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August 25, 2011

Marnoch wins Yamaha Factory Ride!

A month before the Parts Canada Walton TransCan, Yamaha Motor Canada announced a brand new award to the event: a Yamaha Factory Ride, which includes a 2012 YZ of the rider’s choice plus a $2500 parts and accessories credit. It would be awarded to the amateur Yamaha rider who scored the most points in their respective classes. After crunching the numbers, it was Coldwater, Ontario’s RJ Marnoch who topped the chart! We caught up with Marnoch shortly after his big results at Canada’s ‘Biggest Dance.’

Four-time Canadian National champion, Dusty Klatt, and RJ Marnoch hanging out at the Yamaha Blackfoot factory rig.

Hello RJ, congratulations on winning the ‘Yamaha Factory Ride’ award at this year’s Walton TransCan!
RJ Marnoch: Thank you.

How many times have you raced the TransCan?
About 5 years now.

Is this your best year as far as results go?
Yeah, definitely.

What clicked for you this year at Walton?
Riding the big bike, my YZ250F, helped me out a lot. I’m a little too big for an 85cc, and I feel more comfortable on the 4-stroke.

You raced a 125 2-stroke in the Schoolboy, and a 250F in MX2 Junior. What’s the biggest difference for you between the two bikes?
Probably my corner speed; it’s way easier to roll-on the throttle on the 250F compared to the 125. I only got onto my 250F a few weeks ago, and now I’m wishing I had of been on one sooner.

You’ve had great results all summer. Are you the type of person who sets goals, or do you just go out, ride and let the results come?
I just go into it with my head held high, try my best and take it moto by moto.

Regarding the ‘Yamaha Factory Ride,’ which includes a 2012 YZ of your choice and a $2500 parts and accessories credit, have you given much thought to which bike you’ll choose?
Probably another 250F.

RJ and his father, Roddy, were given a full guided tour of the factory Yamaha Blackfoot racing semi.

How did you get into motocross, RJ?
I started riding when I was 4 years old, when my parents got me a dirt bike for my birthday. A friend down the street was into racing, he was friends with my dad, and we started going with them to the races. We just kept getting a little more serious every year. I’ve been on Yamaha’s since I started racing 80s.

Do you have a certain type of track that you prefer, or that you’re riding style suits best?
I like loam with lots of jumps.

Oh really, so Walton probably isn’t your favourite track but you still won!
Yeah, not really but it’s still a good track to ride. I like Sand Del Lee, and down in the states Area 51 is pretty fun.

Aside from racing, any other hobbies or interests?
I ski in the winter and race in the summer. That’s about it.

I know your dad, Roddy, is very supportive and enthusiastic about racing, and you have many other people helping you out. Who do you want to thank for helping you in 2011?
My whole family, Stouffville Toyota, DMX, Renegade Fuels, Fox Shox, Progressive Lighting, Lime Nine graphics, and everyone else.

Yamaha is planning to bring back the ‘Yamaha Factory Ride’ award to the TransCan and other amateur events in 2012. So keep your results up next year and you could win another Factory Ride!

That’s awesome, thanks!

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August 8, 2011

You may kiss the bride!

Every bride needs something old, something new, something blue … and something Yamaha, HA! While going through fan photos on Facebook, I was overwhelmed by how many owners include a Yamaha into their Big Day.

Below are some of our favourite wedding shots featuring Yamaha. (If you have one to share, please upload to our Facebook page – Facebook.com/YamahaMotorCanada – or email to horizons@yamaha-motor.ca.)

Brad Smith and Cassandra Richardson. Port Stanley, ON

Clayton and Penny Edwards. Duncan, BC

Dianne Lawson. Kelowna, BC

Marcy & Jamie. Kelowna, BC

Jeff and Grejanka Kamlah. Gull Lake, AB

Natalie Bergeron Ottawa, ON

Gerald Nadon and his son, Martin, on their way to Martin’s wedding. Quebec.

