2012 Yamaha TMAX: a commuter, refreshed

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2012 is shaping up to be a big year for maxi scooters. Even while BMW plans to unveil two new bikes based on last year’s Concept C and Honda looks to be replacing the Silverwing with a 17-inch wheel, DCT, 700cc parallel-twin that’ll share its chassis and suspension with a new commuter bike, Yamaha is planning a new version of the bike that helped popularize big-displacement scooters in the first place. The 2012 Yamaha TMAX will likely be a light refresh of the current model, which received a full redesign and a die-cast aluminum beam frame in 2008. These are the new TMAX’s new headlights, which borrow heavily from the FJR.

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Today, Yamaha Europe released this image and video to tease the model’s unveiling at EICMA next month. There will be plenty of sexier, faster products unveiled at the annual show, but most of them will pale in market importance to this humble scooter.

In 2008, the TMAX adopted an aluminum beam frame that would look right at home in a superbike. Light and strong work equally well in traffic as they do on a track.

The TMAX wasn’t the first scooter to be equipped with a relatively large motor and spacious passenger accommodation. The Japanese have been in the segment since the ‘80s, when products like the Honda Helix combined the convenience of a scooter with the highway capability of a motorcycle. Rather, the TMAX’s innovations were looks — Yamaha optimistically refers to it as a “sports maxi” — and a mid-mounted engine bolted to the frame, not the swingarm. It excels in commuting, obviously, but also as a light tourer and a below-the-rader, do-it-all, practical bike.

The new TMAX? Look for new styling, slightly improved performance both in terms of acceleration and fuel economy as well as high-tech features that’ll help it stand out in this suddenly crowded segment.

  • jason McCrash

    I see an amatuer scooter racing series in the future. Something along the lines of a Supermoto course made of all pavement and open to slightly modified stock scoots.

    You know, kinda like lawnmower racing.

  • Jon B.

    It looks so cool naked.

  • http://www.kenta.ro Kentaro rides a NRS and a GSA

    I’ll just buy this thing naked. That thing looks hot.

    • http://www.cdavisdesigns.com Chris Davis

      Add a seat and a bucket headlight and call it a day.

  • je

    I want to take the components from this and make a miniature super bike for my daughter to hit the track with.

    Something like this but just a little larger..

  • Scott-jay

    Dudes, this piece is nothing but a sales tool.
    Don’t be so transparent.
    And, I don’t subscribe to view “life-style” sales tools; they must be somewhat techno or entertaining. That Yammie vid does naught, plus it’s slow as hell.

    • jason McCrash

      Humor…… or humour…… she has been lost on you, no?

      • Scott-jay

        Wow. Apologies all ’round. Was I crabby or what..

  • Archer

    Say what you will, bikes like these outnumber motorcycles on the streets of Tokyo and Osaka 10 to 1.

    On an unrelated note… ever get a wave from one of these riders and return it only to realize as they pass they’re on a big scooter, and feel a slight sense of chagrin?

    Or ever come up behind a lowered ‘Busa at a light, thinking it’s just another big scooter?

    And why don’t I instantly think “squid” when I see a statuesque blonde in a miniskirt on a Honda Metropolitan in 4″ heels and no helmet? Why does my mind process that differently than if she were on a 600RR?

    Yes, my friends, scooters cause confusion and conflicting feelings among us.

    • jason McCrash

      “Say what you will, bikes like these outnumber motorcycles on the streets of Tokyo and Osaka 10 to 1.”
      Yup. And I see more and more women on brand new scooters locally where it snows more than enough to make owning a scoot or bike a foolish financial decision. It is the new XYZ brand convertible/Jeep for cool girls. They are 1/2 the population after all……… so I’m all for it.

  • AHA

    Am I the only one that dosen’t get the packaging design on super scoots? Why string out the block and transmission components all in a line? Low centre of gravity? Fine, but that wheelbase is crazy long. Jeez, it’s basically a chopper.
    Stacking the engine etc more upright would help a lot. Sure you’d lose the characteristic ‘step through’ but that’s already very high anyway by Vespa standards. Plus you’d get a rise in C.O.G. But it would also free up way more storage space. It’s quite surprising how few of these machines can store two full face lids under the seat.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Don’t be fooled by the naked proportions, this is a very, very, very low machine, making it look longer than it actually is. Adding in a human would help create perspective.