Yamaha VMAX US Launch – Star V-Max: The Beast is Reborn

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s alive! Yes, the fire-breathing monster that made drag strips cringe some two decades ago has been reborn. That’s because for 2009 Star Motorcycles (Yamaha’s sister cruiser company) has come out with a revolutionary new V-Max.The new machine was launched on the bow of the historic USS Midway located in the harbor in San Diego, California. An aircraft carrier is all about horsepower, with some 100,000 ponies needed just to propel the piston that launches the aircraft off the deck. Thus, no more fitting of a place could have hosted the new king of power. Both fans of old and new will like the machine, as it stays true to the traditional nature of the original, while also incorporating loads of new technology.

Star did well to stick with the defining characteristics of the V-Max – like the power flow created by the huge trademark intakes running along it’s massive center section. Pumping out a claimed 197.4 hp and 123 lb.-ft. of torque is a 1679cc liquid-cooled V-Four. Yes, no you read that right – 200 hp in a cruiser! Combine that with a traditional upright riding position and the sense of straight-line speed from this new beast is sure to be second-to-none.

Sixteen valves, DOHCs, and a 90 x 66mm bore and stroke sit inside the gear and chain driven engine, which features lightweight technology throughout, including aluminum pistons. Like its sporting siblings the YZF-R6 and R1, the ‘Max uses the engine as a stressed member of the frame, as well as featuring Yamaha’s YCC-T chip-controlled fly-by-wire throttle mated to its YCC-I chip-controlled intake.

A five-speed transmission puts the power to the pavement, and is controlled via a hydraulically activated ramp-style slipper clutch, something the motorcycle world has only seen in sportbikes – until now. Shaft drive keeps things tidy and relatively maintenance free at the back end, while spent gasses are exited out a 4-1-2-4 exhaust system that features titanium mufflers. In the chassis department, Yamaha took more cues from the sportbike side of things, using a cast aluminum frame with a 52mm conventional cartridge fork that is oxidized with a titanium coating and is fully adjustable for preload, compression and rebound. Out back a fully adjustable single shock keeps everything in line.

Yet more from the sporting world sees two 320mm wave-type front brake rotors, a Brembo radial pump master cylinder, and radial mount Sumitomo 6-piston front brake calipers. Throw into the mix some ABS and I’m sure the average motorcycle rider will have no problems stopping the quite heavy 683-pound machine.

A host of carbon fiber accessories are already available through Star Motorcycles for the new bike, which is only going to be made in limited quantities for 2009 – 2500 to be exact. That’s less than two per dealer. A $1000 deposit is required to reserve your spot, and the order period is June 4 through October 31. Despite the hefty $17,990 MRSP, no doubt the V-Max will sell out, so you better get in line now. We’re definitely looking forward to throwing a leg over what looks to be the new acceleration king.

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