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July 11, 2011

Lunacy on a 50cc scooter

The Mad Bastard Scooter Rally

Let’s go back in time for a moment…. Just over 2 years ago, friend and work colleague Chris Anderson entered a rally in Gatneau, PQ on his BWs scooter. It was the first time I had heard of the Mad Bastard Scooter Rally (MBSR) and suddenly another friend, Percy, asked if I could help him locate a scooter to ride in the same rally. I just so happened that I was in the process of destroying a pre-production C3 scooter, so I delayed the job long enough for it to get “one last ride.”

Both guys competed and had a “really fun time” as Chris said to me after. He asked if I would consider riding in the next rally and I replied that if he was going, then I would be there too.

A few weeks later, Chris became a victim in a motorcycle accident and was lost to this world. But I remembered the promise to him, and along with Percy’s encouragement, registered for the 2011 rally. Back to the future and here we are, June 2011.

Before we go any further, an explanation of the MBSR might be required.

Consider a bunch of scooter riders, all dressed in silly costumes, riding more than 700 kilometres (the kind of distance that would make the average touring bike rider think twice about doing in a day), and collecting clues and photos in the hope that they get the most “mad points” and get back to the starting point within a time allowance. Of course, do it all for charity and then you have the basis of the Mad Bastard Scooter Rally.

The map of madness.

With the well wishes and sponsorship of many people from Yamaha, along with the use of a new 2012 BWs 50 scooter, Percy (aka Scooterman) and I, the Dragon Slayer (such testosterone-filled titles) started on the journey on a cold, wet Saturday at just before 4:30 am. Yes, that’s right, early in the morning. The lightly modified BWs sprang to life and along with Scooterman’s C3, we left the hotel start line as team “Chris’ Caped Crusaders.”

The 2 little scoots have similar performance, so we raced along with throttles wide open, drafting each other and generally trying to outdo the other for speed whenever possible. Every so often, a stop to check the directions we had been given before the start, then back to racing.

The route wound east out of Barrie (a city 90 minutes north of Toronto) and eventually took us on some beautiful back roads of southern Ontario. On a 50cc scooter, there is plenty of time to see the scenery – I counted all 37 cows in one field as we zoomed past.

Stopping for fuel at the compulsory stops became part of the competition between Scooterman and I. We both vied for putting in the most fuel but in most cases there was no difference – he put in 2.72 litres and I put in 2.73 at the first stop after 138km. It was like that each time. We laughed that we could probably complete the whole rally on a fuel budget of 10 bucks each!

(The 2011 MBSR Slideshow … not for the faint of heart!)

The roads wound north from Gooderham up into Bracebridge and Huntsville before swinging South West to Collingwood and into the party beach town of Wasaga.

Here, after a total of 13 hours riding, we had a choice to make: bonus route or not? Keep in mind it is only 30 minutes back to the hotel and the call of the lounge, or some really serious mad points for riding another 5 hours. But we were going for the win, so West we went, up and over the Blue Mountains. The directions mentioned the hills were steep and we were a little concerned, but those four-stroke engines wouldn’t quit and up we went, no problem.

A required stop in Orangeville with the dark closing in on us and we headed back north to Barrie. We rolled into the hotel lot and the finish tent just after 10:30pm for a grand total of 18 hours “in the saddle.”

Scooterman wins the 2011 MBSR!

Result? Scooterman got the overall win (thanks to my direction reading and clue deciphering) and together we took the Team to 1st prize. Scooterman won the grand prize of a new Kymco 125 scooter, but we had already considered the prize ahead of time and agreed to ask it be raffled and the proceeds donated to the charity (Kids Help Phone).

The team prize? A case of Tankhouse beer! We decided to keep that and toasted the memory of our lost friend Chris, who no doubt had a helping hand with the win.

Cheers and see you at the 2013 rally.

Dave Shepherd, aka ‘The Dragon Slayer’

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June 15, 2011

Never judge a book by its…

Everyday that I work on Yamaha Power Tour Demo rides, I come across riders that cause me some concern about their riding abilities. You would always like to believe that the guy wanting to ride the R1 is capable of riding a Sport Bike …  let alone the fastest one. You always want to believe that the rider has “been riding for years” when he asks to ride the Stratoliner Deluxe.

So today, I meet this gentleman, Harry Tatlow. He is a long time resident of Prince Albert, SK and comes into Tru North Yamaha all the time. He is well known to Neal McLeod, Sales Manager of Tru North Yamaha and the staff.

