YAMAHA V-MAX (2008 - 2017) Review


  • A stunningly fast motorcycle
  • Drag racing is the order of the day
  • Fantastic value used buy

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £45,000
Power: 197 bhp
Seat height: Low (30.5 in / 775 mm)
Weight: High (684 lbs / 310 kg)


New N/A
Used £18,000

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Yamaha V-Max is what happens when you mix 1679cc and nearly 200 horsepower in a motorcycle that's one part cruiser, one part sportbike - and all parts thrilling. It's difficult to explain just how quickly the V-Max builds speed. Cruise along at 30 mph in second gear, pick up the throttle and hold on tight... you'll be doing 90 mph before you say, "Holycrapthisthingisfast!". It's a thrill ride of epic proportions - the V-Max redefines the word torque. It produces the kind of acceleration that you feel in your chest. The kind you don't soon forget.... and it handles to boot. What's the catch? Well, when it was launched it was a rather heady £16,500...

The V-Max went off sale in 2017 after a nine-year run. 

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Main frame is an all-new, cast aluminium diamond with a die-cast and extruded rear subframe. Suspension front and rear is about as bling as it gets: mammoth, 52mm diamter inverted forks with TIN coated tubes. Rear monoshock has a remote preload adjuster to go with its shock-mounted rebound and compression adjusters. Front end is multi-adjustable, too. Believe it or not, this beast actually handles.


Next up: Reliability
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The V-Max's brutal all-new 1679cc, 65-degree V4 produces a claimed 200hp (or 197.4bhp) at just 9000rpm. To put that into perspective, that's the same as a GP replica Ducati Desmosedici RR, but at 4000rpm less. To achieve this, the new V-Max borrows heavily from latest sportsbike technology, meaning that looks aside, it has little in common with its predecessor. Key features are the YCC-I adjustable intake funnels (which are a bit like a 21st century V-Boost); R6-style ‘fly-by-wire’ electronic throttle, a high 11.3:1 compression ratio and forged aluminium pistons.

Watch: Yamaha V-Max at Santa Pod drag strip - full throttle acceleration!

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

You can expect the kind of bulletproof quality and reliabilty that has become standard on all new Japanaese motorcycles. It's enough to put the American competition to shame. There's some quality parts as standard, including brembo brakes with wavy discs and a hi-tech info-center on the tank. Interesting fact: the Vmax’s signature aluminium intake covers are hand finished.

Our Yamaha V-Max owners' reviews show no prevailing problems with the bike, more issues with the buying experience, but Yamaha have had well over a decade to get that right now. 

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
2 out of 5 (2/5)

At an expected price of £16,500, the V-Max is pretty hard to justify to the missus. That's alot of money for a motorcycle, but then big name cruisers have never been cheap and they still sell, just look at Harley's... But this is no Davidson, complex electronics and and sportsbike specs are what pulls the price up, not marketing and branding. If you want a 197bhp cruiser and the kudos that goes with it, be prepared to pay for it. 

Twin test: Ducati XDiavel vs Yamaha V-Max

First published 23 March 2016 by Adam Child

Yamaha V-Max takes on Ducati XDiavel

Back in 2016 we put the brand new Ducati XDiavel up against the original drag racing master, the V-Max. Here's our verdict...

"Yamaha’s VMax is still the king of the strip, still the ultimate muscle bike, and capable of destroying a rear tyre in one day’s hard riding. It’s far from a bad bike, but the new Ducati XDiavel makes it feel prehistoric.

"The new Ducati is one of the most desirable bikes of 2016, stunning to look at, backed up by impressive handling and electronics packages – both breaking new ground for this segment. Looks, performance, riders aids, it has it all — just don’t expect to beat a VMax away from the traffic lights."


