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I’ve noted before that Yamaha has a penchant for exhaustive consumer research. Part of that research shows that approximately two-thirds of WaveRunner owners participate in watersports. In other words, they use their craft to tow, hauling around members of their crew behind the craft on all manner of toys at the opposite end of a towrope. According to the research, however, one toy clearly stands out. Of the majority who participate in watersports, three-quarters tow that all-purpose, minimal-skill-level-required inflatable.
Given that fact, it seems only natural that the brand would take one of its premier models, the FX SVHO, and give it a little “towing oriented with a tubing focus” makeover.
Enter Yamaha’s new-for-’17 FX Limited SVHO.
As the name makes obvious, the FX SVHO is found at the core of the Limited. The difference lies in a collection of “extras” aimed at the aforementioned watersports consumer. A collection skewed heavily toward, what else, consumer’s preferred blow-up toys.
The “tubing” fan gets a single-passenger, Yamaha-branded inflatable, color matched to the craft’s exterior, as well as a likewise color-matched towrope to pull it through the wakes aft. Should you need to pump up that inflatable on site, a 12-volt tube inflator is included in the package. Buyers also get a tube holder, a handy strap that secures an inflated tube to the back of the swim platform where it won’t interfere with passenger space. That tube inflator, or other electronics that can be powered by 12-volts, can be plugged into a 12V plug housed within the glovebox. A solar battery charger, integrated neatly into the custom Limited cover, keeps the battery on a trickle charge when not in use so that the craft’s battery is always charged and at the ready. Two watertight dry bags, one sized to fit in the bow stowage and one to carry the average smartphone and fit in the glovebox, round out the offerings.
The remaining Limited extras are equal parts aesthetic and practical. The color – Azure Blue Metallic – and graphics are unique to the boat, as is the “enhanced” Yamaha logo. Four pull-up cleats make for easy tie-ups at the dock.
Extras aside, the FX SVHO is, at its core, already a luxury performance model.
The luxury can be found in its smooth, confident ride, but also in its multi-tiered, bolstered saddle, adjustable electric trim, adjustable handlebars, and auto-like remote transmitter. Use the latter to not only lock the craft against unauthorized starting, but also to enable a low-speed more to save fuel or deliver a tamer ride to beginners. The E-ticket features, however, are Yamaha’s RiDE dual throttle system and the combination of Cruise Assist and No Wake mode.
RiDE often sounds more complicated that it is. Essentially the craft now has two throttles. Use the one on the right as usual to propel the craft forward, use the one on the left to apply a portion of that same power in reverse. At higher speeds, that same left hand throttle can be used to redirect thrust and rapidly decelerate. At low speeds, it offers far more precision control in tight dock or launch areas. Not sure what to do? Just release both. The craft will go into a neutral mode, just like at startup, with virtually no forward or backward movement.
Cruise Assist and No Wake controls are probably more familiar. Like on an automobile, Cruise Assist lets the driver lock in a preferred speed and then not worry about the tension on the throttle. (In the PWC version you don’t take your foot off the gas, but instead just fully squeeze the throttle for a more secure grip.) No Wake does allow you to take your hand off the throttle totally, settling in the craft around 5 mph for extended slow zones. Don’t forget to use Cruise Assist when towing that tube or other water toys; your rider will appreciate the steady speed.
As to the performance half of the equation, that’s Yamaha’s supercharged, 1,812cc Super Vortex High Output engine purring under the seat. Coupled with a 160mm pump, top loader scoop grate and the weight advantage of Yamaha’s second-generation NanoXcel material in hull, deck and liner, it pounces to 30 mph as fast as 1.5 seconds in ideal conditions and easily reaches a 67 mph top speed. Along the way the hull carves intuitively and with absolute precision, darting in and out of turns with finesse.
As in similar models, there’s a catch. Essentially you’re letting someone else tell you what you need, rather than assembling your own shopping list and hitting up your favorite dealer or marine supply, and then charge you a generous price for it. The Limited is a $1,600 upgrade over the standard FX SVHO.
Still, I think the extras are mostly practical. The tube, towrope, inflator and tube strap combo take any guesswork or hassle out of the inflatable experience. The 12V outlet is handy for far more than just blowing hot air. And then there’s the cover with solar battery charger. A cover is a smart buy; why not let it also charge your battery while it sits out there shading your craft?
Yes, you can add these things yourself. Some consumers undoubtedly will, but others won’t want the hassle. To that crowd, the FX Limited SVHO is the ultimate in one-stop watersports shopping.
Plus a little dash of luxury to separate you from the pack.
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