Harry comes up to me and says,  “I would like to go for a ride today.  My wife doesn’t like me to ride too much anymore but since you’re here I thought I might give it a go.”

I reply,  “How long have you been riding?”  To which he says, “… since I was 19! My first bike was a ’45 Army Harley made street legal so I could ride it anywhere. My 1st Yamaha was a ’74 TX 500A, then I upgraded to a ’82 Yamaha Maxim 750. I traded it in for a ’85 Yamaha Maxim X 750, then sold it to a young fellow who really wanted it. My last Yamaha was a 1994 Virago 1100. I have since sold it. So today… what have you got that I might be interested in?”

I was a little leery… but Neal and I pushed him toward the New 2011 Stryker 1300. He loved the style and couldn’t wait to ride it. Watching him leave the parking lot I was still a little concerned … but he handled the Stryker with ease. About 40 minutes later when our Power Tour Demo ride returned, low and behold, Harry was riding the Raider! I was now a little shocked.

Harry Tatlow, and Neal McLeod of Tru North Yamaha

When I asked Harry how his ride was, he offered:  ” The Stryker was good but a little under powered for me. I traded up with another rider halfway through the ride. This Raider is Unbelievable! Now …  I would love to ride that everyday. I love my life, but my wife would probably not have ___ with me anymore!”

Harry is 82 years of age. You go Harry!

Live to ride, forever.

Cheers, Jamie Moberg

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May 30, 2011

Tappin’ out to Tap in

Building a custom motorcycle takes creativity, skill and A LOT of patience.  In celebration of UFC coming to Toronto, for the first time ever, Yamaha Motor Canada and Flat Out Industries partnered to create a special, one-of-a-kind TapOut Edition YZF-R1. The idea came from Flat Out’s Sean Mance, and we’re glad he shared it with us.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, ultimate fighting is the sport right now—and Toronto can’t get enough of it (the event had a record sellout of 55,000 tickets, nearly doubling the prior record, held by Montreal’s Bell Centre). We knew it would be a great opportunity to expose our brand to new eyeballs and play a part, even a small one, in the sport’s history.

Where to start … first we had to get TapOut and Authentic Brands Group’s approval (ABG bought TapOut and thus has a major say in promotional partnerships). We needed permission to use their logos and also to display the bike inside TapOut’s booth at Toronto’s UFC Fan Expo. After getting the greenlight, Sean and I started discussing bike design and what this “street fighter” was going to look like. It wasn’t easy, as both of us, and many others, had different opinions. With a little compromising, we settled on a theme: a race replica supersport with a touch of bling!

The BodyWorks in Guelph, ON helped to “dress” the TapOut bike.

We ordered a brand new R1 and a box of performance parts. Yamaha P&A Specialist and sportbike enthusiast, Richard Irwin, secured us front and back BRAKING wave rotors, steel braided brake lines,  GYTR chain and sprockets, ASV levers, Harris Rear Sets, and a trick set of Italian Marchesini Wheels. Because this bike is a “show piece” we didn’t feel the need to alter anything internally (and hey, let’s be honest, does the R1 really NEED anymore jam?).

Once the bike arrived, Yamaha tech Matt Helmer stripped the bike down to its barebones and began installing the new parts. Meanwhile, Sean picked up the body panels, Marchesini Wheels and swingarm and delivered them to The Bodyworks in Guelph, ON for painting. It’s a small, humble operation, but the BodyWorks trio is full of talent and hilarious to work with. Unfortunately, due to lack of communication—and an actual rendering of the proposed bike—we had Bodyworks paint the swingarm twice. I’ll admit it, I’m a rookie…

We used TapOut’s NASCAR design as inspiration for …

… the TapOut Edition YZF-R1

To avoid this from happening again, we put the project on hold until we had a concept in our hands. After some debate, Yamaha’s graphic designer Nick Sang and I tossed around ideas and came up with a visual. Considering TapOut’s dark and gritty look, we used a lot of black, with red and white as our secondary colours. Sean made a good call on adding a big, white stripe down the centre of the fairing, tank cover, gas tank, and rear fender. It definitely improved the look and really grabbed your eye, even from a distance.

