Yamaha TMax 530 Royal Enfield Classic 500
Around town, this thing is an absolute rocket – even Jorge Lorenzo wouldn’t beat it off the lights. So I guess the answer is that it’s a scooter because it has small(ish) 15 inch wheels, you step through to mount rather than swing a leg over, and there’s massive storage space under the rearward hinging seat. But beyond that, it’s probably the most practical two-wheeler on the market, albeit at a price. By modern definition, this is a ‘maxi-scooter’, which will cruise the highways with consum- mate ease at the legal limit, and above. In fact, it is so easy to have the speed creep up I would have preferred a big digital readout on the speedo rather than the old needle. The seating position is supremely comfortable and the windscreen is in just the right position, but I never quite worked out whether I should have my feet forward on the front section of the running boards or on the flat part, bikestyle. I chose the latter as the TMax felt more stable that way. However it is wide across the
foot area, meaning your legs are splayed when at rest and those of shorter stature could find difficulty in gaining a firm foothold on the ground. With a 530cc DOHC parallel twin under you, it’s no wonder the Yamaha accelerates like a scalded cat, and this is a real boost in traffic where you need instant power to avoid being hemmed in or shoved about. There are two power modes: S and T, the latter being the softer, plus Traction Control. I stuck with S, and I guess the T mode is really designed for less experienced riders (the TMax is LAMS legal). The CVT Automatic transmission works faultlessly, in fact to all intents and purposes, it’s not even there.
The sophisticated electronics extend to remote locking, whereby you simply carry the ‘key’ in your pocket and use the buttons on the handlebars to get everything under way. Although you start the TMax (and release the seat latch and fuel caps) with the button on the right switch block, you need to remember to switch it all off with a separate button (which also locks the steering), otherwise it stays switched on and can drain the battery. A useful fitting is a parking brake (operated by a lever below the left switch block) which is very handy when you need to take both hands off the bars when stopped. Another smart feature is the ability to lock the centre stand in the down position, meaning it can’t even be pushed away by felons. The TMax is a fun machine, no doubt about it. The steering is a bit ponderous due to the long wheelbase, but it can be flung about with abandon, and nothing ever scrapes. And the brakes – fantastic, as you would expect because they are derived from the R6 sports machine. Suspension is also well set – upside down front forks, no less – with none of the wallowing or pitching often associated with ‘scooters’. A horizontally-mounted shock takes good care of the rear suspension. As one gets older, machines such as this become more and more attractive, giving the best of both scooter and motorcycle worlds. The TMax 530 is not a small package, so if you like the concept but would prefer something a little more petite, there’s the XMax 300 which is lighter, smaller overall and cheaper.
Stacks of space under the seat. Superb brakes and front suspension. The lever below the left side switchblock is a park brake.