Posted: 02 Nov 2012
If ever there is going to be a time we could feel remotely sorry for a bike designer it’s when he or she gets the order to design a new scooter. You can imagine their reaction: “And you want it to look like a scooter but not look like the 100 or so designs already out there? Okay!”
To be fair to Yamaha its design team has managed to pull one out of the bag. There’s no mistaking the BW’s the second time around of seeing one bumbling along the street, or parked up in the middle of 10-15 other scooters.
It’s the stacked front and rear light units that first grab your attention – car drivers’ attention too – and then you look closely to see other styling cues from… nothing much else really.
The BW’s styling isn’t unique enough to be called unique but it is different and appeals to the youth who see it as trendy scoot compared to the rising masses of scoots who carry the same looks as the scooters their mother used to ride in her younger days.
It’s the exposed frame tubes that are the clinical knockout punch. Wherever there is a line on the bike it’s highlighted by the framework. It’s a clever design touch, make no mistake – it’s part of the same design brilliance as underseat storage on scooters. And yes, you can get a full-face helmet under the seat but beware cheap European lids that only come with one outer shell size because it’s touch and go whether they will fit. Try before you buy is our advice.
Below the BW’s styling exercise is a fairly ordinary air-cooled single-cylinder engine that provides good pull away power from stationary and when it’s needed in the stop and go traffic of today. Usual reasonable fuel economy applies with the BW’s otherwise it wouldn’t stand a chance against the competition.
The small 12in wheel size is usually a recipe for wibbly-wobbly steering over bumps but the use of chunky tyres on the BW’s aid stability to also prompt rapid roundabout lean angles. Braking performance of front disc and rear drum is excellent thanks to Yamaha’s Unified Braking System that automatically compensates for irregular braking force between front and rear brakes – the days of rear wheel skids on a scooter are disappearing fast (sniff).
+ points – modern styling, clean and instant pulling power
- points – there are cheaper run-around scooters available
Power: 9bhp, 7.1ft lbs
Kerb weight: 121kg
Seat height: 780mm
Colours: White/black, matt grey/black
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