2008 Yamaha Morphous Scooter Review

by Jack Select
(Blackhawk, South Dakota)

Morphous meets the Presidents

Morphous meets the Presidents

Zipping through the Black Hills of South Dakota will test a rider's skill to the limit and the little 250cc Yamaha Morphous scooter takes a back seat to no one.


The long wheelbase and low CG guarantees flying sparks off the under carriage and the 25 inch seat height allows your feet to work as very effective outriggers. If the road has more tight curves than straight-aways, you'll likely be the one in front of the pack. Highway cruising is at a comfortable 70 mph.

Don't misunderstand, I'm 67 years old (riding 50 years) and am dedicated to safety, which is kind of my point. If you expand your skills you're safer on the road and the Morphous is extremely stable in tight situations and a joy to ride.

2008 was the last year for the Morphous and for an American market, Yamaha probably knew they'd made some unforgivable mistakes.

The windshield is about as effective as a bumper sticker and after about an hour, the seat feels like Godzilla's suppository. Worst of all, the endless number of plastic body panels will scratch and craze at the slightest provocation. It also makes maintenance a real pain.

As a concept, the Morphous is functionally the best scooter on the road. Yamaha just forgot that Americans won't plunk down several thousand dollars on a scoot that looks old and tired in six months.

Comments for 2008 Yamaha Morphous Scooter Review

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Aug 03, 2012
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morphus scooter 2006 NEW
by: Charluna

How did you adjust the seat back rest? I am 62 with back problems and really need that.

Nov 14, 2011
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I too had to do a little work.
by: Anonymous

In love with it's looks, I too had to have a Morph after owning some 10 different other scoots from Helix's, Vespa 200, SYM 200 & 250, Maj 400 to Burgmans 400 & 650.
A two hour ride home gave us a chance to get to know each other all to well.
Immediately I ordered a JRock tall windshield, adjusted the handlebars lower than one would expect and raised the seat backrest a bit. This made all the difference in the world for 5+ hr riding which I do on my weekly day off.
Although I do appreciate the 70 mpg the 0-40 acceleration began to annoy me. I figured aside from my initial hi-way ride home from purchase I wouldn't be riding 70-75 mph too often. So I swapped out the 14 gram rollers for 12g Dr Pully sliders. This makes a considerable difference and now feels much more spirited in that range.
I'm not done yet but during my expedition into the transmission I was totally impressed at the overkill size and quality of the parts Yamaha put into this machine. There is even a vent duct that spills outside air onto the rear brake caliper.
A work in progress nearly done.

May 04, 2011
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Great Scooter
by: Tracy Reeder

Just bought a New in the crate 2008 Yamaha Morphous May 3, 2011 ! The local dealer in Fort Walton Beach still had 2 new in stock for over 3 years ! anyhow i got a great deal $ 4000 out the door..And still full 1 year factory warranty. The scooter is really great , it handles and rides smooth and the motor is very quiet.I did get it rolling over 70 MPH on the way home and there was still plenty of acceleration left ! awsome for a 250cc scooter. i'm 6'2 tall and in the 250 lb area , and the bike is comfortable to me, It sits low compared to other scooters out there , but the ride is very smooth and handling is great. I also have owned many different bikes over the years and many scooters, but this is really like a Cadillac of scooters , interesting that Yamaha copied Cadillac rear brake lights for this baby.

Jul 13, 2010
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5th Update on My Yamaha Morphous - Took a Trip
by: Anonymous

I took my Morph on a 300 plus miles round trip. It performed very well for a 250cc. Has more torque in the higher revs compared to the Helix and makes passing as 60mph doable. I was surprised by the responsive power at those speeds...

BUT, I must say, what strikes me as a comfortable bike around town and for short distances is NOT a bike I want to take on long trips again. The Morph is not good on rough roads. The suspension pretty much stinks for anything other than smooth surfaces... Also the seating position does not make for a happy ass after about an hour in the saddle.

I purchased a Honda Silverwing and I've had it for about 10 days. The moment I sat on it, I felt more comfortable than I do on the Morphous. The higher seat and more upright position fits my body better and I'm only 5'9"... the handlebars are at a great distance.

Coming back to the Morph after a week with the Silverwing was interesting. The first thing I noticed was how close the bars on the Morphous are to you. My arms are bent at what feels like a 45-degree angle. I've never noticed this before but after riding the Silverwing... it feels uncomfortable and a bit odd.

I much prefer the angle my arms are at when riding the Silverwing. Also, the seating is much lower on the Morph, which means your knees are bent a lot... which makes coming to a stop more work than on the Silverwing.

Overall I have to say the Silverwing fits me better. It's easier to ride because it feels like a more natural position to be in... especially at stops when it's time to put your feet down and back up.

The Morph is still great. Smoother than the Silverwing by a good amount... It just goes about its business in a very smooth and stable manner.
A great bike to own, but I must say after having the power and comfort of the Silverwing... It's hard to go back to the Morph... Well not that hard... I've been riding it again for the last three days.

I've been sitting back cruiser style in order to extend my arms to mimic the the SW's bar placement. The Morph is still a great scooter, but not perfect. I think a 400cc scooter is in my future. The SW is great but nowhere near as good on gas as the morph.

