It’s seems like Yamaha got busy all of a sudden. Their bikes show up on our radar almost daily – if it’s not their 125cc Tricity three-wheeler (copied from the brilliant but pricey Gilera Fuoco) it’s their new V-twin bobber, the Bolt.
Bikeroutes recently sampled three other new Yammies at a media product launch in Gauteng. The most relevant, to adventure loving South Africans, is the Super Ténéré XT1200ZE dual-purpose bike. Yamaha also presented us with new entrant in the naked street racer segment, the MT-07, as well as an improved version of their TMAX superscooter.
The surprise ride at the media launch was the TMAX. Previously reviewed by yours truly for Bikeroutes in December 2012, this is a re-launch of the same basic model with a few points worth mentioning: the under-seat storage release latch can now be operated with one hand (finally). Next, Yamaha slapped on a sporting decal kit to give the bike a whole new look. ABS, which was optional before is now standard equipment. Lastly and most importantly, the price has come down from R109 950 to R96 000. This is a bold move by Yamaha in an attempt to establish the maxi-scooter market in South Africa. Incidentally, BMW launched their maxi-scooters here in 2013, but sales have been so slow that they’ve removed it from their product lineup.
In other parts of the world the TMAX established the maxi class back in 2001 with sales in Italy counted in thousands. Fuel cost and commuting time are cited as the biggest drivers for this success. No other class of bike creates an easier commute with the continuously variable transmission and strong power delivery being the key: twist the throttle at any speed and off you go; no thinking required. It’s small enough to take gaps, and you can park it on a penny. In short, for a commuter/runabout town bike a maxi-scooter should be on your shortlist. But the TMAX faces strong competition from the new Honda Integra 750 (for R1000 more) and will find an even stronger adversary in the dual-clutch auto Honda NC750XD motorcycle for R84 990.