Photography by Gabe Ets-Hokin
Behold ye this 3000-pound chunk of aluminum billet and tremble, mortals! It’s an art piece specially commissioned by Star Motorcycles, Yamaha’s cruiser brand. It’s inspired by the (long) development process of the new V-Max muscle-cruiser, and a part of Yamaha’s bizarre-yet-compelling “Need 6” ad campaign. The campaign, based on psychologist Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs,” attempts to fit motorcycles into Maslow’s pyramidal structure of human needs, i.e. the need for acceleration. Hey, works for me…
Although looking at a huge chunk of milled aluminum is always fascinating, looking at the V-Max parts that aren’t empty spaces is just as interesting. The motor, swingarm and other bits look like very developed hardware, components that have been thoroughly tested. And it’s about time: the V-Max—dropped from the 2008 Star lineup after a 23-year production run—could really use a makeover.
Does this mean a new V-Max is imminent? I would say yes. In fact, Yamaha’s Bob Starr pointed to the worn back tire and said, “Did you notice the wear on the tire?” A marketing man pulling our chains or a real indication there’s a new bike undergoing product testing? Judging by the lavishness of the “Need 6” campaign—not to mention the finished appearance of the stubby mufflers and stout appearance of the driveshaft—I’d say we’ll be seeing the first pictures of a new V-Max in less than a year. In the meantime, I’m going to have to attend to my motorcycle needs without a V-Max.