Yamaha V-Max Café Racer Concept !

Café Racers were named after the British rockers who would ride their bikes from transport café to transport café in the 1960s. Basically a lightweight machine with solo seat, low handlebars and a stretched fuel tank they were built more for speed than comfort. Go forward to 1985 and Yamaha has launched the SRX600, a single-cylinder machine to take on the equivalent Honda XBR500. With neat roadster styling the SRX was light and nimble. Fast forward again two decades to 2005 and Yamaha unveils its MT-OS concept at the Paris show.

This time it’s a V-twin in café racer styling with a small half fairing and is well received. Unfortunately the bike Yamaha eventually gave us was the tedious and pedestrian MT-01 so we decided to have a stab at our own Yamaha V-Max Café Racer Concept: anyone for tea and scones ?


The V-Max is a fantastic bike with an impressive engine, however the price tag is as eye-watering as the performance so what better way to recoup some R&D costs by using it in our café roadster ? The figures are impressive: 1679cc of Heavyweight V4, almost 180bhp and 112lb-ft of torque will allow easy overtakes without any need to change gear. We reckon the bike also needs a dollop of the VBoost that the original had. We’re working on that...


The V-Max is a heavy beast at 310kg and you feel every kilo of that on the road, hence we’ve stripped the chassis right back to bare essentials though we’re still using the main cast alloy frame albeit modified for a shorter wheelbase. No pillion provision (and a shortened subframe), lighter wheels, brakes, suspension and smaller silencers. Gone is the massive king and queen V-Max seat too. We reckon 250kg is much easier to throw around those bends.


The original V-Max had the motor as the dominating presence – it was basically an engine with a wheel either end. We’ve gone back to that with minimal bodywork, losing the oversized air scoops in the process so the bike is visually lighter than before too. The LED headlight is a nod to the concept MT-OS while the fuel tank boasts twin fillers for the wide tank. So… did you want one lump or four?