REVIEW: 2018 Yamaha XMax 250 – scooterific fun

REVIEW: 2018 Yamaha XMax 250 – scooterific fun

There comes a time in every rider’s life when functionality outweighs the fun and a different steed is required. In terms of ease of use and general running about, there is little that beats a scooter and the 2018 Yamaha XMax 250, priced at RM21,225 is a prime example.

Some “riders” degenerate scooters, saying that scoots with CVT gearboxes are for girls and “men who like to feel the wind in their hoohaa.” But, when it comes to handling urban roads and city traffic, you would be hard pressed to find a two-wheeler that can carry two in comfort and able to store miscellaneous items safely.

We previously reviewed two scooters from local distributors Hong Leong Yamaha Malaysia, the 155 cc Yamaha NMax and the sportier version, the Yamaha NVX, also known as the Aerox elsewhere in ASEAN. What we found, riding the two scooters around, was while comfort and handling were acceptable, more so in the case of the NVX, speed and power were somewhat lacking on the highway.

REVIEW: 2018 Yamaha XMax 250 – scooterific fun

Yamaha does, of course, make a range of large capacity scooters, including the XMax 400 and the TMax 530, both of which are not officially available in Malaysia. However, the 250 cc scooter segment is that niche between the sheer bulk of a big scooter like the TMax and the nimble size of the 155 cc NMax.

Which is where the XMax 250 steps in, targeting a market that wants something faster and more powerful than a 150 cc scoot but without the price premium of a middleweight super scooter. So, when Yamaha Malaysia handed us the keys to the XMax 250, we put the quarter-litre scooter to the test.

REVIEW: 2018 Yamaha XMax 250 – scooterific fun

The review unit handed to us was in Rusty Bronze, which we quite liked, the other choice being Metallic White. Styling for the XMax follows Yamaha’s design language for the other scooters in its range quite closely, and it’s easy to see the resemblance between the XMax and, say, the TMax.

Stepping over the centre hump – the XMax, like others of its ilk, is not quite a step-through – places the rider in a 795 mm tall seat. This will suit almost all riders but if you are somewhat short in the inseam, be warned the floor boards on the XMax are a touch wide and there’s no cut-out to place the rider’s feet closer to the scooter.

We found the reach to the handlebars of the XMax a little short, although this does allow for positive control of the scooter in traffic and at speed. Taller riders will want to scoot a little further back in the seat to get some space.

Coming with Yamaha’s Blue Core engine design philosophy, the Xmax’s Euro 4-compliant 250 cc, single-cylinder, liquid-cooled power plant is good for 22.5 hp at 7,000 rpm and 24.3 Nm of torque at 5,500 rpm. These are perfectly adequate numbers for an urban scooter, and as we were to later find out, quite acceptable for long-distance trips.

The engine itself is a fairly sophisticated thing, coming as it does with engine start/stop along with keyless start. We particularly liked the keyless start feature as it allowed us to simply get on the XMax 250 and go.

With the CVT gearbox providing drive, taking off was a quiet, no fuss affair. Riding the XMax 250 around town, we found it a nimble, comfortable run-about. With twin storage cubbies in the dash and that large underseat storage compartment, the XMax 250 is perfectly suited for the urban commute and as a car substitute.

REVIEW: 2018 Yamaha XMax 250 – scooterific fun

The underseat stowage with its courtesy light is particularly large, and will swallow two full face helmets. We put this to the test on an out station trip and yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

Just note that if you’re putting full face helmets under the seat, use a helmet bag to prevent scratches. While the storage area is large, the various fins and spoilers on today’s helmets raises the opportunity for rubbing against the seat.

Handling on the XMax 250 is helped by the 15-inch front wheel, which provides a directional stability not found on scooters with smaller wheel sizes. The rear 14-wheel, shod in 140/70 rubber, also helps in this regard, with long distance comfort being quite good on less than smooth roads.

With 110 mm of suspension travel in front with telescopic forks and 79 mm at the back with twin shock absorbers, ride comfort on the XMax 250 was very acceptable, with the right compromise between comfort and road holding. Taking the sharp twists and turns of the usual canyon run, we noticed a slight tendency to wallow when the XMax was pushed hard.

This required the use of a little body English to put things back in balance. In a straight line, the XMax tracked true, with little of the nervous behaviour scooters sometimes exhibit when ridden with the throttle to the stop.

We put this to the test with a slightly mad 700 km day ride to attend an event, fully loaded with pillion, laptop and camera gear. The XMax 250 performed impeccably on the highway, cruising at extra-legal speeds with the throttle wound to the stop.

REVIEW: 2018 Yamaha XMax 250 – scooterific fun

Top speed for the XMax 250? Sorry, can’t tell you that, but lets just say it is not lacking for power if you’re not afraid to cane the engine, even when riding two-up. On the return journey, dealing with the clogged highways, the XMax did the business and did it well, despite the full load.

