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NEW 2009 MAX



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reaking News about the New 2009 Vmax

This page was last Updated Wednesday, 06 January 2016 15:27

LARGE-DIAMETER front and rear wave-type brake discs
2009 Yamaha VMAX slays quarter-mile in 9.513 secs
may 2009


16MAY 2008

This morning I spoke to Mike de Vos of Yamaha South Africa Distributors/Importers and he told me the following

The new Vmax will be displayed  at the German Motorbike Show in October 2008

There is a good change that the Max will be for sale in SA as from November 2008 or January 2009

One JHB Yamaha dealer has ordered already 8 Maxes for his clients at the Yamaha importer

Depending on the exchange rate the price will be around S.A Rand 160 000
(appr. 21 330 US $ )

5june  2008 

THE NEW MAX was Launched last night at 20:00 hours on the Internet and unveiled the New Max yesterday in Madrid, at Santo Tome, an old airfield converted into a drag strip and on the "USS MIDWAY" Navy Aircraft Carrier at the US Vmax launch  in San Diego. The launch was witnessed by Europe's top motorcycle journalists, and is expected to be the world's quickest accelerating production.

Engine Features
All-new high-powered liquid-cooled 4-stroke V4 engine

Powering the new VMAX is all-new 1,679cc liquid-cooled 4-stroke DOHC 65 degree V4 engine* whose imposing in-your-face design offers you an unforgettable acceleration experience created by awesome levels of power.

Running with bore x stroke dimensions of 90 x 66mm and featuring a compression ratio of 11.3:1, this visually intimidating new power plant develops 200 PS at 9,000 rpm, together with a huge torque output of 166.8 Nm at 6,500 rpm. 

The completely new VMAX engine benefits from the application of some of the most advanced Yamaha engine management technology ever seen in the category.

(*Disclaimer: The VMAX has a governed top speed of 220km/h, by a smart system, that still allows a complete ¼ mile run under full acceleration)

 Slipper clutch
A slipper clutch has also been adopted.. Until now this type of clutch was more often associated with supersport models and racing bikes, and the fact that the new VMAX adopts this type of high-performance clutch illustrates just how special this new muscle bike is.

Technical Specs

Engine type 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valve, V-type 4-cylinder

Engine cooling Liquid cooled

Displacement 1,679cc

Bore x stroke 90.0 x 66.0 mm

Compression ratio 11.3:1

Maximum power 147.2 kW (200 PS) @ 9,000 rpm

Maximum torque 166.8 Nm (17.0 kg-m) @ 6,500 rpm

Lubrication system Wet sump

Fuel System Fuel injection

Clutch type Wet, multiple-disc diaphragm spring

Ignition system TCI

Starter system Electric

Transmission system Constant mesh, 5-speed

Final transmission Shaft drive

Primary ratio 1.509

Secundary ratio 3.082

Gear ratio-1st gear 2.375

Gear ratio-2nd gear 1.810

Gear ratio-3rd gear 1.400

Gear ratio-4th gear 1.115

Gear ratio-5th gear 0.935

Fuel tank capacity 15 litres

Oil tank capacity 5.9 litres


Chassis: Aluminium, Diamond-shaped

Front suspension system Telescopic forks, Ø 52 mm

Front travel 120 mm

Rear suspension system Swingarm (Link-type suspension)

Rear travel 110 mm

Caster angle 31°

Trail 148 mm

Front brake Dual discs, Ø 320 mm

Rear brake Single disc, Ø 298 mm

Front tyre 120/70 R18M/C (59V)

Rear tyre 200/50 R18M/C (76V)


Dimensions Length 2,395 mm

Width 820 mm

Height 1,190 mm

Seat height 775 mm

Wheel base 1,700 mm

Minimum ground clearance 140 mm

Service weight 310 kg

Newly-designed low-profile aluminium frame

As well as featuring an all-new engine, the new VMAX is equipped with a completely new advanced-specification aluminium frame. This high-tech design has been built to deliver high levels of handling performance, allowing you to optimize the huge potential of the remarkably powerful 1,679cc V4 engine.

The VMAX’s new diamond-type frame has been developed using Yamaha’s industry-leading chassis design and manufacturing technology, and features an immensely strong yet lightweight structure that is made up from a variety of gravity-cast, CF die-cast and extruded aluminium sections. This innovative new design incorporates gravity-cast components for the main frame and pivot assembly, while the rear frame is made from a range of Yamaha’s exclusive CF die-cast parts and extruded parts which are welded together.

This combination of these different types of aluminium, each with a different rigidity level, is one of the major factors in achieving the desired balance of rigidity. To fine-tune this balance even further for excellent handling and accurate rider feedback, the wall thickness on the main frame varies from between 3mm through to 6mm. 

