Max At Last!

Star unveiled the new '09 VMAX on June 3, 2008, on the landing deck of the retired aircraft carrier U.S.S. Midway. The long-anticipated motorcycle emerged from behind a screen, engine wailing and the rider performing a smoky burnout.

The '09 VMax is an entirely new motorcycle from the ground up. The bullseye of the bike remains the massive V-4 engine (a stressed member of the chassis), amusingly described by Star as "compact." Now arrayed at a 65-degree 'vee' and displacing 1679cc, the liquid cooled powerplant sports 4-valves per cylinder a hybrid chain and gear cam drive and pumps out a claimed 197.4 horsepower (at the crankshaft) with 123 lb-ft of torque. Taking technology directly from the Yamaha YZF-R1 sportbike, Max has fly-by-wire throttle control ("Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle") and variable intake tract length ("Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake") by way of a servomotor that moves the intake funnels for better acceleration at all speeds. Max now has EFI and a hydraulic slipper clutch to make downshifting smoother. Air enters through the can't-miss-'em aluminum intakes and exits through a four-into-one-into-two-into-four exhaust system with twinned pairs of mufflers on each side. The exhaust also has EXUP (Exhaust Ultimate Power valve), a proven Yamaha technology that helps keep the powerband smooth at all rpms. Because the EPA is always watching, there are catalytic converters stuffed up into the cans as well.

The chassis is now a twin-spar aluminum frame and swingarm for weight savings, and consists of cast, die-cast and extruded sections. The bike still has that secret underseat fuel tank, which now holds a whopping 4.0 gallons. Beefy titanium-oxide coated 52mm forks hold up the front end with a remote reservoir, single shock in the back. The suspension, front and rear, is fully adjustable for rebound and compression damping, and spring preload, with a remote preload adjuster on the shock (so adjusting for a passenger doesn't require tools or getting dirty). The front brakes are a far cry from the primitive binders of '85, now featuring a linear controlled three position ABS system with Brembo radial master cylinders, 320mm wave-type rotors and 6-piston calipers. The rear also sports a Brembo master cylinder, 298mm wave-type rotor and single-piston caliper. The gauges are also very trick. First, mounted in the center of the handlebars, is a digital speedometer, LED indicators and analog tach with an LED shift light, just like on a dragracer. Atop the tank lives an "Organic Electro Luminescence" display that can show a clock, fuel meter, trip meter, gear position, coolant temperature and more. It's designed to be simpler, brighter and much easier to read than LCDs and comes with a countdown clock and a stopwatch too - presumably so you can time those stoplight to stoplight drags/sprints.

Weight has climbed to 683 lbs. for the new VMax and the price is now $17,990. However, with a limited production - only 2500 units are coming to the U.S.- starting in November- ownership will be an excusive club. You'll have to preorder this bike at your dealer and leave a $1000 deposit, so better move fast.

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