For thrill-seeking paddlers, choosing between the Yamaha Waverunner FX and VX can be a difficult decision. Both personal watercraft models offer incredible power, handling, and features for an exhilarating ride across the waves. However, there are some key differences between these two models that paddlers should consider before making a purchase.
The Yamaha Waverunner FX is built for performance, with its powerful engine, aerodynamic hull design, and emphasis on acceleration and top speed. This heavier model can slice through choppy waters that would leave other watercraft bouncing and jostling. The FX is made for paddlers who want an adrenaline-filled adventure and aren’t afraid of a little speed. However, the FX does come at a higher price point and may be overkill for casual paddlers.
Alternatively, the Yamaha Waverunner VX offers an experience focused more on stability, maneuverability, and affordability. While you sacrifice some of the raw power of the FX, the VX still delivers an exciting ride. The VX is great for beginners and recreational paddlers who want to cruise calmly across the water. It also comes at a lower price while maintaining most of the handling and performance of the FX.
When comparing the Yamaha Waverunner FX versus VX, it largely comes down to your riding style and priorities. Do you want a racing-inspired machine ready to shred waves at top speeds? Or a more casual and stable option for laidback adventures across the water? Keep these key differences in mind when deciding between Yamaha’s two fantastic personal watercraft models.
Introduction to Personal Watercraft
Before we dive into Yamaha’s models, let’s quickly cover what exactly personal watercraft are and what makes them such popular recreational vehicles.
Personal watercraft, commonly called jet skis, are small, fast, highly maneuverable boats that are operated similarly to motorcycles. Riders sit on top and use handlebars to steer while powering across the water at high speeds using an inboard jet drive propulsion system. This unique design allows jet skis to make tight turns, pivot, and even ride over obstacles just under the surface.
Personal watercraft revolutionized recreational boating when they first launched in the late 1960s. Today, popular PWC models like the Yamaha WaveRunners provide endless fun on lakes, rivers, and oceans around the world. Let’s look closer at Yamaha’s top models.
Overview of Yamaha’s Industry-Leading WaveRunner Models
Yamaha is a leader in the personal watercraft industry, renowned for their high-performance WaveRunner models first introduced in 1986. For over 30 years, Yamaha has been building fun and innovative watercraft that provide unmatched excitement on the water.
Their WaveRunner line includes recreation, luxury, and high-performance models to suit all riding styles and experience levels. WaveRunners come in a range of engine sizes and trims, with features tailored towards different needs.
For entry-level riders and those looking for stable cruising, Yamaha offers the SuperJet and VX series. The VX is the most popular model in Yamaha’s recreation category, providing accessible performance and handling. Step-up options like the GP1800 and FX series cater to more advanced riders looking for race-inspired designs and elite power.
The Yamaha Waverunner FX represents the pinnacle of performance, built for power enthusiasts and thrill seekers. On the other hand, the VX series offers versatile watercraft perfect for recreation and casual cruising. This buyer’s guide focuses on how the flagship FX compares to the user-friendly VX models across critical factors like power, handling, design, and ideal use.
Waverunner FX Series: Yamaha’s Elite Performance Model
Let’s take an in-depth look at Yamaha’s premier high-performance personal watercraft, the Waverunner FX series.
Overview of the FX Models
The Yamaha Waverunner FX series showcases Yamaha’s most powerful and capable performance watercraft. Launched in 2008, the FX models feature Yamaha’s largest 1812cc marine engines along with race-inspired hulls and deck designs optimized for domination.
Available in various HO and SVHO engine configurations from 159 hp to 260 hp, the FX range delivers category-leading power, acceleration, and top speed. Everything about these machines is engineered for performance, from the perfectly balanced hulls to the enhanced dual-throttle controls.
Yamaha FX models include the base FX Cruiser, luxury FX Cruiser HO, and the turbocharged FX SVHO for maximum thrust. The 60th Anniversary Edition FX Cruiser SVHO stands out as Yamaha’s most potent production PWC with cutting-edge technology pushing limits.
