Extensive marketing secured the “manly motorbike” image for Harley Davidson, but that’s ironic.
Bikers know this little Yamaha from 1985 was the hairy-chested monster of its day.
I found this gently worn V-max parked on lower Broadway.
Designed as a dragster, the V-MAX straight-line handling was just okay, like riding an upright piano with jet engines strapped to its sides.
In the corners this bike had a tendency to drift and wallow, and you can actually see the rear tire has squared off from modest cornering.
So it’s no canyon carver.
Mr. Max is pure power; eyeball flattening, heart racing, ohhh-fuck-ME-I’m gonna die terrifying power.
A huge 1200 cc engine, four cylinders, 16 valves (!) gives no pretense: this scoot is ruggedly bolted together and all about getting there first.
Yamaha used disc brakes front and rear-- two upfront in fact-- in the false hope of keeping this insanity under some control.
But whack open the throttle on this machine and you’ll see why the designers built a backstop into the seat, and used a passenger backrest as stock equipment.
It jammed 143 horsepower to the rear wheel with a shaft-drive, unlike conventional chain-driven superbikes.
The air scoops were fake.
They hid the horns.
The gas was actually under the seat to lower the center of gravity, so the gastank was fake, too.
A keyed entry flipped it up for hidden storage.
My old Beemer was the high-speed, gentleman’s express.
The Yamaha V-max is god Thor’s, blunted war machine.
Here he is kicking Ducati’s effete ass at about 1:12 in: