Not only a new look for 2017: Also a completely new frame, added engine electronics and extra functionalities. TMAX remains the icon in the scooter world. We talked to the development team.
Project Leader Makoto Horikawa kicks off ambitiously: “The TMAX concept is to be the ‘Master of scooter’. It is a fusion of sportiness and elegance. Our target was to make the most enjoyable product in TMAX history. So we radically reduced the weight, by 9 kilograms, to evolve the agility. And we designed a new link type rear suspension, and a 40mm longer swingarm, to contribute to the motorcycle-like riding feeling. Also the acceleration is improved, together with the lighter weight.”
Precision in all responses
“A lot of focus was on the riding itself” mentions Giovanna Camisa from Product Planning, “so you can really feel one with the vehicle.”
Project chief Engine Takehiko Sudoh couldn’t agree more. “We spent a big effort on intangible aspects such as the exact control feeling and the transient character of power delivery. For instance in tight cornering with braking, then the sweet acceleration feeling at the moment you open the throttle while shifting to a next posture… This precise fine-tuning of all these responses has always been the specialty of TMAX.”
Valentino Rossi speaks
With TMAX being the sportiest model in the scooter world, it was no coincidence that Yamaha asked multiple MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi to ride the new model on stage at the EICMA press launch in Italy in November 2016.
Have a look at the video (in English) for his reaction.
“I’m very happy to ride the TMAX, to be the ambassador of the new model because I am a great fan of the TMAX”, he says, “and I always use it in my place, in Tavullia, and it is fantastic. It’s great to ride, and you know at the same time it’s comfortable, easy, so I pass on the TMAX all my summer if I don’t race with the MotoGP.”
A bestseller since 2001
He’s not the only one who loves TMAX. Over 233.000 units have been sold in Europe since its launch, and there are many passionate TMAX aficionados who are so happy with it that they repeatedly buy a next one. Many personalize and customize their TMAX to make it even more their own.
According to Giovanna: “TMAX is so much loved because of its perfect balance. Body size, engine power, handling, design, storage space… Everything blends together as one great package.”
“We modified the intake-exhaust setting carefully, and the new YCC-T (the ride-by-wire throttle) optimises the intake airflow in a very precise way, so the torque control is exactly as the rider intends" says Takehiko. “And thanks to the Traction Control System, you can start at ease in a wide range of riding situations. The CVT is fine-tuned to perfectly match this new torque output. The starting acceleration is clearly better than the previous model” he confides.
Have a look at the chart to see the difference: Due to the lighter weight and the new engine settings, the new model will take several machine lengths on 0-100m acceleration compared to the previous one!
“Our target was an evolution of sportiness” explains Yasuaki Masumoto from Testing.
“The typical riding situation where riders can feel the enjoyment like a motorcycle is the secondary road, including tight corners on mountain roads. Here you should feel you can handle it as you want, feeling the lightness and the solid feel for the road.”
The lightweight aluminium chassis is completely new, with revised geometry and improved mass centralization. It is 30% lighter than the previous chassis. Even the tyres are specially designed lightweight tyres that by themselves already contribute 1 kg of weight reduction! Due to the carbon fibre material, the drive belt is now only 25 mm wide instead of 40 and features lighter pulleys as well. The rear frame is a lightweight monocoque-type resin structure, and enables a larger storage space.
Design: Sporty DNA, lightness, elegance
Exterior designer Hirotoshi Noguchi explains: “We had a young minded rider in mind, who always keeps a passion for riding. So we tried to express a lightness feeling for winding roads, and for tight city riding.”
Interior designer Ryohei Kitayama adds: “The other element was elegance and dignity as a top product. That’s what we tried to express with the interior. We developed a high quality trim and better finishing of textures and precise looking analogue dual meter instruments.”
Also for colouring there are new developments. For example the new ‘Phantom Blue’, a remarkable matt blue colour with metalised finishing. Colouring designer Naoki Takarada says: “Our focus was a delicate and elegant expression. For the sport minded customers, we created the special combination of Matt Silver with blue wheels, logo and seat stitching. And we refined the black ‘Liquid Darkness’ which has always been a bestseller, with its intriguing combination of matt and shiny surfaces.”
Yamaha offers the TMAX in 3 versions: standard, SX and DX. Colours are different per version.
Below an overview of which features are common for all models and which ones are specially equipped for the SX or DX models.
New features for all model variations:
Enlarged storage space which can contain two demi jet helmets or a fullface helmet plus some extra items.
Revised smart key and immobilizer system (with a more compact smart key and 2 mechanical keys provided).
New main stand lock as an additional anti-theft device.
Link-type rear suspension with a progressive ratio and contrary to the previous model, the shock absorber is now compressed under load rather than pulled.
YCC-T (electronically controlled throttle) provides a precise engine response.
The sophisticated Traction Control System can intervene by means of ignition timing, fuel injection volume and throttle opening – it’s not just a simple ignition interruption.
The sophisticated new dashboard features blue rings around the two large analogue meters and the central TFT display provides ample other informations and menu settings.
A 12 V outlet is retained, and there is a battery charging socket hole previewed in the helmet box.
The engine is now EU-4 compliant.
Special features depending on the model variation:
Manually adjustable windscreen on the standard and SX models by changing the screen adjustment bolts (55 mm of vertical movement).
Electrically adjustable windscreen on the DX model (135 mm of vertical movement).
D-mode with 3 switchable power modes on the SX and DX models.
Special interior finish plus aluminium foot panels on the SX and DX models.
Special seat material and seat stitching on the SX and DX models.
GPS-based My TMAX Connect app on the SX and DX models.
Heated handgrips and heated rider seat on the DX model.
Cruise control on the DX model.
Adjustable rear suspension (preload plus rebound damping) on the DX model.
Sophisticated electronic control technologies
Especially for the DX model: there are quite a lot of electric technologies hidden under the body.
“The most important approach for electric component development is that they don’t disturb the riding performance" says project chief electric Akihiro Inaba.”Normally, increasing the number of electric components conflicts with the weight, the compactness of the body, the storage space layout, the overall performance. We put our best electric engineers on this project to make sure we kept a good balance without disturbing the TMAX typical dynamic riding character.”
Test rider Jeffry de Vries confirms: “TMAX was already a great product but everything has got just that bit better again. It rides like a motorbike and you can ride it really fast. It has become remarkably lighter, you can clearly feel that while the stability has remained. It’s a cool bike, really a top product.”