The screen on the XMax 250 was just a touch too short for the 168-cm tall author with the wind coming in straight at helmet level, but when there was a pillion on the back, the buffet from the wind decreased significantly. Taller riders may want to look into fitting a screen of suitable height.

Seat comfort was good on the XMax, with no complaints coming from the pillion. Seating itself is broad and firmly padded, with no issues finding a comfortable seating position.

REVIEW: 2018 Yamaha XMax 250 – scooterific fun

Short-legged pillions might find their legs splayed a little wide, though. Thus, something to be aware of if your regular pillion is fond of short skirts.

We found fuel consumption on the XMax 250 to be more than acceptable, recording a worst of 20.3 km/litre of fuel from the 13-litre tank when riding very fast and fully loaded. The best we got when taking it easy with the right hand was 32.2 km/litre, which isn’t too shabby, by any measure.

In terms of modern conveniences, the XMax ticks all the boxes with things like a USB charging port and the two-helmet under seat stowage, as mentioned earlier, along with LED lighting front and back. Inside the cockpit, a monochrome LCD panel sits in between twin analogue gauges displaying speed and engine revs.

REVIEW: 2018 Yamaha XMax 250 – scooterific fun

So, who needs a 2018 Yamaha XMax 250, considering most 125 to 150 cc scooters are half the asking price of RM21,225? For one thing, there is no replacement for displacement and considering we have ridden Yamaha’s super scooter, the TMax 530, the XMax is a reasonable and well priced alternative.

For the rider who doesn’t want a motorcycle with the requirement of having spread a leg over the seat to get onboard, the XMax’s step-over design makes sense. If you’re looking for an urban runabout with the ability to cover highway speeds and distances comfortably, take a look at the XMax 250. We did and are strongly considering adding one to the stable.

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Mohan K Ramanujam

Coming with diverse and extensive experience in heavy engineering, Mohan enjoys making anything with wheels go fast, especially motorcycles. His weapon of choice is the Desmoquattro engine, and he has a penchant for anything with a dash of Italian design. Strangely enough, he insists he's a slow rider.



  • Pilihanraya Kalah Teruk on Sep 07, 2018 at 6:12 pm

    Something must be seriously wrong with the Ringgit or our GDP Percapita (earning power) if a Japanese scooter can cost RM22k

    In other countries, scooters are usually like toys and very affordable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 16
    • Rakyat Malaysia on Sep 09, 2018 at 3:11 pm

      Blame PH Gomen. Rm1500 minimum wage pun sudah dicapati.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 45 Thumb down 10
    • rightwinger on Sep 10, 2018 at 11:42 am

      wve been through before:_
      Mar 11, 2018 at 10:08 pm
      “well for starters its NOT meant for your average joe. even the SYM evo 250 scooter is a tad shy of 19K. There are plenty of other sub 5K mopeds/kapchais on sale now for the regular joe.
      a 400cc scooter is not the same as a 250cc scooter, which is not the same as a 100cc scooter. stop lying.”

      that was my response to you bitching. her we are again. you have poor memory, lack in ideas becoz you keep parroting the same thing over and over again, and you throw locals and your country under the bus.
      people like you are thre reason Melaka fell.
      youre not Bangsa Malaysia material.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4
    • Autobahn on Oct 06, 2018 at 9:38 pm

      In uk xmax is about 5k gbp..that is not cheap too

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • Bernard on Sep 07, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    No ABS and other safety features?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
  • Johnny on Sep 08, 2018 at 8:10 am

    Wow.. thanks for reviewing this scooter!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  • aiful on Sep 08, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    this is my fav scooter to rent when at phuket. boy 250cc for a scooter is sooooo fun

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • TreeHugger on Sep 09, 2018 at 8:36 am

    Mohan, what is the weight of this scooter and how do the engine and CVT handle uphill climb on our hilly highways such as PLUS highway in the state of Perak?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
  • Francis on Sep 22, 2018 at 8:25 am

    Nice article, Mohan, but the correct word in the second paragraph is DENIGRATE, not DEGENERATE.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • is it suitable for to go to work daily, 120km per return trip

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
  • MOHD SHUKOR BIN FADZIL on Jun 10, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    no problem for me .Commute 130 km daily from sungai petani to penang.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
  • Dennis Sy on Aug 24, 2019 at 9:30 am

    Hello from The Philippines! The version sold here is 300cc and comes with Traction Control and ABS. The Xmax is not really cheap but performs admirably and looks very good!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • Zaifuddin on Oct 20, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    Yamaha no doubt is a good product. However when it come to spare part dept for big bike, the most unacceptable. My tracer 900, broke abs sensor, order since Jan 2019 until now, no news. The worst part, no and mean no tcs. I have meet an accident on late Sept due to tcs off during riding back home on rainy day. I was so lucky to escape death but my bike repair cost me 3K++, and to be expected complete in 2/3 MONTHS due to spare part availiability. Other kawasaki bike which came to the shop 3 days later, already completed repair. My friend accident XJ6 last year until now, still at shop with spare part issues. Overall, we big bikers paid a lot of money only to get this kind of very and extremely poor services.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

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