There are basically two ways motorcycles, and scooters, are used by riders. One is simply for fun, to ride around, to travel, to take things to the edge, if you are so inclined.

The other is as daily transport, which is the overwhelming use for the majority of riders in Malaysia. Now, while the daily commute, or riding a small motorcycle for work (moto-journalists excepted) can be something of a drudgery, there is no reason why such riding cannot be fun.

A case in point is the RM10,500 2017 Yamaha NVX 155, also known as the Aerox in some ASEAN markets. Most machines for urban riding and the daily commute tend to feature somewhat conservative styling and are designed to be cheap and utilitarian.

However, for some riders, style is as important as is speed, and handling. This is perhaps where the NVX 155 comes in, taking the under pinnings of a staid looking scooter that your mother would ride, and turning it into something else altogether.

So, when Hong Leong Yamaha Malaysia asked if we wanted to take the NVX 155 out for spin, we jumped at the chance. This was simply because when we reviewed the NMax last year, we found a lot of things to like about it, and wanted to see if the NVX was more of the same, but better.

Now, Yamaha already has a fairly nice scooter in the 150 cc class, the NMax. However, for the younger, and young-at-heart rider, the NVX with its sharper, more aggressive styling, is perhaps more their cup of tea.

When we first picked up the NVX 155 for review, the Yamaha engineer took the time to explain the features of the scooter to us. We appreciated this, because, for what is supposed to be daily transport, the NVX is a somewhat sophisticated machine.

Starting with the engine, which is designed with Yamaha’s Blue Core engine design philosophy, the NVX has variable valve actuation, designed to, in this case, provide a balance between economy and power. The 155 cc, single-cylinder powerplant puts out 14.8 hp at 8,000 rpm and torque is claimed to be 14.4 Nm at 6,000 rpm.

These are perfectly adequate numbers for a city-based two-wheeler, and power gets to the ground, as is typical with scooters, via a CVT gearbox. That this is Yamaha’s premier offering in the sub-200 cc class of scooters is borne out by the level of equipment that comes as standard.

For a start, front-wheel ABS is standard on the Malaysia-market edition of the NVX, something that is an option in some countries, and omitted altogether in the Philippines version. We would like to think that someone in Hong Leong Yamaha has been paying attention, and hope that other motorcycle makers in Malaysia will follow suit with what has, in many markets, become standard safety equipment for all levels of motorcycles and scooters.

Also part of the NVX 155’s standard equipment suite is keyless start, something usually found in higher-level machinery. To illustrate this, some of the bikes we reviewed that came standard with keyless start include the 2016 BMW Motorrad R1200 R, the 2016 Ducati Multistrada 1200 and 2017 XDiavel and the 2016 Harley-Davidson Iron 883.

So, what does this mean? What it does mean is the NVX exhibits a level of sophistication usually found in more expensive motorcycles, and this translates into ease-of-use and approachability for riders, especially those new to powered two-wheelers. More of the same thought is given to items such as a 12-volt socket for powering electronics, a necessity in this day and age, as well as remote opening for the fuel cover and seat.

Individually, none of these items are new for motorcycles or scooters, of course, but together in a package for what is ostensibly a lower-priced, utility scooter, suddenly makes the entire package more attractive. This generally easy approach to riding all serves to make the NVX give something for everyone.

After our briefing by Yamaha personnel, we got on the NVX, swinging a leg across the pronounced hump in the middle, and found it to be most accommodating in the seating. The seat height, set at 791 mm, is perhaps a little on the tall side for a 150 cc scooter, but our 168 cm tall rider could flat foot the NVX easily.

The reason for the step-over hump in the middle of the NVX’s floorboard is because the 4.5-litre fuel tank lives under the rider’s feet, and as earlier detailed, access is via a push button on the dashboard. We found the reach to the handlebars a little short, but there was enough room in the stepped seat to let us move back a little and find a comfortable position.

It should be noted that the Head of Editorial was a little freaked out by the height of the pillion seating, and it had to be explained that this is normal design language for scooters, allowing the pillion a view of the traffic over the rider’s head. In any case, our usual 12-year old pillion tester had no issues with stepping up on the folding foot-pegs riding the NVX through some rather fast trips.

Now, fast is relative, and one of the first things we did after picking up the NVX 155 was to find out how fast it would go. The answer is, not all that fast, as the Yamaha technician warned us.

Out on the open highway, the NVX would cruise quite comfortably at 90 km/h, with occasional spins up to the posted speed limit. Exceeding that made you aware that the NVX is more at home on the city streets, and the short wheelbase, 1,350 mm, exhibited a pogo-ing motion, a result of the slightly overdamped suspension.

With non-adjustable forks in front, and twin rear shock absorbers adjustable only for pre-load, there was a pratical limit as to how far we could tailor the ride, so for the rest of the review, we elected to stay within the NVX’s performance envelope.

This is not to say the envelope is not suitably roomy. Taking the NVX down a set of very tight twisties – the curves on the road, not the school canteen snack – the NVX showed its sporty nature by tackling whatever we threw at it with composure.

Faster riders might be wondering what the hell we’re talking about on a scooter with limited speed, but riding the NVX reacquainted us with full throttle cornering. Winding the NVX open, speed builds up somewhat leisurely, but once it gets up to about 100 km/h or so, the NVX behaves well, almost like a miniature sports bike.

