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2008 Suzuki B-King vs 2009 Star VMAX Conclusion

Friday, March 27, 2009

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe... Forget objective stats and spec sheets. In this comparison we'll stick with pure rider opinion.
A straight head-to-head comparison helps reveals the flaws and niggles that might otherwise be overlooked and this test of the VMAX and B-King was no different. Unlike other comparison tests, like the superbike or supersport classes for example, there is not enough across the board similarities to conclude a definitive best. The VMAX and B-King exhibit such different routes to motor hooliganism that we’ll leave the final verdict up to the simple tribunal opinion of our Motorcycle USA test riders.

Steve Atlas – Executive Editor: 

Both awesome motorcycles! For cruising around town and cracking the throttle open and spinnin’ the rear tire to put a smile on your face – it’s hard to argue with the VMAX. It’s definitely the fastest motorcycle on the street from 0-100mph.

The riding position of the VMAX has the rider squatting on his heels  which works great for stockier riders but might strain the knees of the long-legged.
It's not a clean sweep for the B-King, as Adam couldn't resist the VMAX acceleration. "It's just so fast!" You're right, Adam, you're absolutely right - it is fast.
But if I had to pick one? I’d pick the BKing. Considering how big it is and how fast it is, it’s still very nimble. The wide bars make for good leverage. It handles well, good feedback from the tires... Overall as a package I just like the feel of the B-King.

Adam Waheed – Road Test Editor:

For me personally Id pick the VMAX. It’s kinda cruiserish but it goes so fast and still gets down in the corners. It’s got a really long wheelbase, so it’s not as nimble and not as agile as the B-King, but it’s got so much power and it’s so comfortable and there’s really no other bike like the VMAX. Where the B-King… it’s a niche motorcycle but there’s still other bikes that are kinda similar to it. The VMAX is an original - there’s no other motorcycle you can buy like it. So for me it’s without question: I’d pop the 18 grand for the VMAX. I love it.

Bart Madson – Managing Editor:

These two bikes are like the Yin and Yang of street bike overindulgence. Choosing a winner is akin to choosing your poison, as both bikes will put even the most docile rider in legal jeopardy. The drastic personality differences of each machine make the bike choose you on this one. Straight-line acceleration and rubber-laying burnouts your cup of tea? Then the sinful clutches of the VMAX won’t let you go.

Fast in a straight line or fast in the corners? The B-King may come out on top 2-1 with our three test riders, but we certainly don't consider the VMAX a loser.

For my tastes, however, I liked the sporty handling of the B-King. The Suzuki mount delivers the ridiculous power of its Hayabusa cousin, but I much preferred the higher handlebar and more standard riding position. A wheelie monster in the hands of hooligans like Steve and Adam, even your mom, who hates that you ride motorcycles, would be inspired to thwack open the throttle. Solid brakes, compliant chassis, more practical power delivery, not to mention a near doubling of the VMAX’s sub-100-mile range! The VMAX may score an edge in my style book, but I tap out the B-King as my comparison winner without regret.

There you have it, a slight nod to the B-King due to our test rider’s partial tastes, but I can’t imagine anyone would feel like they’re riding a loser aboard the VMAX. In truth, both motorcycles are sure to rouse their riders to the road of excess.