3 out of 5 (3/5)

Handlebars are posh, tapered items. Like the original Vmax and to keep mass centralization as low as possible, the 15-litre fuel tank is mounted under the seat with the fuel filler positioned under the rider’s backrest. All-new instrument panel includes an analog tacho, digital speedo plus LED shift lights. The info-center on the V-Max's pseudo gas tank provides more information than you can imagine... throttle position, miles per gallon and a stop watch - just for starters.


Engine size 1679cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 1679cc (90 x 66mm), dohc, four-valve V-four. Fuel-injection. Five gears, shaft drive
Frame type Aluminium diamond
Fuel capacity 15 litres
Seat height 775mm
Bike weight 310kg
Front suspension preload, compression and rebound damping
Rear suspension preload, compression and rebound damping
Front brake 2 x 320mm wavy front discs with radial six-piiston calipers
Rear brake 298mm wavy rear disc with single piston caliper
Front tyre size 120/70 x 18
Rear tyre size 200/50 x 18

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 36 mpg
Annual road tax £117
Annual service cost £45,000
New price -
Used price £18,000
Insurance group 15 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 197 bhp
Max torque 123 ft-lb
Top speed 143 mph
1/4 mile acceleration 10.86 secs
Tank range 120 miles

Model 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.
2008; All new VMAX revealed, on sale 2009.

Other versions


Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA V-MAX (2008 - 2017)

10 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA V-MAX (2008 - 2017) 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 (2008 - 2017)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.3 out of 5 (4.3/5)
Engine: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.4 out of 5 (4.4/5)
Value vs rivals: 2.8 out of 5 (2.8/5)
Equipment: 3.6 out of 5 (3.6/5)
Annual servicing cost: £45,000
5 out of 5 Hold on tight
29 April 2024 by Mikey

Year: 2011

It's been de-restricted and had a GURU tune all I can say is it's now completley redicousley quick....

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 3 out of 5

It's not meant to be tickled

Equipment 5 out of 5

Added a quickshifter .... WOW ..

5 out of 5 Love my vmax
22 January 2024 by Ethan

Year: 2015

Annual servicing cost: £45,000

Would love a larger fuel tank.Better know where your stations are! Otherwise king of the road!

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Shock seals,tires,brake pads.I switched to mettle sticky tires for cornering.

Equipment 5 out of 5

Added small backrest on rear seat-keep the wife on . Rear taillight conversion from Corbin.Puig shorty windshield..

Buying experience: Dealer in Clearwater Florida.got it new for 14,600.

5 out of 5 The ultimate muscle bike.
06 November 2023 by Simon Cook

Version: VMAX 1700

Year: 2009

To be the custodian of a bike, that 14 years ago was even then, producing nearly 200 bhp, is nothing short of an honour and an absolute pleasure. It delivers every horse from the first twist of the throttle all the way to the next available petrol station. Stopping to refuel every 75-90 miles is a great way to catch your breath and massage the cramp from the smile that never leaves your face.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Unlike the Gen 1 the twin front rotors and accompanying callipers provide the necessary stopability needed. If it really gets hairy then you can always stamp on the back brake.

Engine 5 out of 5

The 1700 V4 just keeps giving and giving until it runs out of gears.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Apart from battery monitoring I’ve not had any concerns that the V4 won’t burst into life every time the fancy takes me. I just wish Yamaha had some knowledge of their own machine as finding a suitably experienced service agent has at times been challenging.

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

Keeping it stock is the key for a true VMAX fan. Any unnecessary bling is all after market and very pricey but who needs more. The need to make it louder or faster just turns your beast into something it was never be designed to be. The stock pipes provide a subtle burble akin to the one you’d hear from a classic American Muscle Car. It doesn’t need to shout but it can if you ask.

Buying experience: If you can find one when you want one then buy it. They are just getting rarer and more difficult to find.

