Pattaya’s lightening quick Yamaha Elegance

My Yamaha Nouvo Elegance
My Nouvo Elegance is in the foreground, the new 125 c.c. Nouvo I rented to road test behind it. Two attributes combine to make the Elegance such an outstanding motorcycle., its strong for its class 135 c.c. engine and the overall design of its chassis that combine extremely quick turning with excellent (for its size and weight) straight line stability.

The  lightening quick Yamaha  Elegance  is absolutely the finest all around motorcycle for Thailand cities such as Pattaya, bar none.

These are outrageous claims verging on the hyperbole, especially when one considers that the Yamaha Nouvo Elegance’s engine is only 135 c.c’s, the bike cost less than $2000 brand new, and that the Elegance will only do 70 miles an hour on a good day.  But consider the following attributes.  Among the many general purpose motorbikes one can buy here in Pattaya, Thailand,  I can’t think of one that will out turn a Yamaha Nouvo Elegance.  Or for that matter the newer Yamaha Nouvo SX that’s replaced it.  Just take a close look at the picture above and notice how close the front part of the bike’s seat is to the Elegance’s front wheel or how long the motorbike looks to the point of nearly appearing ungainly.  This design is no accident, and I should know because I used to own a Yamaha Nouvo MX which I sold to a friend when I got the Elegance, but first I took a measuring tape to both motorcycles.  My new bike seat compared to the old one I was about to sell,  measured 2 inches closer to the center of the front wheel.  It was also 2 inches taller.

What this means is when one compares the 115 c.c. Nouvo MX to the significantly more powerful 135 c.c. Elegance  if the driver sits forward on the seat he’s practically on top of the Elegance’s front wheel.  He’s also sitting 2 inches higher in the seat, and this gives his butt much more leverage on the bike which provides it with superior handling to the old model.  The seat forward riding position also provides incredibly quick turning.  Considering that the 16 inch wheels of the Yamaha Nouvo’s are much larger than the 12 inch wheels of the Yamaha Filano I later got my girlfriend, one would expect my Elegance to  turn much more slowly. After all, compromises must be made and larger diameter wheels tend to promote much greater stability than smaller diameter wheels which offset this advantage by providing the proverbial ability to turn on a dime.  But this is not the case when it comes to either the Yamaha Elegance or the Nouvo SX that’s recently replaced it.  The long wheel base and relatively large diameter 16 inch wheels offer good straight line stability and a decent ride but the placement of the bike’s seat compared to the front wheel provides the same skateboard quick handling that is offered the small wheels  of Yamaha Filano or a Vespa.

This was absolute brilliance from Yamaha.  But when it comes to the Yamaha Elegance’s 135 c.c. engine, its power and efficiency enabled it to walk all over the Elegance’s predecessor, the Nouvo MX.   For one thing, the Elegance is water cooled  whereas the MX was air cooled.  In my opinion this enabled Yamaha to tune the Elegance’s larger engine to a higher specification than what air cooling might have allowed in the earlier model.  But whether this is true or not the 135 c.c. Elegance turns out 11.2 horsepower to the Nouvo MX’s 8.9 for a whopping 27 percent increase in power.   And it offered better fuel efficiency while doing it.

