Starting your day on the water is a wonderful feeling. The clean, calm water, a light breeze and a mate to cruise with. Even better if you are testing a new PWC. The 2016 FX SVHO Cruiser from Yamaha is just luxury on water. It has everything you could possibly need: From twin cup holders to on-the-fly cruise control (ie. “Cruise Assist”), flush mounted, pull-up mooring cleats to a folding rear boarding step. This ski has it all, and before you think it would be lacking in performance, you’d be wrong. With an 1812cc supercharged engine and 21kg (46 pounds) lighter than the previous model, it has plenty of thoroughbred performance brought over from the FZR range.
So let’s get back to that luxury. The moment you set your eyes on the Cruiser you can’t help but notice the high-backed, wide-saddle seats, trimmed in two-tone silver and perfectly matching with the color scheme of the mile-deep Pure White SVHO. Steeping aboard and looking around, I take note of the steering column can be tilted up or down to five positions – offering greater personalized comfort.
After putting my gear away in the two screw-tight watertight storage compartments (found beneath the dash and rear seat), it was time to see what this ski was capable of. Cruising out of the marina was a made easy by selecting “No Wake Mode” with a push of a button. Sitting there, feeling a little like a character out of a “Star Wars” aboard the massive white beast, I scanned the multitude of gauges, seeing what’s what.
The FX SVHO Cruiser has Command-Link Information system with everything from an analogue speedometer (that can double as a tachometer), and dual LCD screens reading the fuel level (with low fuel warning), hour meter, low oil pressure warning, and check engine light with self-diagnostic function. I loved the ability to work out your fuel consumption for those long trips. That’s plenty of information at your fingertips to keep you confident you’ll reach your destination. Speaking of fingertips, the throttle response of the ski is amazing.
Weighing 376kg (829 pounds) the Cruiser’s NanoXcel2 hull and deck is over 50kgs (110 pounds) lighter than traditional hulls (and 21kg lighter than the outgoing NanoXcel version), making it handle like its on rails or just as comfortable in big choppy conditions, and more importantly, making the NanoXcel2 hulls, decks and liners the lightest in the industry.
To create NanoXcel2, Yamaha engineers innovated at the microscopic level using a combination of “nano” clay and glass micro-bubbles to develop a new stronger resin that uses less material. The glass micro-bubbles used in NanoXcel2 are smaller and stronger than other filler materials, contributing to the strength, rigidity and lightweight of the new hulls and decks. Although the nanotechnology-engineered material is even lighter than the previous version, it maintains the structural integrity the material has come to be recognized for.
Beneath the seat is the DOHC, 16-Valve Super Vortex High Output (SVHO) Supercharged 1812cc four-cylinder 4-stroke Marine Engine, has no problems pulling away and leaving the other behind you. Helping it to do this is the 160mm 8-vane pump and the most torque than any WaveRunner in history.
The new SVHO engine produces approximately 20-percent more power than the SHO before it, and features improved cooling, a more efficient intake manifold, and stronger forged engine internals. The new, larger Hyper-Flow jet pump helps turn that power into electrifying acceleration, and the Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) gives smooth and efficient power output. Newly designed forged pistons are 30-percent stronger, aiding in performance and reliability.
I took the FX SVHO Cruiser through its paces, pulling it into some pretty tight turns and was nothing but impressed. The hook up out of the corners was great thanks to the Cruiser’s top loader intake grate. The main thing I liked about this ski was how dry you stay. Even through the turns you stay dry (there’s nothing worst that getting sprayed in the face constantly). Taking the whole family out for the day would be a pleasure, just cruising looking for that secluded spot or hooking up a rope to the inbuilt tow hook and going for a ski, this Rolls-Royce of the water has you covered.
Getting back on board is just as easy with a deep boarding step and easy-to-reach handles. Being a large 3-seater, the SVHO Cruiser is stable while towing and you don’t have to worry about getting whipped around. I was surprised at the great fuel economy, particularly after a full day’s cruising in Moreton Bay and a 40-minute action-packed race back to the ramp averaging 80kph (50mph) and hitting a GPS-recorded top speed of 115kph (71.5mph) – there were still a couple of bars of fuel in the 70 litre (18.5 gallon) fuel tank. That’s pretty impressive if I do say so myself.
This was my first chance to try out Yamaha’s RiDE system. Advertised as “The world’s first dual throttle handlebar control system,” RiDE is easy, fun and intuitive to operate. Pull the right lever to accelerate and the left lever to decelerate and for reverse. Release the levers for neutral. Pull them both, or in any combination, and the system reacts with precise control.
The RIDE breaking and reverse system is a pleasure to use, just a gentle squeeze on your left had trigger controls the amount of reverse thrust to either slow you down or to put you into a complete reverse. Reversing is a dream, turning in its own length. So pulling on or off the trailer couldn’t be easier. To compliment the innovative RiDE system, an electric trim switch is within easy reach of the rider’s thumb. Also, tying up to the dock is a breeze with the aforementioned pop-up cleats. No more risking damage to your ski by tying up around the handlebars.
I got the chance to play with the Yamaha’s Cruise Assist and No Wake Mode features. By setting a consistent engine speed, Cruise Assist reduces throttle fatigue – making towing and long tours more comfortable, while No Wake Mode caps the WaveRunner’s speed, allowing for seamless navigation through slow-speed zones. Equally, the PWC’s Security Mode can be activated remotely with the push of a button to disable the ignition when the WaveRunner is not being used. Activated just as easily, Low RPM Mode can be used to conserve fuel.
But I’m sure you saying it can’t be perfect, well nothing is. I had a couple of small issues with the ergonomic handlebar grips while riding standing up. Maybe a small adjustment to the riding position would help. Also the stitching on the bottom half of the seat trim rubbed on my legs a bit (I was riding in shorts as most of us do). Likewise, in the future I would love to see Yamaha install a GPS Unit into the ski for Navigation and accurate speed readings. That would make the FX SVHO Cruiser the ultimate touring PWC. Other than these small issues, I highly recommend the 2016 Yamaha FX SVHO Cruiser WaveRunner to any PWC enthusiast out there. The versatility of the Cruiser is unsurpassed.