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1998-1999 Yamaha XL 760 Review and Specs [Video]

1998-1999 Yamaha XL 760 Review and Specs [Video]

The 1998 Yamaha XL 760 and its brother, the flagship XL 1200 were the first real 3-seater Yamaha WaveRunners. These models shared their hull, jet pump, and most features, but the XL 760 came standard with a smaller, 754cc twin engine rated at 90hp.

If you want to find out more about this legendary classic WaveRunner, this post is for you.

We at JetDrift have compiled all you need to know into this Yamaha XL 760 review!

Yamaha XL 760 Review

The Yamaha XL Family

In 1998, Yamaha introduced the revolutionary XL series as its first full-sized 3-seater PWC family.

Unlike their tippy predecessors, XLs were finally able to carry passengers without tipping over due to overload.

As a rule of thumb, each early XL shared the same platform, but they were available with three different engine options (700, 760, 1200). Yamaha manufactured these skis from 1998 through 2004 while successor XLTs remained in production until 2005.

In a nutshell, the list of available XL and XLT WaveRunners was as follows:

The first model in this breed was the XL 760, which debuted for the 1998 model year.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and talk about this ski in detail!

Yamaha XL 760 Hull and Top Deck

Let’s face it, early 3-seater WaveRunners like the III 650 could hardly carry three adult riders.

These vintage skis were built on small, lightweight hulls that became unstable with two adults onboard. Therefore, until the Millennium, jet skiing was mostly a solo activity.

But everything changed in 1998 when Yamaha revealed its revolutionary XL series.

Marketed as full-sized, 3-seater runabouts, these skis could even accommodate three adult riders. These models opened new horizons for PWC owners including family riding, touring, towing sports, and PWC fishing.

In terms of dimensions, the XL hull measured 124 inches in length, 49.2 inches in width, and 43.3 inches in height. In contrast, the predecessor WaveRunner III 650 was only 109.1 inches in length and 40.2 inches in width.

The dry weight of the latter was 349 pounds, while the XL 760 weighed a whopping 551 pounds, which means a 58 percent weight increase!

Due to its significantly heavier weight and deeper deadrise, the XL cut much deeper into the water, which translated to better stability and predictability.

What’s more, its large body offered tons of storage space, including a glovebox, front storage, and a sizeable storage bucket under the rear seat.

Thanks to its great handling and capacities, the XL instantly became popular among families and tow sport enthusiasts.

Yamaha XL 760 Engine

The XLs were not only known for their great hulls but also for their powerful engines.

As the name suggests, the Yamaha XL 760 was powered by the “760” Yamaha marine engine, which was a 2-stroke, 754cc, twin-carb, reed-valve twin rated at 90hp.

Its bigger brother, the XL 1200 was designed with an 1131cc triple, which delivered a healthy 135hp.

Although the 760 generated 45hp less, its power was still enough for the average rider.

This engine enjoyed many advanced technologies, including:

  • Digital CDI ignition
  • Reed valve intake system
  • Electric start
  • Dual Mikuni BN44 carbs
  • Oil injection system
  • Open-loop cooling system
  • NGK BR8HS spark plugs
Power was transferred to a high-performance axial-flow, single-stage jet pump, featuring a stainless steel impeller and a reverse gate.

Regarding fuel economy, the XL 760 burned about 10 US gallons at full throttle, which translated to a top speed of 42-43 mph.

Its fuel capacity was a remarkable 13.2 gallons, which ensured a cruising range of 1 hour and 30 minutes at WOT.

Yamaha XL 760 Features

Unlike its basic predecessors, the XL 760 came standard with many convenience features, including:

  • Under-seat storage compartment
  • Bow storage compartment
  • Glovebox
  • Fire extinguisher container
  • Manual reverse
  • Dual mirrors
  • Deck mats
  • Bow and stern eyes
  • Engine cut-off switch
  • Engine shut-off cord (safety lanyard)
  • Drain plugs
  • Rope holes
  • Rear grab handle
  • Two-piece saddle
  • Fuel cock knob
  • Ski tow eye
  • Sponsons
  • Finger throttle lever
  • Cooling water pilot outlet
  • Visibility spout
Interestingly, early WaveRunners came with no dashboard as they only featured a simple oil level gauge.

In contrast, the innovative XL 760 was designed with an informative digital multifunction gauge. In a nutshell, its key features were as follows:

  • Digital speedometer
  • Tachometer
  • Oil warning indicator
  • Fuel level
  • Battery voltage
  • Engine temp.
  • Hour meter
  • Trim meter
  • Clock

Yamaha XL 760 Problems

Even though the XL 760 was a fairly reliable 2-stroke WaveRunner, it had some minor design flaws, which were as follows:

  • Aging oil lines: The aging oil lines of these classic WaveRunners could easily result in an engine seizure. To avoid these issues, best practice was bypassing the entire oil injection system and pre-mixing the fuel by hand. Owners who relied on the oil system had to regularly inspect and replace the oil lines.
  • Defective catalytic converter: On some XLs the catalytic converter fell apart and clogged or damaged the exhaust system or the exhaust sensor. Installing a “D-plate” could effectively prevent these issues.

