Casey Stoner, Kiera Knightly, William Dunlop and Carley Rae Jepsen; all turn 30 this year. But they have only danced briefly in the limelight in comparison to Yamaha’s venerable V-Max, which burst onto the scenes three decades ago, in a time when cruising required leather tassels and sports bikes putting out 120hp were considered powerful.
Yamaha’s Yard Built Series has resulted in some awesome customs thus far, and this anniversary celebration was entrusted to JvB Moto. But you knew that already just by catching a glimpse of the photo. Jens vom Brauck’s particular style is recognisable as not only being aesthetically individual but also mechanically excellent. Shun Miyazawa, Product Manager for Yamaha Europe sent Jens a fresh VMax and was rewarded with this jaw-dropping V4 brute.
This isn’t just a pair of fat tyres and a paint job, carbon fibre and aluminium parts have been prototyped and fabricated at the JvB HQ to create a sense of nostalgia whilst remaining sympathetic to the hard work of the VMax development team back in Iwata, Japan.
The headlight bucket and surround is hand-laid carbon, clipons are aftermarket and the barend indicators by Motogadget. The rev counter isn’t a run of the mill unit, but a U.S. built Autometer as used by pro drag racers. There’s a shift light too, pointing right into the rider’s eyes, which should just about penetrate the plumes of tyre smoke.
Feeding near on 14,000 litres a minute of fresh air into the bowels of that motor is no easy task and as such the airbox on the VMax is rather large to say the least, and takes up all the fuel tank real estate. The stock 15 litre plastic tank under the seat interfered with Jens’ vision for a flat bone line from bow to stern, so a lighter weight aluminium unit sits under the modified aluminium subframe, whilst doubling as a shield to keep molten rubber away from the engine.
The airbox cover is now carbon, with the LCD display deleted. The complicated airways beneath have also had to be considerably altered and electrics hidden where possible. If you can remember as far back as 1985 then this shade of day-glo orange from the Marlboro Yamaha GP bikes will evoke spine tingling memories. The aluminium air scoops are reworked originals, blending old and new seamlessly. Spent gases are dispatched through a custom 4-into-1 collector and an oxymoronic Termignoni silencer.
The tail unit is carbon and has been designed to retro-fit to stock bikes and will soon be available in a more wallet friendly fibreglass. The solid wheel inserts are also carbon and visually scream speed. Crosswinds won’t be shifting the 300kg beast in a hurry and besides, with a comfortably long wheelbase and that much power on tap one would simply light-up the rear, apply some opposite lock and broadside any breeze that thought itself man enough.
Jens fondly remembers the original V-Max and says “For me the Vmax was always an all time favorite , since my interest in motorbikes began in 1985 at the age of 15. It wasn’t available in Germany, because it was too crazy and powerful, but of course we heard about it and for us kids it seemed like a bike from another dimension”. So when Shun Miyazawa contacted him and discussed the project he simply couldn’t refuse. And we are jolly glad he didn’t, this bike looks truly epic and a proper celebration of Yamaha’s refusal to let the bureaucrats kill-off their beastly dragstrip special.
For the rest of Yamaha’s Yard Built Series, check this link.