The rivalry between two of the biggest Japanese motorcycle brands in the world is uncanny. Yamaha and Honda would always have an answer to almost every motorcycle that would roll out of their factories. After Yamaha launched the XSR 900 series, Honda introduced the neo-sports cafe CB1000R. For Yamaha’s Super Tenere, Honda dishes out the Africa Twin, and for Yamaha’s YZF R1, Honda has the Fireblade. However, when Honda surprised the motoring world with a maxiscooter capable to be taken off-road through the X-ADV, Yamaha didn’t give us a response — until now.
Well, the response was not in the form of a new motorcycle, but one of Yamaha’s officers, Paolo Pavesio was able to touch on the subject while talking to the media about their latest maxiscooter, the TMAX, which was unveiled during the last EICMA show in 2019. Pavesio, marketing, and motorsport manager for Yamaha Motor Europe expressed his confidence that it does not need to go directly against Honda to rival it with the TMAX. He, however, admitted that Honda’s X-ADV has taken a big chunk of their sales for the TMAX blaming its old design for staying away from a more sporty ethos. The newer TMAX’s sportier design should rectify that problem, according to Pavesio.
We know our customers well, we know what they want. The 2017 TMAX had probably lost a bit of sportiness, especially from the design point of view, and with the 2020 version, it found it again. The new engine and the work done on the suspension also go in that direction. We know the TMAX customer is very loyal we offer the product they expect. Over 50% of owners replace their TMAX with a new TMAX, so we just had to keep evolving a product that has had a clear DNA for 19 years.
But to answer the elephant in the room that everyone is just begging to ask, will we see an off-road capable maxiscooter with the TMAX as a basis for its platform? Pavesio lauded the rival of how the X-ADV showed him how flexible the scooter market could get. Yet he still kept us hanging by saying, “It is not in our DNA to do something that others have already done, however it is clear that in the hybridization between both worlds of motorcycles and scooters there is room to do other things. There is nothing decided,”. He further added, “We have done a lot of reasoning in the past and will do it in future, so it is said that that platform will not expand. If it does, it certainly won’t be in the next two years.”