A couple of years ago I sold my second V Max, right now I wish I had it back. Everyone knows what the V Max is, it’s a 20 year old model, sold by Yamaha every year with brand new paint. It’s been out so long they even repeat the colors they offer. There were almost no changes over the years, slightly larger fork tubes and very minor carb changes, other than that, it’s a 20 year old bike you can still buy brand new. Constant rumors about a new V Max are heard year after year, every year it’s the same old Max.
One of the reasons I bought my first V Max was an article in the August 1988 Cycle World magazine about Mad Max, a highly modified bike built by Paul Civitello. He converted to chain drive, custom built a set of 4 into 1 pipes, put a big rear tire on it and was down in the nines in the quarter mile. Cycle World had earlier taken a stock Max, put on what was then a brand new Kerker pipe, laced up some custom wheels and also ran in the nines. Back then, that was unbelieveable.
When the V Max first came out, the rear tire was pretty big for it’s day, these days it’s almost ridiculously small. Unfortunately, to fix that has required a lot of work, converting to chain drive, which was REALLY a lot of work, but then the Max looked right. Of all of the bikes over the years that deserve a fat rear tire, Mr Max deserves it more than any. It is simply the perfect bike for those huge rears the chopper guys use.
Well, Paul Civitello now offers a fat rear tire kit that uses shaft drive and according to his site, can be installed in about an hour. It will accept up to a 300 rear tire. If I still had my Max I’d be on the phone right now. They just look right. Nope, won’t carve any corners although it will run rings around the choppers out there and it will kick their butt in any quarter mile confrontation. Paul offers a lot of other modification kits, too, chain drive, belt drive, supercharger, etc. Gotta love it.
I often wonder why Yamaha hasn’t done anything to the Max. Bigger engine, better running gear, freshen the design (but not too much) and they would have a winner for the next 20 years. You can probably tell, I like the V Max. If you’ve never ridden one, you really should. When the V boost kicks in, it’s a rush. Today’s sportbikes will beat it, no question about that, but Max does it different. And there is nothing, …NOTHING, that sounds like a Max with a good pipe! I’m grinning just thinking about it. It’s a sit up, wind in your face, V4 rumble, … it’s just right. Hat tip to Aaron for reminding me about Mad Max.
Be sure to check the current Vmax for sale listings.