Yamaha TMax 500 Restomod
Sometimes it is not a question of radically transforming a motorcycle that we have been particularly fond of. It is just about updating it to standards that did not exist when launched but that bring us a modern and updated look, without losing the core of the original bike. Like when looking certain mature people who retains that active and youthful look of someone who does not cling to the past but lives the current times as what they are: the present of a life without losing the experience of a past well lived. This style of custom is called Restomod, combination of Restoration and Modification words.
That was the "briefing" for this project, based on the reference in the maxiscooter market of the last 20 years: the Yamaha TMax 500. A scooter that has evolved setting the path of its competitors but that basically has not changed so much from its initial model. We wanted to keep the popular shape of the old TMax 500 but adding some updated touches and bring it up to date.
We started the project by changing the original 14" front wheel to a 2012 15" wheel, adding Galfer "wave" rotors that give the bike a more aggressive and lightweight look. It may seem that for 1" it would not be worth changing the front rim, but visually the change is hughe. By keeping the same diameter of the discs and with the "wave" shape visually less heavy, the front end "grows" bringing it closer to the size of a conventional motorcycle. If we add a new front fender chopped to look closer to the recent model's shape, then the front wheel gains a lot of weight in the final look of the bike. It is now also balanced with the rear end, where the rim is also 15 "as in the latest versions of the TMax.
The next step was to replace the complete rear end - swing arm and tranmission - with a 2012 TMax complete rear end. Since Yamaha keeps the size and conections of many parts of the TMax frame almost intact, change seems like a child's play. The open drive belt was introduced for the first time in a TMax scooter and it turned 360º the look of the MaxiScooter segment to the present day, giving it a more "motorcycle" look, lightening the non suspended masses by a few kilos and turning maintenance to zero. Without losing cycle capabilities. It is not that we are gaining performances with the change, but fortunately that we do not lose anything.
But far from being easy, this swap has the key point in the transmission shaft, which shorter in these models prior to the belt. Although there are many who choose to leave it like as it is, we considered it was a risk let the belt not properly working - due to the distribution of the stress - as it is an unreliable solution mechanically speaking. So we opted to lengthen the transmission shaft to completely occupy the pulley cam, welding a part of another identical shaft tip to the original shaft. Thus we achieve a longer shaft, with better mechanical and reliability behaviour.
Once the transmission shaft was adapted, it was the turn of the rear brake setup. In the original 2012 rear end, the emergency brake is independent from the main one and is located at the opposite end of it in an aluminum bracket that locks both to the wheel axle. Visually, we dislike the fact that emergency brake was completely visible over the "wave" rotor, "loading" the overal look. So we opted to change the main brake caliper with the old version, which integrates the emergency brake in the same caliper. Finally, we cut the emergency brake arm, leaving the disc clean and fully visible.
Finally, the original seat was upholstered with a combination of fabrics to recall the appearance of the more modern TMax seats, which open from the front. Likewise, the aluminum footrests were made by laser cutting, offered by Yamaha as an option in later versions. Two state-of-the-art LED bulbs, sporty brake levers, trimmed passenger grips and shorter, more modern rear-view mirrors with integrated LED turn indicators complete this update of the classic MaxiScooter along with the paintjob. A Maxi with deep style and power to enjoy many more years.
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