2017 Yamaha X-MAX 300: PH2

There are some things that the Europeans get and us Brits totally fail to cotton onto. I'm not talking about man bags, pulling off a stylish tracksuit or drinking beer that is more foam than liquid - I'm talking about scooters. In Europe, and especially Italy, every city is swarming with scooters. If you want to commute, you buy a scooter - simple. Yet in the UK so many commuters sit in a state of depression on an over-crowded train while paying through the nose for the privilege of being delayed, having a stranger's armpit thrust in their face and generally being treated like cattle. So let me put something into perspective for you. On PCP you can own a Yamaha X-MAX 300 for just £65 a month, which is the same cost as four London Zone 1-6 Travelcards or a week's commute from Croydon to London Bridge by train. So not only will you save a stack of cash by commuting on a scooter, you will also be freed from the shackles of public transport. What's not to like? Tempted? If you are, then the new Yamaha X-MAX 300 is well worth trying out.

Maxi scooter joy
Obviously when it comes to scooters you can opt for a small one, but in Europe they have always been into their maxi-scooters and for commuters they are the best option as they come with a stack more features. The X-MAX 300 (which requires an A2-licence) features traction control and ABS as standard, which is reassuring for newer riders, and the underseat storage area is a simply enormous 45 litres, meaning it can easily take two full face lids and your sarnies. Add to this keyless ignition, two glove boxes (one is lockable and has a 12v power supply to charge your phone) plus economy figures of around 80mpg, and it all makes sense. Yes, Yamaha's premium £4,949 asking price is more than a cheap Chinese scooter, but split down to £65 a month on PCP makes it very tempting; Yamahas tend to have strong residual values as well. But does a larger bike work on crowded city streets?

Urban assault
Yamaha chose to launch the X-MAX 300 in Florence, a city where taking to the roads on a scooter is essentially like the first corner of a Moto3 race everywhere. If you aren't brave, you won't get anywhere, and you really need to get your elbows out to fend off the locals. Surprisingly despite its large size, the X-MAX 300 kept up with the race very well. It may appear big, but the X-MAX is a light and agile commuter. Carrying its 179kg weight very low helps it flick effortlessly from side to side and it's narrow enough to zip through gaps while the motor has enough pull to get you safely away from the traffic lights. The safety net of ABS is always welcome, meaning you can really hammer the slightly dead feeling brakes, and although traction control on a 28hp twist-and-go is a bit overkill, over wet cobbles it did start to make itself known in a good way. The practicalities of the X-MAX (I would have to shy away from using an embarrassing scooter-apron like they do in Italy) mean I would happily commute through town on it over a train every day of the week. But the benefits of a maxi-scooter compared to a 125cc one is that once the working week is over, you have a whole new world to explore...

Out of town adventurer
Thanks to their size, maxi-scooters are far more than city hoppers and the X-MAX 300 can happily cope with life in a commuter belt. The large seat is really comfortable for both a pillion and the rider, and the screen does a fairly decent job of sheltering you from the worst of the windblast. Get the little single up to speed and it will cruise at 70mph with no effort at all and although the suspension is more than a little basic and a touch choppy, it's OK for everything aside from the bumpiest of roads. If you want to nip to a pub for a meal, or do a bit of shopping, the X-MAX's huge underseat storage means you can store your kit safely within while you wander around, which is really handy. As a non-scooter owner I'm always a bit jealous of this ability as I juggle my lid and overheat in a biker jacket around the shops...

Try one out for size
If you have a bike licence and don't want to use your machine for commuting, I really do urge you to try out a maxi-scooter; they are fantastic commuters and really practical. Yes, scooters have a bit of a stigma about them to bikers, but get over this and you will find out just how good they are. If you haven't got a licence, just do the maths. How much does your commute cost you a year? Getting an A2-licence will set you back around £500 and then it's £65 a month and next to nothing in fuel. It may rain occasionally, but good kit will keep you dry (buy an apron if you must), and ABS and traction control make the X-MAX 300 a safe bike for newer riders. But the main benefits are the ones you can't put a value on - no stress, no delays, no smelly armpits in your face and not relying on British Rail!

2017 YAMAHA X-MAX 300
292cc SOHC single, liquid-cooled, 4v
Power (hp): 28@7,250rpm
Torque (lb ft): 21@5,750rpm
Top speed: 100mph (est.)
Weight: 179kg (wet)
MPG: 80 (est.)
Price: £4,949





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Comments (51) Join the discussion on the forum

  • kiethton 14 Jun 2017

    "Sack the train off and get scootering"

    All well and good until you leave work and find some chav's have had it away!

  • pozi 14 Jun 2017

    kiethton said:
    "Sack the train off and get scootering"

    All well and good until you leave work and find some chav's have had it away!
    I was about to say the same, pick any of the recent videos of bike theft and muggings in London that involves the perpetrator arriving on two wheels and you can guarantee they are on an X-Max with no licence plate, it is the scumbag modus operandi because it has a decent top speed and they know if they take their helmets off the police will not chase them anyway.

  • Prof Prolapse 14 Jun 2017

    Dear Haymarket Media group,

    I can't help but notice we don't get the merits of cost effective "white goods" vehicles in the car section of the website, but do in the "PH2" (bike related articles).

    Perhaps the continued lack of interest in the "comments" sections of these articles is because your main demographic is not burnt out, 40-something commuters, with a passion for fking scooters.

    Could we therefore please have more articles with; racing, fast bikes, cool technology, or massive boobs please?

    Yours faithfully,

    Prof Prolapse. BSc (hons)

  • scubadude 14 Jun 2017

    pozi said:
    they know if they take their helmets off the police will not chase them anyway.
    Not sure who bought this bullsh*t PC tree hugging liberal crap rule in.... IMO if they remove their helmets Darwin takes effect and whatever happens happens. I know this will upset the police hating loonies but frankly if crime was less risk free fewer would take the risk doing it.

    I have just come back from a driving tour around Europe, Scooter use is massive but nothing like I've seen in the Far East. I spent some time in Taiwan and its incredible the amount of two-wheeled vehicles on the road and something, especially in big cities we could do here.

    My only concern (not mentioned in the review) would be how polluting these scooters are, historically they chug around like diesel london buses... For many commuters the new Electric Scooters might be a good bet.

  • Hammerhead 14 Jun 2017

    100mph out of 28bhp/170something KGs? Impressive, if true!

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