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Yamaha EX (2019-)


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Brief Summary

Yamaha has a new line of affordable waverunners, and they fly in the face of what is considered “affordable”. The EX Series constitutes three new machines in the Rec-Lite category that we had more fun on than should be allowed. With prices ranging from $6,599 to $8,599 the features being offered are more than expected, but that’s not a surprise coming from Yamaha. They’ve been doing it for years.

Key Features

  • 1 to 3 persons seating capacity
  • Available in Pure White with Green
  • 3-cylinder, 4-stroke TR-1 Yamaha Marine Engine
  • Multifunction Information Center
  • Glove Box
  • Deck Mats
  • Tow Hook
  • Storage Capacity of 7.7 gal


Length Overall 10' 3'' / 3.12 m
Beam 3' 7''
1.09 m
Dry Weight 577 lbs.
262 kg
Draft N/A
Deadrise/Transom N/A
Max Headroom open
Bridge Clearance 3' 9''
1.14 m
Person Capacity 3
Fuel Capacity 13.2 gal.
49 L
Water Capacity N/A

Engine Options

Tested Engine Currently no test numbers
Std. Power 1 x 1049cc 3-cylinder, 4-stroke TR-1 Yamaha Marine Engine
Opt. Power Not Available

Captain's Report

Yamaha EX profile shot

The EX Limited that we tested represents the top of the lineup for the new EX Series of three WaveRunners from Yamaha.


Affordability comes in many forms. Sometimes it pretty much means “disposable” and other’s it means a bargain that is hard to resist. With Yamaha’s EX Series, the three models definitely fall into that latter category. In fact during our performance evaluation of the EX Deluxe, we had more fun than on any of the company’s other machines, probably because this one focuses on exactly that… fun. Not speed, not bells and whistles, not seats made out of Panda… just fun, in its purest form.

Yamaha EX running shot

Did we mention that the EX Series are fun? They’re also among the most stable we’ve driven.

There are three models to the EX Series…. The basic EX, the EX Sport and the EX Deluxe, which is obviously the top of the line. All three are built on the same hull and simply add more features in succession to the Deluxe model.

Price Fixing?

One thing (of many) that separates Yamaha from the rest of the field is that the company builds watercraft, boats and WaveRunners alike, with stock features and no options are offered… per se. You can get options, but you have to get them in a different model. So as we move through the EX series of WaveRunners the difference between the three is separated only by the amount of “standard” features that each one has. The higher the price, the more features it has, all attached to the same hull with the same dimensions.

This is how Yamaha controls its pricing. All the machines are cookie cutter versions and there are no up-charges.

Yamaha EX profile shot

We performed our inspection on the EX Deluxe, the most feature-rich of the three models.

Common Features to All

All Three Models are Made From Fiberglass, Not Plastic. That’s a major feature right there and one that really serves to differentiate the EX models from the competition. The strength of the SMC (sheet molded compound) build alone is worthy of a higher price tag, but here, it’s held down, mostly through the refined build process and the above mentioned fact that all come out the same. And with fiberglass construction these fun models will be in the family for years.

Fuel Efficient TR-1 Engine. This award-winning 3-cylinder, 4-stroke 1019cc engine is 40-percent smaller, 20-percent lighter and more fuel-efficient than its 4-cylinder M1 predecessor. All while putting out more power.

Yamaha EX engine

The fuel efficient TR1 engine is the driving force in the EX Series.

Because of this, the EX models are shorter, lighter and more affordable than any three-person, 4-stroke WaveRunner that Yamaha has produced in the past. The engine is drawing fuel from a 13.2-gallon (49.97 L) tank, which is a significant increase over competing models in the Rec-Lite category. Best of all… the TR1 engines burns regular low lead gas.

Yamaha EX pump

The engines are driving a 3-blade 21.2-degree pitch stainless steel impeller through a 144mm high-pressure pump.

New Hull Design and Handling. Yamaha came up with a new hull design for the EX series that seems to be more forgiving and predictable in its handling characteristics. During our tests we found precise handling response and a stability that we did not expect. In fact, while evaluating its handling our test captain tried every move he could to get the EX to roll over and dump him in the water but it just wasn’t having any of it. By the time he was done, it was as if the WaveRunner sat there saying, “what else you got?” No matter what we did, the EX remained predictable, precise and fun. Did we mention fun?

Yamaha EX running

No matter what we did we just could not get the EX Deluxe to dump us into the drink.

Was it still a wet ride? Of course it was. That’s part and parcel of what these watercraft are about. Getting wet and wild. If you want dry, get a boat. No one ever went to the waterfront restaurant in a suit and fancy dress while riding a personal watercraft. It’s not what these are made for. You wear a bathing suit and a floatation vest.

Yamaha EX running shot

Standing or sitting the EX is a comfortable machine to ride. That’s thanks to its stability.

Storage capacity is 7.7-gallons (29.15 L) in three separate compartments. The largest compartment is under the forward visor. It releases with a pair of rubber straps that hook onto a pair of back knobs.

Yamaha EX storage compartment

The front storage compartment is the largest of the three available.

The second, and most convenient, storage is just ahead of the driver and behind the handlebars. This is where the quick grab items go such as the drinks. Put the cellphone in a dry bag if it goes in here, or anywhere for that matter. None of these compartments are watertight.

Yamaha EX glove box

Ahead of the driver is “glove” storage for quick-grab items.

The third storage is under the seat in two removable containers just above the engine. One of these, the forward one, holds the fire extinguisher.

Yamaha EX engine

Storage under the seat is removable to access the TR-1 engine underneath.

