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Review of the Yamaha Morphous

Yamaha Morphous Scooter

UPDATE
February,2009
Yamaha is NOT continuing to offer the Morphous in the USA for 2009. You may be able to find a dealer with a 2008 Morphous in stock, but you will likely have to look to the "previously owned" marketplace to get one.

This scooter looks just like a..... its design is based on a..... the "look" Yamaha is going for is.... OK, I admit that I'm not coming up with anything to compare to the Morphous in the design department. When this scooter first came out (see the 2006 Motorcycle Show) I didn't know what to make of it. Now that I've spent some time with the Morphous, I think I have a better handle on it.

Limited Review

MotoPrimo of Minneapolis was kind enough to let me romp around on the Morphous pictured for several hours. I did not put enough miles on it or have the available time to do my "usual" testing, so no report on speedometer accuracy, fuel consumption, or top speed here. The only other scooter I can think of to compare to the Morphous, is the Honda Helix. As such, that's what will be in the chart below. I did spend enough time on this scooter to come to some conclusions and find one serious flaw. The VERY low "windscreen" on the Morphous is not only useless, it's detrimental. The fit and finish on the Morphous is just about the best I have seen on any scooter. More on both conclusions later.

The "Look"

Yamaha Morphous Scooter Front & Rear

The Morphous looks long, low and wide. That's about it for the design elements shared with any other scooter (Helix). The lines are sweeping and just about every visual element contributes to a looooooong and low look for this scooter. There is nothing "rough" in the design, it's all very smooth and conveys a sense of luxury. OK, now I've got it: It's the Cadillac Low-Rider look.

I kind of liked the Morphous look when I first saw one, but then again I bought a Helix in the 1980s. I suspect this is one of those scooters that people will have a strong initial reaction to, one way or another. I don't know about "love/hate" but there is certainly an initial "cool" or "ugly" vibe on first viewing the Morphous. To be sure, this is NOT a scooter to get if you are trying to blend into the crowd.

Features of the Morphous & Helix Comparison

The Morphous is very nicely appointed with a fair amount of storage places. There is a good-sized glovebox on the left side of the dash that easily held my camera, phone, glasses case and numerous other small items. I really like having handy storage that I don't have to go beneath my seat to access. The fuel filler is centrally placed and easy to get to though the cap itself is kind of deep inside the compartment. I didn't have any spillage issues when I filled the tank.

Yamaha Morphous Scooter Glove Box

There is a parking brake on the left handlebar control, a steering lock integrated with the ignition switch, and conventional turn indicator and headlight controls. The headlight is bright and the rear LED lights give the Morphus excellent visibility. The instrument panel is all digital. I didn't like it at first, but after a few minutes it really grew on me.

Yamaha Morphous Scooter Instruments

Sorry about the crappy picture. It does serve to illustrate the visibility in direct sunlight which is OK, but not as good as it could be.  The "0" to the right of center is the speedometer (just to prove that I wasn't foolish enough to try and take this picture while in motion) and the swooping line that starts with "0" to the left and runs to "9" at the right is the tachometer which was cool to watch. The fuel gauge is on the right side and those bars disappear as fuel is consumed. Yes, they are flush right and form a curve between "E" and "F" which is of no practical value but contributes to the swoopy look of the dash. To the left of center is the clock/multi-function display which is controlled by the buttons to the lower left (you can see "select" and "reset" in the picture).

The picture below shows the under-seat and rear storage. There's enough room for a helmet directly under the driver's part of the seat. My 3/4 Dragon fit in there with room to spare, so I would expect that many full-face helmets would also fit, though probably not an extremely large one. Just in front of the backrest is a shallow tray. There is also a trunk in the back. It looks like it was intended to hold a helmet, but my 3/4 Dragon would NOT fit in it. I would have to say that in LARGE storage, the Helix is better. Overall, the VERY nice front glovebox on the Morphous, combined with the other smaller storage, make it a very usable package.

Yamaha Morphous Scooter Storage

Now we come to the side-by-side specification comparison. The following information came from the factory specifications as provided on the respective websites of the scooters listed. As you will see, the Morphous "out-specs" the Helix (fuelie vs. carb, dual disc vs. disc.drum) and has a slightly lower MSRP.

  Yamaha Morphous    Honda Helix   
MSRP $5,199 $5,349
Warranty 1 Year Unlimited Mileage 1 Year Unlimited Mileage
Engine Type Liquid Cooled 4-Stroke Liquid Cooled 4-Stoke
Displacement 249cc Single 244cc Single
Ignition TCI CDI
Fuel System Fuel Injected Carburetor w/auto choke
Transmission CVT CVT
Wheel Base 63.6 Inches 63.8 Inches
Dry Weight 408 lbs. 349 lbs.
Seat Height 25.8 Inches 26.2 Inches
Fuel Capacity 3.7 gallons 3.2 gallons
Front Suspension Telescopic Fork Bottom Link
Rear Suspension Swingarm Swingarm
Front Tire 120/70-13 110/100-12
Rear Tire 130/70-13 120/90-10
Front Brakes Hydraulic Single Disk Hydraulic Single Disk
Rear Brakes Hydraulic Single Disk Drum

I really can't think of another scooter to add to the comparison. I suppose a case could be made for the Honda Reflex or maybe even the Suzuki Burgman 400, but it's my opinion that the Morphous is going after the same buyer that the Helix was in the mid 1980s - someone who WANTS to be different.