5 out of 5 VMAX. The rare one with all the power you need.
07 November 2022 by Simon “Simple” Cook

Year: 2009

For smiles per gallon, this rare beast delivers every time you roll the throttle.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Although at 6’4” I’m a little too tall it is a comfortable riding position but regular fuel stops soon deal with any soreness

Engine 5 out of 5

It’s all about the engine. It just pulls and pulls and pulls until you run out of gears.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

There were one or two minor issues around the oil pump which were caught very early and sorted via a safety recall

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5

Keep it stock and leave it as intended

Buying experience: Buying is going to be a challenge because there just aren’t many around and prices are on the rise as the world becomes aware of this epic beast

5 out of 5 interesting
01 August 2020 by taz

Year: 2016

awesome appearance blistering speed incredible power

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5

Buying experience: bought from dealer

3 out of 5
29 June 2015 by Wildy

Year: 2009

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5
Value vs rivals 1 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5

Buying experience: It's a thrill to ride. Straight line twist and hang on . A little top heavy respect it on the twistes. Bought from a dealer used , never had a problem with it.

3 out of 5 Really?
15 November 2011 by

£22,000 for a new motorcycle and you can't get a test ride. Really, Yamaha? How many people are there out there who will splash out that kind of money without having a ride first? Obviously not as many as Yamaha think. I got mine second hand and I love it to bits. Awesome looks and bigger than you expect when you see one up close but I am learning to live with the less desirable aspects of the bike. Fuel economy is awful. It's a shock at first when you realise how few miles you're doing between fill ups, but the impressively massive amount of power available is the trade off. But you don't buy a near 1700cc, 200 bhp bike and expect 50cc scooter mpg figures. It weighs 300 kgs., so upper body strength is important when trying to manoeuvre the bike under your own steam. The centre of gravity is somewhere in the middle so it's not trying to dive into the ground but be careful because turn in can be quite sharp. It's a well put together piece of kit with a high quality finish. Accessories are super expensive and very rarely in stock. Destined to be a modern classic but not for touring or the faint of heart. In the US the VMax is yours for $19890, which is around £12500. There is sales tax to add, which varies, depending on which US state you are in, but the massive price difference between here and there is down to import duty, VAT etc. added by HM Gov't.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 2 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
4 out of 5 something to to think about.
15 April 2010 by hondagixer

you want power and something which looks different then think about this. You can buy a suzuki b-king (ok. its ugly) and get it supercharged to over 300bhp for 4k.that still puts it well under the v-max price and 200-300kph is in a blink of an eye. you can even move the exhausts from rear to side akropovic. v max is lovely but owners are paying too much and customer service from yamaha is poor

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 3 out of 5
Value vs rivals 1 out of 5
Equipment 3 out of 5
5 out of 5 Just bought one
25 June 2009 by ColinBell88

I have recently taken delivery of a 2009 Vmax and yes, I really did think hard about the price. I managed to get mine for £16k which seems a lot less out of touch than the now over £17k. What you get are 4 things that little else will give you. 1 - this thing accelerates like nothing else but the point is that it goes like this from 2,000 revs upwards and that makes a huge, huge difference 2. - you can commute on this bike through central London in far more comfort than a sports bike which makes it useable for those who ride every day 3. It has a wow factor like little else 4 - there are so few around, everyone wants to look at your bike whilst R1's are 2 a penny. It is beautifully made, state of the art, unusal and beautiful in a butch sort of way. Yes - I find it worth the money even at teh higher price .

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 3 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 no extras in stock
27 April 2009 by grumpy ol git

Optional extras. You have to be kidding Not one available. All back orders including new R1. Sod all. This is unexceptable Yamaha.Even when i recived my Warrantie and Breakdown Card this week They Informed me that the Booklet explaining the rules. Yep you guessed it [They have run out]Being a fair minded sort of a chap i thought it is a new model in Europe. But Lo and Behold after a visit to the Yank website Vmax. That have had the vmax for some time.Your ahead of me. They have not recived the Gift packs for new owners.This problem also applies to the new R1. So Yamaha Bleeding wake up. 16000 is beginning to look a bit Steep Yours Grumpy ol Git

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 1 out of 5
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