Elite Performance Powered by Massive Engines
The heart of the Waverunner FX’s unmatched performance is its 1812cc Yamaha Marine Engine, the largest powerplant in Yamaha’s model range. In naturally aspirated configurations, this musclebound V8-style engine generates up to 230 horsepower, while the HO (high output) variant squeezes out 260 horses.
For ultimate thrust, the turbocharged SVHO (Super Vortex High Output) engine cranks out an incredible 280 horsepower – the highest of any stock personal watercraft engine on the market currently. This massive power enables the FX to reach top speeds over 70 mph in the right conditions.
The FX engine delivers strong mid-range punch and a massive top-end hit no recreation-focused machine can match. Holeshot and acceleration also impress thanks to the performance hulls and streamlined bodies. The FX HO can rocket from 0-30mph in just 1.8 seconds – quicker than some sports cars!
Cutting-Edge Tech and Innovation
Yamaha is renowned for innovation, and the FX series showcases some of their most advanced technology. The RiDE system provides precise control and maneuverability through a dual throttle handlebar setup. This lets riders dial in acceleration and turning forces with fingertip precision for advanced maneuvers.
The 60th Anniversary SVHO takes the FX to the next level with a boost in power along with Yamaha’s exclusive Dual Thrust Jet system. Computer-controlled vanes in the jet nozzle optimize the water jet thrust angle based on input from a series of sensors and rider movements. The result is enhanced acceleration, thrust vectoring, and cornering grip across all speeds and in all conditions.
Alongside huge engines and innovative tech, the FX models feature some of Yamaha’s most comfortable and functional designs. Luxury cruiser variants have amenities like a fender, glovebox, kneeboard rack, reboarding step, and plush seating for two. The race-ready FX models focus on ergonomic and secure seating with grippy knee pads to keep riders in control when aggressively maneuvering.
Nimble, Stable Handling and Control
No amount of power matters if a personal watercraft can’t put it to the waves smoothly and predictably. The Yamaha FX models feature precisely engineered hulls and components that let riders harness all the massive muscle on tap.
The patented NanoXcel2 hull and deck provide an optimal strength-to-weight ratio using a smart composite construction. This makes the FX extremely responsive, agile, and still rigid and impact-resistant when riding rough water. The smooth contours and efficient shape allow it to slice through swells and achieve impressive top speeds.
An integrated sponson design, dual-keel bottom, and race-inspired mechanical components including the RiDE system give the FX exceptional high-speed stability and traction. The machine stays planted and predictable across choppy water. Expertly designed handling combined with the finely tuned 1812cc engine results in total control for advanced riders.
Built for Performance Enthusiasts
With its purpose-built speed and precision handling, it’s no surprise that the Yamaha Waverunner FX series is aimed squarely at high-performance enthusiasts. It’s the ideal jet ski for powering through swells, carving turns, launching off waves, and exploring the limits of personal watercraft capabilities.
The FX is ready for racing, endurance events, offshore runs, or simply enjoying sheer speed on a recreational day out. It represents the pinnacle of Yamaha’s engineering honed over decades at the cutting edge of watercraft innovation. For serious riders, no other model provides the elite level control, power, excitement, and prestige of the FX series.
VX Series: Yamaha’s Most Popular Recreation Model
Now let’s examine the counterpart to the FX – Yamaha’s best-selling recreation model, the VX Series.
Overview of the VX
While the FX models represent performance and premium features, the VX series focuses on versatility, ease of use, and value. The VX has been Yamaha’s most popular personal watercraft series for years thanks to its accessible power and stable handling.
Available in various engine configurations from 110 HP to 180 HP, the VX combines fun performance with confidence-inspiring usability. It’s compact, nimble, and welcoming for new riders, yet still satisfying for more experienced customers. The VX is the perfect recreational PWC for exploring lakes, towing sports, and all-day family adventures.
The VX series includes the base VX Deluxe, upgraded VX Cruiser HO, and the nimble VX Limited. New riders can start with a lower-powered VX, while the HO configurations provide pleasing acceleration for stepping up your skills. Value pricing and low maintenance costs also make the VX series very appealing.