Yamaha XL 760 Specs Charts

For your convenience, we’ve compiled the key specs of the 1998 Yamaha XL 760 into these charts:

Yamaha XL 760 Engine Specs

1998 Yamaha XL 760Engine Specs
Number of cylinders2
Displacement754 cm³ (46 cu in.)
Bore and Stroke84 × 68 mm (3.31 × 2.68 in)
Compression RatioF: 7.2, R: 6.8:1
Intake SystemReed valve
Carburetors2 x Mikuni BN44
Carburetor starting systemChoke
Scavenging systemLoop charged
Lubrication SystemOil-injection
Cooling SystemWater-cooled
Starting SystemElectric
Ignition SystemDigital CDI
Ignition timing15 BTDC ~ 22 BTDC
Spark Plugs TypeNGK BR8HS
Battery Capacity12 V 19 Ah
Lighting coil2~4/5500

Yamaha XL 760 Drive System

1998 Yamaha XL 760Drive System
Propulsion SystemJet pump
Jet Pump TypeAxial flow, single stage
Impeller RotationCounter-clockwise (Rear view)
TransmissionDirect drive from engine
Steering (nozzle) Angle24° +/- 1°
Trim angle5
Trim systemN/A
Reverse systemReverse gate (manual)

Yamaha XL 760 Performance

1998 Yamaha XL 760Performance
Maximum Output90 HP (66.2 kW) @ 6350 RPM
Maximum Fuel Consumption10.04 US gal/h (38 L/h)
Cruising Range (at full throttle)1.5 hours

Yamaha XL 760 Dimensions

1998 Yamaha XL 760Dimensions
Overall Length124.0 in (3,150 mm)
Overall Width49.2 in (1,250 mm)
Overall Height43.3 in (1,100 mm)
Dry Weight551 lb (250 kg)
Vehicle capacity3

Yamaha XL 760 Fuel and Oil

1998 Yamaha XL 760Fuel and Oil
FuelRegular Unleaded Gasoline 86/90
Recommended engine oil2-stroke Outboard Motor Oil
Fuel tank capacity13.2 US gal (50 L), inc. 3.17 US gal (12L) reserve
Oil tank capacity1.00 US gal (3.8L)
These charts are for informational purposes only! For exact specifications, please refer to the factory manual.


As a takeaway, we’ve answered the most common questions about the Yamaha XL 760:

What is a Yamaha XL 760?

The XL 760 was a full-size 2-stroke 3-seater runabout WaveRunner.

When did the Yamaha XL 760 Come Out?

The Yamaha XL 760 debuted in 1998.

What Years Did Yamaha Make the XL 760?

Yamaha marketed the XL 760 from 1998 through 1999.

What Size was a Yamaha XL 760?

The Yamaha XL 760 measured 124.0 inches in length, 49.2 inches in width, and 43.3 inches in height.

How Much Did a Yamaha XL 760 Weigh?

The dry weight of the Yamaha XL 760 was 551 pounds.

How Many People Could Ride on a Yamaha XL 760?

The Yamaha XL 760 was rated for three riders.

What Kind of Engine was in the Yamaha XL 760?

The Yamaha XL 760 was powered by a 2-stroke, 754cc, twin-cylinder, reed-valve Yamaha marine engine.

Was the Yamaha XL 760 Supercharged?

The Yamaha XL 760 utilized a naturally aspirated engine configuration.

Was the Yamaha XL 760 a 2-stroke?

Yes, the Yamaha XL 760 was powered by a 2-stroke engine.

Was the Yamaha XL 760 Fuel Injected?

No, the Yamaha XL 760 featured two Mikuni BN44 carburetors.

How Much Horsepower Did a Yamaha XL 760 Have?

The Yamaha XL 760 produced 90hp at 6,350 RPM.

How Much Oil Did a Yamaha XL 760 Hold?

The Yamaha XL 760 had an oil injection system featuring a 1-gallon oil reservoir.

How Much Fuel Did a Yamaha XL 760 Hold?

The Yamaha XL 760 was equipped with a 13.2-gallon fuel tank.

How Much Fuel Did a Yamaha XL 760 Use?

The maximum fuel consumption of the Yamaha XL 760 was 10 gph at full throttle.

What was the Fuel Range of the Yamaha XL 760?

The claimed cruising range of the Yamaha XL 760 was 1.5 hours WOT.

How Fast Did a Yamaha XL 760 Go?

The top speed of a Yamaha XL 760 was about 42-43 mph under ideal conditions.

Could the Yamaha XL 760 Tow a Skier or a Wakeboarder?

Thanks to its three-seater configuration, the XL 760 could legally tow a wakeboarder or skier.

Did the Yamaha XL 760 Have a Reverse?           

No, the Yamaha XL 760 came with a manual reverse system.

Did the Yamaha XL 760 Have a Brake?

No, the Yamaha XL 760 was manufactured without a brake system.

How Much Does a Yamaha XL 760 Cost?

The asking price of a used Yamaha XL 760 varies between $2,000 and $3,500 depending on the year and its condition.