The first true muscle bike, the V-Max’s asphalt shredding performance has made it a legend. Stirking black paint with eye catching flames on the tank will have people gawking. But hot looks aren’t the only thing the V-Max has going for it. Unleash its 1198cc V-4 and you’ll see why so many accolades have been bestowed upon it. Long live the King!
The V max was created in 1984 and introduced to the public in octomber the same year. It looked like the beginning of a beautiful story and disappointment never came. It was to be sold the next year in the United States as a 1985 model and continues to be fabricated until present, developing into a worldwide cult.
The 1985 Yamaha V max is considered to be the fastest model ever produced, but that is only a rumor.
This was the only year when the V max was produced with the name V max pressed into the side covers.
The following year brought changes to the diameter of the V-Boost tubes which was increased from 30 mm to 32 mm. On the 1986 model they corrected the non-dot approved exhaust canisters also.
In 1986 the rear wheel was changed to its present design and the foot pegs also.
The 1987 models were produced with a chromed instrument cover, which is not available through Yamaha dealers in the U.S.
In 1988 the front wheel is being changed to its present design also.
The 1990 model is improved with the digital electronic ignition and the starter went from a 2 pole motor to a 4 pole motor.
1993 was a good year for the V max because it was equipped with new brakes: the front brake rotors were increased in diameter from 282 mm to 298 mm and ventilation holes were added as well. The front brake calipers were also upgraded to the 4-pot system over the previous 2-pot system. In this same year the generator was upgraded as well.
The year 1996 brings for the V max a redesigned engine block which incorporates a spin-on oil filter and a new stile connecting rod. The V max also got a larger finned voltage regulator.
2001 is the year when Yamaha added fork guards to the lower fork legs.
In 2003 the engine block was slightly redesigned as well as the script on the speedometer, tachometer and temperature gauge. This same year Yamaha presented the new paint schemes for the V max.
2005 is the year of the 20th anniversary of the V max and the motorcycle is presented with a new flamed paint scheme and a numbered anniversary badge to the tank of the 2005.
The years 2006 and 2007 bring a new color scheme along the angry look of the muscle bike .
Along the years different versions of carburetors stacks appeared. California models also come with an EPA required fuel vapor canister system for emissions control.
The transmission was improved as well along the years (1988-1999) and the problems with the second gear in the ’85 and ’86 models were corrected as well.
The V max kept its original design and engine construction because for 20 years it has had no competition. But now other firms have picked up on the attraction of cruiser looks with sports bike power: Triumph’s 147bhp Rocket and Harley’s 120bhp Street Rod are both rivals to the V max, and Kawasaki and Honda are rumored to have big capacity, high powered cruisers as well.
Creating the V max, Yamaha combined the looks and comfort of a cruiser with the performance of a sports racer. The bike is very fast in a straight line but the speed should be very well adjusted for tight corners. This makes for some gentle approaches on unknown roads but doesn’t detract from the experience of enjoying the ride and the scenery.
The front and back disks allow for strong safe braking which is useful if you have to pull her up after an enthusiastic gallop and as long as you don’t go over the score the V max will look after you well. A nicely shaped and upholstered saddle will ensure that your trip will be as comfortable as possible. The placement of the handlebars, back brake and gear shift, all within comfortable reach ensures that none of your extremities will feel aggrieved either.
The look of the V max may be dated to some. People have said the over-the-top scoops on the bike are corny, but those distinctive scoops are a visual reminder that the bike is practically a dragster. Yamaha has hardly changed the design since the Mighty Max first tore up the streets back in 1985. The bike hearkens back to the era of the classic American muscle car, the golden era of carbureted big store V-engines, when aerodynamics were an afterthought and the solution to poor acceleration or top speed was to put a bigger engine in it.
I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve watched people looking the bike over or even came up to me while I’m putting gas in the bike to tell me how good it looks or how “cool” it is. Some of them knew about the new V max and they’ll ask questions about the bike, and they wanted to know if the stories they’ve heard are true.
The original power cruiser has a unique style, stance and look that’s all its own as well as the international fan base.
But the V max looks best on striking black paint with flames on the tank. This gives the bike a very sexy look and combines the brute force delivered by the engine with the idea of cruising.
The engine of the V max is a high-rewing muscle-car-inspired 1198cc V-4 in a class by itself. Bulletproof shaft drive and heavy-duty components throughout back up the V max’ s larger than life personality.
1198cc liquid-cooled, DOCH 16-valve 70-degree V-4 engine has no equal in its class, pumping out tremendous , hard-hitting power to make it the ultimate quick-accelerating, high performance king.
Patented Yamaha “V-BOOST” induction, a power-boosting variable intake system , force feeds massive quantities of fuel into the cylinders via a servo controlled butterfly valve at 6000 RPM and above.
Four 35mm Mikuni downdraft carburetors ensure seamless , lighting-quick throttle response.
