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FOUR - Yamaha VMax

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Moving on from the BMW Saluki outfit was considered over many months. Whilst the big red machine had been predominantly enjoyed, both from a riding point of view, but also with the alterations and personalisation that tend to be part of the sidecar existence.

Some issues were unavoidable, espcially the early transmission problems. For sure the K had a great gearbox, streets ahead of the old airhead box, but sadly the K1 Beemer was still prone to failure of the rear bevel drive. However, installing a BMW R100C Custom rea bevel and the solid steel swingarm did cure our troubles.

After some soul searching we were set on a smaller, possibly sportier outfit with Suzuki's big four cylinder bikes rising to the top of the desirable list. In due course a potential buy arose, but just a day before we were to go see the prospective Suzuki outfit, we jointly dismissed the fitted sidecar as unsuited to our needs.

Just a day later, a chance phone call made us aware that a member of our sidecar club was selling his outfit. That the motorcycle involved was never previously considered as an option was irrelevant. After all why not have a Yamaha VMax with a sidecar ?

A few days later, Valentine's Day, we went to see the outfit and did the deal. Clearly a reluctant sale, but ill health had become a factor for Mike and so his dream outfit had to go. The Vmax outfit was collected a few weeks later on a day fortunately unaffected by seasonal snow. Cold, but dry and the 40 or so miles home clearly indicated that care had to be taken with the right hand ! The original Vmax and RX4 sidecar below;

Inevitably, once piloting the Vmax had become more familiar (the potential of V Boost and a near light switch throttle took some miles to adapt), thoughts moved on to adaptation. Some of this being essential work such as significant chassis and sidecar body modifications.
A mixture of, to be blunt, questionable attachment of the sidecar car to the big Yamaha and dubious fibreglass quality of the RX4 body, meant early weeks were spent addressing the issues. This meant leaving the outfit overnight with a reputable professional fibreglass company followed by two friends helping out with their respected welding skills. All this worthy of its own story.
Beyond the issues of addressing faults a number of amendments have featured. The existing handlebar fairing was a looker and its 1950s origins gave the big Yam something of a classic appearance. However, better protection was required and the trusted Stewart fairing (already hanging in the garage) replaced it.
In good time for our annual trip to Belgium and Luxembourg the Vmax was fitted out with a self fabricated pannier set up. Thick aluminium sheet, stainless nuts and bolts, plus waterproof tool boxes, allied to the existing top box have proved to be very worthwhile. Not bad for an outlay less than 100.


Site last amended Oct 22 2020 | johnprocter1@outlook.com

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