There Is No Replacement For Displacement

We test new Yamaha VMAX SHO 200

November 2019 Feature Bill Gius Web Exclusive

When an outboard engine manufacturer asks you to run one of their new engines, it’s usually met with excitement and trepidation. It’s always exciting to test a new product. But, sometimes “new” isn’t always truly new. So, when I arrived at the dock on the Mississippi River in late September, I had to admit I was impressed. I was the first non-employee to run the engine, serial number “003.” Now that’s “new”!

Released to the public in July with production engines hitting the marketplace in October, the VMAX SHO 200 is Yamaha’s V6 designed to deliver the power of their 4.2L four-stroke to heavier deep-V and larger pontoon boats. Yes, Yamaha still offers their F200 in-line, 2.8L, 4-cylinder four-stroke. Research and market input showed their design team that an engine capable of delivering greater torque, greater power and an engine in the 200hp range was needed. More torque can only be delivered through greater displacement.

Here’s where the “new” is based on the “old.” Yamaha has had the 4.2L powerhead in their lineup for several years as their F225, F250 and F300 and on their SHO 225 and 250, but the 200 was only available in a 20-inch shaft length.

So, why the SHO (Super High Output) 200? Yes, it’s a torque demand that the greater displacement engine can deliver but it’s also based on what a boat design can carry. If a boat needs the greater power of the 4.2L engine but has a horsepower limitation of 200; you can’t legally use the 225 or 250; or even a 215. Yamaha understood that and delivers the 4.2L, 200 for those installations.

The in-line 200 weighs in at around 487 pounds while the 4.2L 200 comes in at only an additional 68 pounds (555 lbs.).

This is one of Yamaha’s V MAX SHO engines. That means slightly different mounting bracket and vibration dampening than the standard F-series. Different but when I ran it there is no perceivable difference in vibration transmitted through the transom bracket or to the hull. The mounting delivers 35 degree steering angle in either direction for tight turning.

The cowl is in the SHO styling and design. It’s easy to remove to check or service the engine oil and filter.

This series comes with either a 20-inch or 25-inch shaft to better fit those larger pontoons and heavier deep-V boats where keeping the prop in the water is more important than elevating it for high speed runs.

We were able to run serial number “003” on a brand new G3 Angler V19 SF. This aluminum multi-species boat has many features found in larger boats. It’s roomy, comfortable to sit in or walk around and when it’s not a fishing machine, it is a nice family runabout. This boat was on loan to us from our friends at Hannay’s in St. Paul, Minn.

The G3 Angler is 19’ 2” with a 96” beam. It weighs around 3,190 pounds dry. It has a 25-inch transom so the SHO 200 was the perfect match for this boat. Typical of most inland water aluminum fishing boats, it had a somewhat shallow 13-degree deadrise. That’s okay for most inland lakes but not steep enough or big enough for a Great Lakes fishing expedition (IMHO). Our test boat was also equipped with a Power Pole, shallow water anchor, a Minn Kota trolling motor, two batteries and Lowrance fish finder/plotter. The engine was equipped with one of Yamaha’s Reliance Series, stainless steel propellers in 18-inch pitch and 14-1/4-inch diameter.

We were fortunate to have one of those rare fall days with lots of sunshine, light wind and temps in the upper 60’s.

The SHO 200 got us up on plane effortlessly. We maxed out the RPM at 5,400 which is 100 RPM below “red line.” The 40 gallon fuel tank was full and had about 400 pounds of “staff” onboard. Down wind we peaked out at 48 mph and only lost 2 mph going up wind for 46 mph. I ran my hand along the transom, gunwales, instrument panel and sole to try to detect vibration. It’s important to feel the boat at idle and WOT. Like most four-stroke outboards today, there was almost no felt vibration. The G3 is dual console so we enjoyed the luxury of a full windshield. That being said, a windshield not only blocks the wind and wind noise but could reflect engine noise back at the occupants. The SHO has lots of power that you feel but don’t hear. I was easily able to carry on a normal conversation in either direction at WOT or idle.

The SHO 200 can digest 87 octane unleaded fuel at an economical rate of around 19.2 gallons per hour at WOT. The spec sheet says it will accept up to 10 percent ethanol content in the fuel, but I still prefer using lead free premium fuel without any ethanol for all my outboards.

The new SHO 200 is already being delivered to boat builders for their 2020 offerings and is appearing on dealers’ showroom floors. It responds to the needs of the boating customer, you. For more details on the engine, see the Yamaha Outboards web site. The G3 Angler can be seen on the G3 web pages or at a local G3 dealer.


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