That engine Yamaha put in its Nouvo Elegance was one helluva engine, the kind that only comes along every few years.  When Yamaha came out with its 135 c.c. Elegance most of its competitors were only offering 110 c.c. or 125 c.c. engines thus giving the Elegance a decisive edge in power.  But here one must keep in mind that the Elegance delivered all that power courtesy of a carburetor which even then was considered pretty low tech, so when Honda introduced its excellent 125 c.c. PCX it was able to make the most of its “so called claims of superiority”.  But let me remind you again that my Yamaha Elegance would get significantly better fuel economy than the Yamaha MX I used to own even though it had 135 cc’s to the Nouvo MX’s 115 while developing 27 % more horsepower.  There must have been something very special about the Elegance’s fuel delivery system that could deliver such performance superiority.  One must also look at the fact that the Yamaha Elegance first came out in 2008 and it was still being sold in 2013 before Yamaha saw fit to replace the carburetor of the Elegance with the state of the art fuel injection of the Nouvo MX.  So whether Yamaha’s reliance on carburetors was old fashioned technology or not, the fact remains that the Yamaha 135 Nouvo Elegance was being sold for six years from 2008 through early 2014.  Meanwhile, during the same basic time frame Honda went from a 110 c.c. engine to a fuel injected 125 in both its Air Blade and Click models while supplanting the 125 c.c. engine of the PCX to a better performing 150 power plant.  It can certainly be said that the 135 c.c. Elegance is a tried and true design that didn’t need any modifications whatsoever.  Moreover, other than timely battery and tire chances, replacing of headlight bulbs, and oil changes there’s virtually no maintenance whatsoever to a Yamaha Elegance.  My old Nouvo Elegance that is now in the hands of my ex neighbor has 70,000 kilometers on it and he hasn’t even replaced the drive belt yet whereas another friend who bought one of the first Elegances to come out reports he hasn’t changed his belt either nor has he had anything of significance go wrong with it.

I can go on an on about the many fine attributes of the Yamaha Nouvo Elegance such as its offering kick starting whereas its main competition (the Honda PCX) does not or its facility for being able to easily carry all kinds of things such as grocery bags and even desktop computers, or the fact that it has two rear shocks whereas much of its “so called competition” offers just one (eg.  The Honda Click, Scoopy, etc).  You will find out a lot more about how well the Yamaha Nouvo Elegance stacks up against the competition as well as the fuel injected 125 c.c. Nouvo SX that’s recently replaced it elsewhere in my Jack Corbett motorbike reviews.  But let’s get back to my original hyperbolic claim that the Yamaha Elegance is lightening quick and that it is the best all around motorbike for Pattaya.

In a city such as Pattaya most of the driving is done at speeds of less than 50 kph (30 miles an hour).  The new Honda Click has an excellent 125 c.c. engine that provides it with terrific acceleration for its class.  Yet, up to 50 kph even the 125 Click is not quite up to the Yamaha Elegance’s figures.  And there is no way that any Honda Click is going to even remotely compare to a Yamaha Elegance when it comes to good handling.  And if one moves up to a Honda PCX 150 which offers excellent highway performance for this class of motorbikes, the increased width, weight and chassis dynamics put it at a disadvantage to the svelte Yamaha Elegance when it comes to slithering through tight city traffic.  Moreover, here, in the context of driving in city  conditions such as we have in Pattaya, Thailand what I mean by quick is how quickly one can get from point A to point B and arrive at my destination whether its getting to the next bar for a beer, going to a restaurant, or heading somewhere to do a little shopping.  My Honda Civic is much faster than either of my motorbikes, my Yamaha Nouvo Elegance or my Yamaha SR400 but parking my Civic here in Pattaya is problematical to say the least.  Furthermore Pattaya’s city traffic means that most of the time it’ s going to take me more than twice as long to get to practically anywhere.   Even if I had a really fast motorcycle such as a Kawasaki 650 Ninja or a 1000 c.c. BMW,  I will still be able to get from point A to point B faster on my Yamaha Nouvo Elegance due to its being so agile in traffic and narrowness that enables it to get through the smallest holes in traffic.  I will also be able to park the Elegance much faster and more easily than I can a much larger and more powerful motorcycle.

I’ve been trying for years now to find something that’s really better than my Yamaha Nouvo Elegance and considered such bikes as the old model Honda CBR 150,  the Honda CBR 250  and the Honda PCX.  I finally bought a Yamaha SR400 which  is an excellent motorbike to be driving in Thailand.  But I’m still not selling my 2008 Yamaha Nouvo Elegance which I still regard as the absolute finest all around motorbike for this part of the world.

The Yamaha Nouvo Elegance

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