Raw power butting heads… Which hyper street bike will come out on top when the Star VMAX and Suzuki B-King tussle.
The Road of Excess
Poet William Blake famously wrote “the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.” It’s exactly the type of esoteric phrase you’d expect a college English professor to pick as essay question for final exam. And the road of excess… It’s certainly an apt description, in a wholly vulgar way, of Motorcycle USA’s recent comparison test of the Suzuki B-King and Star VMAX.
As for the palace of wisdom? The quote only half applies, because the typical behavior aboard these two renegade street bikes is anything but wise. I know riding the freakishly powerful street bikes devolved my brain from human, way past monkey, to somewhere in the lizard realm where all I understood was base lust for throttle and blurred peripheral vision. I still fumble through my wallet on occasion to confirm a valid driver’s license indeed exists.
“They both force you to break the law,” agrees MCUSA Executive Editor and fellow test rider, Steve Atlas. “There’s no two ways around it.”
Motorcycle USA sourced the B-King and VMAX for an unconventional comparison test and we all put our driving records on the line – in the name of objective journalism… and some fun. But first let’s get the PR dreck out of the way: Unmatched performance, near 200 horsepower, two of the fastest street bikes in production – in existence! These two machines were much-ballyhooed before their actual street debuts, with Yamaha and Suzuki both teasing the public with concept versions of the hulking motorcycles years before finally releasing the B-King as a 2008 model and the Star VMAX as a limited-production 2009 machine.
Bombarded by the media hype, some it our very own, it’s refreshing to discover the VMAX and B-King are real-life motorcycles… legal for the public road no less! And it doesn’t take long in the saddle to realize the VMAX and B-King are very different vessels reaching the same extreme end.
First is the B-King: a gigantic streetfighter harnessing the sportbike Hayabusa Inline-Four. Second the VMAX: Yamaha’s long-lost street king, the ultimate power cruiser reinvented and rebranded under the marque’s Star Motorcycles moniker. The differences are significant: V-Four versus Inline-Four, shaft drive versus chain drive…
But while different, both the VMAX and B-King are natural rivals as the most outrageous performance street bikes on the American roadways. So Motorcycle USA jumped into testing with all the bravado required to keep up with the hyper duo. Along with the requisite weight scales and dyno runs, we also took these bikes to Honda’s Mojave Desert proving grounds for quarter-mile performance testing.
And, of course, we pounded the Southern California pavement with some exhilarating street rides on that road of excess.