June 26, 2008
Don’t Judge Books By The Cover??
Whats the best selling scooter in Italy? … Guess again!
In my Bio for the blog, you may notice that I say I’ll ride anything on 2 wheels, any time I can. Yes, there is no doubt that I have a leaning towards performance bikes, you know, R1’s, R6’s or FZ’s and FJR’s. But with the recent public release of the TMAX, I have just had to put some road miles on one.
I first threw a leg over (or through) the TMAX this time last year at the Fukaroi Test track (see “Good Times At The Yamaha Fukuroi Test Track” in the blog archives), but riding a bike on the track is very different in many ways to riding on the street.
A bike? You ask. That’s not a bike, it’s a scooter!
Not so says I. And you only have to ride one to realize this is something very different. True, from a side view, it looks like a scooter. And the controls are very much like a scooter. But that is about where the similarities end.
The 500cc twin cylinder engine propels Mr. (mini) MAX to a top speed that will (in Ontario) have the police pulling you over on the main hiway and removing the bike and your license for a week for “racing” charges.
It will most definitely be perfectly happy keeping up with (plus legal) traffic speeds anywhere in Canada.
The frame is a full “sportbike” frame which wraps the engine with the aluminum spars and it is bolted solidly to become a rigid mass, which is very unlike the normal scooter technology of having the engine one with the swingarm and pivoting as the suspension moves.
The wheels (at a full 15 inch diameter) are motorcycle sized with very competent rubber on them, which also adds to the motorcycle feel. Brakes? Twin 267mm discs up front and the same sized single on the rear haul you down with no delay. And decent suspension units all around.
All this wrapped in a very friendly-looking but efficient body package puts this motorcycle into a whole new category – The “Sport Scooter”.
Any one of you looking down your noses at this should watch out in case one slips under you in your favorite corner. And if you needed any other convincing, we can report that Italy, the country that produces GP riders such as Valentino Rossi,and Giacomo Agostini (for you older racing enthusiasts) and has brand names such as Ducati, Gilera, Piaggio, Vespa, MV etc, and sells thousands of different motorcycles and scooters every year, buys so many TMAX that it is now that country’s best selling scooter.
Come on now, 20,000+ Italians (every year!) can’t all be wrong about a scooter, can they?
Posted @ 2:11 pm in Uncategorized
June 3, 2008
Fun Times At Yamaha
Fairly often while working at shows and events, we will get asked the question of whether we ride/boat/drive or otherwise partake in using the products we sell.
Well let me state clearly, here and now that YES, most of us working at Yamaha Motor Canada Ltd. enjoy our products in one form or another. And why wouldn’t we? It should come as no surprise to anyone reading these blogs, that the majority of Yamaha items that hit the road or dirt or water are more fun than the proverbial barrel of monkeys.
But finding enough time to play with, er, I mean evaluate all the different models is not so easy when we are so busy making sure they get into the hands of our dealers and subsequently into the hands of our customers. It is (after all) our job to make sure that Yamaha is here for the next 50 years (at least).
But as the saying goes, all work and no play…… So each year when the winter weather breaks into warmer days of spring, our corporate ‘bigwigs’ invite all of the field staff to a top secret resort in Ontario (Resort Tapatoo) where for 2 days, the meetings are relentless and the coffee and snacks are welcome breaks. But the 3rd day… ?
This is the demo day. That’s demo meaning demonstration, not demolition. We get to find out first hand how well the new outboards work and if the prop really does bend when you bang it off a rock (hmmm that wasn’t there last time), or how smooth the new motorcycle is when riding down those fantastic Ontario roads after 5 months of winter carving holes in the blacktop, or how deep the mud hole is out on the latest and shiniest ATV, and if the northern Ontario lake really is just above freezing when we fall off the EHO (Enormously High Output) new model Waverunner.
And providing we don’t mess up in a moment of judgment lapse, the bigwigs sit back and smile (muttering under their breath something about kids in a sandbox) but knowing we have all experienced the latest technology from our engineers in a real world environment. This kind of staff training is priceless and one of the reasons Yamaha has been recognized as one of the top 100 companies to work for, in Canada.
So just to prove to you that we do, in fact, enjoy these awesome products as much as you do, I’ll include some photos from our recent event.
And now, I have to wipe the silly grin from my face and get back to work…..
Posted @ 3:43 pm in Uncategorized