The Yamaha T-Max has led the maxi-scooter world since its introduction 11-years ago, but with sporty maxi-scooters from BMW on offer, Yamaha is maxing-out the T-Max.
The latest Yamaha T-Max updates read like those for the latest sportbike: fresh styling, a revamped chassis and a 2mm larger bore that ups displacement to 530cc.
The engine of the Yamaha T-Max 530 feels strong and the CVT automatic transmission is smooth, easing the frustration of our stop-and-go progress in city traffic. Yamaha says the main benefit of the new engine is improved acceleration between 40 to 100 km/h. Indeed, the scooter accelerates briskly, which proved useful for nipping ahead of the traffic as we headed north out of Bangkok.
Free of traffic on the road to Khon Kaen, 150 km/h appears on the dash surprisingly quickly, although the Yamaha T-Max 530 is much happier cruising at 120 km/h. Even at the much lower posted speed, the scooter' s lower windscreen created quite a bit of turbulence. It is adjustable, but not by hand.
Accommodations are plush. There' s a reasonable amount of space under the seat; not enough for two full-face helmets, but the compartment held my helmet and jacket with room to spare.
We pointed the Yamaha T-Max 530 up some curvy roads, where the scoot' s twist-and-go-grunt, massive brakes and respectable handling proved that this maxi-scooter is indeed worthy of the adjective 'sporty'. Our pace was quick rather than fast, but the Yamaha T-Max handled the curves effortlessly and with unfaltering steadiness.
The engine updates are excellent, but other changes get mixed reviews. The new mirrors are clear and well spaced, but small. The revamped instrument panel contains the essential info, but the digital display is small. While the fork feels superb, the shock needs to take more of the edge off bit hits.
Yamaha's efforts have produced the best T-Max to date, but whether that will be enough to retain the scooter's huge share of the increasingly competitive maxi- and super-scooter market is another matter.