True three-person capacity. This is a big feature and one that is optional on competing watercraft. Both the seat, and the EX models are large enough to hold three persons. Now that takes more than space, it takes floatation and stability as well. Sometimes adding a third person means adding an optional set of features, such as the bigger seat and larger rear deck for added floatation. At Yamaha, these models hold three people right out of the box.

Yamaha EX three riders

The EX models are all rated for three riders thanks to the longer seat and hull.

A tow hook is included so that the EX models can all be used for watersports. This is a big feature since all three models carry three people so we can still tow while having a legally required observer onboard.

Yamaha EX tow hook

A tow hook is included in all three of the EX models making them easily adaptable to watersports towing.

Yamaha EX deck mats

Non-skid deck mats and automatic bilge pumps round out the common features shares by all the EX versions.

EX Sport Added Features

Mechanical Reverse. This is a convenience feature that increases the functionality of the EX Sport well above the base EX and it makes docking and maneuvering much easier. A reverse lever is alongside the body of the WaveRunner, to the right. This means that we have to take our hand off the throttle to engage the reverse mechanism. This pull-lever is cable connected to a reverse bucket that drops down behind the jet exhaust to redirect the thrust forward, thereby backing the WaveRunner. Steering is reversed in this mode so to steer correctly, we continue to steer the bow, not the stern.

Dual Mirrors. The EX Sport also offers dual mirrors which go a long way towards not only keeping us safer, it also helps when towing a tube. For the safety factor, it’s nice to be able to see a boat about to overtake the EX (as if), and for towing, remember that mirrors do not take the place of the legally required observer, it just enhances the driver’s orientation to his/her surroundings.

Yamaha EX mirrors

Dual mirrors are an important safety addition to the EX Sport and Deluxe models.

Reboarding Step. This makes it much easier to re-board the EX Sport. A flip down step to the starboard side of the aft platform provides a stepping point for coming aboard rather than having to climb aboard the platform from a floating position.

Yamaha EX step

A flip-down reboarding step eliminates the problem of having to climb onto the back deck for reboarding.

All of these features will add an extra $1,000 over the cost of the base EX model bringing the total MSRP to $7,599.

EX Deluxe Added Features

In addition to all of the added features of the EX sport, the EX deluxe also adds the following.

Yamaha EX seat

Two-tone cut and sew seat. This may not seem like much but it does add a significant amount of class to the EX Deluxe.

Yamaha EX metallic paint

Metallic Paint Colors may be another feature that doesn’t really improve the ride or comfort but certainly ups the class level another notch.


This is probably the most significant features of the EX Deluxe that makes it worth so much consideration. RiDE used to stand for Reverse with Intelligent Deceleration Electronics, but it has now evolved to much more than that, but the name stuck. It provides the following features…


The RiDE Technology in the EX Deluxe is controlled from the left trigger of the handlebars.

Reversing. The throttle is still on the right side, and probably always will be. Now, however, we add a trigger to the left side of the handlebar for the RiDE technology. Squeeze it and the EX Deluxe shifts (actually the reverse bucket drops down, there’s no shifting in jet watercraft) into reverse. Now we can maneuver around the dock and even back off of the trailer or beach. As with the mechanical steering we discussed on the EX Sport model above, steering is reversed so when backing, we steer the bow, not the stern. So we have reverse with a trigger now… but as the saying goes… wait, there’s more.

Neutral. Just a quick squeeze of the left trigger drops the EX Deluxe into neutral. This is pretty intuitive. If we think of pulling the trigger back to back down the EX Deluxe, it’s just as easy to think of pulling the trigger back briefly as a means of stopping the forward motion, but not causing reverse motion. Try it once and it clicks forever. Now again, there’s no shifting of gears going on here, the reverse bucket simply is dropping down just enough to deflect the thrust that is always coming out when the engine is running, down instead of forward or back. That keeps us from moving but turning the wheel will still cause us to pivot, rather than turn. Pretty neat.

Braking. When cruising at speed, squeeze the left trigger and intelligent braking kicks in. We say intelligent because imagine cruising at full speed (51.1 mph/ 82.24 KPH) and hitting reverse. What would likely happen is the driver, and passengers would be launched over the handlebars, as both the reverse thrust and plunging bow would contribute to the resulting deceleration trauma.

Instead, when squeezing the RiDE trigger at full (or any) speed, the engine slows (regardless of how much we’re holding the throttle trigger) while simultaneously dropping the reverse bucket. Now we can stop the EX Deluxe in the shortest distance possible while still remaining onboard and in full control. We tried it over and over again and it worked flawlessly. Keep squeezing and the braking reverts to reversing.

Yamaha EX running shot

With RiDE Technology the EX can be stopped in the shortest distance possible with no loss of control.

All of these added features will add $1000 to the price of the EX Sport and $2,000 to the price of the base EX bringing the total MSRP to $8599. In our opinion, a bargain.

Yamaha EX running shot

The EX models beg to be ridden and ridden hard.


With the TR-1 powering the EX models, Yamaha reports a top speed of 51.1 mph and a best cruise of 29 mph with a 3.2 gph fuel burn.

Yamaha EX performance data


There’s certainly a lot to like with the EX models. Depending on what features you’d like, the important ones are readily available in one of the models. For more advanced features, there are more advanced models in the lineup but that brings them out of the scope of the affordable EX series and we delve into the FX lineup. Either way, there’s no denying that these are among the most fun machines we’ve tested and the safest as well. Pricing and stability seem to be the two hallmark takeaways from our performance evaluation and inspection.