YAMAHA ZUMA 50 / BWs 50 (CW50, YW50)


First introduced back in 1989, the popular Zuma 50 (aka BWs 50 in Canada) has entered into its third generation for 2012. Over that time it has gone through a number of name variations (Zuma, Zuma II, Zuma 50F, Zuma X, BWs, BWs 50, BeeWee) and model codes (CW50, YW50). The sections below discuss each of these generations.

Generation One: 1989 - 1990, 1997 - 2001
The first generation of Zuma (shown left) was the ‘non bug eye’ version (model code CW50) which was sold for 1989 - 1990 in the USA and Canada and again from 1997 - 2001 (1995 - 2001 in Canada). Both markets received the Zuma name during these early years.
Yamaha-BWS-1988
With its sporty look and fat tires, the first generation Zuma made it cool to be a scooter rider. For its second year, the Zuma gained a two person seat and footpegs to make carrying a passenger an option. Production also shifted from Japan to a Yamaha owned MBK factory in France. MBK also made a version of this scooter bearing their name called the MBK Booster. The first generation of Zuma was here for just two years (1989, 1990) when Yamaha pulled it from the North American market due to supply shortages resulting from its huge popularity in Europe (as of 2013 it remains on sale in Europe).

This model returned to Canada after four years off for the 1995 model year. Since it wasn’t yet back in the USA, Yamaha opted to save costs and sell this scooter to Canadians under its European name BeeWee or BW’s (an acronym for “Big Wheel Scooter”). This scooter returned to the USA market as the Zuma for 1997, but by this point the BW’s name was established in Canada and thus has stuck around ever since. In its reincarnated years, the CW50 was often referred to as the ‘Zuma II’. This scooter was very popular due to its aggressive styling and 2-stroke motor with a lot of performance potential. This generation of Zuma 50 used a vertical Minarelli engine.

Yamaha-Zuma-50-2005
Generation Two: 2002 - 2005, 2008, 2011
The replacement for the CW50 was the all new Zuma/BW’s introduced for 2002 (model code YW50). This model is commonly referred to as the bug eye Zuma, although this may change as the third generation now shares these lights. With this new generation came a shift in production from the MBK factory in France to a Yamaha factory in Taiwan with far more production capacity. The second generation of Zuma was an all new model both mechanically and stylistically. It was sold from 2002 to 2005 and again for 2008 and 2011. Generation two was extremely popular and is supported by a vibrant online community of enthusiasts. Sales figures are tough to come by, but Yamaha claimed on several occasions that this was the best selling scooter in both Canada and the USA.

The Zuma took a hiatus from the North American market for 2006-2007 due to stringent new emissions controls, but it was pretty obvious that Yamaha clogged their showrooms with 2005 models in advance of the legislation because there was hardly a time when you couldn’t find one in your local Yamaha showroom through 2006-2007.

Yamaha Zuma - Silver
For 2008 Yamaha returned with the same YW50 but with a few extra emissions controls that unfortunately hindered performance a lot and thus are often removed by enthusiasts. It would have been nice if Yamaha had made the emissions controls less restrictive so that owners would keep them in place. Often 2008 owners swap out the exhaust and adjust the carburetor to ’02 - ’05 spec to significantly boost power. The 2009 - 2010 USA hiatus was caused by the global recession, which slowed sales and led to a glut of 2008 models.

This BWS/Zuma 50cc has many great attributes including its unique and rugged styling, a massive aftermarket scene and its powerful engine. It’s a great scooter for anyone who wants a sporty scooter to modify to go ridiculous speeds. Check out sites like VTCycles.com and ProvoScooter.com for go-fast goodies. The 2002 to 2011 generation of Zuma used a horizontal 2-stroke Minarelli engine. This engines horizontal design let Yamaha increase the size of the underseat storage area compared to generation one Zuma’s.

Yamaha Zuma - Yamaha Blue
On the downside, Yamaha equipped this scooter with a useless storage crack instead of a glovebox. This spot is handy for holding a chocolate bar or a baguette but not much else. The other downsides to this scooter are the inherent ones that come with having a 2-stroke engine. A lot of scooters are 2-strokes so it’s not really fair to bring this up, but the YW50 is being sold in a day when most scooters are shifting to 4-stroke engines (This is the last remaining 2-stroke 50cc from a Japanese manufacturer). Being a 2-stroke, you get great power but you also get reduced fuel economy, increased pollution, you have to buy 2-stroke oil and the engine life is shorter. If you want a 2-stroke scooter you’ve probably already got your mind made up and I can certainly understand why. For the new scooterist, a 4-stroke is probably the way to go though unless you’re looking for something with maximum kick.

