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 YAMAHA ZUMA125 build 
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Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2017 10:40 am
Posts: 1
Post YAMAHA ZUMA125 build
I purchased this 2015 Zuma 125 (name: Ginger), new, in Jackson, Mississippi, in October 2016. I began to work on the modifications in December 2016. I am not mechanically-inclined (in fact, my friends would say that when a wrench is in my hands, I am a catastrophe waiting to happen), so the modification process was slow and filled with stumbles and fumbles.

To give credit where credit is due, I should note that none of my modifications were really my ideas. In fact, all of the inspiration for Ginger's modifications originated with the many helpful and interesting posts and photos found here at Zuma Forums! I spent three or four hours admiring the many cool and unique and customized Zumas on this website before I decided upon my own modification scheme.

The modifications include: (1) windshield ($110); (2) cargo rack ($85); (3) SHAD top trunk, with back rest and tail light ($300); (4) Corbin "comfort" saddle ($350); (5) Koso "after burner" tail lights ($90), (6) dual headlamp "constant on" circuit ($15); (7) comfort bar grips ($20); (8) oversized mirrors ($30), and (9) Dr. Pulley variator ($100). A friend of mine who owns a body shop kindly agreed to paint the frame, instrument pod, wheels, hand protectors, brow bar, and cargo rack ($400).

Most of the parts were purchased from ZumasRUs, in California. The folks there were generous and gracious when answering all of my stupid questions about tuning and modifying Ginger. The service was superb, too.

Of these modifications, the only ones which I believe to be essential are the windshield and the comfort bar grips. I've ridden motorcycles for years, and my helmet visor has been hit too many times by large rocks and bugs to pass up on the windshield. However, the upright profile of the Zuma's windshield produces a lot of turbulent overflow air, at speed, that smacks you right in the face. This was happily addressed by bending the windshield brackets by about ten degrees to the rear. (This small modification made a huge difference.)

The stock grips on the Zuma are wretched. The new, squishier grips are much more comfortable, and they transmit much less road shock and vibration into your hands -- a worthwhile purchase, indeed.

The Corbin saddle was a whopping improvement over the OEM saddle, but it came at a pretty high price. If it proves to be durable, then I think that it will have been a worthwhile investment in the long run.

I am a big fan of safety, so I really like the bigger mirrors and the Koso tail lights (which are, like, a kajillion times brighter than the OEM tail lights). After you install the dual headlight kit, you'll wonder how you got along without it. It greatly improves the visibility of the bike when you're on the road.

The Dr. Pulley variator yields smoother and more responsive acceleration, but it's a PITA to install. It won't rock your world, but you'll notice a difference. I still wish that the Zuma launched quicker and with more authority, but my expectations for the performance of a little 1-cyl. engine are probably unrealistic. So far I've been getting about 105 MPG by conservatively applying the throttle in my around-town riding, so I don't want to tinker with the stock tuning too much.

When you take a Zuma apart, it is somewhat deflating to discover that the quality of the hardware isn't particularly impressive. The bolts, screws, plastic panels, and overall fit and finish are basic, industrial stuff. But the running gear is pretty solid, and the engineering seems to be oriented towards reliability, not appearance -- which suits me just fine. The scooter is a pretty good value, considering what you get, but I would have paid more money to get something that was of higher quality out-of-the-factory.

If I had it to do over again, I would have paid the dealer to select and install the cargo rack and top trunk. If my dealer had done this, he probably would have chosen something from the Yamaha catalog that was more compatible with this scooter and could have been more easily and securely installed. This rack/trunk combo is OK, but I had to apply some creativity during the installation process to obtain a locked-down result. (Lesson learned: Always look at the manufacturer's catalog before you start buying accessories for your scooter.)

This forum is a terrific source of information and guidance. Keep up the good work!

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UPDATE - 2017 04 04: A pretty unsettling experience occurred a couple of weeks ago. While riding on a moderately bumpy road at 35 MPH, the SHAD trunk detached from the luggage rack and bounced into the roadway. Fortunately, there was no following traffic, so no vehicles struck the top box. The trunk was empty at the time of the incident. When the trunk flew off, it took all of the mounting hardware with it. I was scrupulously careful in my installation of the top trunk, and I routinely checked the mounting screws and brackets to confirm that everything was tight and secure. But I have worried, all along, that the mounting hardware, and the way in which the top box attaches to the hardware, was a bit sketchy. And, sure enough ...