Seat Height

Jonathan from Motoprimo on a Morphous

Here we see Jonathan Wheelock, the sales manager from Motoprimo, on the Morphous. I suggest you all call Jonathan at 612-729-7200 and ask him when the C3 will be available (just kidding, and in a few months this joke will make no sense, assuming that it makes sense now...)

Jonathan is much, much taller than I am. Notice in the picture above how much "seat" is in front of Jonathan. Even when shrunken little ol' me (5 feet 8 inches) sits on the Morphous, there is a lot of space unoccupied on the front part of the seat. This surprised me because the Morphous looks so long. The seat is low - even lower than the Helix. I have to say that I expected the Morphous would feel "too long" to me, but it didn't. I was able to sit very comfortably with my legs stretched out OR tucked under a bit into a more upright posture. Again, this really surprised me. That being said, a taller person is going to HAVE TO sit fairly far back because the scooter would be too low for them to tuck under. 

Riding Impressions

On the road, the Morphous was both what I expected, and something more. I expected it to be a bit slow off the line, and it is. A Helix is over fifty pounds lighter and feels faster off the line (though neither scooter would be called "quick"). I also expected that 250 single-cylinder motor to be "thumpy" (the Helix is, a bit), but IT ISN'T. The Morphous was surprisingly smooth. I expected it to handle slowly and wallow at low speeds, and it does. That's one long wheelbase and it shows at low speeds, BUT the low speed handling wasn't as bad as I expected. What really surprised me was how responsive the Morphous was at higher speeds. Acceleration from 45MPH to 65MPH was strong, dare I say "brisk" compared to a Helix.

The highway ride (55-60MPH for a good 20 miles) was very smooth. This scooter seems meant for a nice long cruise with one exception - wind buffeting was BAD. That little lip of a wind deflector seems to actually INCREASE the buffeting, right at upper chest/face level. If they haven't done so already, Yamaha needs to offer a taller shield for the Morphous. There, that's my one serious complaint about this scooter.

Brakes were strong enough, progressive enough, and didn't fade. Comfort (other than wind) was very good. As good if not better than a Helix.

Fit and Finish

One word: wow! This is still one area where the Japanese scooter companies (Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki) stand out. Frankly, the exceptionally nice blue on my test model went a long way to win me over on the "look." It's really hard to understand just how much better a scooter like the Morphous is unless you compare it side by side with a lesser quality brand. I won't name any names here, but park this next to any of the huge number of clones being sold online and you'll instantly see what I mean.

Value

Very..... VERY difficult to pin this down. I guess it comes to what you want in a scooter. If you like the "look" of the Morphous and want the quality, fit, finish, and support that a Yamaha provides, this is a good value. How else are you going to get this kind of stand-out-from-the-crowd vehicle (that's good transportation) for about $5,000 new, with a warranty?

Conclusion

I liked the Morphous more than I expected to. With a taller shield, this would be a great, high-style ride that is more than capable of hauling two people around, both in-town and on reasonable highway rides. If you were one of those who purchased (or considered) a Honda Helix when they first came out (about 20 years ago) the Morphous is worth a look.

A big "thank you" to Motoprimo of Minneapolis for letting me spin this fun machine.

Aftermarket Windscreens

Yamaha Morphous With Tall Windscreen

I guess I'm not the only one who thinks the Morphous windscreen is too short. Check out the link below:

http://www.bikescreen.com/proddetail.asp?prod=YamahaMorphouscp2500628GF

I bought a Morphous for my wife and she wants a taller windscreen. I also found them at:

http://www.ceebaileys.com/yamaha/morphousws.html

Thanks to Ben Salsbery for the info. Ben was also kind enough to provide the image shown above of his Morphous after he installed the taller windshield. He said that it was a bit of tinkering to get it just right, but I'd say it looks like it was well worth the effort.

We have received more Windscreen comments and some photos

From Susan in New Jersey:

