Yamaha TMAX (2020) - We ride Yamaha's updated Euro-5 TMAX 560

Adam Chad Child Bio Pic
By Adam (Chad) Child
Adamchildchad Forties, 5'7, has been professionally bike testing for 20-years and has attended more than 350 bike launches and covered over a million road test miles. International road racer, with race wins at Oliver's Mount, podiums in NZ and two top ten TT finishes. Chad is just as happy off-road or on a classic bike.

 

Right from the off back in 2001, the TMAX maxi-scooter struck a chord in Europe. In France and Italy especially, they loved and still love Yamaha’s premium scooter. The Japanese firm has sold two million units in various capacities worldwide, with a chunk of those sales in mainland Europe and it’s easy to see why; it’s such a brilliant, versatile bike, yet in the UK we are still to accept the TMAX like our friends over the channel.

To widen its appeal and make sure the TMAX remains on top (and is Euro 5 compliant, of course), Yamaha has delivered a new 560 TMAX for 2020. It is bigger in capacity and faster than ever before but still A2 licence compliant. They’ve also improved the design while retaining a premium feel. If you’ve never considered a maxi-scooter before, maybe it’s about time because this iteration is the fastest, sportiest and, in my opinion, best-looking TMAX yet.

 

 

2020 Yamaha TMAX Price

At £11,649, there is no hiding the fact the ‘top-spec’ TMAX Tech MAX is expensive, especially when you consider Yamaha’s own and very accomplished Tracer 900 GT, complete with panniers, is cheaper at £11,049. The base model TMAX is a more palatable at £10,199, and prices are comparable to the maxi-scooter competition from BMW, whose base GT starts at £10,375, and Honda’s X-ADV, which starts at £10,249.

 

 

Power and torque

Yamaha claims the new 560 is the fastest TMAX ever with maximum power up from 45.3bhp @ 6750rpm to 46.9bhp @ 7599rpm and peak torque is up from 39 ft-lb @ 5250rpm to 41.1 @ 5250rpm. Peak power has moved up the rev range and the torque has increased due to the increase in engine capacity from 530cc to 560cc. The Euro 5 friendly Yamaha is 5km/h faster and accelerates quicker. In back-to-back testing against the old model, the new 2020 ‘MAX was always a few bike lengths ahead.

It certainly feels nimble. If you’ve never ridden a maxi-scooter before its ability will take you by surprise. 74-85mph cruising speeds are uneventful and easy and if you push hard enough, you'll see the analogue speedo top out at 110mph. What surprised me the most was the bike’s acceleration from 75mph upwards – it’s still brisk and doesn’t labour unlike some models in this category.

There are two engine modes to choose from (which can be changed on the fly with a closed throttle): Touring and Sport. Yamaha claims there is now a greater step between the two than before, but I’d contest that. There is a noticeable difference between the two modes but it’s not huge which means you spend the majority of your time in one mode. I spent 95% of the ride in Touring mode which never felt lacking. Personally, I’d prefer a larger differentiation between the two modes.

 

 

Engine, gearbox and exhaust

One of the most significant changes for 2020 is the 2mm increase in the bore, from 68mm to 70mm, which ups capacity from 530cc to 560cc.  But it wasn’t just a case of oversizing the engine there is more to it than that. The intake valves have increased in size, and there are new connecting rods, a lighter crankshaft, new camshaft, and new aluminium forged pistons. As before, the two-cylinders are balanced by an opposed ‘dummy’ piston.

The increase in power and capacity means heat generation has increased obliging Yamaha to improve the cooling system with a larger radiator and new air duct. But, despite the larger radiator, coolant capacity is reduced due to shortened coolant routing.

The TMAX still uses a CVT transmission – automatic, twist-and-go to me and you. However, the clutch engagement has reduced by 300rpm to 4000rpm, and gear ratios have been reduced, again to give a sportier feel and match the new engine performance.

To meet strict Euro 5 legislation Yamaha had to produce a new exhaust system with a twin catalytic converter with stronger materials allowing for a thinner exhaust and an overall reduction in weight. Air-filter, throttle body and fuelling are all new for 2020.

The TMAX twin-cylinder engine has always had a distinctive feel and exhaust tone but now sounds meatier than before with more character. Despite its capacity increasing the overall bike is only 1kg heavier than previously, with some of this weight saved from the new exhaust.

 

 

2020 Yamaha TMAX Economy

Despite capacity and performance increases, Yamaha claim a 10% improvement in fuel consumption for the already frugal Yamaha. 4.8 litres per 100km works out at around 59mpg while the 15-litre fuel tank means the new TMAX should have a range of about 194miles. On test, I achieved considerably less than the claimed figure, but I did spend the majority of the time with the throttle wide open – sorry. However, I’ve ridden the now ‘old’ model extensively in the past, even attending the world launch in Cape Town in 2017, and achieved 55mpg, so Yamaha’s claim seems reasonable.

 

 

Handling, suspension, chassis and weight

When Yamaha re-vamped the TMAX in 2017 they increased its sportiness by reducing weight (by 9kg), moving the engine further forward in the chassis and by giving it a steeper head angle plus new suspension and a revised swing-arm. For 2020 the set-up changes aren’t as dramatic, but they have gone one step further, to make it sportier than before. The suspension has been ‘fine-tuned’ and the damping settings ‘revised’ with spring rates both front and rear also increased.

Simply put, the set-up feels firmer than before but still plush. On the motorway, the ride is smooth end effortless without jolting on bumps and road imperfections. Equally, the handling is impressive and still very ‘scooter-like’, easy to throw around considering the bike tips the scales at 220kg. Stability is also excellent, not what you would normally associate with a maxi-scooter on 15-inch wheels. In the mountains I was impressed enough to, on occasion, drag its centre stand though tight turns, and you could certainly embarrass a few conventional bikes if you were in the mood. Don’t underestimate the handling of a well-ridden TMAX.

When we encountered some heavy rain later in the day, the Yam’ didn’t disappoint. The feedback for a scooter was impressive and the Bridgestone rubber gave consistent grip, wet and dry.

My only complaint was that the TMAX felt a tad harsh over very bumpy sections, as if there was too much pre-load on the springs (pre-load is adjustable on the top-spec Tech model, but not in the standard bike). The first ¼ to ½ of the suspension travel was smooth but the later part of the stroke was a little harsh. In fairness, we did encounter some very poorly surfaced roads as well as ancient cobbles (that were taken at speed). It will be interesting to see how the bike performs in the UK.

 

 

2020 Yamaha TMAX Brakes

The brakes are unchanged for 2020 and do an excellent job of slowing proceedings. With no clutch, the back brake is on the left bar and comes into constant use, more so than a conventional set-up. ABS, as you’d expect, is standard and isn’t too intrusive. There is also a parking brake on the left bar because, obviously, you can’t leave the bike in gear when parked on a hill.

 

 

Comfort over distance and touring

We benefited from testing the top of the range Tech model which comes with an electronically adjustable screen that makes a huge difference on the motorway. Once fully raised you’re forced to look through the screen and not over it (this rider is 5ft 7), though very tall riders may be able to peer over the top. With the screen up you’re in a cocoon of silence, all wind and wind-noise taken away from your upper body. Personally, I preferred the screen raised to just a quarter of the way up so I could look over rather than through.

Simple and easy-to-use cruise control comes as standard on the Tech model and there is enough storage under the seat for a reasonably large bag or two open face helmets – yes, touring is a genuine option on the TMAX.

The seat is nearly identical to the previous model; comfortable with small lumber support ahead of the pillion seat. It was only towards the end of the day that I was forced to move around to ease numb-bum ache. From memory I thought the older bike was slightly better in this department, which may be down to the seat or perhaps the new suspension. It was far from uncomfortable, but I knew I’d done a full 9 to 5 day in the saddle.

 

 

Rider aids and extra equipment / accessories

Traction control and ABS both come as standard, but are not lean-sensitive (there is no IMU monitoring lean angle). When the traction control kicks in it’s smooth, and the reintervention is effortless. And yes, on wet cobbles and white lines it did kick in from time to time.

The Tech MAX comes with an electric screen, cruise control, heated grips and seat, adjustable rear suspension, slight cosmetic changes, and My TMAX connectivity. The connectivity not only allows you to view your ride, speed and lean angle but can be used as a tracking device.

