Yamaha TMAX 560 Test
Motorcycle Test by Wayne Vickers – Image Rob Mott
Scooters. They’ve not quite established themselves in Australia as well as they have in Europe. Admittedly the boom in home delivery services has given them a proper sales nudge and I reckon the tide is turning. It’s easy to see why. They’re light, convenient, great in city traffic and for ducking about on. And then there’s the Maxi Scooter category, like the Yamaha TMAX 560. More of everything. Size, comfort, power, room, storage, pillion accommodation, everything. I spent some time on the new Tmax to try and get a feel for it.
You certainly notice the size straight away. It’s a big jigger. Positively massive in width across the seat. It’s like wrapping your legs around a horse. In fact I found myself sliding forwards a little on the seat when I knew I had to come to a stop, just so I could more easily put my foot down. For reference I’m just under 6ft (a smidge over 180cm). I guess that width is a by-product of having the very handy double helmet storage capacity under the seat, but it instantly conveys that this isn’t a nimble little urban jobby – it’s something different. That generous seat width also makes it a very comfy place to spend some time. Even longer haul highway hauls proved no issue at all.
There’s a couple of important buttons on the bars to be aware of, one to power on and unlock (on the left), and one to power off and lock (on the right). The unlock also allows access to the fuel cap and cavernous underseat storage when the engine isn’t running. Otherwise it’s an auto-lock arrangement which is handy. And no you can’t accidentally lock your keys in there as it’s a fob set-up. So that’s sorted.
The start up procedure is pretty straight forward, if a little different, due to the CVT gearbox meaning that there’s no neutral. So the bike can only be started after tapping the unlock button and then thumbing the starter button on the right to wake it up and fire the grunty little parallel twin into life. It’s worth noting that it will only fire up if you have the side stand up and at least one of the brakes engaged. So you either have to be already sitting on it before starting it up – or if you like to let the engine warm up while you put your helmet and gloves on like I do, then you need to throw it on the centre stand. Worth noting for those that park their bike nose in to the shed like I do. Give yourself some room to rock it off the centre stand if that’s your plan.
As the CVT needs no clutch, in its place is a rear brake lever. Just like a mountain bike. Easy peasy. And decent brakes they are too. ABS jobbies at both ends with two calipers on the back (one activated by a park brake lever on the left of the bars). The ABS system works well, on both tarmac and gravel. Although to be fair, the TMAX’s smaller wheels make for a fairly exciting ride on loose sandy gravel with corrugations… Not really designed for that. Speaking of suspension – it’s fit for the job and all but the bigger hits are soaked up quite nicely. Bigger potholes do pass through a bit of a whack though. I think that’s as much to do with the feet forward riding position which means you can’t brace for impact or quickly lift your arse off the seat – so your butt and spine cop the load.
On the go the TMAX is a genuinely fun thing. That little twin and CVT combo offers a deceptive amount of performance. It positively slingshots from a stand-still and certainly brings a grin to your face as you rocket away from the lights. Wind that throttle on and it’ll sing at around 5 and a half grand or a little more and seamlessly pile on the speed. Ignore the power output as it doesn’t tell you the full story. It’s easily as quick if not quicker than a 100 hp bike with a regular box out of the blocks. And it’ll pull pretty much all the way around that analogue speedo…
That dash is one of my gripes though. Extremely reflective covers on both the speedo and tacho meant that on my commute which is into the sun each direction, the dials were at times nearly unreadable – all I could see was the reflection of my own chest. And the LCD screen in the middle seems like a bit of a missed opportunity.. Lots of space for not much more useful info other than a gear indicator and fuel gauge. Oh well. There is a handy little compartment on the right with a power outlet though – big enough for your phone, sunnies, wallet and probably a can of coke. Easily charge your phone while you’re on the go. Nice.
Styling wise I reckon it cuts a pretty good figure too. Very Euro looking. Sure there’s plenty of plastic, with a few different materials (all quite good quality) but it’s surfaced quite nicely. I am fairly partial to the satin paint look too. Most bugs came off fairly easily with just a blast of the karcher too – without needing any detergent so I’d assume living with it long term wouldn’t be too much of a chore keeping it clean and looking mint.
The generous fairing and screen offer terrific protection from the wind and weather, with no buffeting at any speed. And there’s plenty of room to stretch the pins out and stick them well forward. It’s honestly an odd feeling at first for someone who doesn’t see much scooter time – and certainly when combined with the Tmax’s low centre of gravity it makes it a little weird dynamically until you get used to it. You just need a little time to adapt and then you’re away and having fun.
Two-up it would be a fine thing no doubt with all that seat acreage available. Solid grab rails would make day trips a doddle for your pillion. And range is bang on 300ks if you throw in a bit of highway work, so you’d easily throw some distance down in a day.
I know plenty of folks who rate these pretty highly and I can see why. At the same time I’m in two minds. There’s plenty to like about it, but then it also doesn’t have the agility that makes smaller scooters such a giggle amongst traffic. So as a category the Maxi’s are competing against ‘regular’ bikes in my mind. And at 16 and a half grand it has plenty of serious competition, even from within Yamaha’s own ranks. The MT09SP is a serious chunk of change less and that’s a hell of a bike. One you could throw some luggage on if you chose to… And if you wanted more flexibility again, then the Tracer GT is not a lot more coin at 20 and a half. But I’m probably showing my personal biases there. There’s a reason these things are popular in Europe…
Final word. As I was returning the bike I bumped into another TMAX mounted rider. Needless to say he was fairly interested in the new model. After we exchanged pleasantries I asked him what it was that drew him to the Maxi scoot. ‘It’s just perfect! Plenty of storage for shopping or day trips. I can just jump on it and go anytime without much thought. And the girl loves being on the back – she’s much more comfortable on these than regular bikes.’ Can’t argue with that.
|Why I like it|
|Cuts a stylishly Euro look.|
|Surprisingly quick. No seriously!|
|Massive underseat storage. And in dash storage too.|
|Enviable protection from the elements|
|I’d like it even more if|
|Is it too big?|
|That dash needs a rethink|
|It ain’t cheap|
Yamaha TMAX 560 Specifications
|Engine Type||Liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valve|
|Bore x Stroke||70 mm x 73 mm|
|Compression Ratio||10.9 : 1|
|Lubrication System||Dry Sump|
|Fuel Management||Fuel Injection|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||15.0 L|
|Frame Type||Aluminium CF die-cast|
|Suspension Front||Telescopic forks, 120mm travel|
|Suspension Rear||Swingarm, 117mm travel|
|Brakes Front||Hydraulic dual discs, 267mm – ABS|
|Brakes Rear||Hydraulic single disc, 282mm – ABS|
|Tyres Front||120/70R15M/C 56H Tubeless|
|Tyres Rear||160/60R15M/C 67H Tubeless|
|Height||1420 mm / 1555 mm|
|Seat Height||800 mm|
|Ground Clearance||125 mm|
|Wet Weight||218 kg|
Yamaha TMAX 560 Images
By Rob Mott