An imaginary straight line drawn between the swingarm pivot and head pipe runs right through the centre of the V-bank, and this layout makes for neutral handling characteristics. And by incorporating the V4 engine as a stressed member – using cast-iron mounts at the front, the centre of the V bank, and at the top and bottom of the crankcase – the overall chassis rigidity balance is further enhanced.

There’s no doubt that the original VMAX established a reputation with its owners as one of the most awesome straight line performers, and this aspect of the machine’s character has been taken to an even higher level with the new chassis! With an extended wheelbase of 1,700mm the new model’s advanced aluminium chassis is built to handle the massive power and torque output that can be released when you twist the throttle. Significantly, the new bike’s 662.5mm swingarm allows you to lay down the 1,679cc V4 engine’s power more effectively then ever.

Large-diameter forks with oxidized titanium coating

We think you’ll agree with us when we say that virtually everything about the stunning new VMAX sets it apart from any other motorcycle, from its mighty V4 engine through to its radical styling and intimidating image. And it’s the same with the new front forks, whose massive tubes are perfectly in keeping with this bike’s muscular image.

These huge 52mm tubes offer excellent rigidity combined with smooth fork action – and they benefit from an oxidized titanium coating that ensures increased surface hardness and stiction-free operation – while the moody dark finish perfectly complements the black frame and engine.

The new front suspension is designed to deliver a smooth ride with neutral handling characteristics, and is fully adjustable for preload, as well as rebound and compression damping, allowing you to customise the ride to suit various situations from solo or two-up riding through to leisurely or fast riding.

And it’s not only the massive 52mm tubes that put these forks in a league of their own – they also feature special two-piece outer tubes. Consisting of an extremely rigid cast lower section incorporating the radial-mounted brake callipers, together with an extruded aluminium upper section which has been precision-machined for superior suspension action, these special front forks characterize the VMAX’s inherent style, first-class quality and advanced technology.

The combination of flex-resistant 52mm tubes, a cast aluminium upper triple clamp and forged aluminium lower triple clamp, as well as a wide pitch of 225mm, and 30mm offset, ensure that you can enjoy a neutral steering feeling for greater riding pleasure.
Link-type Monocross rear suspension

The new VMAX rear suspension is a link-type Monocross system which, like the new front forks, is fully adjustable for preload, as well as for compression and rebound damping – meaning that you can set the bike up to suit most situations.

And to make life easier, the new VMAX is equipped with a hydraulic remote adjuster for preload setting, while a remote control dial beneath the tandem footrest adjusts the compression damping. Another remote control dial beneath the left-side swingarm allows easy adjustment of the rear shock’s rebound damping.

The full adjustability of both the front and rear suspension systems is more commonly associated with supersport models, and allows the new VMAX rider to optimise the ride quality on their machine for outstanding roadholding. 

Large-diameter front and rear wave-type brake discs

With all the advanced chassis technology we’ve described so far, you won’t be surprised to discover that the braking system we’ve developed for the new VMAX is one of the most sophisticated and powerful designs ever seen on a Yamaha motorcycle. At the front end, dual 320mm diameter wave-type discs are gripped by radial-mounted 6-piston callipers for excellent stopping power – and for superb feel, the master cylinder features a radial-type pump.

And for strong, confidence-inspiring braking, the new VMAX runs with a 298mm wave-type rear disc slowed by a pin-slide type single-piston calliper.

Linear-controlled ABS system

The VMAX is equipped with a newly-developed linear-controlled hydraulic ABS system which is designed to enhance braking control over a variety of road surfaces and in varying riding conditions. The hydraulic control system is activated by a linear solenoid valve which prevents wheel lock-up during braking, allowing the rider to experience smooth lever action and achieve effective braking on different types of road.

This innovative and compact ABS system combines the ECU and hydraulic mechanism into a single unit which is situated under the seat. By keeping the system’s dimensions to a minimum, neither the machine’s aesthetics or weight have been compromised, and the positioning of the unit ensures that overall mass centralisation is enhanced for neutral handling.

18 inch front and rear wheels

For natural handling qualities the VMAX is equipped with 18 inch front and rear wheels which are shod with specially-developed tyres that are designed to offer the optimum balance of grip, shock absorption and roadholding. With a 120/70-R18 front and a massive 200/50-R18 rear, this outstanding motorcycle is equipped to lay down its awesome levels of power and torque like no other machine.

Lightweight bodywork for effective mass centralisation

Mass centralisation has been one of the key goals for the VMAX development team, and a short test ride on the machine will reveal that its handling performance is truly impressive. During the machine’s exhaustive development and testing phase, every effort has been made to use lightweight materials wherever possible – and at the same time, to locate heavier components close to the bike’s centre of mass.

