– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

MD Ride Review: 2005 Yamaha Majesty

Ever since MD tested the Honda Silver Wing way back in 2002, we’ve had a soft spot in our hearts for the new breed of large-displacement scooters. This kind of scooter/motorcycle hybrid can make a great around-town runabout or even commuter bike, and can be lots of fun in the process.

When I got the assignment to test Yamaha’s Majesty 400, I was commuting back and forth to work each day through about an hour (each way) of gnarly Southern California traffic. I had previously made this ride on everything from an SV650 to a ZX-10, so I was curious to see how it would feel aboard the Majesty.

The Majesty uses a liquid-cooled, DOHC 4-valve, 400cc single cylinder powerplant, and it transmits power to the wheel through a double cog V-belt design CVT (continuosly variable transmission). All this rides inside an aluminum frame with 41mm forks and twin shocks out back, rolling on a 14-inch wheel out front and a 13-inch wheel in the rear. 267mm disc brakes front and rear provide the stopping power.

What does all this add up to? As I found out in my first week of commuting on board the Majesty, it’s a recipe for fun!

The motor feels strong for its size although the sound is a little wheezy – but then, that just made it easier to surprise the brand new Harley 883 Sportster that I smoked from light to light! The Majesty pulls strongly for short distances, but it does run out of steam as the speed increases. I think the most fun I had on this thing was when I made basically the entire freeway portion of my commute home with the throttle completely twisted to the stop – I would guess that I averaged around 90mph although the Majesty will make it slightly past 100mph (indicated) on long downhills. Shhh, don’t tell the CHP!

Surprisingly enough considering the tiny wheel/tire package (especially in relation to the 436lb claimed dry weight), the Majesty feels stable and confidence-inspiring at around-town speeds. I did experience some wandering/tramlining on the higher side of average freeway speeds, but nothing too surprising – it wasn’t frightening at all, and it didn’t make me want to close the throttle.

While you’re not going to be hanging with any sportbikes in the local twisties, the Majesty provides its own brand of fun in that area too. Attempting to achieve a light drag from the floorboards, exhaust, and center-stand can be quite entertaining – it took no small amount of practice for me before I was able to produce that satisfying grinding sound through the corners. Again, you can find yourself tackling long stretches of road with the throttle completely pinned – the mediocre acceleration actually makes the Majesty more entertaining, as maintaining high corner speeds provides a great challenge to your riding skills.

Now that I’ve talked about the fun factor, let’s consider the practical aspects of the Majesty as a daily commuter. The bike achieved excellent mileage when I kept it to a 65-70mph cruising speed on the freeway – not so excellent when I tried to run at 90mph+. The seating position is comfortable, and if you’ve never ridden a big scooter you’ll quickly develop an appreciation for the long floorboards, which allow you to move your feet and legs to a variety of positions on long trips.

The best part of the Majesty, in my opinion, is the storage capacity. No more worries about losing the contents of your pockets while riding – the small locking glove box is perfect for wallet, cell phone, house keys, and the other requirements of daily life. Meanwhile, the HUGE underseat storage compartment will easily fit your helmet, full riding suit (Aerostitch and the like), gloves, and even boots when you park. This makes the Majesty much more practical for daily commuting and errand-running than any motorcycle I have ridden – you can fit groceries, school books, etc. under the seat when riding, then store your riding gear when stopped instead of carrying it around like baggage in an airport.

This being Southern California, I used the extra storage space to stash my Alpinestars and smelly socks so I could switch to flip flops whenever I parked – very convenient, and my feet thanked me for the air.

Going into this test, I wasn’t sure how the Majesty would stack up against the many different motorcycles I have commuted on. In the end, I found the Majesty a much more agreeable partner for the daily grind than any motorcycle in recent memory. Of course, I’d still prefer a sportbike or fast naked to play with occasionally, but if you’re in the market for a reliable, economical, and FUN way to get to work, the Majesty should definitely be on your list.

The Majesty continues unchanged (except for colors) in 2006. It carries a suggested MSRP of $5,799 in the U.S. and should be available in your local Yamaha dealer now. For more information, check out Yamaha’s web site.

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