Susan on her Yamaha MorphousHi David,

I wanted to add my 2 cents about the Cee Bailey windshield for the Morph and some photos. I found it quite nice for the warm weather but just too short for the winter rides I so love. I contacted these folks www.7jurock.com to see if they had anything better for the Morphous and they did not. However they asked me to send them some photos of the scoot which I did. They worked a windshield up and sent it to me asking if Id test it for them. I said WOULD I, heck yes! Well I LOVE it. If you take this link you can see photos of my scoot with it on https://7jurock.com/store/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=240  and the measurements of it. Best of all its only $145.00. The Gustafson shield which is not nearly as wide is over $200.00. Im not sure but I believe they are a small company and they were so willing to be helpful to me Id really like to see them do well. I cant tell you how many emails were exchanged back and forth in an effort to get it just right. I believe it is the best thing out there for the Morph and cold weather riding. ve been told by others on the Morphous forum that it looks much better in person but I never thought otherwise, at least not on my scoot. One fella said it just looked huge in the photos.      Anyway not surprisingly they sent me one for free to keep and also a brand new (and BEAUTIFUL) large new windshield for my 96 Honda Helix. I had contacted  3 or 4 other big name manufacturers trying to get info for a Morphous windshield but either they never acknowledged me or wrote and said they were too busy to do anything about it at the time. These fellas really came to my aid in a big way immediately and because of that I dont have to either freeze while riding or wait till March or April to ride. I think people that are willing to go the extra mile for scooter riders deserve to be heard about and scooter riders deserve good products. God knows things are still pretty hard for us to come by out there.

Yamaha Morphous with Cee Bailey Windscreen Yamaha Morphous with 7Jurock Custom Windscreen Yamaha Morphous with 7Jurock Custom Windscreen

Comparison of OEM, Cee Bailey, and 7Jurock Morphous windscreens

From Jon Brodey:

Yamaha Morphous with Cee Bailey WindscreenIt is my pleasure to review of the Cee Bailey extended windshield specifically designed for the Yamaha Morphous. The Cee Bailey windshield provides a very relaxing, much safer, and overall a much better ride.
On the open road the feel is very smooth, comfortable and aerodynamic. At 70MPH the bike is terrific. In traffic it has a little side to side motion caused primarily by normal traffic draft. With the application of the Cee Bailey windshield the wind now hits the windshield diverting the wind around the rider. This makes it very easy to pass large trucks.
In turbulent conditions the rider can still lean forward with eyes just above the windshield so that he/she creates a superb aerodynamic air-pocket. This is very helpful in stabilizing the bike during windy conditions and is very useful for example when passing a large truck.
The look of the bike has now become creatively awesome. The Yamaha star logo that is on the OEM windshield is gone leaving very little evidence that the Morphous is a Yamaha. The dark gray color (my preference) of the Cee Bailey aircraft quality windshield makes the bike look even more space-age.
If you own a Yamaha Morphous then make the investment to purchase the extended windshield by Cee Bailey. The Cee Bailey extended windshield is an essential safety investment for the Yamaha Morphous.
In terms of customizing for safety. I've added the Bikemaster rear view mirrors. These provide absolute major improvement in rear visibility.
The Signal Dynamics Corporation's Diamond Star front headlight modulator is controlled by the high/low beam and horn. I always ride on high beam during the daytime. The front fender screw hole was drilled and the photo-optic light sensor was installed face downward. Waterproof silicone was applied around the wires to provide a good dry
seal.
The Signal Dynamics Corporation's license plate frame (see previous review) and stock rear brake light LED strip use the SDC Back-Off system. Back-Off blinks then holds the brake lights steady and then repeats. Just as a note, the four hardware lights on the license plate are always on and are in high position.
This 2006 model has over 16500 miles.

Look! What's that on the road?
It's an automatic transmission motorcycle ...
It's a scooter? ... looks like the bat chopper ...
It's the Yamaha Morphous!

More Morphous Comments & Morphous Lights

Jon from Florida emailed us the following comments and info on some cool lights.

Hi! David,

Just read your article on the Yamaha Morphous. I have owned one for a year now. In fact, I purchased the first of two that came into Florida October 2005. This is the 2006 model.

I enjoyed reading your review and you are right on the money. I have discovered a couple of fantastic additional features.

The Yamaha Morphous reaches a high speed of about 85 mile per hour (9000 rpm) where the engine limiter kicks in to maintain proper operation. The gas mileage averages between 65 mpg and 70+ mpg depending on the speed that I travel. My average speed is 50+ MPH so I average closer to 65 MPG.

I have found that high test gasoline gives the engine just the right kick.

The braking stopping power is balanced, controlled and quick from 60 mph to 0 mph.

This bike has a very low profile so even front visibility during daylight requires the high beam and skillful riding to alert drivers that you are present. The rear lights consist of a long strip of bright LED's. However, they actually have limited visibility in daylight (as do most bikes). Therefore, as recommended for all bikes is the SDC lighting systems. In the case of the Morphous the Back-Off flashing system with a SDC Quad License Plate Frame and Hardware LED Lights create a much more visible daytime presence and awesome night time visibility.

Jon also let me know that he has 22,500 miles on his Morphous (February of 2009).

A New Morphous Owner

Beverly Harrington on her new Yamaha Morphous scooter

Look at that smile! In June of 2007, my wife Beverly purchased a Morphous. I'm sure she will post her comments as she gets some miles on it.
UPDATE
February,2009
Yamaha is NOT continuing to offer the Morphous in the USA for 2009. You may be able to find a dealer with a 2008 Morphous in stock, but you will likely have to look to the "previously owned" marketplace to get one.

Send mail to David@HarringtonBusinessGroup.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Last modified: August 22, 2013
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