One of the most significant factors in achieving an idealised mass centralisation is the positioning of the 15-litre fuel tank under the seat. Manufactured from light fluorinated polyethylene, the tank is easily accessed by means of a convenient single-handed lever with a built-in damper which underlines the quality and attention to detail on this class-leading muscle bike.

These measures play an important role in shaping the neutral handling characteristics of this machine, whose roadholding, steering and overall chassis performance raise the bar in the muscle bike category. And just like the engine, the new aluminium chassis has to be experienced to be appreciated!


VMAX: Launch website 2009 Yamaha VMAX
Yamaha Motor Europe is proud to launch it's www.new-vmax.com website! After a decade of research and development this iconic bike is back, not available in Yamaha Dealer show rooms, web visitors are encouraged to take a closer look at this all new V-MAX online.

The latest web technology allows you to see the V-MAX from all angles, while movies let you view the bike from several vantage points. Not only will you be able to see the bike, but you are able to hear the bike in several positions and you will also be able to play with V-MAX revometer.

There are a limited number of bikes available in Europe and from the 1st of July you will be able to reserve your bike online, and select your local dealer for delivery. Each bike will be delivered with a personal plaque that you can configure when you make your reservation. Making this already unique bike - even more unique to it's first owner.

The site will be constantly updated with in the near future e-cards, other downloads, more media and an accessories Configurator being added. You will also be able to hear more about specific V-MAX activities by signing for the newsletter or checking back on the site. We will update it all soon.
More Information

VMAX: The legend returns!

You’ll believe the hype when you listen to the incredible horsepower roar – Yamaha’s legendary V-Max is back.

The all-new V-max was launched outside Madrid on the evening of June 4, where the world’s media were entertained by drag-car races and jetfighter flybys before they got to see the real thing. The new V-Max is like nothing the world has ever seen or heard – a mega-muscle bike with drag-strip acceleration for the biggest adrenaline kick on the street.

After a decade of R&D, Yamaha has created a worthy successor to the original V-Max, one of the most talked about bikes of the 1980s and 1990s. The new V-Max takes the original drag-race concept and takes it way beyond the next level with astonishing performance and revolutionary muscular styling that leaves no one in any doubt of what this motorcycle can do.

From the hand-polished aluminium air intakes to the four black mufflers, the V-Max shouts power and adrenaline. And if you take a closer look you’ll understand the hype is entirely justified. That all-new, hi-tech 1,679 cc V4 engine delivers enormous horsepower (200 PS) and massive torque – the V-Max acceleration sensation intensified to the max thanks to Yamaha’s cutting-edge developed electronics technologies Y.C.C.I (Yamaha Chipped Controlled Intake) and Y.C.C.T (Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle).

And the V-Max chassis is every bit as pumped-up and tricked-out as that engine: cast aluminium frame, underseat fuel tank, six-piston brakes with ABS, one-piece aluminium swingarm, magnesium engine cases, electroluminescent dash panel, LED tail light and mega-wide 200/50-R18 rear tyre. V-Max is mega-power with mega-control, whatever kind of road you’re heading for.


There are a limited number of bikes available in Europe and from the 1st of July you will be able to reserve your bike online, and select your local dealer for delivery. Each bike will be delivered with a personal plaque that you can configure when you make your reservation. Making this already unique bike - even more unique to it's first owner.

Reservation FAQ

Where to buy?

The new VMAX will only be available through our online reservation system – at this website! You can reserve the bike from your own computer or if you prefer you can do the reservation  together with your dealer, but it will always be through this website. Once your reservation has been confirmed you can buy the VMAX at your preferred dealer within the given reservation period. The VMAX will also be delivered through your preferred dealer.

How to reserve?

You can only reserve the new VMAX on this website. By filling out a simple reservation form, you can make sure you are allocated a bike from the limited yearly production run being released Europe-wide.

When will I get it?

Customers who make early reservations online can expect to be amongst the first members of an exclusive band of new VMAX riders in Europe. Deliveries of the VMAX will begin in November 2008 and will be strictly limited.

Why reserve?

The VMAX is being released in very exclusive numbers as the Japanese factory only produces a limited yearly production run for the whole world. As we expect massive demand we want to make sure that real VMAX enthusiasts will be able to obtain their new machine on a first-come first-served basis. By reserving at an early stage you can guarantee that you will experience the raw power of the new VMAX in 2008!

What do I get when I buy the new VMAX?

Besides the new VMAX, you will also receive a unique VMAX owner package which includes an exclusive DVD, featuring a VMAX history documentary, as well as a special VMAX brochure. You will also receive the specially engraved plate for first owners only, which can be fixed to your new machine.

What is a specially-made personalised plate for first owners?

This is unique engraved plate that Yamaha has specially produced for first owners of the new VMAX. With your reservation request you are asked to fill in the characters you want to have on this unique plate. (max. 8 characters).

