Isn’t it funny that the quintessential American muscle bike was built in Japan? Yamaha, back in 1985, first unleashed the Vmax on the streets of the USA and it looked and sounded like nothing else. The air scoops on the sides weren’t functional, the tach was far too small, but no one cared, because the sound of the engine, especially when properly piped, was everything you wanted, and a whole lot more. The V-Boost system gave you a grin inducing kick in the pants under hard acceleration when butterfly valves opened in the intake manifold and all was right with the world, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be made better.
Aftermarket tuners soon began to address some shortcomings in the original factory offering and this 2001 model, has had most everything done that an owner could want. Power comes from a PCW Racing 1604cc Long Rod engine that delivers 202 horsepower to the rear wheel. The front end has been raked to 33 degrees for high speed stability on the drag strip or for anytime you twist the throttle for more than a second or two. There’s an airshift system set up for full throttle, no clutch upshifts, Koso instruments including a huge tach and, of course, nitrous. The original shaft drive and odd sized rear wheel and tire combination have been replaced with a proper chain drive mounting a tire and wheel better suited to the real world of high horsepower. And then there’s an exhaust system that will deliver that small block sound like no other, it’s a sound that’s worth the price of admission all on its own.
Having twice owned a Vmax, I highly recommend you put one in your garage at least once, it will make you smile on the grayest of days. This bike, on the other hand, looks like it will paste a grin on your face, permanently.