Good luck with the palace of wisdom thing…

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2008 Suzuki B-King vs. 2009 Star VMAX
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Jonsey56   June 16, 2012 10:10 PM
Great article, i just bought a bking, love it, have had an 85 vmax for a while its cool too, for me the versatile do it all nature of the bking is awesome, dragstrip power and still very competent and confidence inspiring iin the twisties, all day comfort and a hooligans dream. The vmax has some of my biggest pet peeves and i mean the new one im not comparing the 2008 bking to the 85 max. Inadequate cornering clearance is a deal breaker in itself, i seldom get a bike that i dont change gearing on at least a little, a shafty should at least have overdrive( espescially for 17 grand) The max is awful long with less cornering clearance and the shaft effect would sure limit fun in the twisties, not to mention the extra weight, the vmax is awesome in the few things its good at but, the sheer versatility of the bking makes it an awesome deal for people who need a one bike does it all, stunters, drag racers, commuters, sport bike twistie road enthusiasts are gonna be hard pressed to find a better do it all at a good price than the bking, massive power and nimble handling is what its all about for me. I dont dislike the max at all if i were rich i'd probably have one also but a guy can do it all on the bking for a lot less .
Glen   July 8, 2011 08:29 AM
V- maximillion -max rider; Even insinuating that Vmax is even close to a Hayabusa is just wrong. Also if you really owned one you wouldn't disagree with that fact that the bike is dangerous to ride let alone difficult to handle on the street. As a owner and racer of a 2009 VMX17 I agree especially with "Mike Buyer Beware" post. This was not my first Vmax but it will be my last.
deli oglan -b-king is betaalbaar v-max zwaarder  January 17, 2011 07:00 PM
b king is een snelle fiets komt door inch kleiner is zelfde pk bijna ,
maar voorkant kan wel beter kies voor b-king kan wel sneller wenbaar zijn met alle mogelijkheden,,,groeyjes
V- maximillion -max rider  January 13, 2011 06:09 PM
The new Vmax is still in a class of its own and still being manufactured. I own one and rode a 06 busa to trade in on my new V max and I have never experienced anything like the raw power of Vmax. Most detractors of Vmax can,t afford one but would have one if possible.
Brian -RE:Vmax'r - jon your shifting problem  December 28, 2010 05:13 PM
Hey, Vmax'r is that name your vanity plate letters?

Anyway the gear damper on the max works fairly well as long as you don't push the bike. Shafts have been braking a lot at the track but if you got the bread for a generation two you don't mind paying the dues. Just hope the fly-by-wire setup doesn't fail. Even Star(Yamaha) admits in the Vmax's first recall that "the ENGINE IDLE SPEED may become SUSPENDED around 3000rpm WHILE RIDING, even if the THROTTLE TWIST GRIP is RELEASED".

Be safe.
Vmax'r -jon your shifting problem  November 18, 2010 12:47 PM
jon, our bike's have what is called a gear damper setup on the driveshaft like other shaft drive models. Unfortunity the vmax's design of this is inherently defective and can't be fixed. Also you really can't say this any other way, but shaft drive is great on a goldwing, not on a drag racer.
Jon -Shifting  November 13, 2010 07:58 AM
There's something really wrong with the trans and drive shaft. There is lots of slop when shifting from first to second, and then from second to third. This makes take offs at a intersection slower then most bikes. You practically get run over by the guy behind you as you try to make a left-turn at a light because of the shifting delay. The dealer told me this was "Normal for a Shaft drive bike". There goes calling this thing a cruiser! Also this bike over heats easy. Just sit at a long light a watch the gauge climb higher and higher till you start to smell the thing overheating. After the smoke a mirrors wore off I was stuck with a bike that I traded-in with a little over 3000 miles on it.
rich harger -2010 vmax  October 20, 2010 08:35 AM
Just broke the 600 mile mark, sh*t, hold on! Have had several other bikes, that had power, but not like MR MAX. Harley, where you at???
Mike -Buyer Beware  September 28, 2010 05:25 PM
I own a 2010 VMX17 and I urge you not to buy this motorcycle. With more years on more motorcycles then most men have been married, I can truly say this bike is the most unsafe motorcycle I've ever ridden. Rake and rider position make a lethal cocktail if you try to race this bike other then in a strait line. The wide aftermarket tire from Yamaha only amplifies this to its dangerous climax...death. It's to hard to turn at slow speeds even with the stock tire. The stock suspension is too hard as well as it's close gear ratio transmission makes this so called "cruiser" more of a tiring workout then a fun ride. Imagine shifting 4 times before 35mph as you bounce all over the place not being able to turn even slow safely.
Harley Rider -25% lighter...yep that's a fair.  July 23, 2010 12:08 PM
.4 tenths of a second faster and 120+ lbs. lighter???? Maybe you should compare the B-King with a passenger on it to even up the odds.
Adi - where to get spear parts to suzuki B-king in Dubai  May 3, 2010 12:48 PM
Hey guys, where can i get this parts from Dubai! if anyone knows.. BAR, FRONT FOOTREST RH 43511-44G10 LEVER ASSY, CLUTCH 57500-23H00 Sliders and engine guards for B-KING Suzuki 2008 cheers
BadMax -Mr.  March 31, 2010 11:29 AM
Yamaha always misses somthing on the max. This time its weighing-in at 700 pounds, the shaft drive and the weeinie 200 series tire. Send it to MAD MAX up in Connecticut, then you'll have the 570 pound, chain driven, fat tire ride Yamaha should have built to start with.
Rashid -is it danger??  December 16, 2009 09:33 AM
hello, im beginner and i just took riding lessons.
Is it dangerous to buy the VMax? Im very careful and i dont speed or do stupid thing... im really worry as some people adviced me not to buy and 50% told me that i wont have any problems.
I live in Dubai and i would love to use the bike when i go to work.
I really appreicate the feedback. my email dubaiheadhunting@hotmail.com
Thank you.