Strong Acceleration and Speed
While not as powerful as the elite FX models, the VX still provides pleasing performance for recreation thanks to its range of Yamaha TR-1 marine engines. Displacements range from 1049cc to 1812cc, with hp ratings from 110 to 180 ponies depending on the model.
The peppy 1049cc HO motor pushes the VX Cruiser HO to around 60 mph, while the flagship hypercharged 1.8-liter VX Limited HO engine achieves over 70 mph with strong mid-range punch. Power delivery focuses on smooth, linear acceleration and predictable throttle response to instill confidence.
The lightweight hulls and compact designs make the most of the capable TR-1 engines. The VX might not offer the sheer thrust of an FX, but there’s still plenty of get-up-and-go for having fun on the water. Only expert riders will feel held back by the VX’s accessible power – it excels at recreational cruising speeds.
Stability and Control for Accessible Handling
While the FX models focus on razor-sharp edgy handling for experts, the VX series prioritizes stability and security for a wide range of riders. This makes the VX ideal for beginners getting accustomed to the unique feel of personal watercraft.
The lightweight NanoXcel hulls enhance stability and allow for responsive steering inputs. Compact dimensions, intuitive controls, and Anti-Lock Braking Systems across the range also instill confidence for new riders learning to turn and maneuver.
RiDE technology provides excellent throttle and steering feedback. Yamaha’s thrust vectoring systems help the VX tracked true across choppy water. Ultimately the VX finds a pleasing balance between secure stability for peace of mind and agility for enjoying yourself on recreational outings.
Built for Versatility and All-Around Use
Yamaha designed the VX series for maximum versatility and usability which explains its popularity across all skill levels. Everything about these machines caters to accessible, enjoyable cruising for recreation and towing sports.
Seating configurations accommodate 1-3 riders depending on the model. The cruiser variants focus on comfort and amenities with cushy padded seats, storage bins, cupholders, and premium audio. The hulls balance nimble handling with stability across a variety of conditions.
Compact dimensions and weights ranging from 700 to 800 pounds make the VX models very docking, storing, and towing friendly. Combined with proven reliability and efficient operation, the VX isbuilt to deliver worry-free fun. It’s the do-it-all recreational PWC suitable for the whole family.
Comparing the Yamaha FX and VX Series
Now that we’ve covered Yamaha’s performance FX models and versatile VX series independently, let’s directly compare these two competitive personal watercraft lines across some key categories:
Power and Performance
- Engines: The FX utilizes Yamaha’s largest 1812cc HO or SVHO engines while the VX features smaller 1049cc to 1812cc powerplants.
- Horsepower: The turbocharged FX SVHO cranks out 280 HP vs a maximum of 180 HP for the VX Limited HO – over 100 more ponies!
- Acceleration: The lightweight FX hits 30 mph from standstill in under 2 seconds. The VX takes around 3.5 seconds to hit 30 mph.
- Top Speed: FX models can exceed 70 mph in ideal conditions. The VX tops out around 60 to 70 mph depending on the specific model.
- Performance: The FX provides elite power and speed for experts while the VX focuses on usable recreation acceleration and speed.
Handling and Ride Quality
- Hull Design: Both utilize Yamaha’s NanoXcel hulls, but the FX has a narrower, performance-focused shape while the VX is wider for stability.
- Stability: The VX has a much more confidence-inspiring ride for average riders. The FX demands advanced skill to handle its precise agility.
- Maneuverability: The compact VX can turn on a dime easily while the FX takes more input and skill to whip around at speed.
- Comfort: The VX prioritizes a plush, comfortable ride for all-day recreation. The FX leans into aggressive ergonomics for control during intense riding.
Features, Storage and Capacity
- Seating: FX models accommodate 1-2 passengers while VX PWCs fit 1-3 riders depending on the specific model. More multi-passenger options with the VX.
- Controls: The FX features Yamaha’s advanced dual throttle handlebar setup. The VX uses an intuitive single throttle and handlebar layout.
- Storage: FX models have around 13 gallons of sealed storage capacity vs approximately 7 gallons for the VX models. More cargo room in the performance FX.
