The Yamaha (or Star Motorcycles, as I guess we’re calling that branch of the company now) V-Max has been the archetypal hooligan/power/super cruiser since its debut in October, 1984, at the dealer show in Las Vegas. In 2010, we’re so jaded about “superbikes” and whatnot, that it’s hard to remember sometimes, just what a revolutionary–and frightening–machine that 1985 V-Max was. There were professionals who were frightened of the thing back then.
Many years–and several generations of engine power upgrades–have passed since then, but after a bit of an absence, the V-Max returned in 2009, with the original 1200cc V-4 replaced by a monster 1700cc V-4, with a claimed output of nearly 200HP.
But, Triumph’s response to the V-Max is the 2300cc triple of the Rocket III. With the largest motorcycle engine in regular production–the Boss Hogs notwithstanding–the Rocket III is no slouch in the musclecruiser category.
Now, Motorcycle USA has tested these two bikes head-to-head. At the end of the test, the difference between the bikes–aside from the much lower price of the Rocket III–really is a tale of the Dyno.
With its much higher torque and low RPMs, the Rocket has grunt to spare, starting below 1,000RPM. The V-Max, on the other hand, requires a more sportbikey riding style, dragging the power out of the high-RPM horsepower. Either way, these bikes have tire-shredding, front-wheel-lifting power to spare.