Bill -Old verses New  September 21, 2009 11:02 PM
I'd like to see a comparison test between the new vmax and any one of the many original vmaxes that have been modified for performance on the road. My 86' vmax has a 1260 kit, with numerous engine, clutch, tranny & frame mods and wide 17" rear tire. It's a daily rider - street legal and when first modified ran a 10.3 quarter mile near sea level with a 150lb rider aboard. Rear wheel HP on the dyno is 144 with 91 lb's of torque.
It's no sportbike in the corners, but holds it's own in a straight line. Even pulled my friends Busa and my son's RR1000 in normal street riding. Left them banging down in the gears looking for rpm while I rode away. You can't beat a vmax in a 60mph high gear rollon.
DeeLuxx -B-King  September 1, 2009 02:10 PM
Always wondered what that Hayabusa power felt like....started snooping around for a used Busa....then a Suzuki dealer near my home town accepted a $9000 offer on a black B-King. WOW is all I can say...this thing does it all. What a HOOT! Will it be a classic?
Don't know and at this point, don't care...this thing was meant to be ridden and enjoyed to the MAX! Thanks, Suzuki!
Yasser Alian -V-Max  August 2, 2009 12:09 PM
I paid EGP 10 grand as down payment for a 2010 V-max. The V-max is a unique bike in a class of it's own..... The B-king is a very normal stipped sport bike with normal ergonomics. There are no race tracks in Egypt and I ride my bike in the streets on a 100% basis. My X-bikes were a Honda Gold Wing, Kawasaki Ninja ZX11, Kawasaki Vulcan 2053cc, and some other smaller bikes. My next station is the V-max..... Please no one stop me.
Jack inthekeys -Vmaz Vs B-King  June 30, 2009 08:00 PM
My buddy and I just picked up new B Kings that were discounted to under 8K in central Florida. We picked em up and rode em home by a laughably indirect route that totalled over 500 miles. Everything they say is true. Comfortable, great handling bike, with excellent brakes, very good fit and finish, and power that is like nothing else outside of a race track. We observed the break-in limit of 5000rpm for the first 500 miles. Impressive power even at half the rev limit. Then we ran em up to 7500 rpm. Good God Almighty. Don't know if I'll ever run this dragon up to the 10500 limit. Not sure I'd stay in this dimension much less on the seat. Thanks to Suzuki for making this bike so funny looking that American style slaves left it on the showroom floor for us value/performance buyers to scavenge. Looks don't matter much; I can't see it when I'm on it and other bikers have a hard time making it out since it's so blurry going by so fast.
HiyoBusa -Zero to 100  June 28, 2009 03:38 PM
– it’s hard to argue with the VMAX. It’s definitely the fastest motorcycle on the street from 0-100mph. Both the Busa and the B-King would skin it to 100.
tecumseh -v max  June 12, 2009 09:50 PM
If you have followed the v max evolution you would be aware that they started out with 295 h.p. and detuned it 5 times before producing the current version. My guess is they will address any short comings the current max has and up the hp to put it over the top. I would like to see it under 600 lbs with fuel and a chain drive and 225 at the rear wheel. Voila! max is king again. I own a 89 that is fast enuff for me.
Xavier6162 -...and the winner is?  June 12, 2009 12:58 PM
....so....I guess this means that the B-King is the better bike. Well I'm gonna go shopping this weekend.
brpo -Doctor E confused...  June 2, 2009 10:17 AM
Brutale??? Fast Bike yes!!! Better than the King please. My understanding is that the engine will melt if you leave it running in driveway during the summer... Your right about it being a motorcycle to be run on the track - truth is if you got caught in traffic it would cook your balls to well done in no time. You could use the seat to cook jiffy pop pop corn - with all the heat and vibration. And all this for 26 K... Save $15 K and buy a B-King - I you want to cook popcorn spend another $50 and buy a coleman stove!
brpo -B-King - Best motorcycle  June 2, 2009 09:45 AM