With only three weeks before the Fan Expo, I was getting nervous. Our big debut was almost here and there was still a lot of work to be done, not to mention marketing and promotional materials had to be created to support the initiative.

A custom engine protector, designed and machined by Sean Mance. Watch the TapOut Bike Build Process.

The team kept it pinned and Matt and I traveled down to Mance family’s machine shop in Guelph for two very late nights of work. As Sean programmed and machined custom engine and chassis components (which were then sent to RealChrome for chrome plating) and Bodyworks completed paintwork, Matt made sure everything was tight on the R1. (Matt’s a major R1/road racing fanatic, so he took great pride in this project, making sure this bike was ready to hit the track, if need be.)

Mechanic Matt was a huge help, and I’m so thankful he stayed in the fight, no matter how much we stretched his patience.

Tuesday April 26th … our last day of work before the Fan Expo … or so we think. Matt and I met with Sean in Guelph, hoping to finish the deal. Our goal was to finish up around 8pm, conduct a photo shoot and then head back to Toronto with the finished piece (move-in for the Expo took place Thursday April 28 from 12-5pm. Show opened at 9am the next day).

Like everything I touch, things didn’t go quite as planned and we didn’t finish the bike until midnight. Not a huge deal to the three of us, as we all hold great passion for motorcycles and rather enjoy tinkering on them. Sadly, I can’t say the same for the photographer or Sean’s models … I don’t think they were too thrilled to be up past their bedtime.

Matt, Sean and I show off the fruits of our labour … I wonder who would in a fight?

All of the late nights were worth it though. Once we had everything bolted on and polished up, the three of us stood back and smiled. This bike was, as a fight fan would say, “Badass!” But what about TapOut? And what about the fans? Would they share the same opinion?

Keeping things consistent, we once again scrambed to move the bike into the Direct Energy Centre (DEC) on Thursday afternoon. We arrived at the DEC moments before the doors closed. The stress of it all floated away, fortunately, as we rolled the bike into the building and everyone who walked by complimented the machine or ran up and shot a pic with their cell phone…

The bike attracted a lot of attention at the UFC Fan Expo …

… especially when the ladies joined in!

The next morning, Yamaha’s motorcycle tech specialist, Nick DiCristofaro, and I showed up at TapOut’s booth, ready to mingle with fight fans. It was quite overwhelming, really. I knew UFC was big, but I couldn’t believe how many people jammed into the Expo. Over the two day event, more than 40k fans walked through the DEC! It helped that we were located right at the entrance, inside TapOut’s booth, and parked beside TapOut’s autograph line. Punkass and Skrape signed autographs and took photos with fans over the two day event, along with their fighters, including Jake Shields, who would be fighting Canada’s own George St- Pierre that evening.

The bike was a hit, especially when a beautiful young lady (or two or three) climbed aboard. We had posters printed up of the bike and TO’s Punkass and SkySkrape were kind enough to sign them and give away to fans. Both guys loved the bike, but what’s better, is the fact that both of them ride (as did their late, former leader, Charles Lewis, aka “Mask”).  Punkass rides street, while Skrape has a garage full of WRs, YZs, and TT-Rs, and this funky R1/Hayabusa hybrid.

TapOut founders SkySkrape (fro) and Punkass (shades) weren’t so happy that their sponsored fighter, Jake Shields,  lost to GSP in Toronto’s Main Event, but they liked the bike!

The goal of the project was to partner with a cool, hip brand, like TapOut, and get in front of new potential riders. The crowd was alive, young and showed great interest in our “Ultimate 2-Wheel Sreet Fighter.” Considering that, and the positive response from TapOut and their crew, I think it’s safe to say we met our objective.

If you wish to see this bike in person, tune into Yamaha ‘s Facebook page to see where it will be next. It will be on display at many dealers across the GTA, as well the Blocko 8 sportbike rally, corporate bike shows, and many other events during 2011.


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May 12, 2011

Gearing up for your first ride

NRD’s Tips of the Trade: Gearing up for your first ride
By Nick DiCristofaro

Before we begin, let me (DanBro) introduce you to Nick DiCristofaro. A native of Toronto, Nick holds great passion for the sport of motocross. Like most of us, Nick wasn’t going to make money racing. Instead, he opted to keep other riders bikes in one piece. A talented, hard working fellow, Nick has wrenched for many of Canada’s top MX teams (and he spent a summer working for Yamaha’s road racing team). That experience, and the relationships made, helped Nick to become a Motorcycle Tech at Yamaha Motor Canada in winter 2009.

