YAMAHA TRICITY 300 (2020 - on) Review
- Can be ridden on a car licence
- Loads of front-end confidence mid-turn
- Can be locked upright at a standstill
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£150|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Yamaha Tricity 300 offers one key difference to the firm's other three wheelers, the Tricity 125 and the Niken: it can be ridden on a car licence.
Legally, the Tricity 300's twin front wheels mean it is a trike (an ‘L5e’ if you want to get nerdy about it), so you don’t even need to take a CBT, let alone pass a bike test, to get behind the handlebars – just so long as you have a full car licence.
Obviously that’s going to be controversial and we’d recommend any sane, sensible and responsible rider get some training before taking to the road.
- Related: Yamaha Niken GT long-term test
- Related: How to pass your CBT
- Related: MCIA 'Unlock Your Freedom' campaign
The point is that Yamaha haven’t built the Tricity 300 for us riders who already love bikes and scooters. Instead, it’s here to tempt folk out of their cars and off public transport, offering a quick, easy and convenient commuting alternative that doesn’t require going through the cost and hassle of today’s baffling bike licence maze. And all with a greater sense of safety than a standard two-wheeler.
In technical terms, it’s an Yamaha XMax 300 fitted with a modified version of the tilting, tandem-fork front end from the Tricity 125. Yes, it leans when it goes round corners. No, there’s no clutch or gears. Yes, it feels fairly similar to a normal scooter once you’re on the move, other than having more front-end confidence.
And, no, you don’t have to put your feet down when you stop – at least, not once you’ve got the hang of pressing the new ‘Standing Assist’ system button at just the right time.
The bottom line is that even if you’re not the least bit interested in owning or riding a three-wheeled scooter, that’s fine because this isn’t trying to appeal to you. But the next time you hear a non-riding mate moan about being stuck in commuter traffic jams or the price of train tickets, you could always point them in the direction of a Tricity 300.
You'll find a popular online community at the Yamaha Tricity Group on Facebook.
Watch our full Yamaha Tricity 300 video review here:
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Peer up the Tricity’s skirt and you’ll find four fork tubes: a pair on the inside of each front wheel. Each pair consists of a main tube, containing a spring, plus an empty guide tube. Above the forks is a steering rack, which passes your handlebar inputs to the wheels while keeping them pointing in the same direction. Above all that, a pair of hefty horizontal parallel links keep everything lined up when you lean over.
Got all that? No, us neither. But when it comes to the Tricity’s front end, there are only three things you need to remember.
First, from the handlebars there isn’t a lot of feel for what’s going on downstairs. That probably shouldn’t be a surprise: instead of wheel and handlebars sat at opposite ends of a set of fork tubes, giving a natural direct connection, on the Tricity steering effort passes through a sequence of links and bearings, so it’s never going to feel exactly the same. But that’s alright, because…
Second, despite feeling slightly numb, two front wheels still adds enormous reassurance and encouragement on cold, wet roads, even in experienced hands, in a way no two-wheeler offers. When the surface is sketchy, the Tricity’s unwavering mid-corner stability lets you carry on leaning over in confidence. Which brings us to…
Third, there are limits. You can lean the Tricity over a fair old way – a reasonably generous 41.5 degrees off vertical – but eventually the centrestand touches down. And while having two front wheels doesn’t magically double grip (sorry, that’s not how physics works), having more mass over its front end does give the Tricity more front-end adhesion than the Xmax 300. But it will run out if you get ridiculously greedy.
Ride quality is pretty good. The two wheels are independently sprung, so if one wheel hits a bump the other one won’t feel it. Of course, with two front wheels you also double your chance of hitting a bump to begin with.
Triple it, actually, given the rear wheel’s track runs between the two fronts. Anyhow, over speed bumps and on rough roads the Tricity 300’s front end rides quite nicely – noticeably smoother than the crashy, twin-shock rear end, anyhow.
Brakes have a peculiar setup. Each of the Tricity’s 14-inch wheels has a 267mm disc and a single-piston caliper. Squeezing the right-hand lever operates the front brakes, while the left lever operates all three.
Squeeze both levers together and you can feel the interconnectedness in the system. Alternatively, you can use the footbrake – a small pedal near your right foot – which also triggers all three brakes.
However, the pedal is awkwardly positioned, so your only hope of reaching it naturally is stamping it with your heel. It feels like it’s there to pass a licensing regulation, rather than assist the rider.
Initial bite from the brakes is very gentle, perhaps to suit a customer who may not be experienced with stopping a bike in a hurry, and perhaps because three small discs are trying to stop a lot of weight. But with three-channel ABS and a front end that doesn’t dive a lot, the Tricity can stop very sharply and securely – you just have to squeeze the levers hard.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The Tricity 300 shares the exact same 292cc, four-valve, water-cooled, single-cam, undersquare single as the Xmax 300. Peak output is 28bhp and 21lbft of torque, delivered through a twist-and-go CVT automatic transmission. However, where that output only has to push along 179kg in the Xmax, the Tricity weighs a whopping 60kg more. That leaves a power-to-weight ratio not much better than a Suzuki GSX-S125.
