This time of year depresses me - the days are grey, nights are long and winter feels like it’s never going to end. There is one ray of sunshine though, my daily commute on the Yamaha XMAX 400 brightens these dull days and never ceases to bring a smile to my face.
For the last couple of winters, I’ve really got to grips with the joys of owning a maxi-scoot, it’s a practical and cheap way to travel to work. For day to day use it’s great and the underseat storage eliminates the need to carry cumbersome rucksacks, with enough space to hold gym kit, lunch and a laptop.
I’m also a bit of a closet baker and there’s even space to fit a Victoria Sandwich under there, should the need arise.
My commute is a mix of busy town riding and often congested dual carriageways. Fortunately, the 33bhp motor is responsive and power delivery smooth - meaning I can nip through town traffic with ease and never get left behind on the duals.
It’s also economical to run and one fill up of the 13-litre tank, gives me a range just shy of 200 miles. In real terms, £16 of fuel sees me get to work for a week.
I’ve got heated grips fitted, but to help me stay even warmer and drier this winter, I’ve fitted a Tucano Urbano blanket (£170) and mitts (£55). They took less than an hour to fit and, I must admit, do look a little strange, but they’re practical, warm and - most importantly -mean I don’t have to wear big, bulky winter kit.
Most of my time riding is currently spent in the dark, so it’s a comfort to know the lights are effective. The red LED tail lights are so bright in fact, that I’ve had a variety of comments from colleagues, telling me how visible they are from a distance.
I can’t quite say the same for the front lights though. They are adequate but not the best at lighting my way, with barely a difference between dipped and main beam.
My 'Mighty Max' has been reliable, but just before Christmas both the engine management and ABS warning lights pinged on.
My local Yamaha dealer, Webbs of Peterborough, ran a diagnostics check and found no faults, however less than a week later, the same problem surfaced again. It turned out my battery was dying...
With the bike only being a couple of years old, it’s a bit disappointing and at £65 to replace, quite pricey. To ensure this doesn’t happen again, I’ve fitted a C-Tek trickle charger, to keep the new battery in tip-top condition.
I love my little Yamaha. It still amazes me and makes me a little sad knowing how many people are sniffy about scoots. As a nation we seem to sneer at them and, for some reason, don’t consider them to be 'proper bikes.' I’d be lost without mine and I’d definitely say that you shouldn’t knock it, till you’ve tried it.
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