[Excerpted from Boating World magazine, May 1, 2016]
Story by Alan Jones
"Yamaha transforms an affordable platform into a luxury ski with loads of extra features, at a reasonable cost."
"In the last few years, the big three PWC builders have been in a battle royale to come up with faster machines with more features. The net effect has been more thrills, for sure, but the price tag has also grown. For 2016, Yamaha’s mission was to transplant more excitement and value to its more affordable models, and the VX Limited is the poster boy for that effort."
"Yamaha’s major breakthrough this year is the new TR-1 engine, which replaces the MR-1 model that first appeared in production WaveRunners in 2002 and was Yamaha’s first four-stroke powerplant. That motor was based on the R-1 motorcycle engine and had four cylinders with five valves each. The new TR-1 High Output has virtually the same 1L displacement but has three-cylinders with four valves apiece and weighs just 160 pounds — a 20 percent reduction. It’s also 40 percent smaller and 13 percent more powerful. The judges at this year’s NMMA Innovation Awards at the Miami Boat Show were so impressed they gave Yamaha the PWC Award for this new motor. One of the major benefits of the engine’s smaller footprint is it leaves plenty of room for maintenance. Routine service items such as the air and oil filters are within easy reach."
"The VX Limited is different than most other PWCs in that it’s not just a sporty WaveRunner; it’s also a turnkey, fun-in-the-sun bundle of goodies that includes a Yamaha towable tube, tow line, a tow hook, a tube holder, a 12v compressor to inflate the tube and, yes, a 12v plug. The package also comes with a custom cover that has a solar panel for trickle-charging the battery. And despite being one of Yamaha’s more affordable rides, it’s a looker thanks to a Torch Red metallic finish over a lightweight NanoXcel deck. This material is made from nano clay with glass micro-bubbles for filler that makes it incredibly strong and light and also makes its surface very shiny, so the metallic color really pops. The hull is made from the same material and is black all the way through."
"Being lighter and more powerful, the TR-1 HO engine helps the VX Limited achieve an outstanding power-to-weight ratio. Its overall weight is just 668 pounds, which is 370 pounds lighter than another brand’s three-seater. But the main plus of the new engine is its snappy throttle response, something that’s usually lacking on affordable skis. It’s time to 30 mph was just 2.3 seconds, and the TR-1’s flat power band gave it some serious giddy-up in the mid-range, which is where smaller engines usually fall short. Even though this motor is nearly half the displacement of bigger Yamahas (1L vs. 1.8L), its top speed of 53 mph is only 15 mph slower..."
"One of the highlights of the VX Series — including the VX, the VX Deluxe and the VX Cruiser — is the standard RiDE system, which allows riders to shift from forward to reverse without taking their hands off the handlebars. This drive-by-wire system always starts in neutral and has a second finger throttle on the left side that activates reverse. It provides total control around docks and acts as an excellent braking system. The front end doesn’t dive down appreciably, either, and riders can steer while braking, giving them a second way to avoid obstructions."
[Read the full story and watch the related video at BoatingWorld.com]