Sunday, August 02, 2009

Showdown: Yamaha V-Max vs Harley-Davidson VRSCF V-Rod Muscle


Harley V-Max vs Yamaha V-Muscle. Doesn't sound right? Umm... well...

V-Max vs V-Rod Muscle isn’t the first shootout most people would think of. And that’s probably because on paper, the Harley is comprehensively outgunned by the Yamaha. Mr Max is fitted with an almighty 1,697cc V4 that pumps out 200 horsepower at 9,000rpm and 167Nm of torque at 6,500 revs. The V-Rod Muscle pales in comparison, with its 1,250cc V-twin, which only makes 122bhp at 8,250rpm and 110Nm of torque at 7,000rpm.

So is it over before it’s started? Is there no match-up here at all? Toff magazine don’t think so and they’ve gone ahead and pitted the two bikes against each other. Here are some excerpts from what they have to say:

The V-Rod, which isn’t exactly dainty, is still a lot smaller than the V-Max, despite the two bikes having an identical wheelbase of 1,700mm. The Max is significantly taller and wider and the difference is immediately apparent as soon as you get on these bikes. The V-Max’s seat height is a challenging 775mm while the V-Rod’s is a rather more accessible 640mm.

Seat height apart, the two bikes have very different seating positions. The V-Max has a comfortable, upright seating position that’s ideal for cruising along at a fast clip. The V-Rod Muscle’s footpegs make you stretch your legs forward and its handlebars make you reach out much further ahead – it is, of course, the traditional Harley riding position.


Both bikes have an identical wheelbase and both weigh around 300kg, but the Yamaha behaves more like a naked sportsbike while the Harley is more of a cruiser

Both the bikes are formidable when it comes to orgies of acceleration. Indeed, ‘acceleration’ is what both these machines are all about. The V-Rod goes from zero to 100km/h in 3.6 seconds while Mr Max pulverises the Harley, taking just 2.66 seconds to get to the 100km/h mark.

That the Yamaha dominates everything else in straight-line acceleration isn’t surprising – its V4 engine is bigger and vastly more powerful than the Harley’s. The Harley engine is more fuel efficient though, using 8.34 litres of fuel over 100km, while the V-Max engine guzzles 9.6 litres. [Then again, if you’re buying either of these bikes for their fuel economy, you probably need to think again…]

When the traffic lights turn green, the Yamaha boosts ahead with a rare vehemence – the sheer brute force, which pumps you forward regardless of the speed or revs, is simply aphrodisiac. And yet, that V4 is also so smooth and provides such linear, progressive power that pottering along at lower speeds is easy.

The V-Rod Muscle’s engine also runs very well and unlike some other Harley engines, it never gets rough and doesn’t vibrate at higher speeds. And it sounds distinctive – a low, bass rumble compared to the higher-pitched scream of the Yamaha V4. Also, the Rod’s five-speed gearbox is quite precise, if a bit noisier than the Yamaha’s transmission.

On the move, the Muscle feels much more like a cruiser, the Yamaha like a naked sportsbike. Despite its heft, Mr Max is refreshing handy, responding to rider input promptly while cornering and yet remaining enormously stable in a straight line, at very high speeds. The Yamaha’s suspension feels nicely taut and isolates you from bumps quite well. No question, the V-Max is a masterpiece of engineering.

The V-Rod, as you would probably expect, is not as competent around corners as the V-Max, grinding out its footpegs much earlier. No, the Muscle definitely prefers a more leisurely pace though that’s not necessarily a criticism. Remember, the Harley does accelerate very hard from a standstill, looks sharp and can handle almost any kind of riding that you choose to throw at it. It’s just not as good as the V-Max, which has moved the bar up very high.

While the V-Max is definitely a more impressive motorcycle overall, it’s also significantly more expensive – about 30% more – compared to the Muscle, which is an important factor. But keeping the money factor aside, the V-Max, with its mind-numbing velocity, left an incomparable impression upon us.

For the full, original article, please visit the Toff magazine website here

Harley-Davidson V-Rod Muscle

All right, so the Harley's 122bhp V-twin is no match for the Yamaha's 200bhp V4, but the V-Rod has supermodel Marisa Miller rooting for it, which is more than what Mr Max can say for himself!

Pics: Show Stalker, Motorcycle News Australia, Ride-CT

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

No bike dares a showdown with a YAMAHA... ha.

ktmrc8v2 said...

the reason the yamaha is more expensive is simple realy; its way better the harley dosnt come close, GO THE YAMAHA!!!!

Anonymous said...

The Harley is a work of art. The Yamaha is a mess. If I am buying this type of bike - ultimate performance is not the reason I am buying it. I am buying it for the looks. The Harley has enough performance and there is no comparison is the looks department.

Anonymous said...

YaMaha make the best looking bikes on the planet. Just look at their range of bikes from small mopeds to hi performance bikes. Thier design details, futuristic styling, well proportioned builds.
No comparison.

Prez said...

The V-Max is more of a competitor to the Suzu B-King, BMW K1300R and Ducati Streetfighter. People who ride those bikes tend to not 'get' Harleys. I ride a Fatboy and am happy as a hog with my bike. Wouldn't mind getting a V-Rod Muscle but can't afford one right now. Somday, I hope...! :-)

Anonymous said...

Interesting fact: Ducati did a study and found that when Ducati owners that had 2 or more bikes, chances were it was a Harley (For US).

James Krammer said...

200bhp is all but irrelevant these days. What are you going to do, 300km/h on a naked bike? And then get arrested, get thrown in jail and get your license taken away for 10 years. Plodding along with 122bhp is probably (a bit) safer! ;-)))

whispering thunder said...

There is absolutely no point comparing. People still buy 2300 cc Rocket III. It is to the satisfaction of the rider to chose his/her bike. Harley is a hyped machine anyway. I was surprised to hear Harley engine still ceases. So let us all be happy with our own babies.....ride safe brothers.

Anonymous said...

I own a 1997 V Max ( 1200cc ) pushes out 145 BHP that enough power for me, Its nice to know that you got the power when its needed most. Yeah I know there are faster bikes out there, I must admit I would love to own a 2009 Max but I honestly think that they are over priced here in Australia.
On the other hand the only 2 Harleys that I like is the V Rod and the Harley Deuce. I also do agree with the comment that Whispering Thunder made ....
& that is be happy with what you got, enjoy it while you can & do ride safe..

Anonymous said...

Comparing these two bikes is like comparing a shotgun with a rifle.

UK Motorbike Blogs said...

As 1 guy above said, he has an older VMax and is very happy with it. THAT is the Most IMPORTANT thing for a bike owner. I've had smaller bikes and absolutely loved the way they handled etc.

I know if I had an older VMax and I wanted to upgrade the horsepower, all I would have to do is put a supercharger/turbo unit on this great engine and 250-350BHP is easily achievable. You could be stomping all over the new VMax for about $3,000 US, a bargain if you ask me. I rode my mates Hayabusa with a nice Supercharger unit on it, it was producing a rear wheel output of 350BHP and I can tell you it was/is the fastest most controllable bike I've ridden in my life. Third gear wheelies just by cracking open the throttle, OR super accelleration by pointing the front at a point 2 miles away and easing the throttle back. TRY One.

Anonymous said...

All i have to say is that if anyone reads these to decide what to get. DON'T! dismiss the power and the top speed,the most important thing about a bike is to see if it fits you. if you like the looks and the feel its for you. the power is not that big of an issue unless you race, and lets be serious, not many of us do. You actually have to ride the bike to see if its what you want. I personally like the looks of the V-rod better, but because i'm a little taller, the V-Max definately is a much more comfortable ride and i do like the looks of it as well, and thats what you want. Oh and another thing, please, if you have never riden before and want to learn, my suggestion would be to go with a smaller bike (500-650) and work up. Do NOT whatever you do, go straight to a big bike, you WILL kill yourself.

damond said...

I say let Yamaha bring out the lil'bro to the V-max in order to make it a fair comparo. Lets compare the V-rod to the Warrior. The V-rod is outgunned right when you say it, "V-max."

Anonymous said...

Harley can't compete in the performance bike market. They've created the V rod to get some market share in a platform other than a cruiser, which they will get, but they'll never exceed the performance of the the other manufacturers because then they'd have to be on the cutting edge of technology all of the time.

Anonymous said...

We are comparing a V-Twin to a 4 cylinder bike here. I would actually say Cylinder for cylinder the Vrod wins. That and the Vrod looks 100 times better than the Vmax.

Anonymous said...

