Occupying the peak of Yamaha’s scooter range, the XMAX combines sportbike styling cues with a blend of sportbike and scooter engineering to yield a fun, competent, and versatile step-through. The engineering first: The 292cc single has a four-valve cylinder head, EFI, and liquid-cooling for efficiency, and undersquare bore-and-stroke dimensions deliver a broad torque spread rather than a sportbike’s peaky power hit. This marries perfectly to the automatic CVT drivetrain, giving the XMAX rider ready acceleration whenever it’s needed.
For its modest displacement, the XMAX is something of a “plus-size” unit: The wheelbase is more than 5 feet long, and the scooter weighs 397 pounds with its 3.4-gallon tank filled to the brim. Happily, though, the wheels and tires are up to the task, with a large (for a scooter) 120/70-15 hoop up front and 140/70-14 rubber out back. Front and rear disc brakes with ABS are standard. That the XMAX costs 6 percent more than Yamaha’s 321cc twin-cylinder YZF-R3 sportbike means buyers clearly have a choice to make: practical scooter or perky little sportbike. Our opinion: For simple transportation, go XMAX; for real riding engagement, go R3.
Likes: Torquey engine, nice operational bandwidth, standard ABS
Dislikes: Ultra-long wheelbase, bizarrely mounted twin shocks
Verdict: Real motorcycle capability baked into a stylish scooter