1986 Yamaha V-Max

In Cruiser, Japan by Mathieu Guyot-SionnestLeave a Comment

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Post Sale Update: This V-Max sold for the BIN of $3,500 on eBay.


In the motorcycle history, the end of the 60s was the start of a new era: the Japanese one. The air-cooled inline four, such as the found found in the revolutionary 1969 Honda CB750, was the new standard of power and smoothness. Exit big American V-twins and unreliable, shaky British twins. At the end of the 70’s, Japanese manufacturers tried to develop new engines and technologies to win more and more market share. In 1982, Honda was the first to fire in that wind of change, introducing the 750cc V45 Sabre and Magna, both equipped with a liquid-cooled V4. One year later, Honda released a new monster using the same engine, the V65 Magna displacing 1,100cc and developing 116hp. While the three other Japanese brands tried to surf on the wave that Honda created with the V4, Yamaha wanted to go further and beat the V65. The project leader, Akira Araki, and a few engineers from Yamaha were given the mission of developing that bike. The project started in 1983 with the team sent to Santa Monica, California to find inspiration in what America has to offer in terms of power, muscles and design. This gave birth to one of the craziest bikes the market had ever seen, the Yamaha V-Max.

After its official presentation to dealers in October 1984, the bike finally hit showrooms in 1985. Despite a price $2,000 higher from its closest competitor (the V65), the V-Max was an immediate success. This was a bike nobody had ever seen, combining American muscle with Japanese technology. The marketing strategy and ad campaigns were also big factors of the bike’s success. Yamaha did great work and clearly put the V-Max next to every big mechanical beast America had created. Mechanically, other than the stunning 1,198cc V4 producing 119hp, the “V-Boost” was the real attraction of the bike. To make a long story short, V-Boost is a system that features butterfly valves between cylinders 1 & 2 and cylinders 3 & 4 when the rpms top 6,000. This supercharges the cylinder and therefore increases the power of the bike, like a turbo. The 596lbs V-Max has a very aggressive, “hot-rod” look, with a body constructed around the huge V4. With a 62in wheelbase and a fat 150/95 rear tire, the V-Max had the widest rear tire ever seen in a production motorcycle. This was the “dragster” part of the bike, even though it didn’t help the bike being the best in curves, it helps with stability en route to a crazy top speed of 150mph in a straight line. Check out Motorcycle Classics for more information about the V-Max!

The V-Max presented here (VIN: JYA1UT002GA001953) is in great condition with its original red paint. The bike had sat for 4 years but it has just been brought back to life and is supposed to be running great. With 32k miles, the seller indicates that the bike has a lot of upgrades, especially a Kerker exhaust, a new stator, and upgraded wiring.

Find this V-Max in Miami, Florida with a BIN of $3,500 or best offer

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