Boat Review by: Ryan Tarrant
Having tested the Yamaha VXR in the past we were excited to hop on the renamed 2020 version, the GP1800R HO. The renaming is to reflect its true “race inspired” history. Basically it is a toned-down version of its supercharged big brother, the GP1800R SVHO. Here is our experience.
The graphics are bright and fun and enticed me to ride it. Although it’s immediately exciting to look at, for me, this craft also bears a welcomed “simplicity” in a day and age of over complication. There’s nothing worse than confusion when trying to enjoy yourself.
This craft is comfortable whether your riding position is seated or standing, and it allows up to 3 passengers. The storage is ample in terms of what can be expected from a watercraft and can also be complimented with Yamaha’s new innovative storage solutions. The multi-function Electronic Information Centre is easy to read and offers the right information to the driver.
Importantly the GP1800R HO is stable while sitting still and reduces the feeling of falling off while sitting. This allows easy boarding from the dock or the water without the fear of rolling into the water. The pop-up cleats were a nice quality touch. Sometimes watercraft can scare riders, even at low speeds. Yamaha’s exclusive dual lever R.i.D.E. system (which stands for Reverse Intuitive Deceleration Electronics) allows riders to confidently maneuver at idle as well as at any speed. Tap the left lever and you’re in reverse. Tap the right lever and you’re moving forward. Release both levers and you’re in neutral while still retaining idle turning/maneuvering capabilities. Use both levers past idle and you’re in control at higher rpm. Pull the left lever at running speeds and the craft decelerates while retaining steering control and keeping the nose up. It doesn’t take long to master and greatly increases safety and use for all ages.
As expected, the Yamaha GP1800R HO handled precisely and confidently. Although it’s now lighter NanoXel2 hull & deck increased the light & nimble feeling ride, the craft still stays planted and has very minimal jet cavitation. The seat and footwells are comfortable whether you’re cruising or riding aggressively.
The 1812cc HO engine is the largest displacement engine in the PWC industry and it performs as such. The acceleration and top speed are exhilarating yet you can also cruise with ease and the engine doesn’t skip a beat. Using the all-new electric trim also allows you to fine tune your riding.
Whether you’re racing your friends around the lake or navigating boat traffic in the North Channel heading to Killarney, R.i.D.E. adds a level of safety like no other. If you need to decelerate and remain in control you can. If you haven’t experienced it you should.
Finding a “vehicle” that “does it all” is nearly impossible. My feeling is that the 2020 Yamaha GP1800R HO fits that bill. Whether it’s teaching new riders, touring the Great Lakes, or racing your friends, this Yamaha loves to do it all.