Yamaha Outboards V MAX SHO 90

This hot new V MAX SHO 90 from Yamaha should prove a high performer.

Yamaha V MAX SHO 90
This motor will prove a nice fit on freshwater fishing boats, bay boats and pontoons.Courtesy Yamaha Motor Corporation USA

Yamaha says the new V MAX SHO 90 outboard is designed to lead its class in torque and top speed. This motor will prove a nice fit on freshwater fishing boats, bay boats and pontoons, and represents the only performance four-stroke 90 on the market.

Now the smallest model in the V MAX line, the SHO 90 uses the same 1.8-liter single overhead cam in-line four-cylinder powerhead as the F90B model but swaps the standard 2.15-to-1 gear ratio for 2.33-to-1 cogs and gets specific mapping in the electronic control unit (ECU). And to let everyone know you’ve got the hot motor, the SHO 90 features graphics similar to those on the big V-6 V MAX models. Retail pricing for the SHO 90 starts at $10,715, which is $310 more than the F90B.

The SHO 90 (VF90A in Yamaha-speak) has a 35-amp charging system that makes 28 amps available at just 1,000 rpm to help manage the draw of electronics, audio, aerators and pumps. The SHO 90 is not compatible with a digital control but may be equipped with the Yamaha multifunction tiller handle (sold separately). This motor is offered with 20- and 25-inch shaft lengths.

The higher numerical gear ratio will allow the motor to run more prop pitch with acceptable hole shot, in theory producing more speed at wide-open throttle (WOT). This ratio should also prove effective when paired with the extra blade area of a Yamaha Pontoon Performance prop. Yamaha propellers up to 14 inches in diameter are offered for the SHO 90, some featuring the Yamaha SDS (Shift Dampening System) hub.

One could squeeze even more performance from the SHO 90, or have more propping flexibility, if Yamaha would also bump up the WOT rpm from 6,000 to 6,200, as Mercury does with its 115 Pro XS model. However, ­Yamaha says the new ECU map changes spark timing and fuel delivery, which can significantly alter the torque curve, and thus the ultimate perform­ance of the motor. We look forward to testing the SHO 90 soon so we can feel and see how much difference the V MAX treatment really makes.