BHP, top speed, NM, FtLbs are all great metrics to add to a bike’s spec list but the one that never appears is g-force. It’s the ability of a machine to overcome inertia that controls one’s face and positive g from a standstill can curl even the stiffest of upper lips into a childish smile. The rest is just pub banter fodder. Newtons second law states F = ma– which in layman’s terms means that in order to make something go fast you either need to give it a big kick up the arse, or reduce it’s weight.
When Yamaha released the latest incarnation of the snarling V4 powered VMAX the engineers had ticked the box marked shove but tipping the scales at nearly a third of a ton isn’t exactly a recipe for quick times on the dragstrip. We’ve seen some pretty epic VMAX customs over the last 12 months but this, Gasoline, by Portuguese maestros it roCkS!bikes looks like the sort of weapon we’re expecting will bring home the trophies at Glemseck and Punk’s Peak later in the year.
Feeding the monstrous 1700cc motor with enough air to make 200hp (I know I said it wasn’t important but 200 is a good number for a bike to have) isn’t an easy task in terms of packaging as the airbox on a VMAX is more voluminous than some London apartments. Osvaldo and Alexandre from it roCkS! dealt with this by making a dummy uni-body fuel tank and seat unit, leaving the greedy airbox alone, apart form the obligatory K&N filter of course. Not only has this reduced weight but slimmed the bike and allowed plenty of space for the rider to tuck, and shift weight over that fat rear end.
If you’ve been following Yamaha’s extensive Yard Built programme you’ll be aware of the requirement for builders to produce a range of parts that a customer could potentially order at a dealer and have the resident technician fit them, without voiding the manufacturer’s warranty. The IRB (it roCkS!bikes is too complicated to type) concept takes this a step further with the aim of using as few fixings as possible for the entire tank/seat structure. The XJR1300 Dissident that we exhibited at Bike Shed London 2015 caused jaws to hit the floor, not simply for it’s sophisticated, streamlined aesthetic but also the innovative method of securing the whole lot to the chassis. Wave a ratchet over just three bolts and, like a Top Fuel Funny Car (Google it if you don’t know), the lid comes off and the mechanicals beneath are easily accessed. The unit is beaten and rolled from aluminium rather than formed from fibreglass and sits atop a custom, bolt-on subframe to create a racier silhouette than the original VMAX’s more laid-back affair.
Rather than attempt to hide an actual fuel tank the guys have fabricated a purposeful looking cylindrical vessel and suspended it beneath the wafer thin, leather seat. If you’ve spent anytime on a drag strip you’ll be familiar with such a no-frills approach to carrying fuel. Filling it is achieved via the Rizoma cap, flush-fitted into the tail.
The VMAX engine doesn’t really need an invitation to make noise but to make the maximise the aural pleasure of that V4 a brace of SC Parts carbon end-cans were fitted, fed by IRB fabricated stainless headers.
Transferring all the that shouting to the Asphalt requires a generous contact patch and given that modified swingarms aren’t going to be something customers would order across the parts counter, the guys opted for dragstrip specific rubber out back. A 7” wide Mickey Thomson race tyre is mounted to a custom, spoked wheel set up. I’m looking forward to hearing that chirp when launched from the Glemseck start line.
Finished with a host of top quality LSL, Rizoma and Motogadget components the CS_07 Gasoline shows that with a degree of commitment you could pretty much build yourself, with the assistance of a Yamaha dealer if necessary, a VMAX to take on the fastest on the strip this summer. That isn’t a suggestion that Osvaldo and Alexandre have simply bolted a few parts together, if you’ve seen their work up close you’d swear the Yamaha factory had built the bikes in a secret skunkworks facility, the finish is impeccable.
Don’t take our word for it, Gasoline will on display at Bike Shed Paris 2016 this weekend, come and see for yourself.