Until last month, the KTM’s 125 Duke was my main mode of transport. It was lovely, but after I passed my test, the urge for more power took over. And to be honest I needed it – my 62-mile round trip commute is mostly on motorways and the KTM struggled to sustain 70mph.
But Yamaha’s XMAX 400 offers enough poke for my commute, but can also carry shopping and has the potential to keep me warmer during the slightly colder days.
Read our XMAX 400 review today.
Hailed as a “long distance sport scooter” by Yamaha, the XMAX is powered by a liquid-cooled 395cc single and kicks out 33bhp.
My main interest was how well it would cope with motorway miles. Now with more power under my belt, the scooter sustains 70mph on the motorway easily. In fact, it almost cruises.
Weighing 210kg has its benefits, and combined with a long wheelbase, the XMAX feels stable on the road at that speed, too.
It’s a confidence-inspiring bike – something as simple as a U-turn...well, it's now simple.
The XMAX has traction control and ABS, which also offers me more confidence. The Michelin City Girl tyres are also quality and work well in the wet. It feels agile and responsive around town and the seat is comfortable, although I'm too small to fit in it.
My 54kg-self can manoeuvre the scooter without problems, it feels nimble, well-made and the steering lock and turning circle make low-speed manoeuvres easy.
The only real discomfort I’ve experienced is that wind swoops over the front, comes around my body and hits the back of my neck, which can get slightly irritating but may not be a problem if you’re taller than my 5ft 3in or if you adjust the screen.
The large under-seat storage fits two full-faced lids comfortably, which means there’s plenty of room for my weekly food shop. And there’s an automatic light there too. My car doesn’t even have a light in the boot, so it’s a better commuter than the car in some ways.
Offering something new to my two-wheeled life, is the fact the XMAX has a keyless SmartKey system, which I love. It has taken a slight adjustment, mainly so I don't lose the key, but it means I don't have to take my gloves over. Ever.
Conquering the cold has never been easy on a bike. So when I got the XMAX I knew I wanted to be one of those cool scooter guys with bar muffs and a lap cover.
MCN Chief Road Tester, Michael Neeves, offered to save my arse and gave me some Oxford ones to use. I’ve only used them once this far, felt a bit claustrophobic, but will give them a few more goes and let you know how I get on.
In the upcoming month, I'll put together a video with and without out the muffs and lap cover to show you how it even affects my riding, because they're so fiddly.