Yamaha NEO Electric Scooter Analysis.
(With its excellent build quality and simple, responsive handling, NEOs are flawed…)
The Yamaha Neos is a 50cc equivalent AM licensed scooter, limited to a 27mph (44kmh) and 23-mile (37km) range for its single, 8kg under-the-seat battery. The Yamaha Neos is a 50cc equivalent AM licensed scooter, limited to a 27mph (44kmh) and 23-mile (37km) range for its single, 8kg under-the-seat battery. At just £ 3005, the little Yamaha is designed for inner city travel, so we flew to Amsterdam to find out how well it does.
So is this the electric version of the Yamaha scooter?
As early as March 2022, the Japanese manufacturer unveiled its future in electric models, with the Yamaha Switch On moving into a new era. The Neos (no, we don’t know what that apostrophe is) is the first model from that range.
Yamaha’s all-new scooter features large 13-inch wheels wrapped in under-seat storage, two riding modes, keyless ignition, connectivity and a respectable Maxxis rubber. Maximum speed is 45kph / 27mph, a claimed range of 37km / 23 miles, and eight hours of re-charge time (or four hours for a 20% to 80% charge) from the usual home plug. There is Bluetooth connectivity and certainly better build quality for an attractive £ 3005, or just £ 40 per month on PCP. At £ 40 a month, how many drinks does it buy for you in Soho?
What’s it like to ride?
The speed restriction is really 28mph. I saw the suggested 29mph, but that was after it hit the flat. This is a bit of a weird sensation, because the acceleration of the first 50 metres is powerful, with quick torque, and you can pull suspicious cars with lights. So underneath the speed cap is a nippy little bike … until it stops just under 30mph.
The ECO mode reduces speed further and again the speed limit is very smooth: 25mph. In some cities, this can prove useful and it’s easy to flick between ECO and standard mode to give a 5 to 6mph boost.
On our test ride in Amsterdam, built for life on two wheels, speeds below 30mph are more than enough, but I’m not sure how it will be in the UK, for example in the Northern Circular.
How far does it go for me?
With a single battery, Yamaha claims 23 miles in standard ride mode or 24 miles in Eco mode. Add a second battery (for £ 980) and the range will increase to 42 miles claimed. When battery life drops to around 20%, it automatically goes into turtle mode, which blocks power and speed, hopefully delivering you home. In a single battery, you have about 19 miles before you run out of energy.
Running two batteries works just as well as we did in our bike test. You only run one battery at a time, and when the battery goes into ‘turtle’ mode, it automatically switches to two batteries. You don’t have to stop and unplug anything. When replacing the batteries, the rider is notified by a simple dash.
The range is not shown in the dash, only the battery life through the bar chart. You need to use the MyRide Yamaha app to see your range, which clearly shows the total battery range in kilometres.
After our 30.3 mile ride, I still have 15.5 miles left, which gives the total range from two batteries of 45.8 miles – so not bad. Earlier in the day, after 13.4 miles, I had 30.9 miles left – a total of 38.8 miles of range and a little less than Yamaha’s 42 miles. So you can see that real-world coverage depends on how (and where) you ride your Neo.
One battery is actually between 18 and 22 miles, but 37 to 44 miles is my calculation for two batteries (though it goes into turtle mode at about 20%). Ride fast, throw in some hills, or take a pillion, and that figure can drop to 25km / 15 miles – which means you’ll need a second battery, costing £ 980, and about a third of the scooter’s original cost by itself.
But Yamaha describes it as an inner-city bike. This is especially aimed at young riders going back to school or college and back to work or part-time work, a few miles here and a few miles back, meaning that for most, 18 miles is enough.
It takes eight hours to charge from 0% to 100%, which means that for most owners overnight, a 20 to 80% charge can be completed in four hours. There is no fast charge option. If you choose a second battery you will need a second charger or charge a battery, swap and recharge a second battery.
What other features does it have?
Neo’s relatively simple braking setup has no abs, it features a single 200mm disc on the front and a cable-operated shoe brake on the back. The front setup is more than enough to stop the 100kg scooter from just 28mph, and thanks to the quality suspension, the forks hold on during the stop.
No basic technology, no ABS and no traction control as you would expect. There are two ride modes – Standard and ECO – but the ECO mode only adds a few miles to the battery range.
The Yamaha MyRide app is useful and worth the download. It is easy to connect to the bike and clearly shows the rest of the range. It will highlight your straight angle and you can track your route if you want to share it with your spouse. Simple Dash also highlights if you have received a text message.
There is a small open compartment to take the phone with the 12V charger and the keyless ignition comes standard. If you want a USB charger, this is an optional extra. Yamaha also offers bar and mirror mounts, as well as a larger 34-litre top case.
The Neos is more expensive than the Chinese equivalent competition, but here is the build quality and Yamaha knowledge-how-to display. The ride quality from the KYB suspension is great for this type of bike. Furthermore, quality rubber from Maxxis should work equally in dry and wet. According to the MyRide Yamaha App, I maintained a 27-degree lean, but never touched anything, not even a side stand, and for a lighter, 98kg bike, it felt 125-inch and more.
So the Neos are light, nimble and well put together – and the last feature is key. With a quieter bike, any imperfections such as a rattle bodywork or inadequate suspension are more obvious, but Yamaha enjoys engineering and premium, unlike some competitions where people know what they’re doing.
The Neos is a quality 50cc-equivalent scooter that is hard to fault. The build quality is excellent, there are no rattles and bangs, and its engine is completely silent as a magic carpet. Just like the brakes, the handling is simple and responsive. The ease of use of the MyRide app is a nice addition, there is plenty of room under the seat for an open face lid (depending on if you have chosen one or two batteries) and the batteries are easy and simple to access. To remove.
Now the drawbacks. Speeding below 30mph is not enough for some people, but, to be fair, all scooters in this category suffer the same restriction. The range is on the lower side. Is 18 to 21 miles enough for active teenagers, work, college, and busy social life? Or do they have to shell out an extra £ 980 for an extra battery?
According to prospective sales figures, electric scooters are going to be popular and the Yamaha Neo is the best. But is its scope enough?
Of the Yamaha Neo
Price: £ 3005 (basis)
Electric motors: Excitation 3 phase synchronous motor
Drive battery: lithium-ion, hub-mounted motor
Power: 2.3kW / 3.1hp 424rpm Rated 2.5Kw / 3.4hp (max)
Tiraguba: 100 lb-ft
Maximum Speed: 27mph Right
Range: 24 miles (single battery model, official)
0-62mph: N / A
Curb Weight: 98KG (One Battery