The Yamaha Star VMAX is here for 2010 and ready to lay down a smoking strip of rubber as long as Texas is wide.
When Adam Waheed called me up for a quick ride review on the Yamaha Star VMAX, I said, “Sure why not, I could use a nice cruise to relax.” Two days later I was at the MCUSA offices to pick up a red 2010 model. Adam told me all about his ride to the office on the VMAX making crazy screeching and engine noises while jumping around the shop using words like “insane,” “un-friggin-believable,” and “oh my god, dude!” in his usual frenetic and excited demeanor. Ok, Heedy, so it’s quick for a cruiser, but let’s not get carried away here. I figured it must have been a while since he has been on a ‘Busa or ZX14. As I pulled away from the office I decided to see what Adam was so excited about; I wacked the fly-by-wire throttle to the stop and – “OH MY GOD, DUDE!”
Let’s get straight to the point. This bike is fast, brutally fast. The 1679cc V-Four mill pumps out a rear tire destroying 197 horsepower and 122 lb-ft of torque. Once the adrenaline high wears off from that first crack of the throttle, riding the VMAX becomes an exercise in responsibility and restraint. It’s like riding a loaded gun. Be careful where you point it, and when you pull the trigger, you had better mean it. The VMAX makes the longest straight on your favorite mountain roads ridiculously short, brings far way objects near in short order, and basically blurs space and time.
The hulking VMAX muscle cruiser engine draws your attention with its stealth black color and aluminum accents.
Although the engine is by far the standout feature on the Max, the chassis is also impressive. The brakes are just as strong as the engine. A Brembo radial-pump master cylinder mated to 6-piston calipers grab dual 320mm front rotors, while out back a single pot caliper goes to work on a 298mm rotor when your right wrist has bitten of a little too much. Brake feel is strong and progressive, and the ABS doesn’t kick in until it’s absolutely needed.
Bending into the corners the 685 lbs of the VMAX become apparent. Turn-in is a bit heavy feeling, but once leaned over the sled holds a line with no sign of flex or wallow. The suspension is balanced and compliant when the road gets less than ideal. The neutral upright riding position is comfortable and will feel familiar to cruiser and sport bike riders alike.
It may take a bit of time to get used to riding with the huge air intakes but you’ll forget about that when you twist the throttle.
It’s difficult to find any faults with this bike, and if I had to nitpick I would have only a few gripes. The beautifully sculpted aluminum air ducts that supply the air to stoke the VMax’s fire hit me right in above the knees on the inside of my legs. I like to squeeze and push a bike around with my knees, so I noticed this immediately. Your riding style most likely differs from my MX derived habits, so I doubt it will be an issue for many. The super cool info display is too low to be useful most of the time, as you have to take your attention from the road to see what’s happening on the small LCD screen. The VMax is also very thirsty. The 4 gallon fuel tank will only get you around 100 miles at a time under the best circumstances. I experienced a blinking empty warning after just 77 miles. None of this matters, however, when you can lay down a smoking strip of rubber as long as Texas is wide any time you get the urge.
The VMAX carries a unique style that will appeal to those looking for a bike that will
stand out from a crowd and lay down the power to draw that crowd to you.
The Yamaha Star VMax is one of the most unique and extreme motorcycles ever offered from a Japanese motorcycle manufacturer. For the 2010 model year the VMax is a special order model, and the order period ends at the end of November, not a lot of time left to get your hands on this awesome piece of heavy artillery.