Yamaha FX Waverunner


Yamaha’s new WaveRunner FX is a classy blend comfort and performance – a PWC that switches easily between stately, three-up cruising and teeth-clenching euphoria. Terry Williams-King reports.

Yamaha FX Waverunner
Yamaha FX Waverunner
Yamaha entered the personal water craft market in 1986, and the developments over two decades have come thick and fast. The 2006/07 FX is the latest example of its four-stroke WaveRunner series that marry advanced, small-engine technology to legendary hull design.

An electric-blue colour scheme accentuates the FX’s racy lines, a theme reinforced by the wavy, silver stickers and the very padded seats. They’re even more comfortable than they look.

Other points that catch they eye are the dual convex mirrors, pull-up cleats on either side of the hull, and the spring-loaded rear boarding platform for easy access when reboarding in open water, or picking up a mate.

And if you’re a driver who likes knowing how your PWC is performing, you’ll appreciate the sleek dash with its multi-function, digital information centre. It includes a fuel gauge, compass, trip meter, as well as the renowned Yamaha engine management system.

For those starting out on a PWC for the first time and (understandably) a little nervous about unleashing the FX’s 160 horses immediately, the FX is equipped with "learner mode". It’s activated by holding down the "unlock key" on the security remote – a feature which prevents the engine exceeding 5000rpm.

Operation

Noise levels on PWCs have diminished significantly in recent years, and the FX is no exception. Its four-stroke engine is pleasantly muted – and the sound is further reduced by Yamaha’s excellent sound suppression system in the hull.

An adjustable steering unit allows the operator to set up the FX to personal preferences and maximum comfort. As the three-person craft, it seemed obvious to take a mate for our foray out on to Auckland’s Waitemata harbour.

It dished up plenty of sunshine – and plenty of wind – making for fairly rough conditions. No problem for the FX though - its quick-shift trim system allowed us to adjust the bow angle for easier handling.

The throttle is very responsive, and even with two big guys on board, the FX displayed an impressive agility and sure-footedness through even the tightest of turns. Much of its precise handling is no doubt attributable to the V-draft hull.

Excellent maneuverability at slow speed comes courtesy of an FX design feature. Unlike many jetskis which lose steerage with neutral throttle (making slow speed maneuvering very difficult), the FX offers a small burst of power when you turn hard in one direction.

Its healthy horsepower also makes the FX eminently suitable for other family-orientated sports. With a tow eye mounted near the stern, it is easily capable of towing a wake boarder or ski biscuit – reinforcing the models reputation as a great, all-round family water craft.

Offload the passenger, and the FX becomes a spirited adventure craft. It responds with even more enthusiasm, and with the lighter load the quick shift trim can be adjusted to compensate for donuts, fish tails and wave jumping. A pure blast, to say the least!

The exhaust water outlet is situated on the rear boarding platform, and while the outlet position can be altered (to under the craft, for example), the rooster tail effect has an advantage - it makes the vessel very visible to other craft.

The WaveRunner contains a number of features that elevate it into "special" status. They include a 100 litre water tight compartment, beverage holders, electric bilge pump, raised handle bar and hydro turf mats. And a special word of praise for those padded seats - they leave you feeling relaxed with your butt intact – rather beaten up.

All in all, this is a fabulous family PWC offering safe, exhilarating fun for a variety of water activities – all in pure comfort.

Specifications Yamaha FX WaveRunner

Engine 160hp four-stroke, four cylinder (in line), five valves per cylinder
Fuel capacity 70 litres
Storage 100 litres
Seating Capacity Up to three people (240kg)
Dry weight 372kg

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