Off-Road And Sporty Scooter Siblings

Yamaha offers two styles in the 50 cc class of scooters for 2018, both under the Zuma banner. The Zuma 50F has tough, off-road styling and the 50FX is the sporty-looking sibling. Each with its own style, the Zuma scooters offer a stepped two-up seat, locking storage and a four-stroke, fuel-injected 49 cc engine for awesome fuel economy.

Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha Zuma 50F and 50FX.

  • 2016 - 2018 Yamaha Zuma 50F / Zuma 50FX
  • Year:
    2016- 2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-1
  • Displacement:
    49 cc
  • Price:
    2590
  • Price:

Design

2016 - 2018 Yamaha Zuma 50F / Zuma 50FX
- image 705620

(Zuma 50F)

While everything under the hood is the same, the Zuma 50F and 50FX give two distinct vibes with just a couple of differences between them.

While everything under the hood, as it were, is the same, the Zuma 50F and 50FX give two distinct vibes with just a couple of differences between them. The Zuma 50F gets that off-road look from twin headlights and a luggage rack on the rear grab bar. The sporty 50FX has a single headlight and a grab bar sans the rack.

The step-through deck has a tunnel that houses the fuel tank, which contributes to the low center of gravity, but also denies you the "cargo deck" for storage between your feet. If that’s a problem, you can peruse the accessory catalog and add a top case in either the 6.6-gallon or the 11.4-gallon size.

There is a front pocket for small bits, such as your phone or wallet, and a front-mounted folding hook gives you a place to hang a shopping bag or a handbag, which offsets the loss of the cargo deck. Underseat storage gives you 5.2 gallons of storage — enough room for a full-face helmet.

Chassis

2016 - 2018 Yamaha Zuma 50F / Zuma 50FX
- image 705628

(Zuma 50FX)

Yamaha starts out right with a proper subframe as opposed to a unibody assembly that uses the sheet-metal body panels and pinch welds for rigidity.

Yamaha starts out right with a proper subframe as opposed to a unibody assembly that uses the sheet-metal body panels and pinch welds for rigidity. What this means to the buyer is that body panels may be replaced without major cutting, welding and painting operations, so a minor fender bender won’t break the bank and put you upside down on your investment. The factory laid out the frame and fuel tank with center-of-gravity, ease of mounting and handling concerns in mind, all-important aspects for the scootering crowd.

Another point in favor of the Zuma models would be the 26 mm hydraulic front forks. Some manufacturers like to use some sort of standing forks with leading/trailing link axle connections and an external shock absorber, but Yamaha treats their scooters like proper motorcycles, albeit small ones, and so we wind up with miniaturized versions of tried-and-true technology instead of cheap workarounds. A coil-over monoshock supports the rear of the Zuma off the swing-mount drivetrain, and the front- and rear-suspension components provide 2.3 inches and 2.2 inches of wheel travel, respectively.

A hydraulic brake caliper binds the 10-inch front wheel with a 180 mm, wave-cut brake disc – a nifty design that dissipates heat more rapidly than the traditional “round-cut” style, and I, for one, think it looks really sharp. As is typical with scooters, Yamaha opted for a mechanical rear drum brake with a wing-nut adjuster for quick and easy adjustment without the benefit of tools. While neither of the Zuma 50 models come with ABS or linked brakes, I don’t see it as necessary on such a light ride.

Model: Zuma 50F Zuma 50 FX
Suspension, Front: 26 mm Telescopic fork; 2.3-inch travel 26 mm Telescopic fork; 2.3-inch travel
Suspension, Rear: Single shock; 2.2-inch travel Single shock; 2.2-inch travel
Brake, Front: 180 mm Hydraulic disc 180 mm Hydraulic disc
Brake, Rear: Drum Drum
Tire, Front: 120/90-10 120/90-10
Tire, Rear: 120/90-10 120/90-10

Drivetrain

2016 - 2018 Yamaha Zuma 50F / Zuma 50FX
- image 705622

(Zuma 50F)

The engine cranks out enough power to zip around town and exploit traffic openings as they present themselves.