What happens if I reserve a bike and don’t buy it?

Nothing. As soon as your reservation expires, your reserved bike will be allocated to the next reservation in line. From the moment your reservation expires you will not be able to buy the bike anymore, unless you make a new reservation.

What happens if I have made a reservation and do not pay the dealer in time?

That would be very unfortunate, as your reserved bike will automatically be allocated to the next reservation in line. If you are not able to come to the dealership within the given reservation period please contact your preferred dealer.

Can I see the new VMAX before I reserve/buy it?

Check out the News section to see when and where the VMAX will be displayed.

What if I do not know a Yamaha dealer where I can buy the new VMAX?

When you fill in your reservation form you can automatically choose your nearest Yamaha dealer through our dealer locator system.


If you want to make sure you’re one of the first owners of the amazing new VMAX, please visit the Yamaha Europe website on July 1st 2008

Friday, 06 June 2008

Yamaha Unveils Its 2009 Star Vmax For America

After ten years of R&D, Yamaha's cruiser series of motorcycle brand in America, the Star Motorcycles unveiled its 2009 VMax aboard the USS Midway in San Diego. The 197.4 hp VMax is powered with 1679cc liquid cooled four cylinders configured into a 65-degree V making monstrous 123 pound-feet of torque. The big body size and huge intakes give VMax a brooding and masculine profile. For 2009, Star will offer just 2,500 VMax's for sale in the U.S.A. with price tag of $17,990.

Expect a nice rush of power at around 6,650 RPM as the intake funnels shrink to their shortest length, which is sort of an electronic version of the iconic V-Boost from the original edition. To unleash the formidable amount of acceleration, the 2009 VMax
has been equipped with Yamaha's YCC-T chip-controlled throttle opening up 48mm throttle bodies to go along with a YCC-I chip-controlled intake. The intake system has switchable funnel lengths from tall (150mm) to short (54mm) at 6650 rpm. According to Star the response of the fly-by-wire throttle system is instantaneous.

The VMax first came on the market in 1985. It's received only minor updates and color changes in the years since. But for 2009, Star has gone all out, outfitting the bike with fuel injection, anti-lock brakes and many of the same MotoGP-derived technologies it uses on its supersport models, i.e. a slipper clutch and computer-controlled throttle and intake systems to deliver power more responsively. The chassis has also been updated with an all-aluminium frame that uses the engine as a stressed member and jacked-up components that can handle some major thrashing, i.e. 52 mm titanium-coated fork tubes and 6-piston-caliper, 320 mm wave rotor brakes on the front.



October 2008 issue.

Written  by Sir Alan Cathcart




: Dirck Edge and Jeff Whitmer

of the US “Motor Cycle Daily” magazine.

2009 Star VMax: MD First Ride

They say that Babe Ruth liked to pet kittens. We all know that King Kong had a soft spot for blondes, and General Patton loved his dogs. Titans can show some tenderness now and then . . . even exercise some finesse. But it is power we remember them for. Ruth smashing 400 foot home runs. King Kong swatting airplanes at the top of the Empire State building, and Patton crushing the Third Reich on the plains of northern Africa.

The new Star VMax has its charming side, as well. As we learned during our first ride here in Southern California, it actually goes around corners pretty well, it can stop on a dime, and it will cruise easily (even comfortably) for extended rides. But as you finish your first ride on the new VMax only one impression remains. Power. Massive Power. Power you never expected to experience on a street legal motorcycle.

We've ridden them all. The ZX-14. The Vulcan 2000 with its 2053 cc v-twin. The Hayabusa, and the Honda Rune with its 1832 cc flat six fed by a half dozen throttle bodies. Nothing leaves a stop light like the new VMax. The VMax is laying down more than 100 pound/feet of torque at the rear tire before inline-fours like the ZX-14 and Hayabusa have finished clearing their throats. Like many things in life, it is something you have to experience to fully appreciate and understand.

The new VMax is an expensive motorcycle (U.S. MSRP is $17,990), and for good reason. The engine and chassis have been purpose built with state-of-the-art design, and the components are top shelf by any standard. Brembo brake master cylinders, front and rear, six-piston front brake calipers mounted radially, fully-adjustable suspension (compression, rebound and spring preload front and rear) all aluminium chassis with "tuned flex", three CPUs and instrumentation that includes an "organic electro luminescence multi-function display". The new VMax has all that, and it has THAT ENGINE.

