In October, 2020, Yamaha surprised the motorcycling world with an all-new MT-09. The popular naked bike gained a host of engineering updates and a very controversial headlight assembly. With a cyclopic light at the center and two slit LEDs reminiscent of Yamaha’s R series sportbikes, the MT-09 certainly drummed up banter among enthusiasts.
When Poland’s Unikat Motorworks recently took on a 2009 500 project, head builder Gzegorz Korczak drew from the revamped MT line. Fashioning the fascia after Yamaha’s latest headlight not only contemporized the 12-year-old scooter, but imbued it with the attitude of Iwata’s fiercest street bikes.
Similar to the MT range, Unikat also stripped the TMAX of its fairings, exposing the frame and engine underneath. Korczak and team further embraced the barebones aesthetic when they modified the subframe for a shorter side profile. New mesh side panels align with the TMAX’s edgy new demeanor but also helps reduce weight.
Unikat estimates that the build shaves off 66 pounds, trimming the TMAX from 447 to 381 pounds. Of course, with less real estate, Korczak had to get creative with the placement of the fuel cell and cooling system. Luckily, he shoehorned both systems into the new subframe, with the fuel cap integrated into the brown leather saddle.
Up front, a customized BMW C 400 windshield provides optimum wind protection. Motogadget instrumentation keeps things simple yet refined and the brown leather grips match the seat. Unikat bathes the TMAX 500 in satin anthracite while a gold wheelset accents the low-key paint job. Along with the styling update, Korczak adds a Malozzi exhaust system to give the maxi-scooter a bit more grunt.
The TMAX 500 may not be in Yamaha’s Masters of Torque family, but Unikat Motorworks’ TmaxxX sure makes a good case for adoption.