When he’s not working on motorcycles, Nick spends way too much of his time on a road bicycle or in the gym. He also likes small puppy dogs, although, he would never tell you that cause that would mean he’s “soft.” Dirt bikes, dumbells and puppies … yep, that’s Nick in a nutshell.

Take it away, Smiley Nick!

One serious dude: Yamaha Motorcycle Tech, “Smiley” Nick DiCristofaro.

Summer is here and that means it’s time to break out your motorcycle and hit the track, trail or road! It’s tempting to get out and ride on that first sunny day, but before you do, please take time to perform these simple maintenance checks:

1. Check your battery. Make sure that it is charged to capacity. The last thing you want is to be stuck at the side of the road with a dead battery.

2. Drain the fuel tank/carburetor float bowls. Stale gas can cause severe engine and component damage and may even prevent the unit from starting. This step is important with 2-stroke models, as the fuel-oil mixture is prone to going stale quickly. Re-fill your tank with fresh fuel.

3. Make sure your air filter is clean and oiled. An oiled filter that has been sitting for an extended period of time may become dry, due to the oil slowly seeping to the bottom of the airbox.

4. Check your tires and air pressure. Have a look at the tread and make sure there are no flat spots on the tire. Air pressure decreases over time. Topping up to specifications will deliver better handling and lessen the chance of a flat.

5. Inspect your drive train. Make sure it is lubed properly (chain) and tension meets specification (chain/belt). Also inspect sprocket teeth for any hooks or chips. Replace if necessary.

6. Check all fluid levels and top-up. Oil, coolant, brake fluid, final drive fluid, and transmission oil. If any fluids are low, check the floor around your bike for any leaks and repair before using. Visit your local Yamaha dealer if unsure. Now might be a good time to perform an oil and filter change, if you are near your mileage interval.

7. Inspect your brakes. Wipe down rotors with a clean rag and contact cleaner and look for any brake/suspension fluid leaks. Check pad/shoe thickness and replace as necessary. Well functioning braking systems are extremely important for safe vehicle operation.

8. Start the unit. Inspect the operation of all lights, signals, etc. and repair if necessary.

Once you’ve performed these inspections, and it meets your satisfaction, get out and RIDE!

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May 9, 2011

Moberg Report #2: Best in the West

The Western Canada Motorcycle Power Tour kicked off its first week on beautiful Vancouver Island, BC. My travels included stops at select Yamaha Dealerships in Duncan, Courtenay, Parksville and Victoria, demonstrating new 2011 Yamaha Motorcycles.

Being springtime, a lot of motorcycle enthusiasts come out of the winter humdrum looking for dry, warm weather to ride their motorcycle or look for a new ride! There are lots of you already on the road.

Our participation at each dealership was good to great, but … as we all know,the rain can sometimes hamper our “test drive” demo rides. Nevertheless, it’s a good time to polish up the ride!

Meet your author: Jamie Moberg.

Riders all of all ages are coming out to see the 2011 Yamaha motorcycles, hence our future Yamaha Stryker rider.

‘Rides of the Week’ went to the Stratoliner Deluxe and the new 2011 FZ8. Very popular rides with great reviews!

This week the Western Canada Power Tour travels to the Lower Mainland of BC with stops in Chilliwack and Langley, and then travels to Vernon and Kelowna in the Interior. Click here for a complete Power Tour schedule.

I’m looking forward to seeing all of you motorcycle enthusiasts as you discover:  “What Kind of Yamaha are You?”

Join us!

Jamie Moberg

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May 5, 2011

The Moberg Report: Western Power Tour kicks off!

Yamaha’s Annual Motorcycle Power Tour is on! Coordinator Jamie Moberg checked in with this update and photos from stop #1 on Vancouver Island:

The 1st Stop of the Western Canada Yamaha Motorcycle Power Tour started out with a great response, with fantastic weather and a full day of riding 2011 Yamaha Motorcycles. The Staff of Duncan Motorsports, Vancouver Island, BC, were extremely positive about their Power Tour day and it showed by the turn out of riders … some all the way from Victoria … on a Wednesday!

