Thursday, April 15, 2010

Yamaha v-max

The sudden explosion of power as you wind the throttle back can only be likened to those fairground catapults that turn you into a human projectile. The rear's fat, the wheelbase is long and the bike carries its centre of gravity lower than a snake. Even with 123 ft lb of torque, you're likely to see a Wigan lift the Premiership title before you'll see the front wheel rise.
It's all about laying the power down with a knock-out rip of a punch. The engine's an all new 1679cc V4 with that massive torque punch and 197bhp at 9,000rpm. That's a lot of power - the same as Ducati's £42,000 Desmosedici RR - so expect the rubber to suck in cat's-eyes and spit them out behind like bitter lemon pips. You're also likely to need a couple of new rear tyres every year.

Nothing feels quite like this; it's ludicrous, hilarious ... and expensive. But let's pretend for a moment that you do have a spare sixteen grand burning a hole in your pocket, and that you do want a head-turning beast of a bike to administer your weekend shot of adrenalin, or make you laugh until your cheeks hurt, or massage your ego. If that's the case, the VMAX has been built especially for you.

Let's not pretend that the bike will carve through the countryside quite as successfully as it does a straight line. However, it is fairly capable, and more so than you'd expect given its sheer size. For slow speed work - even U-turns - the bike feels steady and the steering lock is fairly good.

It's ludicrous, hilarious... and expensive...

At a faster pace, you'll need to take command of the wide bars, work with the bike's natural balance and the VMAX will happily fall through bends, although keeping it leant over on rough surfaces at speed (which you will be) challenges the bike's suspension.

I hit a rut several times and felt my rear lose contact with the bike's. The obvious solution would be to slow down. But somehow that's never the most attractive course of action. So I hooked my knees under the 15-litre tank's protruding lips (the capacity of which suggests this bike's more suited to short, adrenalin packed mini trips than longer adventures) and took a more authoritative stance. If you can avoid pot holes and bumps, the bike handles well enough to explore the ample ground clearance before charging full steam ahead once more.

Speed - there I go again. Perhaps it would be best to join a 'run-what-you-brung' club because I can't see how on earth you could own a bike like this and not let it off the leash once in a while. The top speed's capped at 137mph, but you'll still get through a quarter-mile run with your head held high. Not only is it fast in a straight line, it's steady too and even waggling the bars does little to unsettle it.

At sometime, you may want to slow down, or dare I suggest, stop pummelling your internal organs. Thankfully the anchors do a respectable job of hauling the 310kg motorized monster to a standstill.

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