By Steven Bull
Yamaha is a massive company and they do a lot of things and they do them well. Suffice it to say the bar is high when they unveil something new.
In the outboard world that’s pretty much every year. It’s not just high horsepower beasts like the 350-hp V8 that rock the boating world, sometimes it’s what I like to call, the “everyday motors.”
All-new is the F25, F75 and F90. We arranged to try out the two ends of the spectrum and left the 75-hp option for another day.
The F90 boasts a 1.8-L displacement versus the previous model’s 1.6. And the cylinder block is actually the same as the 115. So it’s big, sure, but it’s light, too! Thirteen pounds lighter, in fact.
We had it hanging off the back of a Polar Kraft 170 Kodiak. Performance numbers will vary based on what it’s rigged to, but what’s universal is the quiet and smooth running — aided by the new silencer on the intake. The midrange acceleration, which to me is a better test of an engine’s regular performance load, was impressive. Full marks here.
What you can’t feel but will notice over a season’s use is the fuel efficiency. It’s a solid 10 percent better than the previous model. There’s also a 40 percent increase in charging output, so if you have it on a fishing boat and you want extra fishfinders, GPS and stereo all pumping away, you’ve got the juice to do it!
Sometimes the biggest news is in the smallest package.
The F25 was proudly unveiled in 2017 as a major leap forward in the small power market. I’ve seen a lot of these in the Northern Ontario, Manitoba, Minnesota and Wisconsin areas. Basically, anywhere fish camps are, you’ll see this soon.
In fact, Yamaha told me that they’ve been hearing from customers for years that they wanted something like this. The old four-stroke 25-horsepower was just too darn big so no one used it. The old two-stroke was a workhorse, but most people prefer four-stroke these days.
Challenge issued, accepted and surpassed by Yamaha’s R&D team.
They started from scratch versus re-tooling the old model and, while the project took longer than expected, it ended up better than they’d hoped. The new F25 is a whopping 42 pounds (19 kg) lighter than the old four-stroke which is a staggering 25 percent savings. And, like its 90-horse cousin, this is more powerful even with the lighter package.
There are short- and long-shaft options, all with the redesigned tiller handle that’s more ergonomic, a little big larger and with a nice shifter.
You can also opt for the electric start but, even with that option, you have the manual pull cord. Surprisingly you don’t always see that redundancy, but I love it. Even though things like the F25 are brilliantly engineered and meticulously constructed, things break. Stuff happens. If your electric starter is on the fritz you can still get this whirring. Hopefully, it’s never an issue but nice to know it’s there.
The performance of this blew me away.
Sure, the little G3 I was on was empty, but I’m not a petite tester after-all. This shot me out of the hole and to a top speed of 31.4 miles per hour. Impressive!
Finally, for the anglers, let’s slow it down here. By 50-rpm increments. The F25 has the variable trolling speed which, with the push of a button, tweaks your trolling speed by a hair so you can dial in for that perfect speed.
Don’t get me wrong, I love ripping around on a 250-, 300- or 350-horsepower Yamaha but I was genuinely impressed with these “everyday” motors. And that doesn’t happen everyday!