Yamaha introduced the new Yamaha T-Max 530 Mk4.Yamaha's engineers and marketing people started at the introduction by reminding us of the evolution of the Yamaha T-Max since the original 40 horsepower parallel twin was launched back at the turn of the century; Yamaha added an extra front disc and 4 more horses with fuel injection in 2004, then they gave it an aluminum chassis and a complete makeover with sharper styling all round and an up-swept exhaust in 2008.
The forks also got progressively bigger from 38 to 43mm as did the wheels, from 14 to 15 inches front and rear. The resulting Yamaha T-Max Mk3 was a mighty fine machine but, as I discovered when I rode one some time ago, it's still a big, heavy beast when you put it alongside any serious sports motorcycle.
It actually weight more than a Yamaha YZF-R1 or a Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade, with less than a third of the horsepower, but that's like comparing apples and oranges.
The Yamaha T-Max 500 Mk3 is still lighter than all its twin-cylinder scooter rivals and more T-max scooters have been sold in worldwide markets than all the Honda Silver Wings, Suzuki Burgman 650 and Gilera GP 800 together. In fact, nearly twice as many, since, on average, 65% of all the twin-cylinder maxi-scooters sold in the world over the past ten years have been a Yamaha T-Max. For the latest incarnation, Yamaha's engineers have made the T-Max lighter, increased the horsepower and torque and improved the protection from both screen and fairing. Yamaha designers have given the new Yamaha T-Max a sharper look too. The slogan for the new model is 'Nothing but the Max!' but actually when it comes to both power and capacity, the new Yamaha T-Max is still the smallest and the least powerful of the maxi-scooter twins, with a 2mm overbore bringing it up to just 530cc and claimed power of just 45.5 horsepower. By contrast, the Suzuki Burgman 650 has a claimed 55 horsepower and the Honda Integra DCT has 51.1 horsepower.
Yamaha claim that the change to a toothed final drive belt from the previous design using a fully enclosed hyvo chain not only reduces the unsprung weight significantly but also means that there are actually five extra gee-gees reaching the ground rather than the nominal three compared to the previous Yamaha T-Max 500 Mk3. However, one of the attractions of the previous models is that their fully-enclosed hyvo drive chains are zero maintenance devices. I've never heard of anyone replacing either of them. The new toothed drive belt is much more enclosed than most conventional drive chains, but it is still open to the elements, and adjustment bolts are fitted to the rear axle, implying that some adjustment will be required.
When the obvious question was asked about its durability, we were told that it should last the life of the machine as long as it doesn't get damaged by a stone or some other small, hard object getting lodged in the teeth. Regular inspections are part of the maintenance schedule. Hmm. I can't understand why they didn't just fully enclose the new belt, with a transparent window for inspection purposes. I can see some aftermarket accessories manufacturer making a full enclosure cover...