2012 Yamaha TMAX: a commuter, refreshed


Category: Dailies

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.

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.

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