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Engine: Three-cylinder 1,049cc
Fuel Capacity: 13.2 gal.
Stowage Capacity: 7.7 gal.
Seating Capacity: 3
The 2021 Yamaha EX Limited is the new flagship of Yamaha’s affordable EX series and comes loaded with accessories straight from the factory.
Proof that Yamaha’s recreationally minded EX series has firmly established itself within the brand’s hierarchy…and appeals to more than just the recreational, introductory crowd? The once three, then later four-model lineup now adds a fifth alternative for 2021, this one getting the brand’s familiar “limited” treatment of extras.
At $9,599, the 2021 Yamaha EX Limited carries a $600 premium over the craft it’s built upon, the EX Deluxe, but that $600 is relatively well spent on a collection of extras that many buyers will likely add within the first year of ownership. Most are watersports minded, including a single-passenger, color-matched inflatable, a carrying strap that secures that inflatable to the aft platform in between runs, towrope, towrope bag, and 12-volt inflator, along with a 12-volt outlet, to handle inflation duties. Additional extras include a waterproof dry storage bag in the bow storage, a color-matched cover to keep the craft protected when not in use, and a pair of branded fenders to ward off damage at the dock.
The coolest extra, however, may be the addition of a sound system via a pair of EcoXGear Bluetooth speakers mounted aft of the rearview mirrors. Mounted via a ball-and-socket post, the removable speakers can be taken to the beach and controls are within easy reach atop the speakers themselves. Sound quality is surprisingly good given the compact design, with riders able to aim the sound directly toward ear-level in the saddle.
Below the Limited extras, a familiar EX Deluxe waits. Powered by the 100hp, 1,049cc Yamaha triple-cylinder TR-1 engine, it’s not a brutal powerhouse but offers more than enough power for the target audience and their favorite pastimes. Expect a top speed of about 51 mph, and enough low-end power to bring a smile to your face and get your inflatable-riding friends up and underway with ease. To that end, keen-eyed observers will note one minor addition aimed at towing performance and the added passenger weight likely to be aboard. The sponsons are stretched wider for added stability, both when at rest and up and underway.
As to the handling, it’s typical Yamaha, meaning the EX Limited offers a mix of predictability and confidence with a good touch of sporty reflexes and the ability to handle rougher conditions than its more diminutive size would seem to indicate. The hull is loose enough to feel playful but cornering feels solid and locked-in. Of note, construction is fiberglass-based, giving hull and deck a more rigid feel.
A solid list of features are standard issue on the craft, the highlight of which is likely RiDE, Yamaha’s dual-throttle system. RiDE reserves the righthand throttle for traditional forward motion, while using the lefthand-mounted RiDE lever to handle reverse as well as provide a solid dose of deceleration when applied at speed. It’s intuitive and greatly eases docking and low-speed maneuvering in tight confines. Blip the RiDE lever and the craft goes into neutral. Apply more pressure to the RiDE lever and thrust increases appropriately.
Other items of note on the 2021 Yamaha EX Limited include a minimal LCD display forward of the saddle. Its positioning requires driver’s eyes come off the water, but the basic info is covered. There’s also a deep glovebox to keep important items close at hand, four spring-loaded pull-up cleats and a legitimate tow hook rather than simple U-bolt, making it easier and quicker to get the towrope on and off. There’s also a drop-down boarding step to ease passengers back aboard after a tube run or swim.
Sea-Doo’s GTI 90 is likely the toughest competitor to the 2021 Yamaha EX Limited. Starting at $9,099, the craft features the 90hp version of the Rotax 1630 ACE engine and over 40 gallons of storage capacity. Intelligent Brake & Reverse (iBR) is similar to RiDE, three riding modes tailor the craft’s acceleration, and the glovebox features a watertight phone compartment. The rear platform also features Sea-Doo’s LinQ mounts to add optional accessories like fuel caddies, coolers or storage bags. Adding similar watersports options and sound system, however, will push the craft well beyond the EX Limited’s competitive price tag.
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