Cult and niche bikes do a great deal of positive for any motorcycle manufacturer's history. Although, not my first pick for the sable, it is still on the list and has my respect. I opt for a new iteration of this of old staple and now Yamaha hallmark.
Punch it out to 1700cc, monocoque frame, chain drive, inverted forks, radial brakes, underseat exhaust, and lots and lots and lots of power. Keep the same basic styling, mildly updated. Did I mention lots of power.
I say update it for sure give it a new chassis and revise the engine. The sound of that thing with a free flow exhaust is enough to start it's own religion! And you thought V-twins sounded mean. They pale in comparison to this bad boy's growl
Max has been around so long that the machinery to produce it has been fully amortized. So for Yammerhammer it is cheap enough to produce so that even in the relatively small numbers it sells it's still profitable.
Max's engine/trammy unit is so big and heavy that even with an improved frame you are still gong to have a pretty ungainly beast. Could Yamaha expect to sell enough upgraded units to justify the expense of retooling? That's for the marketting dweebs to determine.
A friend of mine bought a new one last year. While it is no sportbike, in the mountains here it certainly outruns any of the other cruisers. There are bikes that will do the 1/4 faster, but none with the ease that Max will. No technique required. Just twist the grip and go. There are blower kits available that will give you the 200+hp, should you be that insane.
The V-Max still rules the power crusier niche after 20 years. That's saying something. Only the Honda V65 ever came close. Long live the King.
I say update the styling a bit, give it an honest 135 hp at the rear and please give it some chassis/suspension tweaks, R1 brakes, and some real tires (say a 200 in the rear). The bike I describe is what the "Worrier" should have been. I would own the cruiser I just described.
Every review ever published of it that has pics has at least one pic of it doing the deed!
Did I miss it? ... I feel cheated.
(please note, I'm kidding... but I really did expect to see such a pic)
As to the question(s) at hand: I vote for 'update, more power please!' Not that I'm going to be able to afford one any more later vs. now (I gots five bikes as it is, can't do no more!), but I'd love to see it re-vamped.
I see a guy (gotta be in his 40's) riding one to work almost daily... has some sort of opened-up exhausts. I -still- swivel my head around to look for him when I hear it... it is the meanest sounding bike ever. That sound never gets old. The pro-stock description is spot-on.
Just a wild guess but it sounds like you've never ridden a Max. 600 power is nothing remotely like V-Max power. You literally can have just about all the straight line fun you'd ever want on a bike and not even open up the V-boost at 6500 rpm. A 600 is just waking up at 6,500. That said, you're right, the new bike is way overdue and it won't do to just bring something a little better than the old bike. It will have to be a bike with overwhelming power and styling that hugs the line of on offensive if it wants to carry the V-Max name. 150 Horses? "Piffle". I'm betting 2 liter/200 crank horsepower (170 at the wheel) and pepare to buy rear tires in bulk!