2009 Yamaha (Star) VMAX

T his time around, Yamaha aims to set a new standard in the “power cruiser” category. Just about everything on this bike is new. From the emboldening of the name from V-Max, to VMAX, everything has become bigger, fatter, stronger and faster. The engine has increased to 1679cc's, the front forks are now 52mm, and the weight has increased to 683lbs. Plentiful in new features as well like the YCC-I intake system, a radical new exhaust and Brembo calipers on 320mm discs up front can do but one thing. Raise the hair on the back of your neck. Brutally forward, this VMAX also has some refinements many riders will appreciate.

Photos and VIDEO at right .

MSRP: $17,990 base
197 HP
123 ft. lbs. Torque
683lbs. Dry weight
4 gal. tank

Full specs and review under ARTICLE tab above.

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Y amaha has produced a bit of a conundrum with their new 2009 VMAX Star motorcycle. Plentiful with features and upgrades, it promises to be better than ever, and yet, under the surface, there's something different.

It starts out with the obviously monstrous 65 degree, fuel injected, 1679cc V-four liquid cooled engine. The typical nature of a V-Four is to be the perfect engine in all circumstances. It has great power and torque anywhere in the rev range, and because of those large cylinders, can turn the crank with little regard to which gear you're in. Four valves per cylinder is typical performance stuff, and the 11.3:1 compression ratio is quite high for a cruiser. Hooked to this engine's ECU is the new Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake (YCC-I) which switches from a 150mm opening, to a 54mm opening, depending on how fast the engine is spinning. Taking its ignition directly off of the R1, the VMAX pumps all of its 197 horsepower through a race track, ramp-style hydraulic clutch. At this point, all of these wonderful acronyms stop making sense.

Mated to this amazing engine is a 5-speed transmission. On the one hand, it makes sense. With so much power, and 123 ft. lbs. of torque, and considering the fact it's categorized as a cruiser, Yamaha probably thought it doesn't need the 6th gear. On the other hand, the question remains. With a posted highway fuel economy rating of 27mpg, it would logically follow that a 6th gear could dramatically improve this.

With all that power, taller ratios can save a lot of fuel. Yamaha says the ratios in the 5-speed box are well matched to the engine's power curve, but with the red line set at 9,500rpm, even the most of conservative riders will be lifting the front wheel.

Then again, one doesn't ride this bike to be fuel efficient. With a 120/70 R18 Bridgestone Radial in the front, sprung on 52mm oxidized titanium forks, and a 200/50 R18 of the same type in the rear on a link-type Monocross piggyback setup, this bike is obviously not just set up for the long straights. Both the front and rear suspension are adjustable for compression, rebound and pre-load but the 30.5 inch seat height might prove to be too tall for some. A final drive going through a shaft, coupled with a chassis made almost exclusively of aluminum, machined or cast, aims for a solid ride. Side to side transitions are quick and nimble for such a squat motorcycle, and it does stay solidly planted on the tar, one or two wheels. Of course, a 683 lbs. dry weight will also dissuade some riders, but then again, would a sane rider mount this beast?

Absolutely! If you feel comfortable with the weight and height, this monster can be as docile as need be. The rider can choose how far to twist the wrist. With its Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle (YCC-T), a fly-by-wire system not totally dissimilar to the one that's been in use on the Apache gunship helicopter, the traditional feel is not much compromised.

2009 Yamaha-Star VMAX

2009 Yamaha-Star VMAX

The VMAX has been a menacing muscle bike since its 1984 debut. The engineers at Yamaha paused production for an entire year to make the 2009 meaner than ever.



2009 Yamaha-Star VMAX 2009 Yamaha-Star VMAX 2009 Yamaha-Star VMAX 2009 Yamaha-Star VMAX 2009 Yamaha-Star VMAX 2009 Yamaha-Star VMAX 2009 Yamaha-Star VMAX
2009 Yamaha-Star VMAX 2009 Yamaha-Star VMAX 2009 Yamaha-Star VMAX

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