|Person Capacity||1 person|
Yamaha SuperJet: Now Stand-Up Riding is for Everyone
By Capt. Steve
The new Yamaha SuperJet is the latest offering from the company’s lineup of WaveRunners and it’s probably the most anticipated ever. To be clear, Yamaha has always had an iconic place in the stand-up WaveRunner category, but it's been only for racers. In fact, there was a requirement that you had to have a racing license to purchase one. That was mostly because of the emission standards with the 2-stroke technology on the engine. Those days are behind us now as this model is powered by the popular TR-1engine which is 4-stroke. Now anyone can buy it and that fact alone has opened it up to a whole new range of customers.
First, let’s start with the obvious. It’s a stand-up unit so there’s the handle pole. It’s adjustable for different heights with two Allen screws to either side. This allows it to be extended or retracted up to 50 mm to suit individual rider preferences. And honestly, Yamaha engineers did a good job of making that whole assembly absolutely as light as possible. Feather-light in fact.
The handlebars seem to have a minimalistic competition inspired design. There’s the usual throttle trigger still on the right-hand side, and on the left are the start and stop buttons. And of course, there’s the required safety cut off the lanyard. That's it!
The turning arc can be manually adjusted to either a 16- or 19-degree range depending on rider preference. Fully forward, there's a 5-gallon (18.93 L) fuel tank and the first of its kind for a SuperJet, a fuel gauge. It measures in at 95.7” (247.65 cm) overall, and the whole unit weighs 375 lbs. (170.10 kg), which is actually impressive for something this powerful.
Engine access is easy. We bring the steering pole all the way up and latch it into the vertical position. Then there's a simple latch in the back of the engine hatch that gets released and just lifts the whole upper cowling out of the way. Inside is the Yamaha TR-1 engine with easy access all around for daily checks and even in-depth maintenance. This is also the same engine that is in the popular EX line of WaveRunners, so it’s well-proven for reliability.
The Main Deck
The entire back half of the unit is all deck. It’s a padded boarding deck flanked by padded side panels. In the center of the deck, there's a recess that serves as a grab handle to aid in boarding. Basically, you grab it and pull yourself onboard, or back on board as the case may be. Personally, I found myself not using this, but instead grabbed the tops of the side panels to hoist myself aboard. For that reason, I'd like to see some grab rails on top of the side panels.
The Learning Curve
For me, all it took was one look to see that there was obviously going to be a learning curve to this unit. In fact, there’s even a learning mode that can be activated if desired. If the start button is pressed three times in a row, it will activate “learning mode” that will electronically reduce the top speed of 54 MPH to a more palatable learning speed. Nice to know, but I didn’t find it necessary to use it. I just never squeezed the throttle trigger all the way. Ever.
I haven't tried one of these before because I didn't have a racing license, so this is the beginner's guide for sure. For starters, it's not as stable as the typical WaveRunner. I can stand and balance on this model when it's stationary, however, and that's something that just wasn't possible on the original versions.
Beginners like myself will want to start with a lower center of gravity and that means kneeling down. Get it underway and the stability improves to the point where you can straighten up, but still be kneeling. Now… add a little more speed and then the stability will be at the point where it’s now possible to stand up. After a short time like this, you'll get to where you can do it quicker each time.
Once standing up, add more speed. Take your time to get to a comfort level like this. It's not a race. Continue cruising like this for a while and then once you've reached the new comfort level, it's time to start adding turns. Wide ones first and then slowly tighten them up. Honestly, this gets more fun the more you try it. Pretty soon, you’ll find yourself cranking and banking.
So no surprise, as it turns out I was right. There is a learning curve to it, but I got the hang of it right away. Certainly, if I can do it, you can do it as well and have just as much fun. And fun it is. In my opinion, Yamaha hit it out of the park by making these units available to everyone. If you're looking for the “next big thing…” it has arrived. At $9,499, it’s also a bargain.