With a possible total of 88 rides throughout the day, 87 rides went out …  all positive. The Stratoliner Deluxe was the ride of the day as it was booked up for rides before any of the others. A popular choice!

See attached pictures for a better visual on the day.  The guy with the Yamaha Tuning Fork Tattoo owns a Raider S and is a true “Yamaha Man”!

I’ll keep you posted.

Cheers, Jamie Moberg

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February 18, 2011

Doesn’t it make you wanna ride?

Our far, far north DSM, Jeff Ryan, forwarded us this beautiful riding video, featuring Yamaha’s Super Ténéré. It’s a perfect blend of off-road, street and everything in between. Enjoy!

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January 4, 2011

Ride, Rudy, Ride

A month ago we mailed out (snail mail and electronically) the latest issue of Horizons. We’re pretty excited with this one. The last few issues have really captured that “magazine” feel, thanks in part to interesting stories and the delightful design of “Cowbell” Amy Campbell. Good job, team.

Another reason that our issues keep getting better and better, is because of the great content submitted to us by you, the readers. Whether it’s a story, photo, poem, or even a song, Yamaha owners aren’t afraid to show off their pride of ownership. (Some, as you’ll soon find out, show it off permanently!)

One of our recent ‘Photo Contest’ finalists, Rudy Mercer, was surprised to see his photo make an impression, let alone finish second-place. After receiving his issue of
Horizons—and $300 Yamabucks for his photo submission–Rudy sent us a ‘thank you’ note  with some background on his love for VMAX and Yamaha:

Rudy Mercer and his son, Zachary.

I received the check for $300Yamabucks along with the 2 copies of Horizons magazine and a letter from you, congratulating me on second place in the Good Buddies contest. I was very surprised and thrilled that my son and I won second place; I was not expecting to even get noticed let alone win second place. I have to send out a big thank-you for this honor; it will be something my son Zachary and I will not soon forget.

I guess I should update you on the status of my motorcycles…. As you already know I sold my 2000 VMAX and purchased a 2009. Well I have had an unfortunate accident in the form of a fire. My shed caught fire last month and the real unfortunate part is that my new 2009 VMAX was inside! The bike was a total loss but I did have insurance and have now purchased a 2010 VMAX. I have attached some photos of my 2009 before the fire, one of it after the fire and a couple of the 2010 I just purchased.

My son still loves to help me clean the bike. Yes, he still wants to go with me, but I am a little hesitant about taking him—especially on a 200hp bike. Oh ya, I forgot to mention I am going to use the $300 Yamabucks towards the purchase of a Yamaha PW50 dirt bike for the my son Zachary!

My love for Yamaha started when I was about 7 and got my very first bike. It was a Yamaha MX80. But I fell in love with the VMAX when it was first introduced in 1985 when Jay Gleason came out on stage and started doing a burnout. I was only 10 at the time and I just thought it was the coolest thing ever. The power, the style … I was just hooked and have been since that day.

When I heard rumors in 2002 that there was going to be a new generation VMAX coming out I couldn’t wait to see it! I researched online for any info I could get my hands on. I did the surveys and then almost ten years later, Yamaha released it and I was not disappointed.

I loved my 2000 VMAX and had almost $6,000 in mods done to it. The bike was pushing about 165hp with a custom exhaust, K&N filters and stage 7 jet kit, BUUUUTT the 2009 had 197hp right out of the box so it was time to upgrade. Evan at 197hp I was not satisfied. I stared in on the mods for ’09. Before long I had a custom exhaust on it with K&N filters and a Power Commander V and was pushing about 195hp at the rear wheel, which is roughly 225hp at the crank, give or take 5hp. The VMAX is a very unique motorcycle; there is nothing else like it. It has no competition and is in a league of its own.

Now that’s pride!

I guess I am just a VMAX head and it was burned into my brain at the ripe old age of 10. Now I am addicted. I even have a tattoo of a dragon with the Yamaha symbol in his claw. Yep I am definitely addicted to Yammies!


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