- Fuel Capacity: The FX holds 18-20 gallons of fuel depending on the specific variant while the VX holds between 13 to 18 gallons.
- Capacity: The FX has a total weight capacity around 400 pounds. The VX has higher rated capacities of 500+ pounds to accommodate more passengers.
Costs, Maintenance, and Ownership Value
- Base MSRP Price: VX models start around $9,500 while the FX pricing begins around $15,000 and up. Much more affordable to buy a VX.
- Fully Loaded Models: A fully loaded VX HO can cost up to $13k while a premium FX SVHO runs upwards of $17,000. Still a big price difference at the top trims.
- Used PWC Value: Well-maintained used VX models run under $8,000 , an excellent value buy. Used FX models hold higher prices starting around $10k.
- Operating Costs: Recreation-focused VX models cost noticeably less for insurance, maintenance, and repairs than the high-strung FX performance models.
- Fuel Efficiency: The VX engines offer better fuel mileage – up to 5 mpg versus lows of around 2-3 mpg for the huge FX powerplants.
- FX Models: High-performance recreation, offshore riding, racing, tricks, wakeboarding, stand-up riding, professionals, and power-hungry enthusiasts.
- VX Series: Cruising, exploring, tow sports, family recreation, passengers, beginners to intermediates, and all-around onboard fun.
Other Competing Personal Watercraft Models
Beyond just comparing Yamaha’s FX and VX series, it’s helpful to see how models from other major PWC brands compare. Here’s a quick rundown of competitive machines from Kawasaki and Sea-Doo.
Kawasaki Ultra 310 Series
Kawasaki’s Ultra 310 line rivals Yamaha’s FX series as a high-performance option. With 310 HP on tap from a 1,498cc engine, the Ultra 310 models provide incredible acceleration and 70+ mph top speeds by leveraging forced induction and racing technology. It carves turns aggressively and counteracts listing forces thanks to an advanced hull. The Ultra 310 starts around $16,000.
Sea-Doo RXP-X 300
From Sea-Doo, the RXP-X 300 provides a quintessential high-performance ride. It outputs 300 HP from a 1630cc engine with ram-air induction. With a top speed of 70mph out of the box, it’s built for action sport, racing, and stand-up riding. But the RXP-X doesn’t compromise comfort with plush ergonomics and adjustable features. Pricing starts around $17,000 but grows higher with options.
Sea-Doo GTI 130/170
For recreation, Sea-Doo’s GTI models like the 130 hp and 170 hp variants compete directly with Yamaha’s VX series. They focus on accessible performance and premium comfort in a compact, stable package perfect for new riders and families. The intuitive intelligent brake and throttle system boosts confidence, while padded seats keep passengers happy for hours. The GTI 130 starts under $9,000.
Kawasaki’s STX-15F parallels Yamaha’s VX as a versatile recreation model with strong value. A 1,498cc engine puts out 160 horsepower for pleasing acceleration to around 60 mph. The STX-15F handles predictably thanks to an elongated hull and ample weight balance for 3 passengers. At under $10,000 new, it’s an affordable option for casual PWC fun.
Comparison Table of the Yamaha FX and VX Series against Other Competing Personal Watercraft Models
|Yamaha FX Series
|Elite performance, fastest acceleration, race-inspired handling, high-end tech
|Yamaha VX Series
|Recreation-focused, accessible performance, stability, amenities for comfort
|Kawasaki Ultra 310
|Forced induction power, race handling, strong acceleration
|Sea-Doo RXP-X 300
|High output engine, adjustable features, good for stand-up
|Sea-Doo GTI 130/170
|Great balance of performance and stability, confidence inspiring
|Good value, predictable handling, smooth power
- The Yamaha FX is the performance leader with the fastest acceleration, highest top speeds, and race-focused build. But it comes at a premium price.
- The Yamaha VX offers strong recreational performance with more comfort and passenger capacity at a more affordable price point.
- Kawasaki and Sea-Doo models like the Ultra 310, RXP-X, and GTI also offer great performance or all-around capabilities at varying price points.
