Wednesday, 21 July 2010

big scoots

While I have the DN-01 on loan at the moment, the goal has been to get a bike of my own again. Well this weekend I bought a Yamaha T-Max, which is a big scooter.

The scooter came from central NSW and I rode it home some 550Km from there, giving me some time to get used to it, see how it sits on the highway and get a feel for its fuel economy.

The two bikes are at once different and yet similar ...

For instance both are fully automatic, twin cylinder, feet forward riding position bikes while the purists would argue that the T-Max is a scooter not a bike its rather different in many ways:
* scooters normally have the engine as part of the rear drive train (massively altering unsprung mass), while the T-Max has the engine as part of the Chassis just as a normal bike does
* scooters are normally between 50cc and 180cc ... the T-Max is a 500cc engine with more power than a typical 500cc single
* scooters don't normally have a chassis like a motor bike does.

* the T-Max has larger wheels than scooters, but not as big as most bikes (they're 14 inch and 15 inch ... many bikes are 16 inch and 18 inch)

So while a T-Max may look like a scooter, its more like a motorcycle with a low slung frame and only with seating like a scooter.

chalk and cheese

The first thing which stands out is when you start the bikes up. The DN-01 sounds like a throbby V-twin and the T-max sounds more like an outboard motor.

hmmm ... if you're into the "ambiance and acoustics " then get the DN-01.

The next thing is seat height, the DN-01 allows me to sit on it like on a Virago 250, plenty of space under my arse when I stand up while astride the bike. The T-Max on the other hand is rather a high and wide seat which makes touching the ground difficult without sitting to one side a little. This is not a bike for learners who are short. On the move however it feels great and is by and away the better seat for long trip (if you ask me). More on the seating position in a tic.

I have not taken the DN-01 through any windy roads, but so far it makes me fee like it will do well ... as long as it does not run out of cornering clearance (a common issue in cruiser style bikes)

The things the same as a normal bike...

The funny thing is that while both bikes corner and behave very well on the road, the combination of seat height and orientation makes the T-Max feel more like riding a recumbent bike than a "traditional" bike, while the DN-01 feels just like any cruiser style bike (like the Virago). I reckon that anyone who likes bikes like that (Yamaha Virago Suzuki Intruder) will love the DN-01. Anyone who has tried a 'bent' knows they're fast and corner very well. Recumbent bikes only loose out to "traditional" bicycles in their ability to allow the rider to stand up in the pedals and get more power down to the ground on climbs ... the T-Max however has a motor for that :-)

After coming down the range from Tenterfield to Casino, I can say that the T-Max goes around corners very nicely and has good cornering behavior, even if it does not feel like a CBR-600 it goes well enough to hurry one along if the rider is not up to the task (I'm sure it surprised the rider of the one I hurried along).

After 5 hours in the saddle (with a couple of hours in cold sleet and rain on the New England Plateau) I got to home feeling quite good, with no aches, no pains and barely any fatigue (and I have not been riding as much these days as I once did). Folks this is one fantastic machine for long haul rides.

but it gets better ...

The fuel economy of the T-Max was astounding, so much so I will have to double check this, but on my trip home I averaged 28Km/L ... yes that's 3.5L / 100km

Combined with the excellent protection of the screen and the great seating that makes the T-Max one of the best open road commuting bikes around.

So far (aside from the limp "outboard" sound of the engine) its all positive stuff for the T-Max

After some years as a big bike fan, I find myself really liking this big scooter.

1 comment:

Noons said...

3.5/100? That's serious stuff, sensei!
And in comfort too, by the looks of it.
Awesome bike.