Take in to the (T) Max…

I just went for a look… but walked out with a new scooter, as you do. How would it com­pare to my other scoot­ers?

Scootering - - Kickstart -

I looked down and with no ef­fort and not much noise, it was whirring eas­ily along at, well, let’s just say mo­tor­way speed. I was sit­ting in com­fort with no need to hold my fin­gers over the clutch.

Upon ar­rival at the store, my eyes were drawn to an un­usual beast in the cor­ner. It was a very big mo­tor­bike/scooter ‘thing’ which was cus­tom painted with Union Jacks all over it. I couldn’t ac­tu­ally de­cide whether I loved or hated the thing. A few days later though I went back and paid the man… so now I was the owner of a Yamaha TMAX 500cc ‘thing’, painted in Union Jacks. Dur­ing the first trip out on it I was get­ting used to the han­dling and took it round some swoop­ing coun­try roads to get to the A1 where I headed south. I looked down and with no ef­fort and not much noise, it was whirring eas­ily along at, well, let’s just say mo­tor­way speed.

I was sit­ting in com­fort with no need to hold my fin­gers over the clutch. The wind was com­fort­ably de­flected around me by the large screen, it was like rid­ing an arm­chair on wheels! The T-MAX was a LOT dif­fer­ent to my Lam­bretta and ini­tially I re­ally en­joyed hav­ing it. Peo­ple looked at it be­cause of the paint job, it was pretty vis­i­ble in a crowd and cer­tainly unique. It was great to go off on 100 mile+ round trips with­out hav­ing to take an ex­ten­sive tool kit, no bot­tles of oil to carry, no vague smell of petrol from my leg. I could just go, and not have the nag­ging doubt that I might be call­ing the AA later that day from a layby! I even used it for work. In the sum­mer I could go and see a cus­tomer with my brief­case in the cav­ernous stor­age area un­der the seat. Park up and switch my brief­case for jacket and hel­met. The cus­tomer never knew I’d just ar­rived from a 60 mile trip on two wheels. How­ever in the words of Clark­son: “But, there was a prob­lem…”

After six months or so the TMAX went from the front of the garage to the side and then to the back, and then un­der a dust cover. It was to­tally re­li­able, fast, smooth, com­fort­able, safe and rea­son­ably eco­nom­i­cal. But, well… a bit bor­ing. It had no soul, it was no fun, there was no ex­cite­ment. It didn’t feel… alive, and nor did I when I rode it. That was the dif­fer­ence. Yes it was fab for long jour­neys and eat­ing up miles. Bril­liant for a cruise around Der­byshire. But it didn’t make me smile in the way the noisy smelly clas­sic scooter did. When rid­ing to work on my Lam­bretta it was never straight to work. There was al­ways a ‘scenic route’ of­ten in­volv­ing that rail­way tun­nel where it was The Law that you have to drop a gear and rev the shit out. And not for­get­ting that mo­ment when you stop at the lights and the puffs of two-stroke smoke waft un­der the hel­met. Along the high street you catch your own re­flec­tion in plate glass win­dows and you catch that fella over there turn­ing his head to see the scooter… you feel, alive!

The Yamaha didn’t have that feel­ing – you know the one – it was just, well, a mode of re­li­able trans­port. I even went to a gath­er­ing of big au­to­matic scoot­ers, hop­ing for that ‘fra­ter­nal buzz’ you get at a rally. But it wasn’t the same. The peo­ple were dif­fer­ent too, there was no buzz. There was no one with body­work off and span­ners out and peo­ple help­ing fix what­ever is­sue there was. It was all ‘very civilised’ with some fel­las pro­duc­ing a flask of tea and box of sand­wiches from the space un­der the seat. So I think the TMAX ended up be­ing used once in about six months. Now, rides out for plea­sure are on a Char­lie Ed­monds tuned Rapido 225 and I have that scary feel­ing see­ing how fast it goes by track­ing on a GPS… vi­brat­ing like crazy and en­gine scream­ing! Now that made the adrenalin flow and the heart beat like crazy (86mph by the way on the GPS)!

Even­tu­ally the Yamaha was sold on eBay. I ac­tu­ally got ex­actly what I paid for it when it went and the guy was very happy with his cus­tom painted Yamaha. It was great for a while hav­ing that type of scooter AS WELL as a Lam­bretta, but it could never be IN­STEAD of! That vague smell of petrol fol­low­ing you around is quite ad­dic­tive re­ally.

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