Now we’ve seen the new Vmax, or at least some early design ideas. Yamaha still needs feedback so I thought I would send some their way. Yamaha, are you taking notes?
Memo to Yamaha:
The Vmax, when first introduced, was a knock down, take no prisoners muscle bike, and everyone knew it. Those days are long past. A lot of current sportbikes will kick sand in the face of Mr. Max and feel no fear, he’s a little slow and stiff. So if you’re going to reintroduce him, what do you do?
The Vmax was never intended to be a corner carver, it’s a straight line point and shoot weapon that sounds like nothing else (with proper pipes) and with v-boost it gave you that rush at 6,000rpm that felt like all hell was breaking loose. Loads of fun! I know, I’ve owned two. Don’t try to be all things to all riders, there are a small number of Vmax devotees who will buy one as soon as they’re available plus new initiates who want the same experience in terms even a current rider can understand and that takes horsepower, brutal horsepower plus the sound of a V4 with a great set of cams. So here are a few ideas:
The rear tire on the concept at 200/50R18 is getting there but we could go a bit wider. Forget curves, we’re talking straight lines here, we need rubber to harness horsepower.
Dump the shaft drive. A swingarm with a good chain is lighter and gives owners more flexibility for wider wheels and long swingarms for drag racing. Conversions from shaft drive are a lot of work. Look at some of the best customs Vmax fans have built over the last 20 years, lots of chain drive.
Carbs are long out of date so the old v-boost setup is passe but how about supercharging? Blowers give street cred like few things can. A turbo could work, too, but a supercharger does away with lag and just has that badass look and sound that sets it apart. Those scoops could serve a real purpose!
Forget the Yamaha saddlebags and windshields. Build a line of factory drag accessories like extended swingarms, special cams, big bore kits, wheelie bars, that sort of thing. Maybe if the supercharger is too radical for the standard machine, offer it as a factory speed part.
Push the envelope. The Vmax was crazy when it first came out and lasted a long time, be crazy again. Cosmetic updates will disappoint everyone unless the machine means business, don’t ruin a great name. You don’t need a practical road cruiser, Yamaha has lots of high volume road bikes, this is a special purpose halo machine, make the name mean something again. Introduce a new generation of riders to the mean and nasty Mr Max!
Be sure to check the current Vmax for sale listings.