2009 Yamaha Zuma Review


The Zuma has been a staple in Yamaha's lineup since its introduction in 1989. With its rugged styling, exceptional fuel economy, and trademark punchiness, the 2009 Yamaha Zuma offers an exhilarating ride that, like its predecessors, is frequently responsible for turning first-time riders into long-time customers. It is available in the YW50 50cc model as well as the Zuma 125cc model.

The 2009 Yamaha Zuma's exterior is sporty and rugged looking, thanks to its classic twin bug-eye headlights, lollipop rear-view mirrors, and thick, chunky dual-sport tires. With an overall height of 43.7 inches and a seat height of 30.1 inches, it's easily approachable for shorter riders. The Yamaha Zuma's double vinyl seat allows a friend to come along for the ride without sacrificing any additional power from its 2.99 cubic inch engine. It boasts a 6.6-foot turning radius, which makes it incredibly agile and capable of maneuvering through even the stingiest of curves.

The 2009 Yamaha Zuma does not have a glove box, but it does come with a roomy, lockable storage compartment located under the seat that’s large enough for stowing a helmet or a gallon of milk, and a convenient rear luggage rack that's rated for seven pounds. Since the scooter is predominantly used for around-the-town riding, it has more than enough cargo space for handling a trip to the corner market. With the Yamaha Zuma YW50 getting an average of 123 mpg (89 mpg for the 125), you'll enjoy quite a few trips on a single fill up of the scooter's low-profile, 1.5-gallon gas tank.

The 2009 Yamaha Zuma's instrument panel provides the driver with the bare essentials, such as the speedometer, the fuel gauge, and the mileage counter, and the handlebars offer convenient access to all of the usual controls. It also offers the benefit of having both electric and kick-start capabilities. At its core, the 2009 Yamaha Zuma delivers a no-frills solution for commuters looking for cost-effective transportation.

The 2009 Yamaha Zuma YW50 is one of the last single-cylinder, two-stroke scooters available, but don't let that scare you off. For starters, the Zuma's horizontal two-stroke, Minarelli, 50cc engine offers up a great deal of power that's unapologetic, if not downright un-scooter-like. The single-cylinder engine does require two-stroke oil, but there is no need to worry about mixing the oil and gasoline as the engine is oil-injected. The transmission is a continuously variable transmission (CVT), with a belt drive to the rear wheel.

Meanwhile, the Zuma 125 offers a slightly larger, more powerful version of Yamaha's prized scooter. Featuring a four-stroke, fuel-injected SOHC engine, this model delivers high-performance power that's comparable with many of the larger, more expensive scooters available on the market. Considerably heavier than the base model, by about 60 pounds, the Zuma 125 doesn't get the fuel economy of its sister, but it still gets a respectable, if not slightly generous, 89 mpg. However, most riders should expect to get a more realistic 75 mpg, as Yamaha based its number on a scooter driving a steady 25 mph.

The 2009 Yamaha Zuma YW50 can easily reach speeds of up to 45 mph (58 mph for the 125), but only if you alter the bike's exhaust and throttle. Out of the showroom, it tops off at around 35 mph. The reason for this dates back to 2006, when the Zuma took a brief hiatus from Yamaha's U.S. lineup, as ever-tightening emission controls forced the company to rework its engine, carburetor, and exhaust systems to meet the new regulations. The emerging result was a less-powerful scooter that failed to meet the performance expectations set by its previous incarnations. Throttle restrictions and exhaust minimization can be quickly resolved, as the aftermarket scene for the Zuma is a lively one that is rich with opportunities for maximizing the bike's potential.

New For 2009

  • Newly installed emission controls allow it to meet strict regulations in certain states

2009 Yamaha Zuma Specs

  • Model: YW50; 125
  • Engine Type: Single-cylinder two-stroke; Single-cylinder four-stroke
  • Bore and Stroke: 40.0 x 39.2 mm; 52.4 x 57.9mm
  • Compression ratio: 7:1; 10:1
  • Valve Train: Reed valve; SOHC, four valves per cylinder
  • Induction: Carburetor; Fuel injected
  • Ignition: Electric/kick; Electric
  • Transmission: Continuously Variable (CVT)
  • Final Drive: Belt
  • Fuel Capacity: 1.5 gallons; 1.6 gallons
  • Estimated Fuel Economy: 123 mpg; 89 mpg
  • Brakes (Front): Hydraulic disc
  • Brakes (Rear): Drum
  • Suspension (Front): Telescopic fork
  • Suspension (Rear): Twin-sided swing arm
  • Wheelbase: 50.2 inches; 50.8 inches
  • Seat Height: 30.1 inches; 30.7 inches
  • Curb Weight: 207 pounds (wet); 268 pounds (wet)
  • Tires (Front): 120/90 R10; 120/70 R12
  • Tires (Rear): 130/90 R10; 130/70 R12


  • Rear basket
  • Fairing basket
  • Windshield

Key Competitors For The 2009 Yamaha Zuma

  • Honda Ruckus
  • Vespa LX 150
  • SYM RV 250
  • Aprilia Scarabeo 200