The Diavel, today, is the most popular power cruiser in the market by a long margin, and Ducati is doing everything in their power to keep it that way. It is a reason they have recently come out with the XDiavel, a more cruiser-ish version of the standard Diavel but with the same high-performance L-twin engine.
They are out there to redefine the cruiser market the Italian way. Ducati has always been about performance no matter what.
But across continents, there’s another small country which is the home of some of the most influential motorcycle manufacturers on the planet – Japan – the headquarters of Yamaha (besides Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki)!
Yamaha is the kind of a Japanese company that is regarded as the maker of performance motorcycles first and foremost. Even their cruiser department has been no slouch. So, while the world is revelling on the radicalism of the Diavel, its success and that something like this even exists, Yamaha did exactly that a long-long time back. In fact, as far back as 1985 when they first launched their power cruiser V-Max. What’s special about it? Well, at a time when the inline-4 was becoming the mainstream performance engine, Yamaha created the V-Max with a 1,197cc V4 engine. It was fast and it could turn, unlike a typical cruiser.
Yet, it never enjoyed the popularity or the success of conventional sportbikes and cruisers. But Yamaha hung on to it and then completely rewrote the power cruiser segment from the ground up in 2008 when they introduced an all-new V-Max. The revived V-Max is one of the first production motorcycles in the world to touch 200 horsepower mark. Its new 1,679cc engine produces precisely 200.1 PS of power at 9,000 RPM and a neck-breaking 166.8 NM of torque at 6,500 RPM. Numbers totally unrealistic for a cruiser and the ones that embarrass the Diavel at least on paper.
We would like to thank Mr. Ravjeet Bomrah, the owner of V-Max, for sparing his time for us and letting us spend some wonderful time with his motorcycle.
What the V-Max hasn’t got going for it is the weight. It scales at 310 kg ready-to-ride, full 71 kg heavier than the Diavel, which somewhat negates its massive power advantage. Still, this Yamaha is not something to mess with as far as the rider is concerned. Wheel-spin is like an integral feature of this engine and at the slightest hint of some enthusiastic wrist input, the rear tyre would create a screeching sound as it searches for traction.
With all that power and especially the torque, the V-Max has got a Superbike-like acceleration from standstill. None can feel dull on it. The motorcycle is ballistic to ride – you wouldn’t normally use these words to describe the “performance” of a cruiser. And for its weight, it goes remarkably well in corners. The Japanese aren’t really known to make bad-handling motorcycles.
Everything about the V-Max tells about its performance oriented nature. The fuel tank has two massive air-intakes on its either side that boost performance at high engine RPMs. The rider foot-pegs are slightly rear set and the handlebar is relatively flat for a cruiser. Brakes are high-performance as well with twin 320mm rotors at the front and a single 298mm rotor at the back.
Yamaha has never really promoted the V-Max as aggressively as what Ducati is doing with the Diavel. Still, it continues to be an important part of the power-cruiser segment and just can’t be missed. It’s almost a decade that the current V-Max was launched, and that it still looks and feels as radical as it was in 2008 is a testament to Yamaha’s design and engineering.
It doesn’t come cheap, it is Rs 26.9 Lakhs ex-showroom Delhi, so it is easily far out of reach for many of us. But then, we can always try our luck on OLX and see if we can get one second hand for a lesser amount of money.