There is also a sports pack that includes a backrest and mounting, aluminium pegs, number plate holder and sports screen. An urban pack includes a top case and mounting, backrest and universal bar mounts.  Finally, a winter pack comprise of heated grips, apron and knuckle visor (hand guards). Akropovič produces silencers with a choice of two finishes for the new model and there is a range of detailed cosmetic options you can choose from.

 

 

Rivals to 2020 Yamaha TMAX

The obvious competition comes from BMW with their luxurious C650GT, which comes in various formats, and like the TMAX is a high-end maxi-scooter. It’s comparable on price and spec, but the BMW does come with a tyre pressure control, which isn’t available on the Yamaha. Further afield, Honda has its bold 745cc X-ADV with DCT clutch. This is a high-end luxury scooter but like the BMW needs to be restricted to be A2-licence compliant. As a cheaper alternative, Kymco can’t be ignored. Their AK550 may not appear as desirable or premium but at £8899 is tempting for potential customers.

 

Yamaha TMAX

BMW C650GT

Honda X-ADV

KYMCO AK550

Engine

562cc Parallel two-cylinder

647cc two cylinder

745cc two cylinder

550.4cc two cylinder

Power

46.9bhp (35KW) @ 7500rpm

59bhp (44kw) @ 7750rpm

54bhp (40.3kw) @ 4750rpm

52.3bhp (39kw) @ 7500rpm

Torque

41.1ftlb (55.7Nm) @ 5250rpm

46.5ftlb (63Nm) @ 6000rpm

50ftlb (67.8Nm) @ 6250rpm

41.0 ftlb (55.64Nm) @ 5500rpm

Weight

220kg

261kg

238kg

226kg

Seat height

800mm

805mm

820mm

785mm

Fuel tank

15l

15.5l

13.1l

15l

PRICE

£10,199

£10,375

£10,249

£8899

 

 

2020 Yamaha TMAX verdict

The now old TMAX was an excellent bike and, as stated previously (and I can see why the bike is so popular in Europe), is versatile, stylish and fun. For 2020 Yamaha has upped the game again, now with more power, quicker response, a sportier chassis, and improved looks. It’s not a massive step over its predecessor, more of an evolution, but one current TMAX owner is going to find hard to ignore. The best-selling Maxi-scooter on the market just improved its game which will have the competition worried. And if you’ve not tried one you really should – you’ll be impressed.

 

Three things I loved about the 2020 Yamaha TMAX…

  • Improved performance and acceleration while improving mpg too
  • Sportiness and scooter-like ability in town
  • Sophisticated looks, appeal and styling

 

Three things that I didn’t…

  • No separate button for the adjustable screen, the adjustment is within the main menu
  • Over cobbles the and large bumps the ride is a little harsh.
  • The full-spec version is now the most expensive in this class.

 

2020 Yamaha TMAX spec

New price

From £10,199 (£11,649 as tested)

Capacity

562cc

Bore x Stroke

70x73mm

Engine layout

Parallel 2-cylinder

Engine details

4-stroke DOHC,4V

Power

46.9bhp (35KW) @ 7500rpm

Torque

41.1 lb-ft (55.7Nm) @ 5250rpm

Top speed

110mph (not recorded)

Transmission

Automatic – Belt Drive

Average fuel consumption

59mpg claimed

Tank size

15 litres

Max range to empty (theoretical)

194 miles

Reserve capacity

N/A

Rider aids

ABS as standard, traction control

Frame

Aluminium

Front suspension

41mm hydraulic forks

Front suspension adjustment

Non-adjustable

Rear suspension

Single shock

Rear suspension adjustment

Pre-load only

Front brake

Twin 267mm discs, Yamaha brand, 4-piston calipers

Rear brake

282mm disc, Yamaha brand, single piston caliper

Front tyre

120/70 R15 Bridgestone Battlax SC

Rear tyre

160/60 R15 Bridgestone Battlax SC

Rake/Trail

26-degrees / 98mm

Dimensions

2200mm x 765mm 1420-1555mm (LxWxH)

Wheelbase

1575mm

Ground clearance

125mm

Seat height

800mm

Kerb weight

220kg including fuel and oil

Warranty

2-years

Website

Yamaha-motor.eu

 

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

 

2020 Yamaha TMAX Walkaround video

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