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Yamaha V-MAX Custom Motorbike Review

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Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 4

Mad Max. There, that tells you everything you need to know about the Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max, an ill-handling, raw powered Rottweiller of a motorcycle. The full power 140bhp model is the only one worth having, so skip the early 90s UK spec models with a feeble 95bhp.


MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 5

The Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max has a beautiful, almost liquid power delivery from just above tickover, with a crazed step up in poke from about 4000rpm as the V-Boost fuel charge system kicks in. The Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motor puts a grin on the face of the most jaded speedfreak. It punches you in the guts with its sheer torque.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 5

The Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max handles like a drunk office girl on a photocopier...and is just as dangerous. The frame seems to flex, the back end squirms under the engine's power and the front end loads up with the Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max's substantial 280kgs wet weight under braking. In a word, scary.


MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 5

The Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max's 15 litre fuel tank can run dry in 90 miles, the pillion seat is really just a bum stop for the rider and the brakes and suspension are indifferent, even by 90s standards. Apart from a few cosmetic tweaks Yamaha did almost nothing to develop the V-Max throughout a near 20 year lifespan. Bit poor frankly.

Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max (1991-2004)

Detail Value
Used price range View Yamaha V-MAX bikes for sale to see current asking prices
Engine size 1198 cc
Power 140 bhp
Top speed 160 mph
Insurance group 15 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 4 rating is 5
Engine rating is 5 rating is 5
Ride & Handling rating is 2 rating is 5
Equipment rating is 2 rating is 5
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 4
Value rating is 3 rating is 5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

You can turbocharge the motor, add nitrous, almost anything really and the V-4 lump will take it. The Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max's chassis is the weaker half of the motorcycle by far and as it was designed to race the strips of California, the V-Max can suffer if ridden too often in British rain. 


MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 5

The Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max is a cult machine and good used examples go for very decent money. Many are customised and feature mad performance tweaks. The V-Max was never a big selling motorcycle when brand new, so supply of original examples will never meet demand, prices will keep rising. Don't bother buying a restricted early 90s UK model. Find a Yamaha V-Max for sale


Insurance group: 15 of 17

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Model History

1986: Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max launched in USA.
1991: Restricted version arrives in UK.
1996: Full 140bhp version of the Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max appears in UK.
1999: Cosmetic upgrade with `carbon look' bodywork.
2004: Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max discontinued in UK.

Other Versions



Top speed 160 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.9 secs
Max power 140 bhp
Max torque 117.7 ft-lb
Weight 262 kg
Seat height 765 mm
Fuel capacity 15 litres
Average fuel consumption 35 mpg
Tank range 100 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 15 of 17
Engine size 1198 cc
Engine specification 4 stroke, V4, 5 gears
Frame Steel cradle type
Front suspension adjustment Preload
Rear suspension adjustment Preload
Front brakes Twin 282mm disc
Rear brake 290mm disc
Front tyre size 110/90 x 18
Rear tyre size 150/90 x 15

See all Yamaha V-MAX motorcycles for sale


30000 miles



11968 miles



18693 miles



7659 miles



11788 miles


Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4.5(1 review)



    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Ride and Handling
    Quality and Reliabilty

    Having owned and ridden my Max for the last ten years in all conditions, including snow and ice, I find that comments of bad handling to be misplaced. Understand and respect what is under you and the machine csn return fast safe rides. No I'm not a slow rider, I use the Max to the Max. Reliable, fun, respected by others, reputation justified, only down side is the quality of finish, but with some effort this is easy to overcome. I still look for a replacement for the Max but fail to find a machine that has the ability to come close to it's stance, torque, power, and all round suitability. I have ridden 350+ miles in a day and enjoyed every mile, and still walked normally when I got off. My missus when a pillion passenger does not have to perch on a pad high above me. Basically it's as mean as a junk yard dog, and it's rear end dangely bits.

    18 November 2007


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pure muscle

the handling, yep start with the worst part, now the handlings only bad if your riding it like a sports bike n then i get i bit of a thrill out of it. its like trying to sexualy abuse an ill tempered bull that you've just spent the last three hours kicking. though this is greatly improved when on bridgestone tryres rather than the old avons common to the bike. you do get a lot of vibration through the bars from the front end, im gonna try a sreering dampener to try n cure this. the engine is inderstructable, i really punish mine n it just begs for more. and the power! wow the power of the full 145bhp is amazin! dont bother wit the 90bhp which for uk spec is any older than 1996.

01 June 2009 22:27

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