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Fun…and Different! Yamaha’s new city commuter

Fun…and Different! Yamaha’s new city commuter

Scooter World Sri Lanka has become more exciting! Yamaha and Sri Lankan Distributors Associated Motor Ways Limited (AMW)have been pretty busy during last year, what with their one-of-a-kind MT15 150cc motorcycle and now to top that, the introduction of their NMAX mini-maxi scooter bringing a number of advancements to the motor scooter arena. The NMAX scooter was launched on to the Sri Lanka market during the annual Motor Show at the BMICH and the scooter with its unusual styling and advanced features offered the local riders a bike that promised to be different from most of those already available.

And for differences the Yamaha NMAX has a catalogue chock-full of them. Try Fuel Injection and liquid-cooling, try Variable Valve Actuation, try Disc braking on both wheels, try ABS at both ends, try blue-ray connectivity and LED lighting including meter display backlighting, try a longer than common wheelbase and overall length together with 13” tyres and two rear suspension units for mini-Maxi comfort and longer leg reach. Try them, and more, and you have the Yamaha NMAX.

On the road, where all good two wheelers are supposed to be and all real riders live much of the time, the NMAX’s fuel injection system is seam-free and the liquid cooling makes it a pretty quiet bike, even under hard acceleration. Talking of acceleration, I noticed that the torque does not come in with a bang, instead an appreciable increase in the rate of forward motion in the early stages gradually (albeit soon) changes to a much higher rate in the increase of your road speed and before you know it the NMAX has taken you past other road users within this powerful acceleration surge. Yamaha’s advance-tech Variable Valve Actuation works on the 4-in-head valve mechanism providing variable valve timing to ensure this linear acceleration even up to high revs within this 125cc single cylinder motor. The NMAX feels so free and ever-eager to provide more revs and more torque all the way up. 

In fact, Yamaha’s NMAX is the first bike I’ve come across (other than competition-bred machinery) to specify both max power and max torque so close to each other - 7500 revs for max power and 7250(!) revs for max torque is what the specs say.  Literarily, all the way up the power supply goes the torque band, and this shows itself so brilliantly on the roads. The NMAX’s high compression of 11.2:1 is made possible (without any adverse effect) due to the aforementioned VVA design feature, I believe. The long stroke engine (bore 52.0mm and stroke 58.7 mm) is so easy to ride, and I could assume mates well with the other features and specs in producing this fun bike. Of course you do notice that the NMAX has a higher than common compression ratio - the bike tends to engine brake that bit more than some others, even taking account the 4-stroke nature of the engine - but the engine braking effect is so smooth not a prominent part of the throttle shut characteristic, and there is no upsetting of your balance or line even when you and your NMAX are committed to a corner.

For instance, to test this stable reaction I put the NMAX through rough patches on the apex of corners and deliberately shut throttle right on them, mid-corner; the bike remained calm and unflustered even through repeatedly testing it under these conditions. I then pushed it further to feel the NMAX better. I targeted a slightly broken patch of road which had a natural dip in it at the corner apex, and still the NMAX with throttle switching off on top of the missing patch of asphalt and committed to the corner just stayed right on line and with no apparent effect to the stability of the bike and rider. So much fun! No doubt the longer wheelbase (1350mm, 50 to 80mm longer than that of many other scooters) and the 13” rubbers carrying a larger column of air in each, also complement the chassis dimensions and geometry providing the bike this impeccable handling. 

And it stops with the same aplomb that it goes with. ABS braking is on both discs and the NMAX will haul you down to single digit speeds (from 50, 60, 70 or higher km/h) so reassuringly and without fuss. Just keep your NMAX upright, hit the brakes - either the front or rear - and the speed drops in short order to collision avoiding pace. Again, I need to highlight that the discs at the front and rear are the same size (230mm diameter) and this is quite uncommon, most bikes fitted with discs of differing sizes, the larger at the front since that is where the braking loads and higher effective braking forces apply.

The NMAX carries an all-digital meter display in a nostalgic (for me) circular shape. Although the meter is simple in outlook the display is clear and shows the required vital indicators of the bike on the move for the rider to take in at a glance.

In terms of styling, the NMAX is styled to appear as a maxi scooter and yes it does have a bit more horizontal length overall (150 to 200mm more than is common for a standard scooter) and offers dual foot positions for the rider - the normal scooter rush hour positioning of rider’s feet on the apron floor and the ‘cruiser’ type of feet up positioning too, for more relaxed moments on the road … great for longer rides. The seat is generous for both rider and pillion and the double height means the pillion rider can view the road ahead over the rider’s crash hat and could be prepared for traffic conditions, in my opinion maybe a necessary factor considering that the NMAX is likely to be ridden in a sporty manner given its sporty commuter characteristics and performance capabilities.

For long now a design concept of Yamaha engines has been the Blue Core technology of reducing waste and increasing the output of the power plant. The engine of the NMAX, too, is designed on these frugal powerful lines, and is fully compliant with the EU4 requirements.  This gives us a two wheeler that produces handfuls of torque; the result from the mix of torque and its supple chassis guaranteed to make this scooter a heart-winner in terms of customer numbers.

The NMAX is sold by Yamaha and AMW as a daily city commuter of sporty nature.  That is exactly what we at Motor found during our recent meeting with the NMAX out on our roads. This new arrival from Yamaha to our shores hails from Indonesia, and you can see the difference in concept from the Indian models, in person and on the roads.

Till not long ago I felt that scooters were a different kind of ‘hoss’; that scooters did not offer the riders much fun. The scooters from the big makers over the recent few years has provided me a different viewpoint; more positive in terms of how much fun a rider had at his fingertips, so to speak, from the ‘ordinary’ scooter.  Today the lines are blurred, that is a scooter offering similar pep and handling, with the attendant plus points of twist-and-go and the ease of parking and the greater stowage capability  brings the category into the motorcycling (here I might add small capacity) zone.

Millions of units later the step-through Japanese made bike with tall tyres and a 3 speed clutchless transmission system popularized this type of motorized two-wheeled, as had the Italian classic that changed the lifestyles of many youth across the globe. While the Italian step-through showed the road to fun in everyday motoring and weekend picnicking and touring, the Japanese bike added the occasional off-roading and camping and other outdoor activity.  Both of these step-through models promised the message of fun, freedom and carefree living.

Today’s Yamaha NMAX step-through was fun to ride and I did feel a sense of freedom on two wheels on a stable on-road platform. I for one would be glad to have the option of stepping through to mount the NMAX if I could have this sporty commuter in my garage.


Tech Specs



4-stroke single-cylinder

4-valve SOHC

Fuel Injection, 124.7 cc

Variable Valve Actuation

Electric Start

11.2:1 Compression Ratio



12.14bhp @ 7,500rpm

11.7Nm @ 7,250rpm






Wheelbase 1,350mm


Front 110/70 x 13 Tubeless

Rear 130/70 x 13 Tubeless

Cast alloy wheels


Front Disc 230mm, ABS

Rear Disc 230mm, ABS



Front Telescopic

Rear WP Coil Spring & Damper



Length 1,995 mm  

Width 740 mm     

Height 1,115 mm

Seat Height 765mm   

Weight 127 kg    

Fuel Tank 6.6L



Black / Blue / White



Rs 396,900