Rides: Yamaha TMAX ABS

A 530cc scooter to make your daily commute exciting, yet sensible.

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The Yamaha TMAX certainly made an impact when Hong Leong Yamaha (HLY) brought it in many years ago. Now, Yamaha has the latest TMAX 530 ABS, but unfortunately they are not for sale, at least not by HLY. Still, we managed to get the display unit and lived for two weeks with this maxi scooter.

The new TMAX has a larger engine capacity, an added 30cc. The liquid-cooled engine is positioned at an incline, with the top facing forward. Yamaha installed a counter balancer in the shape of a "third piston" to counter the vibrations, which works really well.

Unlike normal scooters, the TMAX has its engine and CVT transmission bolted to the frame. Then a toothed belt transfers the power to the rear wheel, which is held in place by a separate swing arm just like any other motorcycle.

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So what you get is a maxi scooter that handles like a superbike, and the automatic system spins the rear wheel really fast, allowing this big scooter to dart around quicker than most kapchais and big bikes.

The TMAX does have a central spine but it is not big enough to grip between the knees, which is a problem to those used to bikes. So when the curves came, we planted our feet hard onto the floorboard, which helped to anchor the body while we took the corner.

The new TMAX allowed us to go low on corners, unlike the old TMAX. Yamaha actually repositioned the exhaust can and placed it higher, giving extremely good cornering clearance. After a day, we got the hang of riding it and started hunting corners to see how low this scooter could go, meaning we started scraping the centre stand.

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Unfortunately, running on 15-inch wheels means there will be limited options for tyres (the Honda Integra scooter has more options as it runs on a set of 17 inchers).

With no gear to shift down, the brakes (267mm dual front discs and 282mm rear single disc) are your only way to slow down the TMAX. A hilly route required constant braking and soon we started to feel some brake fade. If only Yamaha could install a torque converter gearbox with proper ratios it would make a big difference.

The 15-litre fuel tank lasted us about 200km, but we believe if we had ridden it more sanely there would have been more kilometres on tap.

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The storage area underneath the seat easily holds a laptop bag, or one full face helmet. If need be, you can get a top box from Yamaha or Givi and that will give you more cargo space at some expense to high speed stability.

While HLY is not bringing in the TMAX as an official import, parallel importers have been seen selling it for something just below RM60,000.

It's perfect both for the daily commute, especially if your office is far from home, and weekend trips with your partner.

Yes, obviously, we like it. Every biker should have one.

Engine: 530cc 2-cylinder parallel liquid-cooled, 4-stroke DOHC, V-Belt automatic, 46bhp, 52.3Nm
Fuel consumption: 5L/100km
Top speed 175kph (est)
Weight: 221kg (wet)
Price: RM60,000 (at parallel importers)

Author: TopGear
TopGear is the world’s best-selling motoring magazine. The Malaysian edition holds similar status, as acknowledged by the industry.