To fully understand the Morphous, you really need to know about Honda’s Helix. So go and read that article if you aren’t familiar with the Helix.
Okay so now that we’re all familiar with the Helix, it should be obvious that Yamaha’s Morphous is a clear successor to that cult classic scooter. Honda attempted to replace the Helix in 2001 with the somewhat bland Reflex, but that scooter lost the spirit of the Helix and buyers were few. Fans worldwide clamored to have the Helix back, a request Honda granted for 2003 after the Reflex continued to sell slowly.
For 2006, Yamaha stepped in with the Morphous to push the ‘long and low’ concept beyond where Honda left off. Like the Helix, Yamaha equipped this scooter with an actual trunk. Yamaha even gave this scooter a similar digital gauge setup. Yamaha did one heck of a job with this scooter, which its too bad this niche scooter only lasted three years on the USA market. It lasted just one year (2007) in Canada. Maybe it was just too futuristic….kinda like the how the Helix was rejected initially and actually cut from the USA lineup twice.
Overseas the Morphous is sold by Yamaha as the Maxam. It was first unveiled as a concept scooter in 2005 and released worldwide as a production scooter in 2006. It remains on sale in some Asian markets as a 2012. Yamaha has also shown a ‘Maxam 3000’ concept scooter in recent years which is far longer and wider than the regular Maxam. The Maxam 3000 isn’t slated for production, but the concept is a whopping 3 meters long (118 inches), which is 25” more than the regular Morphous/Maxim. Picture a 50’s Caddy on two wheels.
In addition to the futuristic styling, the Morphous also comes with a high tech engine cranking 20.1 HP @ 7500 RPM. The powerplant in this maxi-scoot is a slick fuel injected, DOHC, liquid cooled, 4-valve, 4-stroke engine. That means awesome fuel economy (60mpg) and good power (for a 250cc scooter). The top speed of the Morphous is 75, which means you can hold your own on the freeway. The Morphous is faster across the board than Honda’s 250cc offerings (Reflex, Big Ruckus).
Design and Amenities
Yamaha didn’t cheap out on the engine and they didn’t cheap out on the other aspects of this scooter either. The Morphous has an awesome Halogen headlight, LED blinkers and taillights and even a glowing blue ring around the key hole. The braking is top notch too, thanks to disc brakes in the front and rear. Storage is another strong point for the Morphous. As shown, the Morphous has both a decent sized trunk and a moderate storage under the seat AND there’s also a generous glovebox in the dash. Obviously there is plenty of storage for all your stuff….as long as that stuff doesn’t include a full face helmet. Unfortunately none of these three storage areas is large enough to swallow a full face helmet. You can stuff a half lid or 3/4 helmet (shown above) in both the underseat storage and trunk but neither area will accommodate a large full face helmet.
So what’s not to like? Besides the love it or hate it styling….not much. The only knocks against the Morphous are the windscreen and power. The former is more of a decoration piece than a functional one and changing that really affects the looks. While not the fault of the Morphous, 250cc’s scooters are borderline for interstate use and the Morph’s 20.1 HP doesn’t beat the class average. If you have long touring trips planned then you might prefer one of the larger 300cc scooters that have come out since (ie. Honda Forza, Kymco Downtown 300i)
Overseas the Morphous (CP250) has a huge aftermarket following. The scene is focused on style (rather than power) but lots of options out there for whatever direction you want to take the Morphous. The Japanese version (Maxam) is one of the hottest scooters in the JDM scene where it remains on sale.
There are quite a few 250cc scooters out there, but not so many that embrace touring like the Morphous does. The most similar modern scooters are the Kymco Grandvista 250 and its replacement, the Downtown 200i / 300i. The latter of these two scooters is a particularly nice highway machine that has a little more oomph (30HP) than the Morphous if you opt for the 300i version (298cc).