Generation Three: 2012 - 2015
Virtually all new for 2012 (but quite similar looking) is the Zuma 50F, which features updated styling and a four stroke motor. Despite the full overhaul and new engine, Yamaha has retained the YW50 model code for this third generation.
Yamaha-Zuma-50F-2012
The styling is all new, but gentle updates were made that increase its stylistic ties to the larger Zuma 125. The bug eye headlights are still present but most other parts are new. This new model has awesome lines on the rear end with a more sculpted and flowing shape that improves upon its already nice predecessor. The red rear shock spring and front caliper are nice touches.

Perhaps as a response to the love it or hate it bug eye headlights, Yamaha released a single lamp Zuma called the Zuma FX (USA) or Zuma X (Canada) for 2014 (below). The Zuma FX has a tidied up front end reminiscent of the Asian spec Zuma 125, which gives it a more mature look. Besides the new light, the Zuma FX adds “race inspired” grips, white rims and a white/blue 2-tone paint job for an extra $200. Blue is the lone color option in Canada, while Americans can also select a yellow/black scheme.

The 4-stroke motor now powering the Zuma likely won’t be received that well by long time performance enthusiasts who like 2-stroke pep, but it is a great little motor that still has quite good power, advanced technology and excellent fuel economy. It’s a high tech fuel injected,
Yamaha-Zuma-X-2014-Canada
3 valve, liquid cooled engine which is probably the best 4-stroke 50cc motor in the North American scooter market.

This new Zuma is lighter than the previous Zuma by 2 lbs, but it’s still fairly heavy for a 50cc. It clears the 200 lbs mark by tipping the scales at 205 lbs. Most 50’s are lighter than this except for the metal bodied Vespa’s. The 180mm disc brake does carry over from the previous model which is good news as this stopper works very well. The suspensions bits are new and travel is down 0.2” both front and rear to 2.3” and 2.2” respectively. The rear tire is also down a size to 120/90-10.

One nice change is the trimmed fuel tank which now only holds 1.2 gallons instead of 1.5. With the 4-stroke engines superior milage, 2012 owners will have similar range as the previous generations despite the smaller tank. Underseat storage has been improved with this new model, which is mostly due to Yamaha’s wise decision to move the gas tank from under the seat to inside the floorboard. This lowers the center of gravity of the scooter and boosts underseat storage, with the downside that a fuel pump is now required. The idea of moving the fuel tank into the floorboard has been seen on other scooters over the past decade or so and its great to see Yamaha adopting this smart design idea. The new generation of YW50 still doesn’t have a glovebox, but a hook now replaces the largely useless ‘gear slot’ found the previous generation.

In the USA, the price rose modestly to $2490 for 2012 and to $2599 for 2013 (and 2014). Canadians were asked to pay $3079 in 2012, but the MSRP dropped to $2599 (2013) before rising to $2699 (2014). The Zuma X adds $200 more in Canada, while costing the same in the USA.

OWNER REVIEWS (14) - Browse the Yamaha Zuma 50 Owner Reviews       REVIEW - Add a Review of Your Zuma 50


Pros:
* Fast (2-stroke models)
* Superb milage (4-stroke model)
* Huge aftermarket means cheap speed (2-stroke models)
* Distinctive and rugged styling

Cons:
* Emissions controls are heavily restrictive (2008, 2011 models)
* Heavy for a 50cc at 205-207lbs

Links:
2012 Zuma Video Review - Nicely done video by The Scooter Scoop.
'97-'01 CW50 Service Manual - Very helpful for anyone who works on their own scooter.
'02 - 2010 YW50 Service Manual - Very helpful for anyone who works on their own scooter.
MotorscooterGuide Forums - Visit the forum on this site to chat about this scoot.
ZumaForums - Lots of great Zuma talk here.