 As we said in our preview article, that engine is 1679cc of 65° V-4. It is fuel injected, has a compression ratio of 11.3:1, four valves per cylinder and technology previously found only on Yamaha's state-of-the-art sport bikes, including YCCI (variable intake trumpets that shorten themselves at 6,650 rpm) and YCCT (electronic throttle that monitors numerous parameters once every 1/1000th of a second). Yamaha claims 197 horsepower at the crank at 9,000 rpm, and 122 foot/pounds at 6,500 rpm. The last iteration of the VMax (sold in 2007) made 133.1 horsepower and 86.8 foot/pounds of torque. The new bike makes forty-eight percent more horsepower and forty-one percent more torque. The old bike was fast. The new bike is something else.

The five-speed transmission utilizes a slipper clutch, and power is delivered to the rear wheel via a maintenance-free shaft. An old sport bike trick is employed in the exhaust system. "EXUP" is a variable valve technique used by Yamaha for quite some time to control noise levels and vary exhaust back pressure.

If you look closely enough, you will notice 18" wheels this year (with a 200 section rear tire), an under-seat fuel tank and those characteristic intake scoops (now functional, and hand polished).

Here is a tip from MD to all new VMax riders. The first time you twist the throttle hard, make sure (a) the bike is fully upright and pointing straight ahead, (b) you have a warm rear tire, and (c) there is plenty of room between you and the next vehicle. Oh, and one other thing . . . hold on tight! Assuming your rear tire is ready to grip (rolling burnouts are easy to do, and no clutch is required), the VMax will quickly warp your sense of time and distance. Fortunately, the brakes are superb. Few sport bikes deliver the power and feel offered by the brakes on the new VMax. They are outstanding, and probably better than anything available outside the sport bike category.

Once you re-calibrate your brain to deal with the accelerative forces (it took me at least an hour, and I've ridden some pretty fast motorcycles), you can focus on some of the more subtle attributes of the new VMax. You will already be familiar with those wonderful brakes, but you will also note the bike is pretty darn comfortable, and the adjustable suspension is surprisingly supple.

Those massive 52 mm forks have a titanium oxide coating to reduce friction, and offer 4.7 inches of surprisingly smooth travel. The rear shock can be adjusted without tools, and we added a few turns of preload to deal with our test riders girth. The stiff aluminium swingarm (which incorporates the shaft drive system in its left arm) displayed very little of the "jacking" common to many shaft drive motorcycles, and did a pretty decent job of transferring all of that horsepower and torque to the back tire.

 The VMax's raison d'etre is certainly not cornering, but the new bike can still be hustled through the twisties relatively well. At a claimed wet weight of nearly 700 pounds, you are not going to be flicking the VMax like a modern supersport, but it will hold its own through corners with any cruiser and many naked bikes.

Clutch pull is somewhat heavy, but lighter than we expected given the massive torque transferred from crank to rear wheel. Both the clutch lever and the brake lever are reach-adjustable.

The ergonomics are similar to the old bike, that is, upright. Very slightly leaned forward (the bars are a bit further away this year), the VMax provides a comfortable perch for cruising. Wind blast at elevated speeds didn't seem too bad, but Star will offer a fly screen and a windshield if you want to eliminate the bulk of it.

Instrumentation is extremely thorough by any standards, but the secondary display on the gas tank is pretty low, and certainly not in a place where you want your eyes for any extended period of time.

Although acceleration might well be termed "violent", the power delivery is relatively linear, and throttle response is smooth and predictable (thanks to very well sorted fuel injection). You can tip toe around at very low rpm levels and then roll the throttle without a hiccup. At roughly 6,500 rpm, however, "V-Boost" occurs in the form of a slight surge in acceleration (can a streaking bullet "surge"?) -- something Yamaha purposely incorporated to add character to an otherwise dull experience (that was a joke).

Obviously, this motorcycle is meant for experienced, mature adults. Although the well-sorted chassis of the new VMax will let experienced riders get away with wheel spin (even on corner exits), a cold rear tire can be an invitation to disaster. Even experienced riders need to be more careful than they usually would be on a different motorcycle. Make sure you have a cup of coffee (or a Red Bull) before you ride the VMax to work on a cold morning. You need to be wide awake.

Which brings us to the essential character of the 2009 VMax. There is nothing politically correct about this motorcycle, and that neighbor driving the Toyota Prius to work each morning will turn his nose up even higher the next time he sees you. But if you remember the "E" ticket rides at Disneyland, this bike is the "F" ticket. No matter your level of riding experience, the new VMax demands the ultimate in rider respect and responsibility. If you are up to the task, the VMax can deliver thrills (and seemingly gallons of adrenalin) in a way no other stock motorcycle can. We got off the 2009 Star VMax more than 24 hours ago, but we're still grinning.

 The 2009 Star VMax retails for $17,990, and only 2,500 units will be available this year (more than half of those have already been pre-sold). If you want one, get down to your dealer before October 31, 2008 with $1,000 in hand (as a deposit). Oh, and don't make any plans for after-market performance enhancements. We personally guaranty you will be busy wrapping your brain around the stock performance for the foreseeable future.

