First ride: Yamaha NMAX

 

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The NMAX makes an interesting proposition to anyone considering a city scooter – and I bet it’s got the Honda chaps looking over their shoulder for a challenger to their mighty PCX 125.

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Yamaha describes the NMAX as a premium entry-level city scooter that combines punchy performance and excellent economy with a dynamic style and day-to-day practicality. It sounds like something for everyone, and the scooter really is quite versatile. It’s got the looks; the sporty and angular design is both modern and practical. And the performance is good. That combined with great manoeuvrability makes this a great scooter for nipping around the city.

Verifying fuel economy would have required a longer test, but if what the instruments display is correct, this scooter delivers what it promises.

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Engine

With a lively 125cc, four-stroke engine, there’s enough power to make riding in a city a doddle. Good acceleration, combined with handling that is light and responsive, makes it easy to pick your way through busy streets.

On the open road the limits of the 125 engine become evident, but it does reach 60mph on the flat even when ridden by a larger gentleman with a belly full of lunch.

The engine noise is a reassuringly low murmur, which helps to make this feel like a scooter with fire in its belly.

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Styling

The NMAX has a modern, sporty style, with angular lines shaping the body as well as other elements such as the mirrors and the pillion grab rail.

Our test bike was ‘Midnight Black’ (or black and silver if you don’t work for Yamaha’s marketing department), but the model is also available in ‘Power Red’, ‘Milky White’ and ‘Frozen Titanium’.

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Equipment

The digital clocks show speed, time, fuel and economy meter. Odometer, trip one or two, or fuel consumption can be selected to display by the rider. The instruments are simple and easy to read, especially the large speedo.

Simplicity is key when it comes to the controls. It has a no-nonsense approach and only the essentials are there: electric start, indicators, lights and horn. That’s all you need in a city scooter.

Underseat storage is decent; I could fit my flip-face helmet (stored upside down), gloves and a copy of Twist & Go there. There’s also a separate open glove box in the front panel.

The scooter has both a side and centre stand, both easy to operate because the bike is so light.

ABS brakes come as standard, and they work. I tested the bike on a damp autumn day and tried to lock the brakes with no success. No matter how much I squeezed the brake levers the ABS simply overrode my recklessness and brought the scooter to a controlled stop.

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Comfort

For a city scooter the scooter offers plenty of room to move your legs. You can place your feet flat on the footboards or move them further forward to get more of a feet-forward position.

There’s no screen, but the front profile seems to be sufficient to direct most of the wind off the rider and there is very little buffeting even at top speed.

The best thing about the NMAX is the seat. It’s so comfortable I could have sat on the bike all day.

I didn’t test the bike with a pillion but there is a slightly raised pillion seat, good size grab rail and dedicated foot pegs.

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On the road

The scooter is very easy to get used to. The controls are simple, steering light and accurate, and it keeps up with traffic in the city.

It’s not got the muscle to go the distance on the open road, but then again, that’s not what it was designed to do. Its real strengths are agility and acceleration in the city.

The mirrors could be more substantial and less shaky, but they do the job.

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Is it for you?

If you’re looking for a nippy mid-range city scooter you could do a lot worse than the NMAX. It’s nice to ride, good on fuel and has the looks for the city – what’s not to like!

Words: Mikko

Images: Mikko / Joe Dick

 

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