The new 123 MPG Champ: Yamaha Zuma!
Are you finally fed up with pumping $250 into your SUV's gas tank to barely be able to get to work and back for a week? Well, it may be high time that you jettison two of your four wheels and check out what we motorcyclists have known since Herr Gottlieb Daimler built his first motorized two-wheeler in 1885: Motorcycles save fuel. Lots of it.
Of course, you are going to have to make some compromises. Like getting really cold and wet in inclement weather and informing your soccer team that they have to find their own way to the game. However, if you can believe Yamaha's newly released mileage claims (based on a very artificial US EPA dyno test), their sporty Zuma is a fantastic combination of fun and practicality as well as being the current mileage champ at 123 MPG!!!
The Zuma's fuel tank holds 1.5 gallons, so you can go about 185 miles on about six bucks. Just think of it: 123 MPG would allow you to drive the entire length of the New York State Thruway for about $17. Or if you were really inclined for a nice long trip, how about Jacksonville, Florida to Los Angeles for $80?
The Zuma's electronic fuel gauge lets you keep an eye on your gas level, but don't be surprised if you don't see it move much. When you can go 50 miles on about a quarter tank, and when that quarter tank costs you about a buck and a half, you'll probably be too busy smiling all the way to the bank.
If you're a neophyte rider you could ask if motorcycles aren't difficult to ride. The Zuma makes it easy with a fully automatic transmission and pushbutton electric starting. No clutch, no gears, no choke, no kickstarter required (although it does come with a kickstarter should you drain the battery dry... it sure beats jumper cables). The Zuma features a surprisingly large underseat storage compartment which will easily hold a couple of bags of groceries, and has a a plush, long and wide dual seat to keep the butts of rider and passenger as happy as their gasoline budgets.
The Zuma looks like a Jeep among the masses of wimpy bicycle-wheeled scooters. Its all lumps and bumps and blacked out panels and looks like you could ride it to work on Friday and motocross it on Saturday thanks to its semi knobby fat, low-profile 120/90-10 front and 130/90-10 rear tires. Unfortunately this image of power is tempered by the fact that the Zuma doesn't use any hybrid, electric, or other fancy technology to achieve its 123 MPG figures. It has a tiny 49cc reed-valve-inducted, Autolube-injected, two-stroke engine fed through a 14mm Teikei carburetor. It's not exactly the motorcycle you'd choose to challenge Valentino Rossi on the track. In fact, with a full-sized adult rider it can get out of its own way, but barely.
Hey, let's face it... it's a fair weather commuter, not exactly anyone's first choice to replace an Escalade. However, if you enter the world of Zumaing with the proper expectations, you will find an exceptionally reliable, convenient, and fun fuel saver.
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