I've never bought a motorcycle that I've worried about replacing. As soon as I buy one bike I already have my eye on another - not with the B King - still haven't see another bike that could replace it. I love twisting the throttle on this thing! It's an outrageously fun and fast motorcycle without the sportsbike ergonomics... The B King is as fast as any bike stoplight to stoplight and with a simple tweak can do 181 mph wide open!!! What more do you want?
Gazza1340 -VMAX v B-King  May 9, 2009 03:31 PM
Nice test gentlemen.I bought a B-King month ago. I have NEVER ridden a motorcycle like it,I simply had to have one. It it is a bargain (they're selling a white one in the UK for 2009 alongside the silver or black versions.For you doubters and armchair internet pundits, go out and try one, you will fall in love. I tried the VMAX too before buying, on the same day. It too is genuinely awesome and deserves to sell zillions and be a classic. But the B-King cost half the price in the UK.... And forget the bickering about the looks. Both manufacturers deserve praise for building bikes like these. We should be glad we are still able to buy them. A BHP legislated limit will come (in France there's a 100bhp limit for bikes), gas is running out and you can bet high-performance bikers will be low on the list of preferred purchasers when the oil starts running out. We are lucky to be living in a golden era or biking tech/performance. So, enjoy it. Ride every bike you can, when you can, as hard as you can...we can't do it forever.
hardcore -No Thanks  May 1, 2009 11:33 AM
$17,999 MSRP, 23 mpg and how much does it weigh? NO THANKS!
Ben -B-Kong...best riding motorcycle I have owned or ridden since 1965  April 28, 2009 03:58 PM
Rode many bikes. Owned VTwins, VFours but this 2008 B-Kong is the best riding bike I have every twisted a throttle on. Bike wants to turn...loves to turn. Wants to accelerate. Smooth and fast. . Ridiculous, sick power but smooth as an electric golf cart at low RPMs thanks to the computer. . But, as RPMs increase power is so smooth that you can't believe what you read about this being a fast sicko ride....until above about 6K RPM the computer forgets about keeping your butt safe in some parking lot and Kong pulls so hard your arms are in danger of leaving their sockets... better be hanging on and pointed toward the correct compass heading! . As time slips are showing this Bad Zook can outrun any stock bike in the 1/8 mile and most in the 1/4. . It is not a beginners bike...nor is the VMax. Max is heavier cruiser, has more HP/Torque but B-Kong has Zook's sport bike technology in its ancestry and is a better all around performer at discount prices. . B-King style can be made more palatable with Yoshi exhaust cans/tail light kit and bar-end mirrors. I think VMax has Boss Hoss syndrome...too heavy even for all that power. Can't get the power to the road. Max gets lousy mileage and is overpriced... but many Starry Eyed Max riders don't care. FZ1 is a better comparison to B-King as Ahmed pointed out.
Popitup -Brutale V BKing  April 20, 2009 11:41 AM
Dude, I think DoctorE meant at a track like around a circuit kind of flogging not a drag. Maybe Motorcycle USA can solve this little disagreement? My personal opinion is who cares about the track when your at a set of lights on a steetbike. Sorry Doc, bottom line is you'll lose.
Chris -Brutale who???  April 20, 2009 01:29 AM
Proof is in the pudding big mouth. 9.9 at the quarter out of the crate. You can reply when you can back up your claims . Probably never... Check out motoaus.com- Suzuki Bking ridden, raced ,reviewed.
DoctorE -Brutale vs B-king  April 14, 2009 06:43 PM
The b-king would be lucky to pull a 12 second 40-120 mph 3 second behind the Brutale. At the track it would the b-king may look good when comparing it to a crusier, but would get eaten alive by the Brutale. Funny they stop making the b-king, must be a great bike.
Chris -Hail the King  April 11, 2009 04:29 PM
I own a B King. Maybe that makes me biased but holy *#!@ its a great ride. Lightening speed and great handling. Being discontinued means I'm one of the lucky ones! Can't wait to put some Yoshis on it. Smack down that Brutale any day...
DoctorE -Brutale 1078RR  April 3, 2009 04:05 PM