But calculator fiddling aside, the reality when you twist the throttle is that the Tricity 300 punches away from traffic lights briskly enough, sits at 60mph on an open road with plenty in reserve, has the power to hold its own on a motorway and can, if forced, show a Yamaha Tricity 300 top speed of 85mph on its digital speedo.
In short, it’s plenty fast enough for a primarily urban commute, and unfazed if it happens to take in a short multi-lane blast on the way. It’s quiet, smooth at speed and throttle pickup is faultless.
Fuel economy is a claimed 86mpg – a smidge less than the Xmax’s 88mpg, but still cheap motoring. Our rather brisk test ride resulted in a 75mpg average (claimed on the dash), so let’s split the difference and call it 80mpg. That’s still enough to get 200 miles between stopping for fuel, or probably a full week of commuting for most.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
This is a brand-new model, so until they’re a few years old it’s impossible to know for sure how reliable and durable a Tricity (or its complex, multi-component front end) is. Until then, all we have to go on is owner reviews of the Xmax 300 – currently averaging four stars for reliability.
From our first ride it looks a fairly well-put together machine, though some of the chassis components (such as brake calipers and rear shocks) you’d probably rate closer to the budget end of the spectrum.
Our Yamaha Tricity 300 owners reviews show very positive comments so far.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Well, it depends on what you consider to be a rival to the Tricity 300. The 2021 on-the-road Yamaha Tricity 300 price is £7799, which is a whopping two grand more than an Xmax 300 (with which it shares pretty much everything from the seat backwards). Compared to other 300cc bikes it’s a lot of money. But comparing it to other 300cc bikes is sort of missing the point: without a bike licence, the Tricity’s target customer probably won’t be looking at 300cc bikes anyway.
The key exception is Piaggio’s MP3 300 HPE Sport, which is also classified as a trike and so can be ridden on a car licence just like the Tricity. The MP3 is physically a little smaller than the Tricity and a tiny fraction down on engine performance, but also less expensive at £6999.
Otherwise, Yamaha see the rival for the Tricity 300 as a car, a bus or a train. If you’re weighing up your monthly costs for getting into work using public transport, the Tricity looks pretty appealing on PCP finance: a deposit of around £1500 leaves monthly payments of around £90 for the first three years. That’s less than some folk pay to park their car at a train station.
On the surface, the Tricity 300 is well equipped. One of its flashiest features is the Standing Assist button, situated on the left switchgear cluster where a headlight flasher usually sits.
Pressing this locks the Tricity’s tilting mechanism (though not its suspension), meaning you can keep your feet up on the running boards without falling over. It’s designed for you to come to a stop, put your feet down, push the button then bring your feet up off the floor. But it can also be triggered below 6mph, so after a little practice it’s possible to lock it just as you come a stop, meaning you never have to put your feet down.
You can disengage it manually with a double-tap, or simply open the throttle and ride away as it unlocks automatically. Locking the tilting mechanism also makes the Tricity easier to move around at walking pace – handy for getting it in or out of your garage, or pushing it back out of a parking space.
Other confidence-inspiring features include ABS and traction control – yes, really – plus a parking brake to stop it rolling away. There’s keyless ignition, a centrestand and a 12-volt lighter-style power socket by your right knee. The huge 43.5-litre storage compartment under the seat is big enough for two lids.
However, as a premium product designed to attract well-heeled car drivers, we’d maybe have expected a few more gadgets: perhaps modern USB charging sockets, Bluetooth connectivity on a colour dash or, at the very least, a small glovebox-style storage cubbyhole built into the wide bodywork.
Yamaha Tricity 300 accessories
The Tricity can be ordered with a variety of options. There's a trio of packs:
- Sports Pack – sports screen, licence plate holder and aluminium foot pedals
- Winter Pack – apron, grip heater and knuckle visors
- Urban Pack – high screen, rear carrier and 39-litre top case
Plus, you’ve got the option of slip-on mufflers, a catalytic convertor and a comfort seat. Potential buyers get access to the MyGarage app, which will let you experiment with various accessories to see what they’ll look like on the bike.
Once you’ve taken the plunge and secured your spec, you’ll get the MyRide app, which tracks various parameters of your rides, such as lean angle, top speed and distance covered. This will allow you not only to work out which routes are quickest, but to share them on social media with your friends, if that’s something that floats your boat.
|Engine type||Liquid-cooled, 4v, single|
|Frame type||Tubular steel|
|Fuel capacity||13 litres|
|Front suspension||2 x telescopic forks|
|Rear suspension||Twin shocks, adjustable preload|
|Front brake||2 x 267mm discs, single-piston calipers|
|Rear brake||267mm disc, single-piston caliper|
|Front tyre size||2 x 120/70 x 14|
|Rear tyre size||140/70 x 14|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||80 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£45|
|Annual service cost||£150|
|Used price||£6,800 - £7,500|
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||28 bhp|
|Max torque||21 ft-lb|
|Top speed||80 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||228 miles|
Model history & versions
- 2020: Yamaha Tricity 300 launched.
