does the Yamaha TMAX Tech Max have extra?

We’ll only get the top-spec Tech Max in the UK, which comes in grey or the matt deep blue/grey metallic that we rode on the launch. Our European friends get a yellow version that’s a nod to the original TMAX, and costs 12,699 Euro, which as of 2 March 2022 is about £10,560. Over there, the Tech Max is 14,799 Euro, which is about £12,300, so within market fluctuations of being the same as our pricing. Here’s what you get for the extra couple of grand:

  • Illuminated switchgear
  • One-push start (firing the bike up without turning it on first)
  • Electrically adjustable screen
  • Cruise control
  • Heated grips
  • Heated seat (rider only, not pillion)
  • Preload-adjustable rear shock (using C-spanner)


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2022 Yamaha TMAX Tech Max verdict

While it’s easy to say you want this thing to sound raucous, or have a fire-breathing motor, that’s the fantasy of a 500cc two-stroke beast-scooter. The reality is that Yamaha has struck a balance of performance, weight, handling and practicality. And there aren’t many scooters that are this great on motorways and open roads... Probably about as many as there are motorcycles with this amount of storage space that are so brilliant in the city.

I could happily tour the UK or out into Europe on a TMAX, especially with the optional top-box; there are even panniers available from third-party manufacturers. I would want to try it with a pillion though, before committing to the Alps.

The Yamaha TMAX isn’t ‘just an expensive scooter’ – it’s genuinely a brilliant all-rounder. The problem is that many riders will ignore it because of its transmission and the scooter-like comfortable, roomy riding position. Or because they feel they need more power. The fact is that this could be a real alternative for many to a touring or adventure bike (not if you do go off-road of course), and while it’s not for everyone, I bet there would be a lot more people on them if they’d just give one a go.

You’ve got this far in the review, so why not just try one to see for yourself; it might just change your mind…


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Chris Gibbons has owned his previous-generation TMAX for two years


Who is the Yamaha TMAX for?

Yamaha UK says that a large proportion of TMAX owners are repeat buyers, and this sporty super-scooter tourer is a big thing in Europe. It’s got a huge variety of rider’s owning it, not least racer and incredibly fast road-rider Michael Neeves, plus TT winner and lap record holder, plus winner of 49 LC races, Mat Oxley. I spoke to several BikeSocial members owners to find out what makes the TMAX so special…

“It’s the best bike I’ve ever had,” says Bill King, who owns a 2019 model and uses it solely for fun rides out. “It’s also the most expensive but I reckon it’s worth it.” Bill says the heated grips, seat, cruise control and ABS all go towards it, but it’s the excellent windscreen that he raves about the most.

Chris Gibbons has had one for two years after trading in a Kawasaki J300; “I've got friends with motorbikes that they rarely use because riding at slow speeds is a pain; not so with my TMAX,” he told me. “I've done several trips in the UK with my two sons on a Ducati 1260 Multistrada and a Triumph Tiger 900. I've never felt my scoot was out-classed in either power or style, and after a long ride around the Lakes and Peaks, the Tiger rider asked to swap bikes as his seat was killing him. The TMAX is a veritable settee.

“The only issue I have with my scoot is the ride height; I'm 5ft 7" with an inside leg of 29" and it's a stretch to touch the floor. Having said all that, I'd buy another.” Chris also reckons the electrically-adjusted screen is one of the machine’s best features, but his point about the seat height (or more importantly, the overall stand-over height) is interesting as Bill mentioned that he’s 6’1” and had no problem, but acknowledged it wouldn’t suit everyone. The new machine is certainly an improvement due to its narrower form.

Dave Hannis is on his third TMAX; “What a machine they are. I mainly use mine for commuting to work, though it was more than capable of a recent 250 mile day trip, and I’m going to tour on it around the Isle of Man and Wales this year.

“Performance is more than adequate and will comfortably keep up with motorway traffic. Economy is often around 65 with a tank range of around 180 miles, though this does vary depending how you ride it.

“Overall the TMAX is comfortable with excellent headlights and great weather protection that keeps the worst off you. ABS can kick in a little early but it doesn’t detract from what is a sharp system. The only downside I would say is it’s a wide machine and can be a stretch to get both feet down for a shorter person.

“Although tagged as a scooter, it’s so much more than that. I rate it very highly as a do-it-all bike.”

Praise indeed for the previous models, and I’m confident that riders who liked the old one will love this new version.


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2022 Yamaha TMAX Tech Max spec

New price




Bore x Stroke


Engine layout

Parallel twin

Engine details

Liquid-cooled DOHC four-stroke


46.9bhp (35.0kW) @ 7,500rpm


41.1 lb-ft (55.7Nm) @ 5,250rpm

Top speed

n/a mph


V-belt automatic with belt final drive

Average fuel consumption

58.9mpg tested

Tank size

15 litres

Max range to empty (theoretical)

195 miles

Reserve capacity


Rider aids

ABS, traction control, riding modes



Front suspension

41mm upside-down forks

Front suspension adjustment


Rear suspension

Single-shock link-type

Rear suspension adjustment


Front brake

2x 267mm disc, radially-mounted four-piston semi-monoblock calipers

Rear brake

282mm disc

Front tyre

120/70 R15 Bridgstone Battlax SC2

Rear tyre

160/60 R1 Bridgstone Battlax SC2




2,195mm x 780mm 1,415mm (LxWxH)



Ground clearance


Seat height


Kerb weight



2 years, unlimited mileage. Option to pay £299 for a third year

MCIA Secured rating

Not yet included, but would be 3/5




Looking for scooter or moped insurance? Get a quote for this machine with Bennetts moped and scooter insurance


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What is MCIA Secured?

MCIA Secured gives bike buyers the chance to see just how much work a manufacturer has put into making their new investment as resistant to theft as possible.

As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars, based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard
  • An ignition immobiliser system
  • A vehicle marking system
  • An alarm system
  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has, and compare it to other machines on your shortlist.