YAMAHA V-MAX (1991-2004) Review

Published: 24 November 2006

"An ill-handling, raw powered Rottweiller of a motorcycle"

Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Riding

"An ill-handling, raw powered Rottweiller of a motorcycle"

Overall Rating 4 out of 5

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.

Ride Quality & Brakes 2 out of 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.

Engine 5 out of 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.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

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. 

Insurance, running costs & value 3 out of 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 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 2 out of 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.

Owners' Reviews

1 owner has reviewed their YAMAHA V-MAX (1991-2004) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your YAMAHA V-MAX (1991-2004)
Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

OLD RELIABLE

18 November 2007 by murphit

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... Read more 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.

Ride Quality & Brakes
5 out of 5
-
Engine
5 out of 5
-
Build Quality & Reliability
4 out of 5
-
Value & Running Costs
5 out of 5
-
Equipment
5 out of 5
-
Read all 1 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 1991
Year discontinued 2004
Original price -
Used price £4,800 to £9,000
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 15 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 140 bhp
Max torque 117.7 ft-lb
Top speed 160 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.9 secs
Average fuel consumption 35 mpg
Tank range 100 miles
Specification
Engine size 1198cc
Engine type 4 stroke, V4, 5 gears
Frame type Steel cradle type
Fuel capacity 15 litres
Seat height 765mm
Bike weight 262kg
Front suspension Preload
Rear suspension Preload
Front brake Twin 282mm disc
Rear brake 290mm disc
Front tyre size 110/90 x 18
Rear tyre size 150/90 x 15

History & Versions

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

None.

Photo Gallery

  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Top view
  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Engine
  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review
  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Top view
  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Top view
  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Side view
  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Engine
  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review
  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Top view
  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Brakes
  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Riding
  • Yamaha VMX1200 V-Max motorcycle review - Riding
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