[Test Ride Review] “V-MAX 1680”; the Gentle Beast

  • 15/09/2016


A huge solid block of metal. That’s the impression I had for VMAX since it first launched in 1985 to 2009.
VMAX is a symbol of power that adopts totally new features for the cruiser category which are strongly admired by Americans. YAMAHA has tried to develop and modify it but this machine seems to have been difficult to handle.
Symbol of power, muscular features, strength and existence. Keywords for VMAX haven’t changed. But “motorcycle” features have dramatically changed. They reflect the technology that has developed in the past twenty years.
Come to think of it, VMAX was a “New Cruiser” that had power. It offered smooth comfortable performance and the beat of V4 engines at low speed and low rpm and great “acceleration” once the throttle was wide open. But at the same time, the bank angle was narrow at cornerings, frame and rear arm had low rigidity and the machine couldn’t cope with high speed cornering. The naked body was a catastrophe; it didn’t offer comfort nor riding stability.
But these are old quotes of the early 2009 VMAX. We mustn’t forget that those aspects were the fun and joy and unique characteristics of the VMAX before it was renewed. VMAX offered the thrill to “Ride with Skill” that other models have abandoned to offer.
The New VMAX offers up-to-date travelling performance. Although it weighs a massive 400kgs, once you’re on the machine, you won’t feel it at all. Even on the street, it feel so light you’ll be convinced that it’s a 1000cc class naked model. Up-to-date designs including position of center gravity, geometry of body design, characteristics of front/rear suspension, rigidity of frame and rear arm are aspects that have made this possible. It is the first machine I’ve ever seen that offers an impression entirely different from the actual weight. They’ve done a great job! (Photographs taken by: Mari Yamaguchi, Sachio Morinaga Written by: Hiroshi Nakamura)

The machine is powered by a 1680cc water-cooling V4 engine. The “V-Boost” that used to be mounted to overseas models has been removed and instead it is mounted with “YCC-I” Variable Air Funnel and “YCC-T” Electronic Throttle. It’s a giant that’s easy to handle.


The V-shape Four Cylinder Engine persists itself. Although the engine has been modified from 1200cc to 1680cc offering 40% increased engine capacity, V bank has decreased from 70 degrees to 65 degrees with only 27mm length extension on front and rear of the engine.


The position of the fuel cap hasn’t changed. The Japanese model is equipped with helmet holder with wire retention in this position. The red stitched high quality seat is relevant to those mounted to custom models.


It is equipped with the same shaft drive mounted to the former model. Due to the Magnesium Shaft cover, weight has been reduced from the rear section of the machine optimizing the design of the vehicle. Both front and rear wheels are mounted with 18 inch tire. The rear tire is 200mm wide with 50% aspect ratio.


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See Accessories for YAMAHA VMAX


The Japanese model has a blind cap riveted to the titanium short silencer. The exhaust with 4-2-1-2-4 layout has a sub chamber and is equipped bellow the body of the vehicle.

Engines for overseas models offer a maximum 200 horsepower. The Japanese model is 151 horsepower to correspond to the world’s most strict sound regulation and elimination regulations. Unfortunately I couldn’t test it out with maximum power, but felt that 151 horsepower was powerful enough. I wonder why they had to increase it? The power output when the throttle is slightly opened was surprisingly soft.
The most remarkable point of this machine would be its light acceleration. The V4 emits a beat but performs a smooth comfortable start. The body and suspension are not hard nor are they soft. The machine feels as though it’s diligently absorbing shocks due to prpper damping force.
I made a move and started from low gear and opened the throttle fully at 20km/h. And I felt it ! The onrush force. The feeling being left behind from the VMAX.
When it happened on the early VMAX, it felt like the vehicle was going to blow away, but on the New VMAX, the vehicle stays stable, the front hovers slightly, wheels don’t spin, the vehicle just warp drives. Power is totally different from the R1 and massiveness is totally different from the XJR.
Maintaining 5-speed it will offer 80km/h at 2700rpm, 100km/h at 3200 rpm, 120km/h at 4000rpm. Due to the limit control that operates at approximately 190km/h, you will never be able to discover the hidden strength of the VMAX.
When you corner at 150km/h at the test course, the narrow bank angle causes the footpeg to touch the ground. However, even in a situation like that, the machine is amazingly steady. VMAX used to be a “sub specie” of the cruiser category but has evolved during 25 years and has become a magnificent road sports model.
The great thing about it is that old fans can recognize the New VMAX as VMAX. VMAX is one of YAMAHA’s treasures and it has evolved with features that satifies everyone. (Photographs taken by Mari Yamaguchi, Sachio Morinaga Written by: Hiroshi Nakamura)


The dynamic fully adjustable regular front fork is Φ52mm and is extremely wide . Brakes are equipped with ABS and feature Φ320mm rotor and 6 piston monoblock caliper.


Meters are equipped with analog tachometers that combine digital speed display. A flash lamp that flashes when it reaches the rpm it is set to flash is standardly installed above the meter; a shift indicator that can be set up optionally.



Original Source [Autoby](*Japanese)



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