I own a 2007 V Rod and a 2010 V Max. I love them both for what there are in their own aspects. The V Max is a blast to run but the Harley is... A Harley! I love the Harley rides and gatherings. The V Max is fun and so is the V Rod. I am happy to own both, looks, power & the ride. I treat them the way they need to be treated. Long rides on the V Rod and power trips on the V Max.

Anonymous said...

...Almost a 500cc differance!?!? Try and compare a 1200cc VMax v.s. a 1250cc VRod or the 1130cc VRod! Make it a fair test! I agree with the guy that owns a 2007 VRod and a 2010, he rides them both for what they are made for.

Anonymous said...

A 1997 V Max pump out 100 hp. It was a 1200cc bike, like the 1250cc Harley. Push the V Rod to 1700cc and then compare! Ratio wise the V Rod would have 229 hp!!!!
I own a 1997 V Max and the V Rod smoked me.

Anonymous said...

How many NHRA titles does the VMAX have? NONE,ZERO! How many does Harley Davidson's VROD have? From the novice class to the pro class-27! Hell, Suzuki has 12! I own a R1 but let's call it the way it is. If the VROD was bumped up to 1700cc then it would smoke the VMAX. 500cc is HUGE difference.

Anonymous said...

Not true.. I own a 93 VMax and raced against a new VRod. He had me at the start, but when the V-Boost kicked in, it was all over.

Anonymous said...

The stock Vrod is rated at roughly 98 hp whereas my 93 is roughtly at the 115 hp ranges. The Vrod also outweighs it by around 15 lbs. So you do the math. Vmax was never intended for the racing circuit. People just disclaim it for what it can accomplish for a stock bike in the heavy weight cruiser class and try to put it in a sportsbike class..lol.. No matter how you slice it a Vmax is very impressive. IT is the KING of the Heavyweight cruiser class, BAR NONE>

Anonymous said...

Why cant just say that Harleys are S LO W

They are a one trick pony quick off the mark and then ?

Huge respect for the Jap sports bikes, bang for your buck cant beat them.

Its funny how nearly every manufacturer is represented in circuit and street racing except one....HD

I just get the sense that its all about image and posing....and of course marketing with HD


They seem faux motorbikes....make a 150hp+ high tech bike Harley and you might get me interested.

Anonymous said...

It is sickening to read how you people are comparing Yamaha against Harley.
Yes the Yamaha is a faster better handling bike, while the Muscle is a cruiser, the Harley has style and the quality of the fittings is of a much higher standard than japanese bikes.
I own a Harley and have ridden many other brands I respect all bikes they all have their place,
My problem is why do sport bike owners always have it in for Harley owners, is it that they think they are superior because they can ride faster, or is it because they are jealous of the fact that Harley owners are a lot more relaxed and have a lot more fun, when we ride there is often 10 - 20 riders as opposed to the 1 or 2 sport bike riders.

Anonymous said...

Check out the new KTM Superduke 1290R

Makes any HD look even more...absolutely agricultural. 1960s tech vs. 2013

Look forward to seeing the KTM in the flesh.

smirre said...

the problem with harley lies with the owners. snobs, never greet another biker on the road, absolute attitude problems. is it because they are a bit above the normal plebs, or are they ashamed because they know they overpaid a lot for inferior tecnology and got a much lesser bike with the "lifestyle"?

Anonymous said...

This is 2013. Harley should step up and create something to compete with other manufactures. Eric Buell tried many times to get Harley to modernize. I've owned 2 of everything in my lifetime. The V-Max is for mature people who expect the very best! I felt ashamed when riding in Harley groups. Always felt like a costume party where the theme was trailer park carnival trash! Someone please explain the stupid ape hangers and other ridiculous Harley art forms.....lmao It's a rolling circus......

Anonymous said...

Harley Davidson is not and has not been American for decades. Honda Goldwing is the only 100% American made bike. Followed by Victory.... Harley parts and manufacturing has been global since the 80's.

Anonymous said...

Sandman
23 years of riding and still here. I looked at both bikes. Both are a work of art..... period! Don't hate appreciate. I own 2011 Vmax and have friends that own Harleys. We respect and enjoy riding together. I am also serving in the Military going on 24 yrs. I have rode in many Wounded Warrior Rides. These rides include a wide variety of bikes. No one has ever bashed my bike, all I receive is compliments. it's not about the bike. It's about the ride and the rider. Riding is a way of life, enjoy your ride.

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