By Christopher Hughes
The FX SHO Series has been redesigned with several changes that effected our test results. The first change is the overall length which now measures 140.2'' (3.56 m). The second change is the new reverse gate operation which now has a true mechanical neutral. With the same tried and tested 1812cc 210-hp 4-stroke, four-cylinder, supercharged marine engine, this PWC seems to have reached its highest evolution of performance. Our test revealed almost only positive results.
These two Yamaha PWCs have an edgy bow design. Not known for leading in the styling area, the team at Yamaha seems to have stepped it up a bit with an all new look. While the familiar bow bumpers are still standard, there is a new, lower profile, and a much more angular look to the front area leading up to the handlebars. I really welcome this change as for me, many of the PWCs had become homogenous over the last few years.
There is still lots of usable storage with over 33 gallons (125 L) total and the majority of it located in the forward compartment. Also located in the forward compartment is the fire extinguisher. I prefer it located under the aft seat as it was on the older models, because it is easier to get to.
The handlebars are adjustable and during the test I found that I was able to raise them high enough for safe and comfortable stand up riding. The hand grips' design gets a big thumbs up from me with regard to comfort. I also noticed that the handlebars seemed to be a little wider which made them more comfortable than before.
On the starboard handle is still the throttle lever. The operator will also find cruise assist, which consists of three buttons. The lower button turns cruise assist on, when on, one can pull the throttle all the way back and have a comfortable firm grip on the handlebar. Use the up and down arrow buttons to regulate the speed.
On the port side of the handlebar is the trim adjuster. To operate, simply depress the lever and twist up or down. This will move the angle of the jet pump nozzle. When the nozzle is aiming up, this raises the angle of the bow when riding, and when aiming down, brings the bow down. I drove in neutral for almost my entire test.
The multi-function display is a point of difference between the FX SHO and the FX Cruiser SHO. The FX Cruiser SHO has a screen on either side of the analog display and these provide you with water temperature, speed, fuel flow and several other data points. The control button is located under the handle bar directly in front of the drive. There are four mode buttons for the Cruiser SHO and two for the FX SHO.
On a PWC it is important to have dry storage easy at hand when underway. There is a dry storage area on top of the console and I had my phone, keys and wallet there. It closed securely and did not leak.Another storage area is just abaft the handle bars. What I liked about this was that Yamaha made it deeper and provided a removable insert that acts like a cup holder. On test day it was in the 90s, so having two bottles of water handy was great.
The Seats Are Different
The seating is another area of difference between the FX Cruiser SHO and the FX SHO. The Cruiser has a scalloped back for the driver and each rider, and they are arranged in a tier design. This is to get the passengers up a little higher to give them a better view during the ride. The FX SHO has a sporty seat design that is smoother and does not have the back rest support.The seats are designed as two parts and under the aft seat is another dry storage area. This has a pull out container that is also waterproof. Under the container is access to the battery, which is easy to get to should one need to change it or charge it.
On the starboard side of the console is the reversing lever. The lever is locked into position with a safety latch. To move the lever into the reverse position, depress the latch, then pull aft. Through mechanical linkage, this will move the reserve bucket to the deployed or down position and divert the thrust. The PWC is now in reverse. There are two ports on either side of the reverse bucket and these gives the rider good agility in this mode.
Now, pushing the latch forward, it will lock in the neutral position, and this is indicated by a green “N” that appears in the site window on the reverse lever. You are now in a true mechanical neutral. I tested this by sitting for over five minutes to see if there was any stray thrust that would slowly push the craft in one direction or the other. I found that this system worked as advertised.Depressing the latch and pushing the reverse lever full forward puts one back in regular forward operating mode.
The Engine Room
Removing the forward seat section provides access to the heart of the machine, the 1812cc 210-hp powerplant. There is a surprising amount of room inside the engine compartment and the operator can easily change the oil filter and the air filter. Likewise, changing the spark plugs and doing just about any maintenance or after-market upgrades should be easy.
Under the aft seat is the tow point. Conveniently, Yamaha has designed a new storage hatch so one can secure the tow line and still leave it attached to the tow point. There is a cut out at the top for the line to fit through.The aft deck is large and measures 13'' from front to back. On the stern is another new design feature I really like: The re-boarding step is much bigger than before and when deployed, it goes down deeper into the water than any step I have seen yet. This, combined with the handholds on the back, makeS re-boarding relatively easy.
Below the Waterline
The business end is under the aft platform. Here you will find a 155mm jet pump assembly made entirely from aluminum alloy. This means that issues with corrosion should be minimal and in our experience, much less than with other drive systems we have tested.The sponsons have been redesigned and have more of an angular outer rail edge. Our tests showed that the turning was smooth, predictable and very tight when needed. There was no slipping and this is probably due to the new sponsons.The hull is made from NanoXcel which is a light weight composite material. Yamaha uses this because it allows them to decrease the weight of the hull as well as giving the company an ability to make these hulls with the close mold process. The NanoXcel material is placed in a mold that is then closed, and put under pressure and a vacuum. The hull is formed, creating a perfectly detailed and shaped hull each time.
The model is 140.2’’ (3.56 m) in length and weighs 858 lbs. (389 kg) dry. The beam is 48.4’’ (1.23 m) and the overall height 48.4’’ (1.23 m). The fuel capacity is 18.5 US gallons (70 L) and the engine is specifically tuned to run perfectly on regular 87 octane gas.
How Important is Horsepower?
There is a lot of marketing promotion in the PWC world about horsepower. BoatTEST.com tries to stay out of these debates and to present the facts. Speed and performance are not solely based on horsepower. In fact, performance relies more on a balance of many factors including hull shape and design, the jet-pump, weight balance of a machine and the impeller.
Our tests show that the rider will not want for more power, this machine has more than enough to propel the craft at WOT in the 65 mph range that all production PWCs target. In fact, Yamaha even goes so far as to de-tune its engines below capability. Yamaha says that this is one of the reasons they achieve such a high reliability.
Taking a look at our numbers, the tests recorded an average top speed of 66.7 mph at 7500 rpm burning 19.2 gph for a range of 58 miles. Because this is a watercraft and not driven like a boat, there really isn’t a best cruise speed. But, I found myself averaging about 30 mph at approximately 5000 rpm burning 5.1 gph.Our 0-30 time averaged 1.7 seconds and the overall handling of this longer hull I would rate as excellent. Click on “Test Results” at the top of this page for all of the test data. If one is more of a big-water rider and like to be out for long periods of time, this machine should do very well for them.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Yamaha FX SHO (2014-) is 66.7 mph (107.3 kph), burning 19.2 gallons per hour (gph) or 72.67 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Yamaha FX SHO (2014-) is 30.1 mph (48.4 kph), and the boat gets 5.96 miles per gallon (mpg) or 2.53 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 99 miles (159.33 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 1812cc four-stroke four-cylinder supercharged.
- Time from 0 to 30 of the Yamaha FX SHO (2014-) is 1.7 sec. seconds.
Standard and Optional Features
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