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Yamaha touts the FZR as being “race-ready right out of the box.” That’s a bold statement, but it’s one the company pretty much backs up – the FZR is a performance enthusiast’s dream. Lightweight, with abundant power and a nimble hull, it’s the ride of champion and backyard performance enthusiast alike.
As you might expect, the FZR gets Yamaha’s most potent engine, the Super Vortex High Output (SVHO). With 1,812cc, it’s the largest displacement engine found in the industry. Boosted by a supercharger and intercooler, it delivers impressive power in any craft, but even more so in the FZR’s lightweight hull. Switched last year to the second-generation NanoXcel 2 material (an advanced version of Sheet Molding Compound that uses things like nano-engineered exfoliated clay as a filler alternative to calcium carbonate and glass micro-bubbles), the hull/deck/liner combo shed a full 35 pounds without negatively affecting strength. The combo’s impressive results are delivered to the water through a 160mm pump with a large 85mm exit diameter. That pump is fed by a top-loading scoop grate, something that Yamaha long went without, but now much more effectively loads the pump.
Squeeze the throttle and you feel the results. Depending upon the conditions, the time from 0-to-30 mph can pass in as little as 1.5 seconds. It’s brutally strong, requiring the driver be prepared. Enhance the odds of achieving that time – and simply holding on – by trimming the nozzle down to plant the bow lower in the water. Yes, the FZR still features mechanical trim, controlled by a twistable dial on the left handle grip, but it works. The only downside may be trying to fight the flow of water at top speed as you try to make trim adjustments on the fly. Electric trim? Maybe someday. Still, this is one of the hardest accelerating boats you’ll find on the market. Try to punch the throttle and not get a goofy grin at the results. I dare you.
COMPARISON: Read our review of the 2016 Sea-Doo RXT-X 300
Top speed? Expect to see 67 mph in ideal conditions with a light load and wise use of trim.
Straight-line speed is not the FZR’s only calling card. The hull also handles with intuitive precision, railing through corners as hard as you can push it. Soft, rounded chines beg the boat to be leaned into turns, a comfortable, secure technique that should come second nature to most riders. Aggressive sponsons, shifted further aft than on the original design, ensure the stern stays hooked up and that those turns are snapped off as quickly as possible. The bolstered saddle will help keep you in place, but be ready for the upper-body workout. Staying atop this craft at high speed through a tight corner is second nature to pro racers, but may surprise the less experienced. The flip side, however, is that the boat is ready to reward you as your skills and strength increase.
Ripping off turns at high speed requires some skill. The better you get the more you’ll enjoy the ride.
COMPARISON: Read our review of the 2015 Kawasaki Jet Ski Ultra 310R
You may wish to enhance your control by lowering the handlebars. A trademark of the FZR when it first debuted, an adjustable-length steering column can be raised for easier driving when standing, but also lowered beyond the norm for a real close-to-the-water feel when aggressively cornering. Try it, particularly in calm conditions, and note the results.
With its focus on performance, the FZR does not get some of the extras found throughout much of the line. One notable absence is RiDE, Yamaha’s dual-throttle control system that enhances reverse and provides a means to rapidly slow the craft at speed. The FZR remains with mechanical reverse for the time being, which seems appropriate given its goals. The customer does, however, get some familiar features. Along with the unique telescoping steering column, there’s Yamaha’s familiar keyfob-style security remote. There’s also a reboarding step, stowage in the bow and under the seat, a multifunction instrument display with easy-access buttons, and great footwell and aft deck traction mats.
Oh, and don’t forget bragging rights. The FZR has a few pro racing titles to its credit. Add yours to the list, or just pretend. Because whether you’re a true pro or just a dreamer, the FZR is ready for you…right out of the box.
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