Hmmm, what to do with all these pesky VMaxes, Yamaha Europe asked itself in the weeks leading up to last November’s EICMA? Hey, why not give one to Ludovic Lazareth in France, another one to Marcus Walz aus Deutschland and yet another to Roland Sands in California? It’s not really a competition—or is it? A wise man once said, anytime there’s two bikes on the road, it’s a race. Does that count if the bikes are parked and on display? Probably even more. In the actual event, the bikes didn’t get doled out to the builders until three weeks before the show (what would those TV shows be like if there wasn’t a tight deadline?), so nobody had time to go really crazy. And all three builders left the VMax’s 199-hp, 1679cc V-Four unmolested. Still, it’s pretty impressive what skilled teams of professionals can accomplish.
Marcus Walz is headquartered in Hockenheim, as is the Hockenheimring, and speed has leeched into the water supply. Walz Hardcore Cycles has retail outlets all over Europe, and Walz is über confident in his abilities: “Sometimes I listen if somebody has an idea. Most of the time, it’s nothing usable…” Walz breaks out the carbon fiber, whips up a fresh tailsection and throws on trick wheels.
Ludo Lazareth’s little shop in a quaint French village has turned out such objets d’art as an R1-engined quad and a supercharged, 84-hp Yamaha TMAX scooter. Playing it very sedate and French and modifying little but the bodywork, Lazareth built a VMax that winds up looking like a VMax would if Honda had built it instead of Yamaha.
And Roland Sands is…Roland Sands. His Max is the most highly modded of the three, with a new tailsection, underseat exhaust and totally unexpected clip-on handlebars. The bars don’t look too bad on the bike at all, and given the speed the thing can generate, we believe RS when he says they actually make it more functional. We hate to be jingoists, but we think we have a winner. Way to go, Rolando.
And hats off to the VMax itself: Two out of three builders surveyed said they planned on keeping their VMax.