Monday, 22 September 2008.

 The word icon is described as an important and enduring symbol. For Yamaha and Star Motorcycles, the VMax stands near the top of its bikes eligible for icon status. First seen in 1985 and barely revised since, this all-new VMax has gone through a decade-long gestation, with development work going back to 1997. The first running prototype was judged to be to­o big and the power too linear.

 To make sure Star was hitting its target audience, they conducted extensive market research with focus groups. Owners of the previous generation (which have an average age of 45-plus years) insisted a new version should have improved handling, increased power, a better riding position and continued use of shaft drive. And they were adamant for Star to use a V-Four engine and "keep the V Boost!"


 A larger, more powerful engine was always going to be necessary, especially after the arrival last year of the Hayabusa-powered Suzuki B-King. An all-new V-Four (see sidebar below) was created, achieving Star's goal of reaching the 2oo-horsepower mark.

 Bringing the VMax into the 21st century required enormous improvements to the flexi-flyer steel chassis of the old bike, so they threw it out and created an aluminium frame that uses the imposing engine as a stressed member for added rigidity. But getting Cl long, shaft-driven chassis to handle up to Yamaha's standards proved to be the most chal1enging aspect of the new bike, causing a delay to the bike's introduction until they got it right.

 The production version of the chassis consists of a cast-aluminium perim­eter-style frame and new alloy swingarm. The subframe is made from c­ontrolled-Fill cast-aluminium sections and extruded-aluminium. The chassis' geometry is closer to cruiser specs than sportbike numbers, with a 31.0­degree rake, 148mm of trail, and a 66.9-inch wheelbase. The previous model had sportier geometry: 29.0 degrees, 119mm, and 62.6 inches, respectively. This latest Max is about an inch wider and 3.7 inches longer overall.

 It all adds up to a machine with immense visual punch. The VMax's crowning accents are the aluminium air intake scoops that are now functional. The scoops are hand-polished to a fine lustre (taking 40 minutes each!) then are clear-coated for an enduring shine.

 What appears to be a fuel tank is really just a cover for the non-pressurized airbox and a place to mount a digital info panel that includes a clock, dual tripmeters, fuel gauge, gear indicator, coolant temp, mpg, intake air temp, throttle angle, stopwatch and a countdown indicator. Its electro-Luminescence display is said to be clearer and faster than LCD. While the info panel is placed too low to be easily seen while riding, the giant muscle car-like tachometer is in full view and is augmented by a shift light placed prominently alongside.

 Upon firing, the VMax settles into a steady but menacing rumble. The V­Four, with its contra-rotating balance shaft, is quite smooth, but a rider never forgets there is something substantial reciprocating between the knees. A blip of the throttle reveals a fairly heavy flywheel effect, as revs don't soar as quickly as smaller, sport-oriented engines. 

The Heart of the Beast
When building a replacement motor for an icon like the VMax, Yamaha­/Star engineers knew they had to recreate a legend. While the old 1198cc V-Four was the bees' knees in 1985, it would take a large injection of power to be king of the hill in 2009.

 The mantra of the muscle-car era was "there's no replacement for displacement," and the new VMax hums the same tune. While its 66mm stroke was retained, the '09 Max gets a big-bore treatment by enlarging its cylinders from 76mm to 90mm. This yields an engine with 481cc extra, a 40.2'0 bump to 1679cc.

 Like the upcoming Aprilia V-Four Superbike engine, the VMax uses a chain to drive the intake cams, and from there a gear-set turns the exhaust cams, keeping the engine as short as possible. Valve-adjustment intervals are only every 26K mites. Star also tightened up the 70-degree vee cylinder angle to 65 degrees, also the same as the Aprilia mill. Combined, this tightened up the distance between the cylinder heads by a little more than 1 inch, and the monster motor is 7mm shorter overall.

 Much of this new engine uses technology seen on Yamaha's top-line sport bikes. A Mikuni fuel-injection system uses a quartet of 48mm throttle bodies with 12-hole injectors, and it's operated by Yamaha's ride-by-wire Chip-Controlled Throttle (YCC- T). The three processor ECU measures parameters (wheel speed, crank position, temperature, etc) every 1/1000th of a second. Interestingly, a Star supplied chart says YCC- T also takes into account a lean-angle sensor, which, along with the standard ASS's wheel-speed sensors, could be deployed as a traction-control system. A look at our tire-melting video shows this not to be the case.

