If the enthusiasm displayed by Yamaha staff at the 2015 launch of its new F130A on the Gold Coast is any indication, the company is onto a good thing with its new four-stroke F130A powerplant.
It is especially important for Yamaha as the 130-150hp category accounts for a large slice of the Australasian outboard market for trailercraft in the 5-6m class.
While based on the existing new-generation F115B architecture, staff were quick to point out that the new F130A is not just a ‘power makeover’, with a few tweaks here and there to distinguish it from the 115hp four-stroke.
Yamaha says its customers have been asking for a 130hp option to fill a gap in its line-up for quite a while now.
“We’re thrilled to be able to offer customers another class-leading engine, especially in this category,” said Yamaha’s National Sales Manager, Iain MacLeod. “The new F130A is going to be the perfect power option for a huge selection of popular Australian fishing and recreational boats in the 5-6m range. The engine’s exceptional power-to-weight ratio will make it very popular in repower applications.”
Weight reduction is a major focus for all manufacturers of large displacement outboards and Yamaha says it’s leading in the ‘biggest loser’ stakes, with the new unit claimed to be the lightest in its class – and by a fair margin.
Tipping the scales at 172kg, Yamaha says advances in weight-saving technology and lighter materials for various components, including a new plastic inlet manifold, have combined to deliver the leaner powerplant. Obviously this is a big plus when it comes to keeping transom weight to a minimum.
Basis for the F130A is the proven 1.8lt, four-cylinder engine used on the F115B. Larger intake and exhaust valves contribute to the power upgrade, allowing the 16-valve, twin-cam cylinder head to deliver and extract more fuel and air, resulting in higher power output and increased mid-range torque.
At the heart of the engine, the crankshaft has been offset 5mm from the cylinder centrelines, which Yamaha says encourages combustion efficiency, while allowing for a more compact crankcase.
Yamaha says it has also drawn on its higher output engines to apply up-to-date technology on the 130, including a single throttle intake valve controlled by a microprocessor linked to the mechanical throttle at the helm. In combination with the electronic fuel injection and ignition system, the throttle offers improved response, power and fuel economy, according to Yamaha.
Another claimed advantage of the 130 is its ability to spin higher, with the engine’s maximum performance rev range now increased to 5300 to 6300rpm. The benefit, according to Yamaha, is that the engine delivers additional top-end performance as well as good throttle response throughout the rev range.
The charging system has also been beefed up to contend with the higher demands of the various marine electronics units that are now found on most trailer craft. A 35amp high-output alternator provides extra power for starting and accessories.
Fishos will welcome the inclusion of Yamaha’s Variable Trolling Control, which allows the skipper to fine tune trolling speed in 50rpm increments. The F130A is also compatible with Yamaha’s Command Link digital gauges and is designed to foil thieves with the company’s V-COP theft deterrent system, which prevents the engine from being started by unauthorised operators.
The compact engine design has resulted in a sleeker cowling, which certainly gives the new engine a leaner, meaner appearance.
Down below, the transmission has been toughened with a special heat treatment and hardening process on the gears to cope with the extra torque of the 130.
And gear-shifting is smoother and quieter due to Yamaha’s Shift Dampener System, which absorbs drivetrain shock and slap, while new Talon Series high-thrust props offer less noise and vibration.
AT THE HELM
For our test, Yamaha provided a range of different craft for us to sample on the Gold Coast’s Broadwater. It was a pretty good cross-section of boats representing the most likely applications for the new engine, including a CruiseCraft 575, a Streaker Navigator 5700, a Seajay 5.6 Striker and a Quintrex 530 Cruisabout.
The first impression of the F130A was how quiet and smooth it was at idle. There was barely a ripple from the transom, aside from the tell-tale to alert us that the engine was actually running. It’s amazing how quiet relatively large capacity outboards are becoming as engineers find new ways to mute sound and dampen vibration.
Underway the low-down punch was, not surprisingly, most noticeable on the lighter craft. I’d rate the F130A’s holeshot as impressive and pretty much what you’d expect from an engine in its class, aided no doubt by its comparatively low weight.
Where the new motor definitely delivers is in the mid and upper rev ranges in terms of throttle response. Where some four-strokes of similar capacity can tend to flatten out in their power delivery, the F130A keeps an impressive amount of power in reserve. Opening the throttle from 3500rpm-up had all boats responding strongly, which will be welcomed by those wanting to get where they’re going quickly, especially if there happens to be a big flock of birds working on the horizon.
At wide open throttle I saw speeds of close to 38 knots (72km/h) on the lightest of the fleet, the Quintrex, while Yamaha-supplied fuel figures suggested this combination capable of an impressive 17.3lt/h at a cruising speed of 4000rpm.
The heaviest in the test fleet – the 1600kg Cruisecraft 575 – still returned figures of 17.2lt/h at 4000rpm and a WOT speed of 67km/h.
I came away from the launch thinking Yamaha has produced a very capable 130hp powerplant. It’s smooth, quiet and highly refined, has great midand top-end punch and is pleasingly stingy on fuel.
Pricing wasn’t available at the time of going to print.
More information: yamaha-motor.com.au.