Yamaha loves research. And when the company decided to focus on a new, performance-oriented two-seater for 2009, that research revealed some interesting facts about its more-aggressive customers' riding styles. First, a whopping 81 percent of them often stand on their so-called sit-down models. And second, they do so more than a quarter of their time on the craft. The catch? A typical runabout's handlebar position remains in a fixed, seat-friendly position. Yamaha chose to address this problem on the new FZR with a unique solution — a telescoping handlebar column.
Choose to stand, and rather than hunch like Lance Armstrong in a time trial, the handlebars rise up to you, as much as 100 mm above their base setting. The position provides a more-comfortable riding stance atop the craft when standing to absorb rough water and provides a certain degree of leverage when simply play riding. Drop to the middle position, and the handlebars rise to the typical height you might expect from a watercraft. Choose the lowest setting, and the craft suddenly feels like a Superbike, able to be carved aggressively on calm waters.
In the spirit of the brand's past performance two-ups, Yamaha gave the FZR, and its three-passenger sister ship the FZS, a more-aggressive hull than the mainstream FX series. The running surface is decidedly shorter, and full-length lifting strakes improve top speed. A dihedral keel shape is reminiscent of the former GP series and aimed at enhancing the craft's cornering abilities. A large pump inlet gives the craft a better bite on the water to enhance acceleration. It's the chine shape, however, that gives the craft its ultimate handling appeal. Chines softly angle inward, giving the craft a fun, lean-in riding style.
Bonus Tip: You no longer need to lean to the outside of a turn to keep a PWC hooked up. Cut racelike corners by using a little inside lean, shifting your inside leg forward and putting your outside foot aft.
• Nano Nano: Nanotechnology hull material reduces weight, increasing acceleration and top speed.
• Remote Transmitter: Engages security system and activates low-speed mode for beginners.
• Telescopic Handlebar: Raise or lower the handlebar for comfort.
• Cheap Gas: All Yamaha engines are optimized to run on 87-octane fuel.
• Performance: Expect 65-plus mph top speed rocket hole shots.
- Numerically Speaking
- Length: 132.7"
- Beam: 48.4"
- Dry Weight: 807 lb.
- Engine: 1812CC, Supercharged/Intercooled 4-cylinder, 4-stroke
- Fuel Capacity: 18.5 gal.
- Storage Capacity: 21.3 gal.
- MSRP: $12,599