 Also borrowed from Team Blue's R-series sportbikes are variable-length intake stacks (YCC-I) that use 150mm snorkels for strong torque at low revs. At 6650 rpm, the trumpets raise up to reveal shortie 54mm intakes for a V-Boost-like top-end hit that voraciously rockets the bike quickly through the gears

 Inside the motor are more sportbike-derivative pieces. Pistons are made from lightweight forged aluminium, and they rise and faU on the 180­degree crank inside ceramic-composite cylinder linings. The connecting rods are fracture-split and carburized for strength. The new combustion chamber is much flatter (a 29-degree included valve angle) and nets an 11.3:1 compression ratio which requires premium fuel. Magnesium engine covers try to keep weight down as much as possible.

 Spent fuel exits into four header pipes that join in a large under-swingarm collector before flowing into a pair of four exit mufflers with titanium skins. Inside are an oxygen sensor, two catalysers, and an EXUP power valve.

  What it all adds up to is a colossal 197 crankshaft horsepower at 9000 rpm. The final version of the previous VMax (last sold in .07) was rated at a paltry 133 hp at 8000 rpm, a whopping 48.0% less. Prodigious, too, is the new MaXs torque production. Its 122 ft-Ibs at 6500 revs dwarfs the 86.8 ft-Ibs at 6000 rpm of the old bike to the tune of 40.6%.

 There is so much power on tap that a Star rep related a story of how its rear tire was slipping on a rear-wheel dyno drum when testing its mox po­wer. Even adding a passenger didn't completely stop the slipping! I didn't manage to get him to reveal what numbers came up on Yamahas Dynojet, but reading between the lines, we expect rear-wheel dyno figures approaching 180 hp. Note that Suzuki's B-King pumps out about 160 horses at the back wheel

 The VMax's tank-mounted info panel has a display that shows how much throttle is being used, but that's the last place you'll want to be looking if the throttle is cracked more than a quarter turn. Despite being muted by a substantial 6841bs full of fluids, 200 ponies have a way of bringing the future quickly into the present. Serious thrust is available at just 2500 rpm, and it just keeps building exponentially from there to the 9500-rpm rev limit, accompanied by an impressive and distinct V-Four yowl. The out­rageous power band is linear but explosive, so much so that the midrange opening of the YCC-I is barely perceptible - acceleration changes only f­rom "holy s*%t! to "Hello, God!"

 The VMax is fitted with a drive system that helps and hurts. Hydraulic c­lutch actuation eases lever effort, and gearbox throws in the 5-speed tranny are short and precise. A race-style slipper clutch works okay, but it seems a bit incongruous to be doing high-rpm downshifts on a so called c­ruiser. However, this is no ordinary cruiser and, in fact, might better be labelled something like a muscle naked. Star's Warrior is correctly termed a power cruiser, and the VMax is certainly something quite different.

 While the gearbox is first-rate, the shaft-drive system partially fits on the negative side of the ledger. focus groups may have insisted on a shaftie, but this arrangement has its dynamic compromises, no matter how well it's designed. It's heavier, so a rear suspension can't react as quick, and it also makes the bike suffer a jacking effect that results in a stiffer and higher rear end when under power.

 The jacking effect is actually quite minimal on the VMax, so kudos there, but there's no getting around the stiffer rear suspension with the throttle twisted. Bump absorption isn't as compliant and, worse, the minimal weight transfer makes this the most difficult 200-horse bike to wheelie that I've sampled! Long black darkies are typically the result of mono wheel attempts taller, heavier riders, who induce more weight transfer, have an easier time of it.

 However, this shaft-drive by product has hooligan benefits of its own. Without much rearward weight transfer, the reasonably sticky 200mm Br­idgestone BT028 has a snowball's chance in hell of not melting when the V-four is given its head. If you've even been foolish enough to want to mimic the rear-wheel-sliding corner exits of pre-traction-control GP riders, the VMax stands head and shoulders above anything else on two wheels. Tire-spinning corners exits have been part of my fantasy world that rare­ly transfer into actuality, but Mr. Max makes them ear-to-ear-grinningly real.

 In regard to the bike's ultimate acceleration, the VMax is absent a probable electronic trick and equipped with an unexpected one. first, we're th­rilled to report the ECU doesn't limit power in the lower gears like on many other modern hyperbikes. Electronic intervention comes into play once

220 kph (136.7 mph) is reached, as this is the Maxs top-speed limiter. H­owever, to not handcuff drag strip performance, the limiter is lifted to a 230-kph (142.9 mph) threshold when a quarter-mile acceleration run is sensed! for what it's worth, I saw 145 mph on the speedo before I ran out of open road.

 When it comes time to shed speed, the new VMax is worlds apart from the wimpy brakes of its forbear. Up front, a four-position lever actuates a Brembo radial-pump master cylinder that feeds a pair of 6-piston radial calipers biting on 320mm wave-type discs. They proved to be very powerful but not overly sharp. A Brembo rear master cylinder powerfully

fires a single-pot calliper and 298mm wave rotor, and it was when using the rear brake that I was grateful for the bike's standard ABS which isn't intrusive.