The Kymco 300i (300cc), to be released in the US any day now, looks like a real winner. Faster from stop sign to stop sign than the Kymco 500 xciting (according to a review), weighs less than Kymco's own 250cc xciting and averaged over 70 MPG over a few hundred miles.

May 31, 2010
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My third update
by: Anonymous

I cleaned the carb and replaced a worn muffler gasket on my 01 Helix. As a result, it's much more fun to ride. Better performance and much quieter now. However, its liabilities are its steering on lack of stability at speeds. These are two areas where the Morph excels.

However the Morph's clutch is nowhere near as seamless and smooth as the Honda's. The Morph rumbles and vibrates as the clutch engages. I removed and cleaned the clutch but it didn't help.

As I stated already, The Helix is quicker and more responsive around town. The Morphous is faster and miles better on the highway.

I never use the Helix for highway travel anymore. It feels like a bucket of bolts (on the highway) compared to the Morph.

The Morph is a great scooter. Overall, I would give it a 7 on a 10 scale. The two biggest issues for me is its lack of acceleration and hill climbing and the rough clutch engagement.

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Apr 20, 2010
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This is my third comment and 2nd update.
by: Anonymous

This is the fellow with the two Helixes and now a Morphous. This is my third comment and 2nd update.

I've now lived with the Morphous for about 1000 miles. My Helixes have been collecting dust. I recently jumped on the Helix for a ride and all I can say is there is no comparing the two scooters.

The only thing the Honda has over the Yamaha is a little more oomph. It's a little quicker around the city ... Oh and it has more usable storage space... Beyond that, the Morph is on a different level. I don't even enjoy riding the Helixes anymore. They feel so unstable compared to the Morph. Especially on the highway.

I still have a problem with what I thought was a rough clutch engagement, but I now believe is the belt loosening between gears... Even with that problem and even though the Morph is underpowered (too small an engine for a 405 lb bike), it's still a fun bike to ride. Feels more like a motorcycle.

The steering and stability is miles ahead of the 25 year old Helix design. It's the comfortable seating position, smooth engine and awesome stability and balance of this scooter that makes it fun to ride.

There is no doubt that it would benefit greatly from a 300 or 400cc engine, but that's not going to happen so don't buy one of these if you want a quick/fast scooter. I do highways with it and it cruises nicely at 60-65mph and will go faster than that, but it takes its time getting there.

Apr 17, 2010
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need rear rack
by: ML

Jack, tell me about your Harley rear rack. We want to add a rack so that we can add a Givi trunk. Need a place to put 2 helmets or groceries when we go shopping.

Has anyone changed the mirrors? They just don't seem to be high enough. Shoulders get in the way of clear view.

Morph purchased used with 1300 miles. Runs so smooth.

Jan 17, 2010
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Update to my comments above.
by: Anonymous


Everything I said about the morphous is true but I would like to add a couple of things. I recently put new tires on my 01 Helix which greatly improved the stability of the bike. The Yamaha is still better... considerably better, but the Helix is much improved.

Also, I'm finding that the Morphous accelerates noticeably slower than both my 86 and 01 Helix. The Morph also vibrates when the clutch is engaged... just for a moment, but it's noticeable and annoying. If you are coasting at 30mph with no throttle and then turn the throttle quickly, you can hear and feel (vibration) the clutch engage the wheel.

Both Helixes are extremely smooth when going through the gears... you can't even tell when the clutch is engaging. Not so with the Yamaha.

I bought the Morph used with only 140 miles on it and it was sitting for over three years so perhaps it needs a bit of cleaning or maintenance in the CVT.

Will try to update this once I have an answer.

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Nov 22, 2009
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Morph
by: Anonymous

I own two Honda Helixes and just bought 06 Morphous Morphous with 147 miles on it. The Helixs are good bikes but the Yamaha Morphous is on another level. I thought the Helix felt solid until I bought the Morph. The Yamaha feels as solid as a rock. It's much easier to track straight.

The Morp is so much more confident. The steering is a huge improvement over the helix. The seating position and ergonomics are just so much better.

The Morp feels much more confident on the road. Especially on the Highways.

The Morp is just a modern machine, while the Helix is ancient.

May 07, 2009
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Morphous the best 250 scooter
by: Jack

I too am 65 years young and have ridden about every motorcycle and scooter for 50 years. Due to a back injury in 2006 I went back to scooters. I think the Honda helix was one of the best ever, but, the new 2008 Yamaha is the new one, it is smoother, stronger more agile and just a joy to ride. I have 2000 miles on mine. I replaces the windshield with a larger one, I put a harley carrier above the rear truck. added bags and improved the passenger backrest. my wife of 45 years and about 50 motorcycles says this is the smoothest and easiest to get on than them all. I feel Yamaha should bring this back with new windshield and a luggage rack and make it a tourer. thank you

Apr 09, 2009
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Great Review, Jack!
by: Kathi

Thanks, Jack, for taking the time to write this entertaining review of your Yamaha Morphous, a scoot I hadn't heard much about. This was a nice balanced review. Keep on scootin'!

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