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Yamaha V-Max Gallery

Yamaha's V-Max is designed to excel in the acceleration field. Its top speed of around 135mph is not as high as it might be, given a monstrous V4 engine with a power output of 135bhp, and compared with race-replica models. What is sensational is how quickly it gets to that speed. Acceleration is the V-Max's reason for being, helped by the fat rear tyre (150/90 x 15) like that of a drag bike and gearing to match.

Launched in 1984, the V-Max became at once the ultimate hot rod, the fastest-accelerating road bike ever, sizzling through the standing quarter mile in not quite ten seconds. Ten years before, only specialized dragsters could accelerate like that.

The basis of this factory hot rod was the big V4 engine from Yamaha's Venture tourer - a veritable river-barge of a bike, festooned with fairings and luggage gear. All that went, and the V-Max was left behind, spare but still monstrous, its styling dominated by the massive engine with two giant air-scoops for the four down-draught carburettors where you would expect to see the fuel tank. The V-Max, like the Venture, has a low-slung tank beneath the seat, with the fuel pumped up to the four greedy carburetor throats.

Bike Image Description
Yamaha V-max Yamaha V-Max
  • Engine - 1198cc liquid-cooled V4 four-stroke
  • Horsepower - 145bhp
  • Top Speed - 140 mph
  • Lanuched - 1985-2001
  • 1984 Yamaha V-Max V-Max Liquid cooled, four stroke, V-four, DOHC, 4 valve per cylinder.
    1985 Yamaha V-Max 1985 Yamaha V-Max Full power model, US import.
    1988 Yamaha V-Max 1988 Yamaha V-Max  
    1989 Yamaha V-Max 1989 Yamaha V-Max One of motorcycling's legendary names, the V-Max has become a byword for explosive acceleration and power. First launched In the USA in 1984 (it wasn't officially imported to Britain until 1991) the V-Max quickly established a reputation for scary power, and equally scary handling. The engine had immense power and torque, more than sufficient to overcome the chassis and brakes. The engine is a transverse V-four, 16-valve, liquid-cooled design, with a unique intake system. Over 6000rpm, valves open in the inlet manifold, allowing each cylinder to breathe through two carburettors rather than one. This 'V-Boost' system supplies an extra burst of power and torque, transforming the V-Max into a screaming drag-racer, and boosting the maximum power to 104kW (140bhp), amazing performance for an early 1980s design.
    1993 Yamaha V-Max 1993 Yamaha V-Max Liquid cooled, four stroke, V-four, DOHC, 4 valve per cylinder. Legendary for its acceleration off the line, the original V-Max has earned its cult following. Macho looks and a monster V4 engine says this bike means business.
    1999 Yamaha V-Max 1200 Yamaha V-Max 1200 A small manifold-type connecting passage links each pair of left and right carburetors. A butterfly valve in the center of the passage remains closed below 6.000rpm, and each cylinder fills normally through a single 35mm carb. The magic begins at 6.000rpm, when the microprocessor-controlled servomotor begins to open the butterfly valve until its fully open at 8.000rpm. V-boost simply forces one cylinder to fill with a mix from 2 carbs. This simple supercharging effect is seen clearly on the dyno, where the Vmax power curve literally gets a second wind. It catches the motor right at its torque peak and carries it all the way to its 113.5 rearwheel hp peak.
    2005 Yamaha V-Max V-Max 1200

    20th Anniversary Limited Edition.

    Liquid cooled, four stroke, 70° V-four, DOHC, 4 valve per cylinder.

    The V-Max's extreme power would be enough to overwhelm some modern sportsbike chassis, but in a 1980s custom chassis it can be truly scary for the rider. The front disc brakes lack both power and feel while the narrow front forks and unsophisticated twin rear shocks quickly lose control of wheel movement in fast corners.

    The double cradle steel-tube frame is too weak to handle all the power, and chassis flex further upsets cornering, causing wallow and weave whenever the pace is raised. Stronger brakes were fitted in 1993, but made little difference to the V-Max's chassis performance.

    But in a straight line, the V-Max is an awesome performer, with enough power to spin its wide 150-section rear tyre away from a standing start. A five-speed gearbox and heavy-duty shaft final drive get the power from the engine to the cast aluminium rear wheel.

    The design of the V-Max is unconventional in many ways. The fuel tank lives under the seat, and access is via a flap in the seat. An instrument console mounted on the dummy fuel tank houses the tacho, temperature gauge and indicator lights, while the chrome-plated speedo is mounted above the headlight.

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