Grand Tourer: 2013 Yamaha FX HO WaveRunner


The FX HO’s hard-edged angular design can be polarizing to some. For us, we like it – but we loved the deep Crimson Red Metallic paint.

We live in a wonderful world of abundance. Even as global populations continue to climb, food production is still at an all-time high, and at no time has information been more readily accessible nor education more freely provided. In many cases, even the poorest in developed nations live better than the working class a century earlier. Despite personal political nuances, we live in a world of relative comfort, safety and convenience. While it may come off a little cheesy, it might be worth pausing to take a personal inventory of your blessings.

Go ahead, we’ll wait… There. Don’t you feel a little better?

A sense of understanding how good we really have it swam through my mind while riding Yamaha’s gorgeously refined FX High Output WaveRunner. Generously equipped with a king’s ransom in accessories and easy-to-navigate controls, the three-seater runabout is as close to a heavily-optioned four-door E-class sedan as we could imagine. Resplendent in Crimson Red Metallic, our HO glimmered in the winter sun as we glided on the empty lake leaving me to think how good we really have it.

Abounding in storage spaces found throughout the deck – from bow to stern – the FX HO is an ideal candidate for long distance rides.

Powered by Yamaha’s naturally-aspirated version of the SHO, the High Output 1,812cc four-stroke is 87-octane friendly and can entertain for hours even on a quarter tank of fuel.

Even as the chilled mid-January breeze whipped up some light chop, the long (140.2-inches) and light hull aptly slipped through the uneven surface. Made from Yamaha’s proprietary NanoXcel material, both the hull and deck benefit from a 25-percent weight reduction over conventional fiberglass composites. The NanoXcel process not only reduces weight but mass too, improving handling response as well as freeing up interior storage and engine compartment space.

And for 2013, the FX has storage in spades – in fact, 33.2 gallons worth – adding up to over 40-percent more storage over previous FX models. Yamaha has sprinkled storage bins throughout the craft, from the under hood bow storage compartment, to innovative watertight compartments both at the dashboard and beneath the rear seat.

The glove compartment features a removable Styrofoam insert as well as another cup holder on the dash. Finally, a rear compartment at the stern unlatches to hold tow ropes or other water toys secure.

The large rear swim platform and folding swim step make boarding easy, as the wide, tiered stadium-style seats are comfortable and well proportioned.

New for the 2013 model lineup is Yamaha’s mechanical neutral, which provides a locked position in the reverse lever.

Under way, the FX HO never fails to impress. The throaty 1,812cc High Output powerplant snorts out plenty of low-end grunt to propel the FX through long sweeping turns or carry you over long distances.

In fact, extended rides is where the FX HO shines best, as the naturally-aspirated sibling to the equally-equipped FX SHO offers the touring enthusiast all the more mileage to traverse as the deceptively efficient 1.8-liter four-stroke, four cylinder plant purrs along the water, sipping fuel along the way.

Managed through Yamaha’s Electronic Throttle Control system (read: fly-by-wire), the gas-sipping HO will struggle to drain its 18.5 gallon fuel tank even after continued hours of spirited riding. Features like programmable cruise control, No Wake Mode and Low RPM mode are found on the ergonomically-designed handlebar controls, and are all easily within reach. Oh, and the best part? You can run 87 octane gas.

No need for a Ziploc baggie or Pelican Case, Yamaha offers two watertight compartment to store your valuables: a screw-top padded bin for keys, cell phone and wallet.

Boarding is made easy thanks to a broad swim platform and wide folding swimstep. The angular design is futuristic and bold without being overbearing, and the decals and chrome accents are just enough detail to add character without becoming “busy.”

The second watertight compartment is a larger bin found beneath the stern seat for towels and clothes.

The tiered stadium-styling bench seat is well formed, comfortable with enough give to keep you comfortable over long periods of riding. We did note the saddle to feel a little wide, and that the second rider position lacks any sort of handrail or strap, so holding onto the driver is your only option.

Three more features are unique to Yamaha; the QSTS (Quick-Shift Trim System), four-step, tilt-adjustable steering, and the new mechanical neutral position in the right hand-side reverse lever. The latter ensures that the FX will stay in place even while under power. For the FX, the trim lever is a little different from its FZ brethren, a comfortable twist-grip provides 5-preset positions within a 24-degree range. It’s still a little stiff while under throttle, but manageable.

Overall, the 2013 FX HO is one of the most pleasurable skis we’ve had the opportunity to ride. Clearly designed for touring and leisurely cruising, the HO is an ideal selection for the rider looking for fuel efficiency, comfort and convenience in one great looking package.

We kinda wished Yamaha carried over the beautiful Crimson Red Metallic for 2014, but you can never go wrong with Yamaha Blue (OK, Deep Blue Metallic).

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Kevin Shaw

Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief – kevin.shaw@shawgroupmedia.com Kevin Shaw is a decade-long powersports and automotive journalist whose love for things that go too fast has led him to launching The Watercraft Journal. Almost always found with stained hands and dirt under his fingernails, Kevin has an eye for the technical while keeping a eye out for beautiful photography and a great story.

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