New From Yamaha - The C3
Is it just me? Or does this look a little like the old Cushman (or
Yeah, it's probably just me. I think it's principally the shape of the
body and the seating that brought the venerable Cushman to mind.
Yamaha's boxy design (C3.... get it?) certainly looks functional.
Yamaha says that there is nine gallons of storage capacity. The C3 is powered by a fuel injected four-stroke 49cc motor and has a
friendly seat height of 29 inches. Having about a 30 inch inseam myself, I
consider this to be a normal seat height, it's the rest of you freakishly
tall people with your 34 inch inseams that are the weirdoes. Price is $1,999.
June 2007 - I just completed my short-term test of the new
Yamaha C3 (scroll down to read the review) and it's every bit as
nice as one would expect from Yamaha. The fit and finish is excellent.
Here's the link to the Yamaha C3 webpage:
Yamaha C3 Scooter Delivered to a JustGottaScoot Member
Motor City Powersports delivered the above C3 to Lysle in early
February. According to Lysle, "...just one ride around the block tells me
I am really going to like this." Lysle said the power feels close to his
2000 Zuma, but that the C3 is much, much quieter.
Lysle is an interesting guy - counting mopeds, small motorcycles and
motorscooters, this Yahama C3 is his 23rd powered two-wheeled conveyance
in 52 years. with any luck, Lysle will let us know more about his riding
impressions.... after the snow melts.
Review of the Yamaha C3
2007 - I'm
pretty sure it's the obvious design homage to the Cushman that drew me to
the Yamaha C3. The simple shape, the way the seat is integrated with the
lid of the storage area, and of course the headlight just
above the front fender.
The Yamaha C3 is a 50cc (well, 49cc really) four-stroke scooter
and, depending on where you live, doesn't require a motorcycle endorsement
to operate. Even though a lot of states call the license plate a "moped",
I'm not going to use that particular 'm'-word in describing the Yamaha C3.
Thanks to MotoPrimo
and Jonathan Wheelock (the sales manager at MotoPrimo Central), I
was given a Yamaha C3 to play with for a day. This gave me, and my wife
Beverly, an opportunity to put a C3 through it's paces. I did not do a
formal fuel mileage test, but based on about 50 miles of
riding, it looks like fuel economy will be in the 100 - 115 miles
per gallon range. That's not my fat fingers miss-typing.... fuel
economy of over 100 MPG. The Yamaha C3 is a fuel injected
four-stroke and is pretty light (187 pounds) so I believe that 100+
MPG is a realistic expectation for this scooter. I also believe that silly
fun is a realistic expectation.
Features and Riding Impressions
The Yamaha C3 comes equipped with the basics that one would expect from
Yamaha - good lighting, a decent though minimalist dash and excellent
There's a large speedometer with an integrated odometer, a fuel gauge and
some warning lights. The controls layout is what most of us expect on a
modern twist-and-go scooter: rear brake, high and low headlight beams,
turn signal switch and horn on the left, engine stop switch and starter
along with front brake and throttle on the right. The fuel filler is down
on the center tunnel and was easy to access and to fill with no spillage.
The entire seat platform is hinged on the left side and lifts to expose
the underseat storage. This are will hold up to nine gallons of stuff.
It's shallower toward the rear, but as you can see in the above image, my
"mellon-head" 3/4 helmet fit easily in the front part. Considering the
available storage on most other scooters in this class, the Yamaha C3
ranks as excellent for space.
There is also a cool extra security feature on the Yamaha C3 - the key has
a fitting that goes into a receiver on the ignition switch that closes the
key access for the switch. A while back, we had a theft attempt on our
Genuine Blur and the would-be thief ruined the switch trying to pop the
ignition. Hopefully, this additional feature will help prevent that from
happening to Yamaha C3 owners.
Riding the Yamaha C3 is... how shall I put this... incredibly
easy. It starts right up, settles very quickly into a smooth idle and
doesn't have an even remotely intimidating element to it. My wife Beverly
said she thought this would be the best scooter out there for someone to
learn on if they were a little skittish of the whole scooter scene. The
engine is responsive, but not at all threatening even to someone who has
never been on a scooter. The handling is stable and friendly requiring
minimal effort on the part of the driver. The brakes (drums on both
ends) are progressive and work well.
The Yamaha C3 is a one-person ride, not really any provision for a
By no stretch of the imagination could the Yamaha C3 be considered
"fast" or even "quick." With my (hefty) 200+ pounds on it, it took
some time to build up speed. That being said, my wife thought that the
smooth, even and mild acceleration was one of the strong points that would
appeal to new riders. The C3 we tested did get up to 40 MPH. I didn't have
my GPS unit with me for the review, but based on a measured mile and my
watch, the speedometer is pretty accurate for a scooter reading only about
5% optimistic. I did not have an opportunity to run the Yamaha C3
side-by-side with a Honda Metropolitan or Kymco 4-stroke 50cc, but based
on my impressions from the Metros I have ridden, the C3
feels a touch faster.
There is a great deal of competition in the lower end of the scooter
market. For the comparison chart, I chose the Honda Metro and the Kymco
Frankly, I consider the Honda to be the main competition for the C3. The
Kymco People 50 in 4-stroke is a much bigger scooter (look at the
difference in tire size). There are LOTs of other
scooters that many people would list as competitors for the Yamaha C3, but
most of them are not even close to the C3 in quality or dealer support.
Yes, I'm talking about the plethora of low-cost 50cc scooters available
online or at "non-dealers" like automotive parts stores or even mobile
phone and pager stores. In my opinion it's just not realistic to consider
a $700 - $1,200 scooter as real competition for a $1,999 C3. I have seen
more people than I care to mention purchase these cheap scooters only to
run into serious mechanical issues and no support. Let me put it this way:
if there really was a great quality $1,000 scooter out there don't you
think every legitimate scooter dealer in existence would RUSH to
People who buy scooters like the Yamaha C3 or the Honda
Metro (and there are lots of them) know that quality, support and
longevity cost a certain amount.
Fit and Finish
It's a Yamaha - great paint, everything fits and is tight, quality
throughout. I just don't know what else to say.
I don't think it's possible to assess "value" without some
qualifications. If you are looking for a small, friendly, cheap to ride
scooter the Yamaha C3 is a great value. Of course there are some
compromises to get a sub-$2,000 new scooter out of Yamaha - the drum
brakes for example. If you are looking for performance and high end
features, I don't think you are really considering a Yamaha C3, so for
you, it wouldn't be a good value. In my opinion, "value" comes down to
what best suits your needs and desires at a price you can afford. If the
Yamaha C3 fits what you're after, it's a great value. My own opinion is
that between the Yamaha C3 and the Honda Metro, I would take the C3 - I
like the look better (it's the light just above the front fender - what
can I say).
EASY to ride, fun (within limits), good storage, fabulous fuel
economy, outstanding build quality... if the look appeals to you (as it
does to me) - go for it!
David L. Harrington June, 2007