Choosing the Right Yamaha PWC for You
With this complete guide detailing Yamaha’s FX performance models versus the VX recreation series, you should have a clear sense of which model aligns with your needs and budget. Here are some final tips for choosing the right Yamaha jet ski:
- New to jet skis? The VX is the obvious choice with stability and ease-of-use that builds confidence quickly. More advanced models become frustrating without experience.
- Family recreation? Again, the VX shines with accessible performance, comfort, and the ability to hold 3 passengers conveniently. It’s built to deliver fun for riders of all skill levels.
- Towing wakeboarders or tubers? The VX has the torque and smooth power delivery to excel at towing activities without tiring passengers out. The FX is overkill.
- Casual cruising and sightseeing? For relaxed riding and taking in views, the VX’s cushy ride and amenities create the ultimate floating lounge. The FX sacrifices leisure for adrenaline.
- Looking to advance skills? Riders moving up from beginner status will continue finding joy aboard the well-rounded VX models before needing to step up to an advanced PWC like the FX.
- Performance, racing, stand-up riding? Only Yamaha’s flagship FX models have the precision handling, massive power, and race-tuned build to satisfy expert enthusiasts. The same goes for endurance and offshore demands.
- Budget considerations? The recreational VX models provide strong value at lower price points and cost less to own and operate. The high-performance FX models are premium machines at the cutting edge of speed and technology.
Ultimately, it comes down to being honest about your riding style and skill level. Novices dreaming of going 70mph their first time out are likely to end up overwhelmed and frustrated. Similarly, expert riders will feel held back by recreation models built for stability. Match your ambitions to the ideal PWC for maximizing fun and learning.
Owning and Maintaining Your Yamaha WaveRunner
Once you’ve selected the perfect new Yamaha jet ski, it’s important to know what ownership entails. Here’s a quick overview of key ownership considerations:
- Fuel efficiency ranges from 2-5 mpg depending on the engine size. Fuel costs add up quick at high speeds.
- Insurance costs more for high-performance models like the FX versus recreation PWCs like the VX.
- Storage, docking, registration, and licensing fees vary by region. Always budget for these!
- Plan on routine maintenance like oil changes, spark plug replacement, battery replacement, fluid flushes, etc.
Maintenance Best Practices
- Flush the engine with freshwater after every use to wash away salt, sand and debris.
- Check throttle and steering responsiveness and inspect the hull for issues periodically.
- Change the oil at least once annually or after every 50 hours of use.
- Replace spark plugs as specified by Yamaha – around every 200 hours or 100 operating hours.
- Consider an extended warranty or protection plan for the engine and driveline components.
Accessories and Customizations
One of the best parts of owning a personal watercraft is customizing it over time with accessories and upgrades. Some top options include:
- Audio systems – add waterproof Bluetooth stereo systems for music.
- Towing packages – improve tow hooks, ropes, and hardware for watersports.
- Storage – add watertight compartments or upgrade to higher capacity models.
- Seats – upgrade to deluxe limited seats with premium finishes and padding.
- Paddle – stow a collapsible paddle for emergencies or exploration.
- Safety kit – carry flares, first aid equipment, spare paddle, whistle, etc.
- Renovations – repaint or apply custom graphic wraps to stand out.
- Performance mods – aftermarket parts like impellers or exhausts can boost speed.
Yamaha WaveRunners are known for retaining their resale value well if properly maintained. Some tips:
- Keep service records to show prospective buyers.
- Wash and store it properly to prevent corrosion or damage.
- Start with a high-demand model – variants like the VX hold value better.
- Don’t over-modify it or make changes that limit appeal.
- Time the sale right before peak riding seasons for maximum demand.
- Price competitively based on condition and operating hours.
With the right care and usage, a used Yamaha PWC can still fetch good money when it comes time to sell or trade up to a new model.
The Future of Yamaha WaveRunners
Yamaha shows no signs of slowing down their innovation in the personal watercraft segment they helped pioneer decades ago. Here’s a quick look at where Yamaha is heading next:
Yamaha is developing electric motor powertrains to meet the growing demand for low-emissions vehicles. While range remains limited, the instant torque and unique performance of electric PWCs present new possibilities to excite both beginners and advanced riders.
