Yamaha unleashes VMAX beast
Back in the '80s the big V8 muscle car was the undisputed boss on the strip in the USA, and in both the car and the bike drag race scene, the large-capacity engine reigned king. Yamaha captured this cubic-centimetre-obsession perfectly when it launched the VMax in 1985. Its massive 1 198cc V4, 4-stroke, 4-valve DOHC engine kicked out 104kW and, with its radical style, became an instant legend.
The production run of the first VMax spanned an impressive two decades, with around 100 000 units sold. It even made it into the Guggenheim Museum as part of the 'Art of the Motorcycle’ exhibition while still in production. But it has remained without a worthy successor. Until now.
This week Yamaha introduced the new VMAX, which boasts the company’s latest in design and technology. With its all-new engine and chassis, the high-tech VMAX is hoping to capture the imagination of a whole new generation of adrenaline addicts, and at the same time inspire the many thousands of loyal owners who made the original model a worldwide success.
When the VMAX team first sat behind the planning tables, they set themselves a four-part goal: To create a bike that combines awesome acceleration with strong performance; offers distinctive, precise and sharp handling; boasts a sophisticated chassis and unique bodywork; and is kind to the environment by complying to EU3 regulations.
With these main aims in mind, the development team has developed an all-new powerful state-of-the-art 1 679cc V4 engine that features Yamaha’s G.E.N.I.C.H. electronic engine control technology which features YCC-I (Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake) and YCC-T (Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle); key factors in achieving the new engine’s high levels of power..
The latest VMAX has been built on an all-new low-profile diamond-type frame manufactured from cast and extruded aluminium that uses the engine as stressed member, and has been developed to deliver the right balance of rigidity for straight line stability and precise cornering.
Its design is also guaranteed to turn heads and can be best described as being “engine maximal, body minimal”, with the body serving as a frame to show off that gleaming, muscular V4 engine. The design team met EU3 regulations by using fuel injection as well as a 3-way catalyser and exhaust O2 sensor.
All-new liquid-cooled 4-stroke V4 engine
Powering thisVMAX is an all-new 1 679cc liquid-cooled 4-stroke DOHC 65 degree V4 engine. Running with bore and stroke dimensions of 90.0 x 66.0 mm (compared to 76.0 x 66.0 mm for the existing VMAX model) and featuring a compression ratio of 11.3:1, this visually intimidating new powerplant develops 147.2 kW at 9 000 r/min, together with a huge torque output of 166.8 Nm at 6 500 r/min.
These truly impressive power and torque figures are the result of many factors, not least of all the 40% increase in the new engine’s cubic capacity. In addition to the extra cubes, the completely redesigned VMAX engine also benefits from the application of some of the most advanced Yamaha engine management technology ever seen in this category.
This new high-tech engine is the first Yamaha V4 to be equipped with a sophisticated new fuel injection system, which, together with the YCC-I and YCC-T, ensures that the powerful 65-degree V4 engine delivers levels of standing-start and roll-on acceleration the company previously thought impossible.
But the engine offers a whole lot more than a bone-jiggling acceleration feeling, it also ensures instant pick-up at all engine speeds and offers impressive performance right across the rev range, making the new VMAX a top performer on both the strip and the open road. The VMAX will steam on to 220 km/h where it is governed by a smart system.
Hand-finished aluminium air intakes have been mounted on either side of the dummy fuel tank to add to the VMAX’s muscular profile. This aggressive addition directs a strong flow of air straight into the new airbox (about twice the volume of the existing model). By delivering a strong supply of cool, fresh air, this new airbox is designed to maximise the significant performance gains associated with the new YCC-I system.
For reduced weight and a high quality finish, the clutch cover, AC magneto cover and drive shaft cover are all manufactured from a lightweight magnesium alloy.
Advanced-spec aluminium frame
The new VMAX is equipped with a completely new low-profile aluminium frame which has been designed to deliver high levels of handling performance.
The beautifully-finished black main frame spars arc forcefully across the top of the mighty V4 engine and down to the pivot in a semi-loop, accentuating the engine’s profile, and giving the new VMAX a bold, athletic and high-tech image.
Massive front forks extend this image and are like nothing else seen on any other machine. The 52 mm tubes offer excellent rigidity combined with smooth fork action – and benefit from an oxidised titanium coating that ensures increased surface hardness and friction-free operation.
Adjustable rear suspension keeps things in check
The 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.
The full adjustability of both the front and rear suspension systems is more commonly associated with supersport models, and allows the VMAX rider to optimise the ride quality on their machine for outstanding roadholding.
The braking system that has been 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 320 mm diameter wave-type discs are gripped by radial-mounted six-piston calipers for excellent stopping power. For superb feel, the master cylinder features a radial-type pump. The rear is equipped with a 298 mm wave-type disc slowed by a pin-slide type single-piston caliper.
The VMAX also relies on a newly-developed linear-controlled hydraulic ABS system designed to enhance braking control over a variety of road surfaces and in varying riding conditions.
For natural handling qualities, the VMAX is equipped with 18 inch front and rear wheels shod with specially-developed tyres that are designed to balance grip, shock absorption and roadholding. With a 120/70-R18 front and a chunky 200/50-R18 rear, the VMAX is able to lay down its awesome levels of power and torque like no other machine.
Yamaha’s VMAX is about muscle, pure muscle and nothing else. It is the equivalent of a V8 Hot Rod muscle car and with its latest incarnation this mighty beast is meatier than ever.