A Supercharged Motor
The FZR is built around Yamaha’s 1812cc supercharged, 4-stroke engine. It’s said to be the biggest engine ever to be produced for a production personal watercraft. They don’t reveal the exact horsepower, but let’s just say that there’s plenty, and it delivers! I accelerated like a rocket, and my GPS and radar gun clicked off 68.1 mph on the straight-line runs. And the FZR, like all of Yamaha’s WaveRunners, is optimized to run on regular unleaded gas.
An All-New Hull
To make this new model work as they wanted, the racing-minded guys at Yamaha’s watercraft division knew that a new hull design was necessary to deliver the kind of ride they had in mind. They put all their years of experience and know-how to work and it shows; from the keel to the rails. To start, there is an oversized intake duct to compliment the super high-output engine. It provides increased thrust, which improves acceleration and gives you much better hook-up through the turns. The nozzle has a trim adjustment on the left handgrip so you can trim-out the ride to suit the conditions. A full length dihedral keel offers directional stability and contributes to high-speed turning response. The full length lifting strakes appear to be slightly oversized in sectional dimensions. The lift means less total wetted hull surface which reduces drag. The angled outside chines are really effective. They give you a lean-in, edge-to-edge ride through the turns. This was the most noticeable difference in the ride; I was able to execute turns at a much higher speed on the FZs than I’ve been used to. And I’m sure that the hull material, Yamaha’s proprietary NanoXcel, makes a contribution to the ride as well. This stuff’s stronger and lighter than conventional fiberglass, and it looks great, too.
Gadget-free, Except Where it Counts
Don’t expect to find the amenities that are included with Yamaha’s luxury models. That’s not what the FZR is all about. Like I said, the focus of this design process was on solo, stand-up riding, although not strictly limited to that activity. Tilt steering, it was decided, just didn’t cut it. Instead, they came up with a functional telescopic steering system which allows the rider to stand-up without hunching too far forward. The middle position lets you sit upright to cruise for a bit to catch your breath. If you’re the type who owns an all-out performance bike, get ready to sit real low and feel right at home, while edge-to-edge banking through the turns at high speed!
“Muscle Car” Styling
The styling caters to my love of the classic muscle cars from the ‘60s and ‘70s. The instruments are set in rounded bezels in the curved forward console. On either side of the cowling is a chrome intake grill. It speaks to the builder’s racing heritage. Although the seat has a shorter, trimmed look, to match the rest of the lines, it accommodates two, should you want to bring someone along for the ride. The color also says Yamaha - a metallic version of their classic Racing Blue. They didn’t forget to give you some space to pack a lunch and refreshments either. There’s storage up forward, under the seat, and at the handlebars. When you’re standing or moving around the deck, Yamaha’s Hydra-Mat deck surface is easy on the feet while offering an aggressive non-skid quality on the big aft deck and in the deep footwells.
A Thrilling Ride
Like I’ve said, the two seat FZR and its three seat sister the FZS were not designed for the luxury performance market. Forget about anything else, because the FZR is all about solo, stand up riding; going all out, hooking up through the turns and having pulse-pounding acceleration! You can still bring someone else along (when you have no other choice, that is!).
When I got to the test site, I was fully prepared by my hosts to expect something new and different. I got on the FZR and banged a few high-speed turns right away just to see if it was capable of delivering what they promised. I was immediately impressed. In fact, I was a little tentative at first, because the ride was somewhat different, but not in a bad way. I could maintain my speed while leaning into a turn, more so than I normally could. I felt like I was sticking to the machine instead of feeling like it was trying to throw me off. Before long I noticed that I was grinning as I carved up the lake.
By now you’ve probably figured out that the FZR is not designed around family use. That’s not a bad thing because not everyone has a family who wants this kind of excitement. But, if you typically ride solo or two-up and you’re of the more athletic, performance and action oriented type, you really need to check out Yamaha’s all-new FZR.