Compare Specs Discover '24 PWCs Browse Reviews
What is the Yamaha RiDE System? [Video]

What is the Yamaha RiDE System? [Video]

Yamaha RiDE (Reverse with Intuitive Deceleration Electronics) system is the brake and reverse system on WaveRunners. RiDE works the same way as Sea-Doo’s iBR (Intelligent Brake & Reverse) system, as both are designed to reverse the direction of the waterjet coming from the pump.

If you want to find out all about this feature, you’ve come to the right place.

We at JetDrift have compiled all you need to know into this Yamaha RiDE review!

What is the Yamaha RiDE System?

Sea-Doo is known as Yamaha’s largest competitor on the PWC market. The Canadian manufacturer is well-known for its innovative technologies and advanced features.

So, it was no surprise that the first PWC brake and reverse system appeared on Sea-Doos. This revolutionary system was labeled iBR (Intelligent Brake and Reverse) and debuted in late 2008.

The success of the iBR system encouraged Yamaha to develop its own brake and reverse features.

As a result of this effort, the Japanese manufacturer released its RiDE system for the 2015 lineup. Although the RiDE was heavily influenced by Sea-Doo’s iBR, it exceeds it in some ways.

RiDE offers an intuitive way to operate a WaveRunner when decelerating, reversing, or turning. The key advantage of its design is that it can easily be controlled without releasing the handlebars. This stress-free control results in a better riding experience and higher safety.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and discuss this feature in detail!

How does the Yamaha RiDE Work?

In a nutshell, Yamaha’s RiDE system reverses the thrust generated by the jet pump. To this end, these WaveRunners are equipped with a reverse gate (a.k.a. RiDE gate) controlled by a lever on the left handlebar. Depressing the RiDE lever folds the gate down behind the jet nozzle, which reverses the water flow coming from the pump.

Surprisingly, this idea is very similar to the reverse gate on airplane turbines.

Yamaha’s RiDE system does the same job, but slightly differently.

Unlike on planes where the reverse gates are mounted on the side of the turbines, the gate on WaveRunners is mounted behind the pump.

The reverse gate of the RiDE system is a special metal bucket moved by a separate module, known as the SCU (Shift Control Unit).

Its foldable design allows the gate to be hidden when the WaveRunner accelerates or runs at a constant speed.

When decelerating, depressing the lefthand-mounted RiDE handlebar lever folds the gate down. This gate reverses the water flow coming from the pump, causing the WaveRunner to decelerate.

After the ski stops, this reverse thrust is used to go backward or turn the ski around.

How does the Yamaha RiDE Work?

In a nutshell, the RiDE lever sends signals to the ECU (Engine Contol Unit), considered the “brain” of WaveRunners.

This main computer takes the lever input and the engine RPM into account to properly control the reverse gate.

The ECU signals the SCU (Shift Control Unit), an electric engine that moves the reverse gate via the actuator.

Here’s a great video on how Yamaha’s RiDE system works:

How do You Use the Yamaha RiDE?

You can control the Yamaha RiDE system with a left handlebar lever, known as the “RiDE lever” or “brake lever.” Depressing this lever causes the reverse gate to fold down, which reverses the thrust coming from the pump. This reversed water flow is used to decelerate or reverse the machine depending on whether it is moving or stationary.

The throttle is the right handlebar lever, just like any stock PWC.

What is the RiDE system used for? Simply put, this feature is intended for four different purposes, including:

  1. Ensure a neutral mode
  2. Decelerate the WaveRunner
  3. Reverse the WaveRunner
  4. Control operations at slow speed (TDE mode)

1. WaveRunner Neutral Mode

When you fire up the engine of a WaveRunner equipped with RiDE, it starts with a partially deployed reverse gate. This provides a feeling that the ski is in “neutral,” despite its impeller spinning.

But contrary to popular belief, these WaveRunners don’t feature a neutral gear. Instead, the reverse gate redirects the thrust just enough to prevent the ski from accelerating.

The computer is pre-programmed to position the reverse gate halfway down, finding the sweet spot that balances between forward and reverse thrusts.

This precise setting allows the WaveRunner to stay stationary until you hit the throttle or the reverse lever.

In contrast, a WaveRunner without RiDE starts accelerating immediately after starting the engine.

2. Decelerating the WaveRunner With RiDE

It’s safe to say that the biggest advantage of the RiDE system is that it works as a brake on WaveRunners.

This means that you no longer have to rely solely on water drag if you want to stop! Instead, you just hit the RiDE lever mounted on the left handlebar.

