TESTED: YAMAHA WAVERUNNER FX HO

By: KEVIN SMITH, Photography by: KEVIN SMITH


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Kevin Smith gets his hair blown back by the new hull design on Yamaha’s latest fun machine, the FX HO WaveRunner.

TESTED: YAMAHA WAVERUNNER FX HO
YAMAHA WAVERUNNER FX HO REVIEW

Yamaha’s 2013 range FX HO PWCs has only been on the market for a short while, and although it might be coming into winter I am very keen to climb on one and have a blast. A new year always brings new models in the marine industry and in this case the latest FX HOs are even better than the previous year’s.

Up for test recently was the latest FX HO (and FX HO Cruiser — the silver one in the images), which appears to be very similar to its powerful big brother, the FX SHO, but differs in the fact it’s not super-charged. But that’s not really a huge concern because the FX HO still packs a healthy punch when you pull back the throttle. No super-charge also means better fuel consumption, approximately 30 per cent at WOT, and makes the FX HO about $2K cheaper than the FX SHO.



SMOOTH RIDER

In addition to sporting the usual super-hot Yamaha WaveRunner looks and a host of cool trinkets, the FX HO features a number of innovative changes that not only make it look better, but significantly alter the ride and handling.

One of the first changes I noticed when comparing the new rig to older models was the new longer hull design, which is constructed from Yamaha’s unique NanoXcel, which is around 25 per cent lighter than a more conventional material. These new hulls offer extremely agile handling, suited to novices and experienced alike, as well as improved fuel efficiency, more space and stability, extra storage and even more ride comfort.

If that doesn’t excite you, the new gadgets are sure to get your motor running. New goodies include an adjustable steering column, quick-shift trim system, true neutral setting, dual grab handles, and a new-look dash with Command Link instrumentation that provides a quick read on speed, revs, fuel and oil pressure, and features an hour meter and check-engine light with self-diagnostic function.

The new PWC also has cruise control, no-wake mode, remote transmitter for setting low-rev or security mode, loads of fast-access storage throughout, upgraded fabric on the precision-stitched three-person seat, and tow hook. The Cruiser model comes with cleats.

When climbing aboard the FX HO, I was aware of the hull’s extra length and I found overall space generous in comparison to previous models, especially if you have passengers or are planning to head out fishing. It has plenty of wet and dry storage throughout, as well as a few smaller sealed compartments.

Ergonomically, the new layout works well to accommodate more people, and quite comfortably at that. As far as all the small features and gadgets are concerned, everything has been designed to make your experience on the water far easier and more pleasant.



CRANKING UP

The best part of any PWC is pulling the power trigger and the FX HO is thankfully not shy in that department, even though it’s not super-charged. But having said that, I did feel a small difference in the hole-shot and at WOT, where you would likely get an extra 5.5-8kts (10-15kmh) from the more powerful FX SHO.

As I mentioned earlier, the fact the FX HO is not super-charged means a definite improvement in fuel efficiency, chewing an acceptable 20L/h at 5000rpm. Such improved productivity will obviously make a difference to your overall fuel costs when belting around for a day, and will probably be an even bigger a bonus for those PWC fishos who need to head out on long runs or troll all day.

Another of the key benefits of the new FX HO hull is the increased level of comfort when heading into hard turns in the rough stuff. These new hulls are far more forgiving than the older versions because they carve and lean inwards rather than maintaining a level attitude. This keeps your centre of gravity on the seat rather than trying to chuck you off the side, making it safer for riders of all skill levels.

Speaking of comfort, the new seating of the FX HO is also worth a mention. Designed as a proper three-seater, the added comfort is especially evident on the Cruiser model, and I particularly appreciated the improved support for your lower back.



THE WRAP

Regardless of you whether you think they’re your cup of tea, PWCs are an absolute ball on the water and can provide loads fun for the whole family — although you often end up having to buy two to keep everyone happy. And in addition to providing so much fun they give you a pretty good workout and can be used as pretty good fishing craft. They are a great option when it comes to a multi-purpose watercraft.

If you’re after more comfort, improved economy, better features, loads of fun, less fatigue over long periods, and an attractive price tag, the Yamaha FX HO could be the PWC package for you.



ON THE PLANE...

  • Improved handling
  • New neutral and reverse select
  • Improved comfort



DRAGGING THE CHAIN...

  • I would prefer to see an electrical trim system on future models
  • Start / stop button should be together rather than on opposite sides
  • Cruise control can be tricky to set in rough conditions, better to pre-set in calm water and adjust as you get into the rough



YAMAHA FX HO SPECIFICATIONS

HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: FX HO $16,756; FX HO Cruiser $17,487

Options fitted: None

Priced from: FX HO $16,756; FX HO Cruiser (silver) $17,487



GENERAL

Type: PWC

Material: NanoXcel

Length: 3.56m

Beam: 1.23m

Weight: 373kg (Cruiser 374kg)



CAPACITIES

People: 3

Fuel: 70L

Storage: 125.5L



ENGINE

Make/model: Yamaha SHO

Type: Four-stroke, four-cylinder DOHC four-valve

Displacement: 1812cc



MANUFACTURED AND SUPPLIED BY

Yamaha Motor Australia

Web: www.yamaha-motor.com.au (to find your closest dealer)

Originally published in TrailerBoat #296, June/July 2013

Find Yamaha WaveRunners for sale.

 


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