 In terms of real-world usability, the VMax performs better than expected, although it's a bit clumsy at lower speeds. The narrow handlebar and cramped riding position of the old bike has been opened up by moving the grip position an inch further forward and about a half-inch taller. The seat height is listed at a modest 30.5 inches, but its broad seating area gives narrow-hipped people like me a bit of struggle to reach the ground firmly with both feet. A stepped seat-back isn't just for comfort; it's also to keep you aboard the bike during GI acceleration.

Dressed to the Nines
Star understands better than most Japanese OEMs that personalizing a motorcycle can be an integral part of the ownership experience. As such, it offers an extensive line of accessories for the new VMax.

 Few materials are as emblematic of contemporary speed and racing as is lightweight carbon fibre, and Star delivers with an assortment of lovely composite pieces manufactured in-house. Tasty carbon bits include fenders, tank covers, seat cowls and side covers, but the beautifully made stuff isn't cheap. A set of the C-F air intake scoops costs a whopping $999.95.

 Functional components include a flyscreen, touring windshield, hard saddl­ebags and a passenger backrest. An optional tail pack can attach to the p­assenger seat or an accessory aluminium luggage rack. Upping the bling factor is as easy as bolting on some billet aluminium covers for the cams, master cylinders and swingarm pivot.

 Underneath the seat is 3.96-gallon fuel tank, same as the old bike, which helps lower the bike's CG. The VMax manages decent heat control through its dual radiators that keep its frontal area as slim as possible. Out of Ramona, stuck in traffic, I could feel a little heat on my ankles and shins, but not bad considering the engine's enormous output.

 There are decent views out of the bar-mount mirrors for keeping an eye on your tail during your inevitable extra-legal antics. Freeway cruising is very comfortable for a naked, as a rider is sitting down in the bike, making even a 90-mph lope (with its overdriven fifth gear) quite bearable. A 2 -year warranty adds peace of mind.

 Star should be commended for the suspension it fitted to the Max. Both ends are produced by Soqi, a Yamaha subsidiary, and both the 52mm forkand single shock are adjustable for spring preload and both compression and rebound damping. But their best feature is tools-free knurled knobs to easily dial in optimum rebound damping at both ends, plus rear comp­ression damping; a screwdriver needs to be unsheathed only for front compression. The rear end also has a handy hydraulic preload adjuster on the bike's left side that can be altered on the fly if you're flexible - otherwise, do it easily at a stop.

 The suspension is good stuff, but it is faced with the formidable task of controlling a hefty machine and its shaft-drive dynamics. Action from the titanium-oxide-coated fork legs is quite good, even with substantially increased spring rates. But the rear end often struggles with isolating bumps, faced as it is with the shaft-drive compromises. Backing off rear preload and compression damping soothed things somewhat, but it never responded like an optimized chain or belt-driven bike.

 More successful is the new VMaxs handling qualities, one of the old bike's weakest aspects. Now with the new aluminium chassis, a beefy fork and a forged-aluminium lower triple clamp and a cast-aluminium upper, the big Star is ready to intimidate lesser riders on pure sportbikes down a canyon road.

 Although it makes a Suzuki SV650 feel like a mountain bike in comparison, its handling is better than expected, with a chassis that feels stiff and responsive in steering transitions and a fork that offers decent front-end feel. You don't have to be a racetrack refugee to drag pegs on the VMax, but available lean angle is actually very respectable for a beast like this.

 Any handling deficiencies it has are related to throttle response and the shaft drive. The YCC- T is endowed with a program to reduce engine braking feel by letting a bit of fuel seep through on trailing throttle, and this works seamlessly most of the time. But in some instances, the compression-braking effect is quite pronounced and, worse, unpredictable when it happens. Chopping the throttle mid-corner can unsettle the chassis, and a rider can feel some drive train lash with an uncertain throttle hand in corners.

 When I first heard about the new VMax, I had two thoughts: First, it was about damn time! Second, hanging a $17,990 price tag on a Japanese bike can be akin to wearing cement shoes. But while I still wonder how well second and third year models will sell, I do see a lot of value in this scintillating machine.

 Recreating an icon is never easy, but that's exactly what Star and Yamaha have done with the 2009 VMax. It has a few flaws and limitations, but its overall persona extends the Max's icon status. It's as distinctive as bikes come. it has terrific attention to detail, and it offers a thrill ride that can't be equalled by anything else on two wheels.

 Just 2500 units (with commemorative badges) will be available for the 2009 model year, and more than half are already sold. You only have until October 31 to get your order in on the '09 VMax. Those who ordered early should see their bikes by the first part of November.

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