A signal from this lever is sent to the main computer (ECU), which controls the SCU unit enclosing the RiDE motor. This little but pretty strong electric motor is intended to move the reverse gate, which reverses the direction of the thrust.

This reversed water flow decelerates the ski, ensuring a shorter braking distance.

You can adjust the braking force with the RiDE lever, just like on a motorcycle. The more you depress the lever, the more braking force you can expect.

What’s more, thanks to the advanced design of WaveRunner’s reverse gate, you can still steer the ski when decelerating.

We can say that this is a great safety feature!

3. Reversing a WaveRunner with RiDE

Besides decelerating, you can also use the RiDE for reversing a WaveRunner. Keeping the left lever depressed causes the ski to go in reverse after it stops.

Like braking, the RiDE system also uses the reversed water flow for moving backward.

Unlike outdated skis with manual reverse, these advanced models allow reversing without releasing the handlebars. This makes the operation much simpler and smoother.

To keep the process much safer, the WaveRunner will slowly reverse at a fixed speed regardless of the position of the RiDE lever.

4. Controls Operation at Slow Speed (TDE)

Another reason why the RiDE system is so popular among riders is that it makes slow-speed operation much easier.

This ultra-slow maneuvering mode is labeled TDE (Thrust Directional Enhancer).

TDE can slightly lower or lift the reverse gate from the neutral position, allowing the machine to move at very slow speeds. While doing this, the engine is still running at idle speed.

What’s more, the reverse gate has a special design that features two holes on its sides. If you turn the handlebar while moving in reverse, these holes redirect the water flow.

In other words, the reverse gate can redirect the water towards the side instead of the bow. The water squirting to the side can literally turn the ski around in place.

This precise operation comes in handy while launching, docking, or riding in tight places.

Thanks to this innovative feature, WaveRunners with the RiDE system offer a stress-free riding experience for all riders, especially beginners.

Here’s a great video on how to use the RiDE system on a WaveRunner:

Takeaways – FAQs About WaveRunner RiDE

As a takeaway, we’ve answered the most common questions about this amazing feature!

What does Yamaha RiDE Stand For?

On a Yamaha WaveRunner, the acronym RiDE stands for: “Reverse with Intuitive Deceleration Electronics.”

What is the Yamaha RiDE System?

The RiDE is the brake and reverse system of Yamaha WaveRunners, which gives the feeling of having neutral and reverse “gears” on the ski. RiDE starts the ski in neutral and allows you to decelerate or reverse the ski.

This ensures stress-free control, bringing safety and the overall riding experience to a new level.

When did the Yamaha RiDE System Come Out?

Yamaha introduced its RiDE system in 2014 and offered it on the 2015 models.

What are the Major Parts of the Yamaha RiDE System?

In a nutshell, the key elements of the Yamaha Ride system are as follows:

  • RiDE lever (mounted on the left handlebar)
  • Shift Control Unit (SCU) – includes a waterproof case, electric engine, controller, position sensor, and wires
  • Reverse gate (a.k.a. RiDE gate or bucket)
  • Reverse gate actuator

How does Yamaha RiDE Work?

The Yamaha RiDE system is controlled by a lever on the left handlebar, which sends signals to the ECU (main computer). This computer controls the SCU, which houses a small electric motor designed to move the reverse gate mounted behind the jet nozzle.

This gate reverses the thrust to decelerate or reverse the WaveRunner. Turning the handlebar causes the reverse gate to redirect water flow to the side, turning the ski in place.

What is SCU on a Yamaha WaveRunner?

The SCU (Shift Control Unit) is part of the Yamaha RiDE system intended to control the reverse gate. Also known as the RiDE module, this unit is a waterproof case housing a small electric motor, a controller, position sensor, and wires.

These components work together to control an actuator that moves the reverse gate.

It’s safe to say that the SCU module is equivalent to Sea-Doo’s iBR actuator module.

What is Yamaha RiDE with TDE?

On Yamaha WaveRunners, the acronym TDE stands for Thrust Directional Enhancer.

This unique riding mode on a WaveRunner allows the ski to maneuver slowly and carefully. TDE slowly lifts and lowers the reverse gate while keeping the engine at idle speed. This results in a minimal forward or reverses thrust, which moves the ski at a slow speed.

Thanks to the TDE, a WaveRunner can more easily and safely maneuver around docks and in tight places.

Which Yamaha WaveRunners Have RiDE System?

The first Yamaha WaveRunners with the RiDE brake and reverse system appeared in the mid-2010s. Nowadays, almost every WaveRunner comes with RiDE except for some base EX models and the stand-up SuperJet.