Stay off the brakes, choose a peel-in point as late as you dare, and fling the NVX in. The fact that you are reading this review is testament to the cornering ability of the NVX, and trust us when we say we no fear in exploring the outer limits of the NVX’s handling.

There was no hint of wallow or vagueness in the scooter’s cornering manners, and straight line handling, aside from the suspension bouncing at speed, was good. The suspension did bottom out a couple of times when hitting sharp-edged bumps, but we accepted this in view of the fact that 90% of riders are not going to ride the NVX as hard as we did.

With the highway hi-jinks out of the way, and yes, the magic number you want is 126 km/h, by the meter, corrected to 116 km/h using GPS, we took the NVX down to the city to see how it behaved in the environment it was designed for, surface streets and urban traffic. In this setting, the NVX came into its own.

We very much liked the very nimble handling of the NVX, and stopping power from the front disc brake was good, needing only two fingers to bring the scooter to a stop at street speeds. Some may have noticed, as we did, the NVX comes with a rear drum brake, compared to the two-disc equipped NMax.

This was probably done in the interests of keeping costs down on the NVX, and while we did wish for hydraulic discs front and rear, along with two-channel ABS, we fully understand why. In any case, when performing our braking tests, the front brake was enough for most stops, but if the NVX needs to be halted in a hurry, or if loaded with a big pillion, both brakes need to be used for best effect.

In all cases, braking was drama-free, the NVX coming to a steady stop and staying upright, with only a very slight hint of nervousness from the front tyre on sandy surfaces. Most NVX riders will never notice this, and please pay attention to the tyre pressures and condition of your scooter.

For the NVX, which rolls on 14-inch wheels, our first ride showed that its steering was quick, and initially took us a bit by surprise. Once we re-adjusted the amount of effort and movement we put into our hands, this took about 10 minutes, the NVX settled down to be a fairly tractable, stable machine provided it was not pushed to the very edge.

Coming back to the highway riding as we did, it pays to be careful about the back wash from bigger vehicles, and overtaking needs careful consideration. This is a 150 cc scooter designed for urban riding, after all.

Out riding the NVX 155, the styling drew more than a few glances and comments, all positive. Most liked the sharp edges of the design, and our review unit in matte red – the other colour choices are black and Yamaha Racing blue – certainly looked the part. When a non-rider like our Head of Editorial thinks the scooter looks nice, you know the designers got it right.

Living with the NVX for a week was quite nice indeed. We liked the ease of just getting on and going with the NVX, and it proved excellent for short trips like the school run and out to the shops. The 25-litre under seat compartment is not big as these things go, with enough space for one open-face helmet or five packets of char koay teow.

In the cockpit a single LCD screen displays everything the rider needs to know, and a nice touch was the inclusion of a volt-meter. In the case of the NVX, the importance of knowing the battery health cannot be understated, because if the bike does not power up, nothing can be unlocked.

Yamaha has thought about this, though, and a key is included for the rider to open the seat – the lock is not readily obvious and is hidden under the scooter – which allows a new battery to be swapped in. Another “hidden” feature on the NVX is the passenger grab handles, which are concealed under the bodywork, but allow the pillion’s hands to fall into a natural position and hold on.

On the dash, the rider will find a switch on the right-hand pod, which allows the NVX’s engine stop-start feature to be enabled or disabled. We asked why Yamaha would provide such an option, and the answer was some riders prefer to keep their engine running at all times.

While we can understand why – repetitive starting does wear out batteries and starters – we tend to practice preventive maintenance, and usually swap out the batteries on our stable of motorcycles every two years, whether it needs it or not. We found that spending the money for a new motorcycle battery saves on shoe leather and late appointments.

On the whole, we found a lot to like about the NVX 155, most notably in the area of handling performance, engine tractability, gearbox response – slightly slow on take-up, but fine once the throttle is open – and styling, there were a few niggly bits about it we didn’t like. While not deal-breakers in and of themselves and would not affect our personal decision to buy an NVX, these are, we feel, some things Yamaha should look into.

First up is the white-on-black digital readout. Coupled with the glossy perspex screen, we found the numbers a little hard to read in harsh sunlight, though it looks really cool, visual effects wise, at night. Next up are the LED headlights, which, while adequately bright at night, were pointed a little low for our 168 cm height.

For RM10,500, including GST, excluding road tax, insurance and registration, the 2017 Yamaha NVX 155, coming as it does with front wheel ABS, keyless start and other mod cons, does represent something of a sporty choice in scooters. We certainly think that, as as scooters go, the NVX is worthy of consideration, especially if you like your riding quick and nimble.

So, who needs a Yamaha NVX 155? If you are looking for sporty, stylish, daily, easy-to-ride transport, the NVX fits the bill to a ‘T’. For a young rider, for general running about and getting to class and so on, along with spirited riding, the NVX won’t make you look like you are borrowing your dad’s scooter.

The other competition for the Yamaha NVX in Malaysia is the Honda PCX, which retails for above RM11,658, but it has not undergone any major changes over the years and perhaps been eclipsed somewhat by the NVX 155’s standard-equipment ABS and other amenities, as well as Yamaha’s own NMax with the same engine and chassis, but going for RM8,812.

As for the author, the NVX would make a good runabout and paddock bike, and an order may be placed soon with Hong Leong Yamaha.