A 49 cc mill drives both the F and FX models, and the one-lung, four-cycle mill comes liquid cooled and fuel injected to keep the plant compliant with emission regulations and public demand. The 19 mm Mikuni throttle body aspirates through a sound-attenuating airbox with a quick-access air cleaner element. A SOHC actuates the three-valve heads, and a transistor-controlled ignition (TCI) provides maintenance-free operation.

Instead of malleable bushings, the rocker arms ride on needle bearings that resist wear and extend the life of the top end. The valve guides come with a “carbon cutter” feature that removes carbon from the valve stems during operation, another move to make the top end last longer. While the jug and bore are aluminum, a ceramic-composite coating increases wear and galling resistance to prevent the problems associated with similar-metal friction.

The engine cranks out three pound-feet of torque at 6,500 rpm, but don’t laugh; at a hair over 200 pounds, this is enough power to zip around town and exploit traffic openings as they present themselves. This power feeds through a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) for twist-n-go operation without the need for a clutch lever or shifter, so the rear brake lever moves up to the clutch slot handlebars for bicycle-style braking.

Now for the onion. This plant gets around 132 mpg, so it definitely falls into the “around the world on three tablespoons of fuel” category. Not only that, but owners can congratulate themselves as stewards of the environment because of the tiny carbon footprint. Yamaha keeps top speed on this close to the vest; but on the 50 cc scooters, I’d expect to see it restricted to 30 mph.

Model: Zuma 50F Zuma 50 FX
Engine Type: 49 cc, liquid-cooled SOHC Four-stroke; three valves 49 cc, liquid-cooled SOHC Four-stroke; three valves
Bore x Stroke: 38.0 mm x 43.6 mm 38.0 mm x 43.6 mm
Compression Ratio: 12.0:1 12.0:1
Maximum Torque: 3 Pound-Feet at 6,500 rpm 3 Pound-Feet at 6,500 rpm
Fuel Delivery: Mikuni 19 mm throttle body, Fuel Injection Mikuni 19 mm throttle body, Fuel Injection
Ignition: TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission: Automatic CVT Automatic CVT
Final Drive: V-Belt V-Belt

Pricing

2016 - 2018 Yamaha Zuma 50F / Zuma 50FX
- image 705621

(Zuma 50F)

MSRP hangs in there at last year's prices as well as last year's colorways.

MSRP in the 2018 50 cc Zuma, the F or the FX, is $2,599. The 50F comes in Midnight Silver or Raspberry Metallic and the 59FX comes in Heat Red or Quick Silver. Yamaha covers your Zuma with a one-year limited factory warranty.

Model: Zuma 50F Zuma 50 FX
Warranty: One-Year Limited Factory Warranty One-Year Limited Factory Warranty
Colors:
2016: Raven, Vanilla White Silver Stardust, Radical White
2017, 2018: Midnight Silver, Raspberry Metallic Heat Red, Quick Silver
Price:
2016: $2,590 $2,590
2017, 2018: $2,599 $2,599

Competitors

2016 - 2018 Yamaha Zuma 50F / Zuma 50FX
- image 653925
2016 Lance PCH 50/125/150
- image 653903
Both contenders run with a tubular-steel underframe that strengthens the assembly and simplifies body repairs, so neither gains an advantage here.

When I look at the off-road styling of the Zuma 50F, the first scooter that comes to mind is the Cabo from Lance. On closer inspection, however, it really isn’t a fair head-to-head because the Cabo is an off-road scooter, not just styled to give that look. Staying in the Lance lineup, though, I will go with the sporty-looking PCH 50 that seems like a good match for the Zuma 50FX.

Much like the Zuma, the Lance sports a 49 cc, four-stroke engine with a high-tech, ceramic laminate to protect the bore, reduce friction and increase heat transfer. However, Lance took the old-fashioned route with a simple, air-cooling system and carburetor induction. Personally, I like the simplicity of air cooling, and I know if something goes wrong with the carb I can fix it myself sans any expensive scanning equipment, or even more expensive dealer service department visits. However, to each his or her own. The PCH 50 gets 117 mpg, slightly lower than the Zuma’s 132 mpg, but really, anything over 100 mpg is okey-dokey in my book.

