Yamaha Maxam CP250

Yamaha Maxam CP250 maxi-scooter
When I first stumbled across this odd scooter, I thought it was one of those concepts that would never see the light of day. And yes, the Maxam CP250 did start life as a concept—way back in 2005. But then Yamaha put it into production. It’s billed as a ‘tandem cruiser’, and it’s on sale right now in Japan. The technical specification is uninspiring: power comes from a 250cc single, and there’s only 20bhp to pull a very substantial 201kg (440 lbs). But that’s not what the Maxam is about. It’s about the styling, which is out of this world. It seems to be channeling the legendary General Motors designer Harley Earl, with cues from a 1950s Cadillac and four colorways to choose from. That bodywork comes at a price though, because the Maxam costs the equivalent of US$7,500—nearly a thousand dollars more than Vespa’s range-topping GTV 250. But is there any better way for two young Tokyo hipsters to comfortably cruise the neon streets of Shibuya?

For an even wilder custom, check out this Honda Ruckus from the Californian shop Rucksters.

  • Sorry but that thing puts the ug in fugly.

  • mingh

    i woudn’t wanna be seen dead on it. And as per your question: after all the top shots of boutique japanese custom builders (ritmo sereno being my favourite among them) there seem to be plenty ways

  • Woody

    What mingh said, especially for that much money.

  • kim scholer

    Grumpy old men, eh? The big scooters make great sense in Japan, where car ownership can be difficult and where it rains a lot. A lot of them are modified with a lowering kit, lengthened wheelbase, a Supertrapp muffler (or two), wild paint jobs and custom upholstery.

    Sneer all you want, but every generation of riders makes it own interpretation of two-wheeled freedom, which is just the way it should be.

    • 3cents

      ive had mine for about 2-3 years now, i love it, laugh all ya want at this thing but its a blast and has no problem on the highways,, its awesome

  • Ha! I never thought I would see my ride on such an otherwise stylish site. As others have said though, it is damn ugly, but for two-up cruising though Harajuku and Shibuya – nothing comes close. That seat is 1500mm long to start…

    For more in their native habitat, click my name. See ya! Neko.

  • Interesting. Not sure I’d say it’s ugly – for scooter styling it’s nice and modern. Definitely a practical ride, not for posing. Those turn signals look almost as big as the headlight! :)

  • Tinker

    You’d think that they would give it sufficient power to get out of it’s own way, though. Either a 400 twin or single, with an optional 600? Looks a lot like the Majesty, maybe they don’t want to poach sales.

  • mike

    I for one, like it. its like a jetski on wheels and honestly, i dont think the gals would mind hopping on the back seat. i got a honda elite you see and the college girls find that thing legit. especially since it looks safer than holding onto the tail end of some assholes gsxr

  • LarryA

    I have to agree with Mike, from my experience chicks dig scooters. I don’t know, I guess they find them cute and unintimidating. Whatever the reason, girls are definitely more willing to ride my LX150 Vespa than my CL450 Honda… which is ironic because the Honda is by far the safer ride for two people, much more stable and doesn’t take skill and cunning (and by that I mean proper planning to stay off streets with 45mph speed limits) to keep up with traffic two-up.

    Have either gotten me laid? No, but girls are without a doubt more receptive of the cute Vespa than the vintage Honda.

  • Ugly & under-powered for sure! But with two trunks, massive lighting, glove box, a 1500mm seat, there’s nothing better for the smooth upright daily commute through the Tokyo traffic, or two-up cruising Harajuku & Shibuya with a hottie on the back as you say. I love mine in blue. Now where’s that neon kit… Neko.

  • WRXr

    Perfect for an urban scoot. Not like you’ll be taking this on long trips much, so 20hp sounds about right for urban environments.

    Styling…I like it. I give them credit for trying somethign different.

    • 3cents

      i rode mine from lawton oklahoma to kansas city,, no problems, and keeping up with traffic wasnt an issue (up till 82mph that is)

  • Jay

    Bikes with an engine size of 250cc or less are exempt from the costly vehicle inspections that are required every two years. Also they are in a lower tax bracket and don’t need a government approved parking space to register.

  • Another nifty Japanese market scooter http://www1.suzuki.co.jp/motor/gemma/cat/index.html

  • babyface

    they sell it in the us as the yamaha morphous

  • I live in Hong Kong and scooters like this are very, very popular. I see them everywhere and a friend of mine even bought one secondhand as a commuter vehicle. I think because the Chinese don’t have the same Easy Rider influenced view that scooters are uncool so the market here for them is potentially much larger.

  • stewart

    Beautiful! Not unlike the Honda Forza, but TONS MORE CLASS!!
    Underpowered for Australia, but what a dream to ride around on a lazy Sunday! I do hope they come to OZ.

  • Jim

    Sort of looks like a jet ski. Any pictures of the lower back end to see if there is a 3-4″ nozzle?

  • I normally agree with the great writing on this site, but I assure you, Harley Earl has rolled over in his grave and will be haunting you soon for that remark.

  • john

    I had a 2000 Suzuki Hayabusa (the ultimate sportbike of all time), and now a 2006 black CP250 (I dont call it a Morphous). 80 mph and 75 mpg…..this bike is a dream! I wish more accessories were available. I love it!

  • Steve E.

    I bought mine in 2006, and I still love it. The designers definitely drew inspiration from Cadillac, and they said so themselves. I get around 60-65 MPG, it is super stable at 80mph due to the really long wheelbase, and most importantly to me, the coppers don’t harass me like they did when I rode sport bikes. I love my dirt cheap insurance. My only major complaint is the lack of aftermarket performance parts.