– by Andy Bisson
With electric being the future, I was keen to see what Yamaha had to offer with this versatile little scooter, ideally placed for commuting.
On first looks, it’s stylish and has the high-quality finish you would expect from Yamaha. This little gem comes in two colour options, the milky white that I had on demo and the midnight black. It has a very clear LCD display that shows battery percentage and mileage. It has 2 rider modes, standard and eco and these are also displayed.
It has smartphone connectivity which is helpful if you download the Yamaha My-Ride app which will provide lots of rider data. It has a small front storage compartment with a 12v charger, under seat storage and a wireless smart key.
It’s extremely light and well balanced and suitable for any sized rider and it has an advertised restricted top speed of 28mph so this was something I was looking to test out and see how it performed for the ‘larger rider’.
Having looked and admired my stead, it was time to shoot off. I took the bike for a couple of days as I wanted to test it out as a commuter to see how it faired for mileage. It has an advertised range of 23 miles in standard mode and 24 miles in eco mode but this will be decreased with the throttle locked open. The Neo’s can take 2 batteries, using one at a time so this increases the overall mileage capacity to 42.2 miles in standard mode.
What’s great about this bike for Jersey is that the battery just slides out from under the seat and is easy to carry with the well-formed handle. It comes with a power pack charging kit that plugs into a standard 13-amp household socket so you can charge it at home, at work or at college.
As I headed off into town for a little urban riding, I soon realised that whilst this little scooter may have a restricted top speed, this didn’t impact on the torque and that getting up to the top speed was quick. It was very soft and light on the handling and so easy to ride. The electric engine makes handling so much easier and lighter than most scooters, so negotiating hazards and filtering in traffic was a breeze. It also has a tight turning circle which is an additional bonus. Its also extremely quiet with silent running and absolutely no running noise.
Comfort wise I was surprised. It looks small so at 5’11” and high up on the weight scales I was expecting it to feel a little cramped but that wasn’t the case at all. There is a lot of room on the foot plate and it was a nice comfortable riding position that didn’t feel cramped.
Having had a play around the town and through some heavy traffic areas, I headed home to charge up the battery so I could start the next day on full power. You can charge with the battery in the bike or slide the battery out and take it indoors to charge. Both options are easy to do.
The next morning, I set off to work. Acceleration is nippy and I was soon up at 27 / 28 mph at which point it held itself at that speed. Determined to get that little bit more, I headed for the down hill and chuckled as I pushed her to 29 mph but she wasn’t going to budge any further than that no matter what I tried.
Again, on reaching the traffic flow, she was light and easy to filter. Quick off the line in traffic, she held her own in the urban environment with all the traffic restricted to 20 and 30 mph depending on the road.
I charged the battery again at work as I wanted to take her for a ride after to see what mileage I could get from the battery from full. I headed off to test her out and with the throttle pulled fully open for most of the journey, a few steep hills thrown in and my weight, she was going to be strained to her limits.
At 15 miles she went into limp or turtle mode where the speed is restricted to extend the mileage. So, at this point I was sat at 20 mph until I ran out altogether at 20 miles. Whilst this doesn’t sound a great deal, you need to remember that this is designed as a commuter bike and no matter where you live and work in Jersey, that’s going to see you ok. With the easy charging system and the option of a 2nd battery, there’s nothing holding you back locally.
This is ridable on a P category licence (50 cc licence) and as well as being a great work commuter, this is ideal for new riders just looking to use for school or college.
All in all, this was great fun and as I said so easy to ride. If you are looking for a perfect commuter bike, this is it. Just don’t get carried away with the pleasure and head off on an island tour or you will be popping into the closest café for a recharge.