Yamaha’s latest generation of 4-stroke TR-1 marine engines achieve new heights of fuel-efficiency and emissions reduction without sacrificing signature Yamaha power delivery. Lighter engine components also improve power-to-weight.
Cutting-Edge Control and Stability
Yamaha’s ride control systems allow fine-tuning of cruising trim and precise throttling to expand the performance envelope of each model. Intuitive handling lets riders push harder with total confidence.
Luxury and Comfort
Every new generation improves ergonomics, seating comfort, cargo room, and amenities with functional designs across all models from the entry-level VX to the powerful FX series. Riders journey farther with maximum comfort.
Yamaha fosters brand loyalty and community through engagements like the Yamaha National PWC Tour, Demo Days, and meetups for owners and fans to share their passion. The PWC lifestyle thrives thanks to Yamaha.
While traditions like unmatched reliability and dedication to customer satisfaction continue, Yamaha Powersports is also committed to shaping the future of personal watercrafting for both elite performance riders and recreational enthusiasts through constant innovation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Yamaha WaveRunners
What engine sizes are available in the Yamaha FX series?
The FX series features Yamaha’s 1812cc marine engines in configurations from 160 HP up to 280 HP in the turbocharged SVHO models.
What is the weight capacity for the VX recreation models?
Yamaha rates the VX series for a maximum weight capacity around 500 to 600 pounds, allowing 2-3 riders depending on the specific model.
How does Yamaha’s RiDE system work?
RiDE uses electronic throttle controls and lever positioning to optimize acceleration, deceleration, and reverse thrust for precise maneuvering.
Which has better fuel efficiency – FX or VX?
The VX models with smaller 1049cc engines rate up to 5 mpg, while the massive 1812cc FX engines use more fuel at 2-3 mpg.
What type of transmission is used in Yamaha WaveRunners?
Yamaha uses a direct drive marine jet drive propulsion system. An impeller draws in water which is expelled through a jet for thrust.
Do Yamaha WaveRunners require a trailer?
Yes, a watercraft trailer is highly recommended for transporting and storing your Yamaha jet ski when not in use.
Are WaveRunners safe for inexperienced operators?
Yamaha recreation models like the VX are designed for beginner riders with stability features and limits on power. Proper training is still essential.
Do all new Yamaha WaveRunners come with warranties?
Yes, Yamaha offers either 12-month limited or 30-month Yamaha Extended Service warranties on new purchases depending on the model.
What is the best way to store my WaveRunner in winter?
Elevate it on a storage lift, stabilize the hull and drain all water, disconnect the battery, and keep it indoors or under a cover if possible.
How often should maintenance be performed?
Yamaha recommends full servicing at least annually, along with freshwater flushing and fluid checks after every ride. Follow all guidelines in your owner’s manual.
Conclusion: Which Yamaha WaveRunner is Right for You?
Yamaha offers an impressive range of personal watercraft models spanning purposes from recreational cruising to all-out high-performance racing. For most buyers, the choice ultimately comes down to the versatile, accessible VX series versus the powerful, premium FX models.
The FX represents Yamaha’s pursuit of peak acceleration, speed, precision handling, and cutting-edge technology. With potent engines pushing 280 horsepower, race-tuned hulls, and innovative control systems like RiDE and Dual Thrust Jets, the FX dominates competitive riding. It lives on the edge of extreme performance.
Alternatively, the VX focuses on stability, ease of use, and economical value. It makes PWC recreation accessible to families, new riders, and enthusiasts who want to explore in comfort rather than chasing lap times. Responsive power and predictable handling instill confidence, while amenities like storage bins and cruise control make days on the water simple and fun.
While the FX models outperform and outshine the VX series, they also demand a higher investment as premium performance machines. When choosing your new Yamaha WaveRunner, reflect on your actual needs and avoid overspending on power you realistically won’t use. There is no wrong option when selecting from Yamaha’s stellar PWC lineup – just the model that aligns with your own goals and excitement on the water.