I wish this comparison would have included the Brutale 1078RR. Motorcycle Daily said "The Suzuki B-King might get the upper hand in a drag race due to the fact that it can keep its front wheel better planted to the tarmac in the first three gears, but for thrills and the feel of raw power the Brutale 1078RR wins hands down." The 1078RR did the 40-120 MPH roll-on in the low 9 second, neither of these bikes could touch that.(the Ducati Desmosedici takes over 12 seconds) Last the Brutale would eat both of these bikes on the track.
BlazinBruce -Terminology  April 2, 2009 10:05 PM
Got to get your gearing straight: from your description, the Vmax has the lower gearing [w/ resulting lower top speed, & too much wheel spin] while the B-King [remember when the concept was turbocharged, & SuziQ called it the "Boost King?" Sigh...] has the higher aka "taller" gearing , netting it the win for the top speed crown. Sorry if you feel my way is backward, but it's the way gearing has been described for the past 100 or so years of automotive history, so you might want to get on board...
Original V-Max Owner -V-Max Vs B-King  March 31, 2009 01:05 PM
It's nice that the new V-Max has nearly 200HP, but its weight seriously detracts from my interest in it. I bought an '85 new and road it in the SF Bay Area for three months before I saw another one. The new version is much heavier than the original, and that one was no light-weight! Regarding then and now, 10-second runs were achieved in 1985 in various magazines, and in 1985 the original V-Max was king of the road until 1986/87 when the Suzuki GSX1100 and GS1150 were introduced. I remember tests wherein the GSX matched the V-max in 1/4-mile and top speed, and another test by Pee-Wee Gleason himself riding a GS1150 to a quicker 1/4-mile than the Max at the now defunct Fremont drag strip (10.30 sec. or so as I recall). He expressed some surprise at the result!! I subsequently bought a GS1150 and from personal experience, I can say it was every bit as quick as the V-Max, and it had equal grunt. Yes the V-Boost feature was entertaining, but I've grown tired of the constant hype that magazines continue to yammer on about. This new V-Max continues to get even more hype--Come on guys, it isn't even the hottest thing in its debut year like the original was!! Let's compare its performance to the potential of the new BMW K1300S (haven't seen a test yet)--weight 560 lbs. wet, 220-lb. rider (me), 175 crank-HP or 149 HP RWHP with similar 15% loss to shaft, or about 5.2 lbs./HP. V-Max--700 lbs. wet, rider 220-lb., 165 RWHP, or about 5.6 lbs./HP. The new V-Max is nice but for me it misses the mark.
x2468 -shaft drive  March 30, 2009 10:47 PM
the more i think about the Vmax, the more I question why yamaha would put a shaft drive on this bike. I chain drive would have lower weight and added rear wheel horsepower. plus, it would have allowed you to change the gearing. the reason the Vmax was slower in the quarter mile was rear tire spin, and one of it's other negatives was the (relatively) low top speed. a higher (or lower if we're going with MCUSA talk) gearing would have solved both of those, allowing more power to the ground and a higher top speed. ------------------ you think it would be possible to put a chain drive on these things?
Chris -I'm confused  March 30, 2009 04:00 PM
I've been waiting for this article for a while, well done. But let me get this straight. . . the BKing is faster through the quarter, has a higher top speed, weighs 100+ lbs less & handles better yet Adam picked the VMax! What the F?
x2468 -gearing  March 29, 2009 05:31 PM
i was a little confused by the gearing terminology too. for me "high" gearing ment one that resulted in a higher top speed, and vice versa for "low" gearing. it's just easier to use in conversation. I've never seen someone do it the opposite way. also why does each page of this shootout have it's own set of comments? they should be combined. as for the test, great stuff once again. They are very different bikes once you look closer. maybe a Vmax vs. M109R vs. V-rod vs. triumph rocket would be more appropriate? but then the cruiser guys would say the Vmax is not a cruiser because it has rear-sets? either way, it's a sick bike. if i were to choose a cruiser style bike, it'd be the one. But i'm not a big fan of the double rear suspension. why bring that back from the dead? it's 2009!!!! a cool thing about the B-King tho. if you want more power, add a turbo charger. there are tons out there for the hayabusa. you can get 600hp in short order. but is it true the B-king is discontinued? i hope not, hopefully they just discontinued the name B-kind, because it's stupid
