2001 Yamaha Tmax 500 - Motorcycle.com
Somewhere in Europe, July 12, 2000 -- For many years the worlds of motorcycles and scooters were two entirely separate universes. No self-respecting motorcyclist would be seen dead on a scooter, and the scooter boys felt the same about motorcycles. Such was the animosity between the two groups that battles were often fought between the two camps on the beaches of Great Britain. These confrontations made front page news and are the basis of much of the prejudice motorcyclists suffer from even today, over forty years later.
For 2001 Yamaha has come up with a vehicle that they claim unites the two concepts into one. That vehicle is the Yamaha Tmax 500.
The engine boasts the largest capacity of any production scooter in the world as well; at 44 bhp it is the most powerful engine fitted to a production scooter. This motor will propel the Tmax's 197 kilograms (434 pounds) to a top speed of around 105 mph. The sophistication of the suspension, plus the fitting of 14 inch wheels, gives the sort of high speed stability not normally associated with scooters.
The engine has been carefully positioned to give the Tmax as much of a motorcycle feel on the road as possible. The twin-cylinder water-cooledpower plant is layed down flat, below the rider's feet, central between the wheels. Ride any scooter after riding your motorcycle and it'll feel nervous. Yamaha have made every effort to avoid this sensation, a good job too considering the power output and claimed top speed. Due largely to the positioning of the engine, weight distribution is 47% front 53% rear, much closer to the 50-50 balance of a superbike than any other scooter where the rear mounted engine puts excessive weight on the back wheel. The 14" wheels are shod with 120/70 rubber up front and 150/70 rubber in the rear which is wider than you might have found on most big bikes twenty years ago. Yamaha claims this all adds up to the best handling scooter around.
OK, so we have a scooter that has been genetically modified with the genes of a motorcycle. A scooter with the performance and handling of a motorcycle combined with the convenience of a scooter. Great. But who will buy such a machine, especially considering it's likely to cost about the same as a middleweight commuter motorcycle such as Kawasaki's ER5? Yamaha is aiming at three groups of riders: existing scooter riders; owners of middleweight motorcycles; and new riders who may be re-entering the sport.
In the past, any existing scooter rider looking for higher levels of engine and chassis performance has had to move up to a real motorcycle. Now, with the arrival of the Tmax, they have the opportunity to buy a model that offers them the increased performance they demand without having to compromise the level of riding luxury, day-to-day practicality and "twist and go" convenience they expect.
The second group that the Tmax is aimed at are those owners of middleweight street, commuter and sport touring motorcycles. Yamaha expects them to be surprised and impressed by the higher levels of comfort and weather protection offered by the Tmax.
Until now the movement of riders between scooters and motorcycles was generally in one direction only, that is from a scooter to a motorcycle. With the arrival of the Tmax Yamaha hopes that will change.
Yamaha believes there is massive demand amongst non-riders for a new type of scooter that offers style, convenience and performance. This has been demonstrated by the success of the YP250 Majesty during the last five years. In fact the Majesty is one of Italy's best selling two wheelers. With its class-leading specification, the new Yamaha Tmax is being rolled out to tap into the potentially huge interest from existing car drivers and re-starters who, until now, haven't been sufficiently turned on by what the scooter market has had to offer. Capable of attaining 0 - 60 mph acceleration times that will outpace all but the most powerful sports cars, the Tmax delivers the levels of performance, comfort and sophistication that the discerning newcomer demands.
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONSXP500 TmaxType Parallel twin, liquid cooled,8 Valve, DOHC engineDisplacement 499 ccBore x Stroke 66 x 73 mmCompression Ratio 10:1Max Power 29.4kW (44bhp) @ 7,000rpm MaxTorque 45.8Nm (4.67kg-m) @ 5,500rpmIgnition TransistorOil Capacity 3.6 LitersFuel Tank Capacity 14.0 LitersTransmission V-beltFrame Diamond FrameOverall Length 2.235 mmOverall Width 775 mmOverall Height 1.410 mmSeat Height 795 mmWheelbase 1.575 mmGround Clearance 140 mmDry Weight 197 kgTrail 95 mmWheel Travel F 120 mmR 120 mmSuspension F Telescopic ForkR SwingarmBrake Size F Single, disk, x 282mmR Single, disk, x 267mmTire Size F 120/70-14M/C (55S)R 150/70-14M/C (66S)