January 2017

Sportsbikes come in all shapes and sizes. Not all have fairings. Some aren’t even built to go around corners. Just look at Yamaha’s seminal V-Max 1200. It’s probably the last bike I’d ever take on a trackday, but with 145bhp between its sizeable frame rails and the ability to smoke most others off the line it definitely qualifies as a sportsbike. This hotrod hero borrowed its V4 motor from the exotic YZR1000 racer and eventually wheelspan its way into Yamaha’s range in 1984. A 22 year journey began.

Phil West reveals the V-Max’s remarkable story and finally gets to try Japan’s original quarter-mile king for himself. From one Yamaha that barely evolved through nearly a quarter of a century to another that’s changed more often that Mr Ben over the same period. Phil Newberry bought his 350LC in 1991 and has been unable to keep his spanners off it since. Now on its sixth (or is it seventh?) incarnation Phil’s sure that he’s maybe got the RD just how he wants it. For now. There’s much more to this issue than Yams though: Kawasaki Z1300; Bandit-powered Z1000; Suzuki GT250 and GSX-R750LE; Honda CBR600F vs ZZ-R600. All shapes and sizes…

Enjoy the mag

Jim Moore

Inside this issue...


Twenty years ago, Honda’s CBR600F and Kawasaki’s ZZ-R600 were two of the best 600cc all-rounders. Do cheap, pre-injection 600s still make sense today?


Conceived in the early 1970s, long in its gestation and with an extended model life, this totem of raw power and overtly butch styling has a fair few fans – with very good reason.


A truly massive device, satisfyingly smooth and rapid in a straight line. Thirsty, weighty, hard work, and yet a strangely seductive tool.