- Yamaha Tricity 125 Launched in 2014, a 125cc three-wheeled scooter that’s a lighter, simpler, more affordable alternative to Piaggio’s hugely popular MP3. Classified as a motorcycle, meaning you need at least a CBT to ride it, which hampers sales. No tilt-lock function either, so it falls over if you don’t put your feet down.
- Yamaha Xmax 300 A2-class midi-scooter (bigger than a moped, smaller than a maxi-scoot) launched in 2017, which donates its rear-half and motor to the Tricity 300. Being 60kg lighter makes the Xmax nippier than the Tricity, while it’s a massive two grand cheaper too. However, you can’t ride one on a car licence…
Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA TRICITY 300 (2020 - on)
4 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA TRICITY 300 (2020 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£150|
Three things I'd change. 1. An extra 100cc engine. 2. A sound system and 3: A cruise control. Almost no vibration (an issue i had with the Deauville 700). Heavy but the weight is low down. Quick enough at lights but lacks grunt for A road overtaking. Great fun to ride and has none of that uncertain feeling you get going into a corner on a wet road and two wheels. Oh, and expect a lot of folk to come up to you and say that they are buying/thinking of buying one.....
Smooth at the front. Bumpy at the back. Comfortable for a 100mile rideout. My pillion finds the back seat so wide as to make her vertically challenged frame struggle getting off. The stand assist is useful for car park manouvering but use with masses of care with a pillion as the locked suspension is off balance as soon as you move the bike any distance (or the pillion shuffles about) and unlocking is sudden and HEAVY.
Its smoother than a single cylinder deserves to be. I'm returning 95mpg average. Amazing. Top end runs out of grunt but is still usable at 60-70. Launch is good although with two up I have stopped launching from the locked position as there is a moment between moving off and the bike being self supporting which makes you jump. If you had to stop suddenly at that point it could be tricky.
But VERY early days. Bodywork is largely held on by quick release clips that fail with use (get some spares). Getting at the battery is an adventure. I'm not totally sure how but I came back to a flat battery one day - hasn't reoccurred - a mystery.
Too early to say but it is expensive and all that plastic will increase labour costs for any work being done on it.
sun behind you can reflect into your eyes off the dash. Dash is clear but pretty bland. 12 power socket is in an odd place unless you want to connect yourself to the trike (heated gloves etc I suppose). I have heated grips. This trike is a couple of inches wider than the Deauville with big panniers, and about an inch longer too., It looks a bit lame without the rear topbox (personal taste)
Annual servicing cost: £147
Very frugal at over 100mpg and good riding position as not so sit up and beg like a piaggio or peugeot scooter. Very heavy front with a high centre of gravity can lead to low speed wobbles and pos spills. Hard to manoeuvre and move around with engine off. Extremely hard to lift up after a spill due to second front wheel and weight at front. Rear shocks not up to job. Have found not to be as good as some write ups suggest, but still early days.
Good for town work, back lanes and b roads, when two up will not be best on motorways as bit underpowered when loaded up. Good at touring around the sights of the countryside but spend too long and the existing seat becomes uncomfortable - after 2 hours. Pillion seat is very wide and firm and can create a problem for those with shorter legs and this includes getting of and on the scooter. This is not a really easy operation - requires practise. Brakes are ok with the linked system needing a good pull on the lever to slow down quickly and need this as there is no engine braking. Not good at speeds of 2-3mph in slow , heavy trafic as a weave from the front sets in.
Smooth for a single and punchy from low down so good in the 20 -50mph speed range and is very stable at higher speeds.
Built to a price with flimsy bodywork, easy break levers, mirror clamps, poor frame paint. Took 5 months to get spare parts 2020 -2021 After one trip out in road salt/snow engine cases have become stained, rust on back sub frame and around back of engine. Needs plenty of ACF 50. Too new to break down yet.
Cost of first 600 mile service. Fuel cost low as will travel 250miles on a tank before a fill up needed. Needs a lot of cleaning underneath as the back wheel is a muck spreader over all the engine and into the back of the frame and need to take the seat base out to clean well!
Good mpg and great road presence with good LED lights. Had a lot of extras on the scooter : heated grips : back rack and top box : Led indicator/running lights,: Usb socket in headstock: Fender extenders front and for the rear wheel. A comfort seat as the original is not comfortable - too firm. Rear shock are truly awful so relpacing them with better units. Some of the above should have been included with the scooter as it is not a cheap purchase esp decent rear shocks.
Buying experience: Bought from good a dealer which was very helpful due to some of the problems I have had. Paid full price as few available in 2020
At 239 kilos it's heavy but due to lock mechanism it's easy to push but make sure steering is straight when u lock it
Standard seat is comfortable and after 3 hours no problem
More than enough power,motorway driving is no probs
Corrosion on stand at only 500 miles
Not.due a service yet
A pocket to put fone would be handy
Buying experience: £7400 on 3 year lease
Version: tricity 300
an awsome looking bike and would highly recommend it
A very recent purchase, my previous insurers wouldn't insure the bike, but I have found one the road tax was £97 insurance £300 which I find disappointing as it's only 300cc, I need more miles on it but am at the moment,very happy an awsome piece of kit
Buying experience: retailers