Yogi Berra once quipped, “You don’t have to swing hard to hit a home run. If you got the timing, it’ll go.” With the public unveiling of Yamaha’s lineup of 2016 WaveRunners less than a week ago, and the massive corresponding public response thus far, it is unequivocal that RIVA Racing's timing couldn’t be better.
While being regaled at the Amelia Island Ritz Carlton, Yamaha dealers were entranced by RIVA’s wickedly-prepped, hand-built Yamaha FZR 350 – and immediately bathed their social media accounts with snapshots of the one-off custom runabout. “It literally came together about two weeks before the dealer show,” RIVA’s Dave Bamdas explained recently to The Watercraft Journal. “We wanted to build a custom machine that showcased RIVA’s Stage 2 performance kit (as well as some other components).”
The craft put on display started life as a 2015 FZS, as indicated by its white deck and black hull (whereas the 2016 FZR features a red hull). In making the FZR 350, a massive list of top grade performance parts were necessary to make the FZR’s 350-horsepower a dyno-proven reality. As Bamdas said, the FZR 350 starts with RIVA’s Stage 2 kit, but there’s quite a bit more than that found on the WaveRunner. The 1.8L SVHO began its transformation with a RIVA/Vi-Pec V88R3 Pro-Series ECU, SVHO Intake Manifold Upgrade Kit, Valve Retainer Upgrade Kit, and Engine Breather Upgrade Kit.
Feeding the retuned SVHO both added air and fuel is a Yamaha 1.8L SVHO/SHO Supercharger Shaft Upgrade Kit, a RIVA/HKS Yamaha Power Cooler SSQV Blow-Off Valve, Power Filter Kit, a High Flow billet fuel rail, and fuel pressure regulator. And keeping the added boost charge cool and regulating the engine temperatures is a RIVA’s Yamaha FZ & FX SVHO Power Cooler Kit, SVHO Pro Series Engine Cooling Upgrade Kit, and RIVA Pro Series Water Box.
RIVA then replaced the FZR’s stock plate with a RIVA FZR/FZS Performance Ride Plate, FZ SVHO Stainless Intake Grate and RIVA FZ SVHO Pump Seal Kit, not to mention a new Solas Yamaha 160mm Concord 13/20 Impeller and a pair of Pro Series sponsons. All of this of course, not only pushes the FZR’s 1.8-liter SVHO 4-cylinder to produce a dyno-tested 350 horsepower at 8,300rpm (well over the stock 250 horsepower at 7,500rpm), but enables the FZR 350 to run up to a GPS and radar-proven 82mph.
On the outside, the Yamaha received an incredibly clean-looking custom graphics kit designed by Exotic Signs and Hydro-Turf traction mats covering the deck and footwells. Like the RIVA FZ mirror block-offs that were custom anodized, the FZR 350 features a brilliant orange highlight color throughout the execution, from the stitching in the RIVA/Jettrim custom seat cover to the RIVA FZR/FZS through-hull rear exhaust kit ring, to the billet inserts of the Pro Series sponsons.
Topping the FZR and concluding the build is a RIVA FZ Pro-Series steering system, Pro-Bar 32-inch runabout bar, and billet throttle, all sharing the same anodized orange hue. Built by RIVA’s own research and development team (the same geniuses who design and test every RIVA Racing part and component), the precision execution of the build is impressive, and the claims of both horsepower and top speed have been etched in stone.
So what will happen to the FZR 350? This one-off machine will be on display at RIVA Racing’s booth at the IJSBA World Finals in Lake Havasu, Arizona. After that, Bamdas shrugged, “Well, we’ve already gotten a few offers on it. We’ll see what happens after Finals.” But that doesn’t mean that the FZR 350 is gone for good. In fact, RIVA announced that they will be building 25 FZR 350 WaveRunners over the next few months for ready-to-run purchase.
The limited production run of FZR 350s will not be identical to this model, Bamdas explained, although all 25 production units will share a similar engine package with identical horsepower and performance results, but will likely leave out a few extras to keep it below the rumored $25,000 asking price.
Of those extras, Bamdas confirmed that all the extra anodized color-matching will remain as part of the package, but that there is the possibility of the ViPec being replaced with a RIVA reflashed ECU. Additionally, as all FZR 350s will be on the new 2016 Yamaha FZR, the anodized orange highlights are expected to be changed to red to match the new crimson hull.
Bamdas told The Watercraft Journal that the final parts list and MSRP will be revealed in mid- to late-October. Of course, that doesn’t mean that a FZR 350 can’t be had today, as all of the parts used to make the custom one-off machine are available currently at RIVA Racing’s web store. Having ridden a Stage 2-equipped FZR previously, we can attest that it’s the real deal; and now as a complete package, it’s definitely a home run.
By : KEVIN SHAW | 2015