Both the PCH 50 and the Zuma 50s run with a tubular-steel underframe that strengthens the assembly and simplifies body repairs, so neither gains an advantage here. Hydraulic forks abound, with both manufacturers opting for “real bike” components, front and rear. Yamaha runs with 10-inch tires, but the Lance comes with 12-inchers that will provide a bit more comfort and safety on rough, urban roads. The hoop size is average for scooters, but even at 12 inches, I expect a bad pothole to make you pull an “Endo” that culminates in tears.

Yamaha offers the Zuma F and FX for $2,599. While this is a competitive price — especially compared to a Vespa — Lance has it beat by over a grand at $1,499 and comes in more interesting color choice. As a budget-minded mechanic, I like the Lance, but I can easily see the Zuma appealing to person who just wants to ride it ’til it breaks, then take it to the service department.

He Said

My husband and fellow writer, TJ Hinton, says, “Scooters are, well, scooters, but I like the twin headlight cans on the Zuma F. Off the floor, one light is the low beam, while the other is the high beam. A popular home-modification project among owners involves the installation of dual-filament bulbs in both cans, and using a jumper wire to run both lights at once as high or low beams. This is great ’cause it increases your visibility from the front, and gives you a better chance of preventing cagers from pulling out in front of you.”

She Said

"I would like to see some vibrant colors like are offered in the PCH. I agree with my husband here when he says the orange Lance looks awesome, and I’m not usually one to go for orange. Yamaha replaced the two-stroke 50 cc engine on the Zuma in 2012 and went with the four-stroke. That was a good move. Who wants to mess with mixing oil?"

Specifications

Model: Zuma 50F Zuma 50 FX
Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine Type: 49 cc, liquid-cooled SOHC Four-stroke; three valves 49 cc, liquid-cooled SOHC Four-stroke; three valves
Bore: 38.0 mm 38.0 mm
Stroke: 43.6 mm 43.6 mm
Compression Ratio: 12.0:1 12.0:1
Maximum Torque: 3 Pound-Feet at 6,500 rpm 3 Pound-Feet at 6,500 rpm
Fuel Delivery: Mikuni 19 mm throttle body, Fuel Injection Mikuni 19 mm throttle body, Fuel Injection
Ignition: TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition TCI: Transistor Controlled Ignition
Transmission: Automatic CVT Automatic CVT
Final Drive: V-Belt V-Belt
Chassis:
Suspension, Front: 26 mm Telescopic fork; 2.3-inch travel 26 mm Telescopic fork; 2.3-inch travel
Suspension, Rear: Single shock; 2.2-inch travel Single shock; 2.2-inch travel
Brake, Front: 180 mm Hydraulic disc 180 mm Hydraulic disc
Brake, Rear: Drum Drum
Tire, Front: 120/90-10 120/90-10
Tire, Rear: 120/90-10 120/90-10
Dimensions & Capacities:
Length: 73.0 inches 73.0 inches
Width: 28.7 inches 28.7 inches
Height: 43.1 inches 43.1 inches
Seat Height: 30.3 inches 30.3 inches
Wheelbase: 50.4 inches 50.4 inches
Rake: n/a n/a
Trail: n/a n/a
Ground Clearance: 4.5 inches 4.5 inches
Fuel Capacity: 1.2 gallons 1.2 gallons
Fuel Economy: 132 mpg 132 mpg
Wet Weight: 205 Pounds 201 Pounds
Storage Capacity: 5.2 Gallons 5.2 Gallons
Maximum Load: 183 Pounds 187 Pounds
Details:
Warranty: One-Year Limited Factory Warranty One-Year Limited Factory Warranty
Colors:
2016: Raven, Vanilla White Silver Stardust, Radical White
2017, 2018: Midnight Silver, Raspberry Metallic Heat Red, Quick Silver
Price:
2016: $2,590 $2,590
2017, 2018: $2,599 $2,599

References

Lance Cabo

2016 - 2018 Lance Cabo 50/125/150
- image 660225

See our review of the Lance Cabo.

Lance PCH

2016 Lance PCH 50/125/150
- image 654485

See our review of the Lance PCH.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: yamahamotorsports.com, lancepowersports.com

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