Specially designed high-lift camshafts ensure ample acceleration at lower RPM along with legendary top-end for a broad, deep powerband.
Specially tempered crankshaft and connecting rods provide excellent durability.
Smooth-shifting, five-speed transmission puts that massive powerband to the pavement with one purpose: maximum acceleration all the way to redline.
Hydraulically activated diaphragm-type clutch delivers precise clutch performance with lighter pull.
Low maintenance shaft drive provides ultra-smooth performance that’s virtually lash-free.
Low-slung styling keeps the seat low for great handling, confident low-speed maneuvering and V Max’s unique look.
Stout, 43mm front fork features 5.5 inches of travel and air-assist adjustability for fine-tuning the ride.
Dual rear shocks feature four position rebound damping and five-way spring-preload adjustability.
Fat, 6-inch rear tire mounted on solid disc wheel hooks up with the asphalt for maximum traction.
Dual 298mm front discs with four piston calipers and a single 282mm rear disk breaks reel the V max in.
Underseat fuel tank helps balance the bike’s weight and provides space for large-capacity airbox located above the carburetors.
Fuel reserve switch is conveniently positioned on the handlebars.
Fork seal guards help prevent rock and debris damage to fork sliders.
Trick-looking, onyx w/shift red flames finish on fuel tank combined with massive-looking faux air intake scoops to give the V max the perfect “street rod” look and feel.
Wide, thickly padded seat and plush passenger saddle with grabrail adds exceptional comfort to the incomparable excitement.
Handy centerstand for convenience and service accessibility.
Compact speedometer unit keeps cockpit clean and simple and offers easy readability of tripmeter/odometer and neutral, high beam, turn signal, low oil and low fuel indicator lights.
Type: 1198cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC 16-valve 70-degree V-4
Bore x Stroke: 76mm x 66mm
Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
Carburetion: 35mm Mikuni downdraft-type w/V-Boost
Ignition: Digital TCI
Transmission: 5-speed w/hydraulically activated diaphragm-type clutch
Final Drive: Shaft
Suspension/Front: 43mm Telescopic fork w/air-assistant;5.5”travel
Suspension/Rear: Dual Shocks w/adjustable spring preload and rebound damping ;3.9” travel
Brakes/Front: Dual 298mm discs
Brakes/Rear: 282mm disc
Seat Height: 30.1”
Ground Clearance: 5.7”
Dry Weight: 580 lb
Fuel Capacity: 4.0 gal.
There is a Limited Factory Warranty (1 year) but the product itself is the best warranty that you can get. The fact that it kept being produced and improved for over 20 years means that it kept being sold and ridden all this years and put a lot of smiles on the owners faces.
The V max is very tame under 6000rpm. It is almost comparable to most torquey V-Twins, but at 5800rpm V-BOOST starts kickin in. That is when I start to get wood. The bike is very smooth and responsive ,unlike big V-Twins.I got a lot of rubber-neckin at stop lights. People are very curious to see what kind of bike I am riding.I just grin and twist the throttle. The V max handles much better in turns than I expected. The seating position is a little tight, but much better than the old crotch rockets. This is not a bike for beginners. Your feet will be flapping in the wind if you are not careful.
A sport bike might out-accelerate this muscle bike, but no motorcycle feels like the V max does once that tachometer passes the mid-point of the powerband.
The upright riding position that was so comfortable a minute ago suddenly makes you feel like a sail in a windstorm, and the purr of the V-4 suddenly becomes a roar.
When motorcyclist described the V max as “top of the power cruiser food chain” they weren’t kidding.
It would all be pure magic if it weren’t for the suspension, which doesn’t hold up its end of the baragain despite extensive upgrades since its lounch.
Heavy steering makes the bike a beast in anything more aggressive than sweeping corners.And forget about rough roads if you’re anywhere near the machine’s limit: the suspension just isn’t for the job.
They’ ve improved the breaks so the bike will be very responding on every touch and it will stop very well.
The new V max costs $11,199(Raven/Shift Red Flames) and it is available from July 2006.But a very well taken care of V max with a low number of miles on board depending on the year of fabrication and accessories will be evaluated between $3000 and $9000(2005 Anniversary Edition in perfect condition).
It’s a big muscle bike which will keep peace in a straight line with most sports bikes and will put a big smile on the face of the proud owner. Not for scratching knees round bends and racing from point to point but think torquey cruising with the ability to overtake virtually anything on the road given the right conditions.
If you are looking for power with attitude, it doesn’t get much better than the 2007 Yamaha V max. The fact that Yamaha can offer Mr. Max at $11.199 is impressive and the fact that they’ve been doing it for over 20 years is outstanding.
It is not a chopper, it is not a touring motorcycle, it is certainly not a sports bike but it’s exactly what you would like to be on for your next trip: a powerful motorcycle that makes a lot of heads turn.