Yamaha FX Cruiser SHO Review
Nanotechnology injects Yamaha’s new Cruiser with comfort, style and extraordinary performance.
The team was apprehensive when Yamaha WaveRunner Manager Iain MacLeod asked us to test one of their new Yamaha personal watercraft (PWC) in Sydney in the heart of winter. But the cold was quickly forgotten as the adrenaline kicked in and we sliced through the icy waters of Pittwater on a new FX Cruiser SHO. We came away feeling confident that this model, from a brand world renowned for top draw watercraft, had struck a winning formula yet again.
Yamaha introduced the world’s first three-seat PWC in 1990 and the Yamaha FX Cruiser SHO launched in Australia this year continues in that great tradition. It’s the flagship of the redesigned 2008 Yamaha WaveRunner range and features a new Yamaha marine engine and an award winning nanotechnology-inspired hull designed for maximum performance.
Changes to the handle bar controls are also well thought out and we are sure some of these new features will become industry standard in years to come.
The FX Cruiser SHO is powered by a compact four-stroke, 1.8L, supercharged, intercooled, high output four-cylinder marine engine, which sits in a 3.37m long hull weighing 355kg. It is slightly longer than some other similar PWCs but you hardly notice that in the performance due to the new lightweight hull material.
Yamaha WaveRunners are constructed using a material called SMC (Sheet Moulded Compound), which consists of fibreglass, filler and resin to bond them all together. NanoXcel (SMC with ‘nano modified’ exfoliated clay) is used for the hull, deck and bulkheads and achieves a 25kg weight advantage over traditional construction of the same hull.
The process uses a nanocomposite filler layered thousands of times so that the bonding surface is much larger than achievable with traditional construction. The end result is that less filler is needed during manufacturing and a much lighter and stronger material is produced.
The 355kg weight is comparatively light (most other three seaters are around 370kg) which proved advantageous as we ran the Cruiser through a predetermined buoy course.
Manoeuvring through the twists and turns was comfortable and the hull displayed exceptional agility despite its added length and rounded nose design. It changed direction smoothly with no wrestling or massive leaning to get the hull to turn.
FORM & FUNCTION
On board the Cruiser is all class and includes the features expected on a PWC in this category and a few extras we were impressed with. There is a rear step for ease of boarding, a tilt adjustable steering column for comfort and large mirrors all pretty standard stuff. But when you look closer at the steering apparatus you notice an electronic throttle, which allows some nifty new functions via the electronic signals going to the engine.
Cruise Assist is one such feature that allows long-distance cruising while reducing cramping in riders’ fingers on extended journeys. It works much like the cruise control found in motor vehicles and allows the rider to set the speed of the craft and then make slight adjustments up or down. Simply returning the throttle lever to the position where Cruise Assist was engaged cancels the function.
Another impressive feature of this craft is the No Wake Mode. Like a stealth-mode, this feature comes into its own, while travelling through 4 and 8-knot zones. Pressing a blue button automatically keeps the vessel at a slow speed without having to manually manage the throttle. This allows you to sit back and enjoy the ergonomically designed seat.
The seat felt larger and wider than other PWCs we have ridden, and was the most comfortable set-up we have seen on any PWC. The seat curves around you and holds you in tight while providing some lower back support. Comfy indeed!
The FX Cruiser SHO is a three-seat PWC with enough storage to make a long-range journey a comfortable experience. 70L of fuel and 100L of storage space allow for a considerable cruising distance and plenty of gear on board. There are even pull-up cleats included another clever idea.
You just can’t be uncomfortable on the Cruiser SHO. It feels bulkier than some of its contemporaries but the engine delivers knockout performance and acceleration with a top speed of about 110km/h. The test day dished up superb flat (if cold) conditions, so we were unable to get a good gauge of the hull’s rough water performance.
We had to settle for crossing wakes, and found it was precise and determined with no wandering or pulling when it headed into the waves. Overall the sporty FX Cruiser SHO impressed. It would be prefect as a family cruiser or a high speed thrill machine when ridden solo. It offers PWC luxury combined with stylish design and smart performance.