Key Specs (CW50):
* Engine: 2-stroke, air-cooled with fan assist, reed-valve, vertical single
* Displacement: 49 cc
* Bore and Stroke: 40 x 39.2 mm
* Compression Ratio: 7.01 : 1
* Carb: 14mm Dell’orto
* Ignition: CDI
* Suspension (Front): Telescopic fork, 62mm / 2.44" travel
* Suspension (Rear): Single shock unit swingarm, 60mm / 2.36" travel
* Brakes (Front): 180 mm disc
* Brakes (Rear): Drum
* Tires (Front): 120/90-10
* Tires (Rear): 130/90-10
* Length: 68.5" / 1740mm
* Width: 26.2" / 686mm
* Height: 41.3" / 1050mm
* Wheelbase: 46.0" / 1170mm
* Seat Height: 29.3" / 745mm
* Fuel Capacity: 4.6L / 1.2 US Gallons
* Engine Oil: 1.3L / 1.37 US Qts, 10w30
* Wet Weight: 172 lbs / 78kg
* Carrying Capacity 152kg / 355 lbs

Key Specs (2002 - 2011 YW50):
* Engine: 2-stroke, air-cooled with fan assist, reed-valve, single
* Displacement: 49 cc
* Bore and Stroke: 40 x 39.2 mm
* Compression Ratio: 7.0 : 1
* Maximum Torque: 0.7kg-m(5.1 ft-lb) @ 6,000rpm
* Fuel Delivery: Teikei Y14P Carb
* Ignition: CDI
* Suspension (Front): Telescopic fork
* Suspension (Rear): Single shock unit swingarm
* Brakes (Front): 180 mm disc
* Brakes (Rear): Drum
* Tires (Front): 120/90-10
* Tires (Rear): 130/90-10
* Length: 1,890 mm (74.4 '')
* Width: 705 mm (27.8 '')
* Height: 1,110 mm (43.7 '')
* Wheelbase: 1,275 mm (50.2 '')
* Seat Height: 765 mm (30.1 '')
* Fuel Capacity: 5.7 litres (1.2 Imp. gal.)
* Wet Weight: 94kg (206.8lb)

Key Specs (2012 YW50 Zuma 50F):
* Engine: 4-stroke, 3 valve, liquid cooled, fuel injected 49cc single
* Power: 3 ft-lbs @ 6500 RPM
* Bore and Stroke: 38.0 x 43.6 mm
* Compression Ratio: 12.0 : 1
* Maximum Torque:
* Fuel Delivery: Fuel injection with 19mm Mikuni throttle body
* Claimed milage: 132 mpg
* Ignition: DC CDI
* Suspension (Front): Telescopic fork (2.3”)
* Suspension (Rear): Single shock unit swingarm (2.2”)
* Brakes (Front): 180 mm disc
* Brakes (Rear): Drum
* Tires (Front): 120/90-10
* Tires (Rear): 120/90-10
* Length: 73”
* Width: 28.7”
* Height: 43.1”
* Wheelbase: 50.3”
* Seat Height: 30.7”
* Fuel Capacity: 1.2 gallon (4.5 L)
* Wet Weight: 205 lbs

Colors:
1989: Silky White, Faraway Blue, Composed Red
1990: Mature Red, Solid Endura Blue, Black
1997: Yamaha Black, Aqua aka Dull Cyan Metallic
1998: Yamaha Black, Purplish Blue Candy
1999: Yamaha Black, Vivid Red Candy
2000: Yamaha Black, Vivid Red Candy. Deep Purplish Blue
2001: Vivid Red Candy. Deep Purplish Blue aka Team Yamaha Blue
2002: Deep Purplish Blue, Black
2003: Deep Purplish Blue, Fairy Silver, Yellow
2004: Deep Purplish Blue, Silver 3, Red
2005: Deep Purplish Blue, Black
2008: Deep Purplish Blue, Black
2009 Yamaha Blue, Metallic Black aka Raven, Vivid Yellow (Canada), Vivid Orange (Canada)
2010: Raven, Vivid Yellow, Metalllic White (Canada)
2011: Team Yamaha Blue/White (USA Only)
2012: Raven (aka Metallic Black), Team Yamaha Blue, Alpine White (aka Metallic White)
2013: Matte Black, Heat Red, Yamaha Blue (Canada Only)

2014 Zuma: Matte Titan (Black), Burnt Orange Metallic (USA Only), Vivid Metallic Yellowish Red (Canada).
2014 Zuma FX/X: Blue/White, Yellow/Raven (USA Only)
2015: Zuma: Dark Metallic Green, Matte Titan
2015: Zuma X: Team Yamaha Blue & White, Alpine White & Heat Red