Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 6th February 2019

Each Wednesday second hand bike guru Scott Redmond brings us the lowdown on a used motorcycle that’s catching his eye in the classifieds. This week it’s that Eighties cult classic, the Yamaha V-Max…


To some it’s a strange looking custom motorcycle, to others it’s the only motorcycle that they’d ever park in their garage. But, no matter what your opinions are, chances are that you will be well aware of what a V-Max is.




Arriving in 1985, it created a stir with its impressive performance stats (for the era) and gained notoriety for its lack of handling capabilities. In a market that was consumed by race replicas, the Max stood out. Yamaha took their time in adding it officially to the UK dealer network, but this didn’t stop dealers importing them from abroad by the container load.

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Yamaha made a few changes from those initial 1980s models, although nothing too major – just better suspension and four pot front brake calipers.


This 1997 is one of the sought after Black Max models. Its miniscule bodywork was finished in gloss black, along with the alloy wheels. Plenty of Maxes have been chopped about and modified, sometimes the result is for the better but often it’s not! Thankfully, other that a fresh exhaust, this low mileage example is well honest. With only 14,000 miles it’s barely run in!


Prices for used V-Maxes have never gone too far south as, unlike the race rep scene, they have never really gone out of fashion. £3,995 might sound a bit rich for a 22 year old bike, but with that low mileage and lack of iffy extras it actually looks a very decent deal.


What to look for when buying a V-Max

  • Ride it! The custom look might look cool but it does mean that the raked out forks and long wheelbase might be a culture shock. The shaft drive adds weight too and they’re not for everyone.
  • Gearboxes are a well known weak spot, so check that it doesn’t jump out of gear under hard acceleration. Also have a good look to see if the engine shows signs of ever being apart.
  • Is it a full power model? Certain markets got watered down power outputs, this was achieved but not connecting up the V Boost system.
  • Avoid too many extras. The list is endless of what you can buy for a Max, from big bore pistons and nitrous kits, to chain conversions and fancy suspension.


See this example for sale on eBay at: