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Macho Super Scooter: Yamaha TMAX

By Arv Voss, June 27th, 2015

Who says scooters are not for real men? Certainly not a guy who has taken a spin on the 2015 Yamaha TMAX XP500F scooter, which happens to be more sportbike than scooter. In fact, you might refer to it as a "super-scooter."

Of course, there are lots of testosterone-loaded male riders who cringe at the thought of being seen riding a scooter of any size, shape, or form, but trust me, there's nothing wimpy, or to be ashamed of, about riding the Yamaha TMAX XP500F scoot.

Notably, there's no big V-twin exhaust note, but the fuel economy delivered by the Yamaha TMAX is an estimated 46 mpg and your neighbors won't be ticked off when you fire it up for an early Sunday morning ride. There's also no clutch or foot brake to concern yourself with either. Handlebar-mounted hand levers operate both front and rear brakes.

This super-scooter draws its motive force from a 530cc four-valve, liquid-cooled, four-stroke, forward inclined parallel two-cylinder motor with electronic fuel injection and right-side exhaust. The energy is directed to the rear wheel through a continuously variable transmission via a V-Belt final drive.

The TMAX's suspension componentry consists of Inverted 41mm telescopic forks up front with 4.7 inches of travel, and a mid-ship horizontal positioned rear shock, with 4.6 inches of travel. The scooter rolls on Dunlop Sportmax 15-inch rubber mounted on six-swirl-spoke alloy wheels. Stopping duty is handled by hydraulic 267mm dual discs with radial-mount calipers for the front wheel, and a 282mm single disc in the rear.

The frame is a strong and rigid CF die-cast aluminum unit that helps to reduce the overall weight and improves the handling characteristics of the TMAX.

The 2015 Yamaha TMAX XP500F scooter actually takes on the image of a sportbike, thanks in part to the newly designed twin-beam LED headlights, front cowl with a two-level windscreen, front fender, mirrors, and instrument panel, which add to its sporty appeal and stylishly modern overall appearance.

The instrument panel features round dials with a black background and red accents for improved visibility while adding to the sporty persona.

A new "Smartkey" system allows the rider to keep the key fob in their pocket while providing the ability to start and turn off the engine without the need for a traditional key switch. Additionally, the Smartkey enables the rider to operate the steering lock, seat lock release, and 12-volt electric outlet cut-off with the push of a button located in the center of the inner panel. A large under-seat storage space will easily accommodate a full-face helmet or other gear -- and even groceries.

The riding position for the TMAX is really quite comfortable with a long rider's seat and short adjustable backrest, along with long footboards featuring both flat and forward inclined footrest areas. The handlebars are well placed for a comfortable reach, and the one-piece seat is extended for a passenger with foot pegs and side grip handles. Rearview mirrors are mounted forward with long bar extensions for good rearward visibility, and the cowl provides good wind protection for shorter riders. Two stands are mounted at the side and center.

The Yamaha TMAX scooter is large, tipping the scale at 485 pounds, and is ideal for short commutes or longer cruises with its 4-gallon fuel tank and estimated 46 mpg for a comfortable range of more than 184 miles.

My test 2015 Yamaha TMAX XP500F Scooter sported a Sonic Gray matte finish with black and carbon-fiber-looking trim accents. The base sticker read $10,490, while the price as tested came to an estimated $10,740.

Riding the TMAX delivers a pleasurable experience, although the rearward angle of the bars can make slow-speed sharp turns a bit awkward for long-legged riders. A self-canceling turn signal would be a plus.

The ride quality is comfortable and compliant, and in terms of the handling characteristics, the Yamaha TMAX maneuvers easily and is well balanced.

Bottom line, if you could have only one two-wheeled form of transport, the Yamaha TMAX scooter is capable of fulfilling a variety of roles -- scooter, cruiser, and sportbike, since it boasts some of the positive properties of each. If you're a male rider, there's no shame in riding the TMAX; in fact it may well start a new trend.

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