I do not have experience with Givi or any other brands of top trunks. But so far I have been underwhelmed by (1) SHAD's customer service and (2) the top trunk's build quality and materials (especially when you consider the price). Before you spend your money on a SHAD product, I would suggest that you consult with your dealer about other options.

UPDATE - 2017 07 17: Ginger the Scooter has reached the 750-mile mark. A status update:

Suspension: If you live and ride in a marvelous little village that has perfect, pothole- and bump-free streets, and if your body weight is, say, less than 175 pounds, then the rear OEM shocks should be fine for you. I do not live in such a place, and I haven't weighed less than 205 pounds at any point during the past ten years, so it didn't take long for the factory shocks to reveal themselves as being laughably ineffective at negotiating the "real world" (i.e., awful) streets of Jackson, Mississippi while transporting my fat butt. So I replaced the OEM shocks with stupid-expensive NCY adjustable shocks, and now Ginger provides a comfortable (albeit not plush) ride across the nastiest of urban terrains.
2017 07 17 - Zuma update 1.jpg
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The NCY shocks are things of beauty, but the cost of this modification would seem rational only to the microscopically small subset of scooter owners who have also undergone prefrontal lobotomies. But, to be fair, the ride quality has been improved by 300%.

Top trunk: As is depicted in the photo, I arranged for a buddy to construct a bolted bracket, with four steel cross-members, to secure the top trunk to the luggage carrier rack.
2017 07 17 - Zuma update 2.jpg
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The SHAD trunk is OK, but the standard mounting bracket was simply inadequate to secure the trunk to the luggage carrier rack for daily, routine cargo hauling over uneven city streets. I continue to believe, based upon its cost, that the SHAD trunk is under-engineered and that its build quality is substandard. The original wiring for the brake light failed within the first two weeks of ownership, so I had to replace it with more more robust wiring. SHAD has also apparently adopted a business model which includes a post-sale dedication to avoiding contact with customers, employing CSRs whose use of the English language is borderline inscrutable, and an aggressive inattentiveness and indifference to customer inquiries and assistance. I would not recommend this brand to a friend.

To an enemy, yes. But not to a friend.

Performance / fuel economy. Ginger's performance has markedly improved over time. Acceleration is smoother. The engine is less buzzy at speed. The scooter accelerates with authority to 50 MPH ... pulls steadily to 55 MPH ... and then wheezes and dawdles anemically to 62-63 MPH. These are speedometer-reported speeds; I've never checked them with a GPS device. I am not much of a gearhead, so I don't know if Ginger's improved performance is the result of the completion of the break-in period, the installation of the Dr. Pulley variator and weights, or both. It could be magic, for all I know.

I am getting outstanding fuel economy -- somewhere around 105 MPG for my typical, around-town riding. But I am also conservative with the throttle (i.e., I ride Ginger like a 95-year-old man who is never in a hurry). I try to coast when I need to stop, I coast on downhills, and I typically roll along at around at a leisurely and steady 40 MPH whenever I can. Fuel economy is greatly diminished when the engine is run wide-open for sustained periods. Over the course of a few days of commuting on a long, open stretch of road at full throttle, I estimated that my fuel economy dropped to 67 MPG or thereabouts.

Etc.: I asked my friendly neighborhood body shop owner to paint the YAMAHA logo found on the transmission cover. Which he did, for $10. I don't know why Yamaha bothers to imprint the brand logo onto the transmission cover, using relief lettering. If no one can see it, then how, exactly, is the brand promoted? Erg. No one asked me. So, anyway, it was worth $10 to get this painted. (Not my idea. Other contributors to this forum did it first, and I stole their idea.)

Last edited by OKDM on Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Sat Mar 11, 2017 12:04 pm
Bronze Member
Bronze Member

Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 1:36 pm
Posts: 271
Post Re: Completed modification project, 2015 Zuma 125
Nice bike! :2bong:


Thu May 11, 2017 9:39 am
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