The Watercraft Journal's Kevin Shaw walks us through key features of the Yamaha GP1800R HO, that is the epitome of today’s high-performance racecraft. Never before in the history of professional personal watercraft racing has one platform dominated closed-course competition in the way the GPs have.
[Excerpted from the Watercraft Journal, July 10th, 2020]
For the 2020 model year, Yamaha offered few changes to its lineup of WaveRunners since frankly, little to no changes were required. One unique decision though was made to how it branded its performance Recreation-sized runabouts; namely, the supercharged GP1800R and VXR.
Both machines ride on the same hull design and deck shape (which is also shared with the family-friendly VX model line). For 2019, Yamaha pushed the familiar resemblance further, and announced that both watercraft would be made from the same lightweight NanoXcel2 material, dropping the VXR’s weight by 30-pounds (to 739-pounds).
Equally, both the supercharged and naturally-aspirated variants employed the same aftermarket-inspired race-ready ride plates and top-loader intake grates, radically improving both rough water traction and initial acceleration.
This meant that besides some differing color variations, the central differences between the GP1800R and the VXR would be the use of the Super Vortex High Output supercharged-and-intercooled engine and 160mm 8-vane jet pump, or the naturally-aspirated High Output and slightly smaller 155mm pump.
Offered in either Azure Blue and Silver, or Black and Carbon; the 2020 GP1800R HO is identically-equipped as its race-winning sibling, with responsive electric trim toggles on the driver’s left hand side of the pistol grip-molded handle bars. Adjusting the trim alters the watercraft’s attitude on the water, pre-loading the nose downward for tight cornering, or lifting the bow to quickly slice through wind-blown lake chop with ease.
Equally, the GP1800R HO comes equipped (as a standard safety feature) with Yamaha’s dual-throttle RiDE system, a very apt and capable on-water braking-and-reverse system. Whether coming to a complete stop from a wide-open-throttle sprint, or simply backing off of the trailer or into a tight dock space, RiDE uses intuitive throttle control to help the driver safely and smartly maneuver the WaveRunner in ways that inspire confidence in even the most novice pilots.
And for those of us who aren’t strapping on a helmet on the weekends, the GP1800R HO serves just as well as a family-fun recreation craft that can tow the kids on a raft (thanks to a stainless steel tow eye on the back), a long-distance cruiser (thanks in large part to its stellar fuel mileage and 18.5-gallon fuel tank), or a fun hot rod for dad and the boys to fool around on.
Priced at $12,299, the MSRP for the 2020 GP1800R HO has crept up in price over the years, but that is due almost entirely to rising demand. Yamaha dealers worldwide sell out of these units nearly as fast as they do the SVHO-powered variant – so if you’re looking at picking one up, you’re gonna have to act quick.
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