Let us suppose you’ve ridden motorcycles all you life and, apart from needing shopping transport to the local supermarket, the idea of straddling a scooter has never entered your head. So how can this thing – Yamaha Tmax DX – cost 529,000 THB?
After a day riding one round Bangkok and its environs, I have an answer. It looks like a scooter, but it functions like a thin car. By that I mean it’s a two-wheeled vehicle with about 85 percent of the short-distance advantage of a car (comfort, capable or operation without thought, tech overkill, no great need to wear special clothing), and 90 percent of the advantages of a motorcycle (acceleration, filtering). Why would you buy a halve a million baht scooter? Well, if you can afford it, and you want to get to work on time, why wouldn’t you?
The first Yamaha Tmax came along in 2001. Since then Yamaha have sold 250,000 units, mainly to south European countries, where it’s a consistent best seller. The uptight north Europeans are proving slower to catch on, partly because of the colder weather. In Thailand the whole idea of maxi-scooters is also slowly picking up, partly perhaps because of the big bike culture is a little way behind than that of some other countries.