Yamaha has dipped a tentative toe into the custom waters: it’s commissioned three top builders to work their magic on the venerable V-Max ‘power cruiser’. The V-Max has been around since 1985, so it’s due for a fillip—and that’s exactly what Roland Sands (USA), Marcus Walz (Germany) and Ludovic Lazareth (France) have provided. Although Yamaha has called the initiative “Hyper Modified”, the mods are relatively mild. I’m guessing the builders were told not to stray too far from the essence of the original. The version we’re looking at here comes from Lazareth, who plays at the more extreme end of the custom field—and has a penchant for bolting superchargers onto his bikes.
Yamaha doesn’t go into detail on Lazareth’s modifications to the V-Max, other than revealing that it has been fitted with an LCD screen with a rear-view video link. There’s no supercharger this time—probably a wise move, given that the V-Max is a handful as it is. Changes include new air intakes and headlight, a new radiator and chin scoop and tail section, and new exhaust cans. Meanwhile, you can see Walz’ version here, and Roland Sands’ take here.
Top marks to Yamaha for showing the way, and hopefully the other Japanese makers will follow suit. It’d be wonderful to see them acknowledge the skills that custom builders have applied to their stock offerings. But I’m not holding my breath.