GaryB -Vmax vs B-King  March 28, 2009 03:42 PM
Gearing terminology is strange to compute, but here goes for the confused. "High" gearing means its numerically higher and "low" gearing means its numerically lower. What all that means basically is a high numerical gear is great for low-end power but no speed, while a low gear is good for high speed(if the power is there for it)and also good mileage due to the "lower" rpms it would turn on the highway. High gears doesn't mean high speed as low gear doesn't mean low speed. Its the opposite.
Crack181 -What it should have been.....  March 28, 2009 05:03 AM
Pit the Max against the Rocket III and the Vrod muscle .......muscle cruisers should be biting each other's heels ..... not big nakeds like the King B.
gsxrwolf -B-King vs VMax  March 27, 2009 09:38 PM
Can't wait to lay a licking on a new VMax with my 1986 GSXR1100. I've had the GSXR since new. I remember back in 1986 we used to get my buddy to take on the VMax's with his GSXR750. He never lost to a VMax with his 750 even racing at the drag strip against an experienced racer who had wheelie bars on his VMax. Too funny! Lose some weight porky VMax! Maybe dump about a hundred pounds and mount a 360 rear tire so you can get some traction.
Jasper56 -B-King is discontinued!!!  March 27, 2009 04:23 PM
Why no mention that the B-King was dropped from Suzuki’s model line before the end of 2008? A four page article for a shootout with a discontinued model seems like a waste of time. This bike has been dropped for months, probably before this comparison was done. Well, at least you guys got a test done on the new V-Max before it gets dropped form Yamaha’s model line.
Desmolicious -The real collector's bike?  March 27, 2009 09:55 AM
Seeing that the B-King is already no longer made due to poor sales (only 2008 model year), it will be the collector's bike in the future, not the Vmax. As for which one I would pick? Vmax...
Riverside seat -Gearing  March 27, 2009 09:27 AM
I'm a little confused by your description of the gearing on these two bikes. You state "high final drive gearing of the five-speed Max...VMAX maxing near a paltry 140mph" and "The B-King is geared much lower than its Star competitor, which reaches its limits below 140 mph. Geared higher than its Hayabusa kin, the King won’t reach the manufacturer gentlemen’s agreement of 186 mph". Wouldn't a high final drive net a higher top speed and a low final drive net quicker acceleration? But i guess it doesn't matter how you've said it. We get the point from the rext of the report.
Ahmed -Vmax Vs B-King  March 27, 2009 05:07 AM
As a Vmax owner of both Generations. You of course know where my heart is. I love the views of the gentlemen in this article, I think they were spot on. My only comment that gave the B-King its edge is this. It’s a BUSA engine in a sportbike-ish frame minus the fairing and a (little) mild adjustments. So to me again its Sport bike vs. Vmax!!! It reminds me of the old 86 war of V-max vs. GSR1100 when just so happens to a rare due that a long time friend of mine and I have had a chase to make happen as he old an 86 GSR1000 We know that the Vmax has ALWAYS been its own cup of tea (oh yeah there was the Honda V-65 Sabre, and Kawi Eliminator). It trips me out when I see everyone trying to compare Apples to Oranges. Yes the B-king to some would be called a Naked (but a naked what?), then if that’s the case the B-King’s rival is the FZ-1 right? If you were to do a Cruiser-ish comparison then would it not be the Star Vmax (excuse me MR. Muscle-Cruiser/ Power-Cruiser) Muscle Bike vs. the Suzuki M109R??? Are they not closer to the same family? Then the case would be the V-twin vs. the V4...blah blah blah Again a great article, but like it was even stated...Two different bikes two different ways to get to the same results. We just meet in the streets at the light. look at each other - give each other their nods and...let er rip! One final note. The friend I spoke of earlier is a Suzuki-man and he loves both of my maxes, but he is looking at the B-King right now….let the smack talk and smack down begin.