BOAT TEST: SEA-DOO RXP

By: MARK BRACKS


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Just like Iggy Pop, Sea-Doo’s new two-seater is worth a million in prizes. And the ride? Well, that’s like hypnotising chickens, writes Mark Bracks

BOAT TEST: SEA-DOO RXP
SEA-DOO RXP

 

LUST FOR LIFE


Every now and then a machine comes along that pulverises you with performance. The latest to add its name to that ever-growing list is the new 215hp supercharged two-seater PWC from Sea-Doo, the RXP. It's a beast that leaves you bewildered and gibbering all sorts of adjectives after your first ride.
TrailerBoat had an RXP when it was on the Gold Coast a while ago for a multi-craft shootout, and everyone that sampled the craft was gobsmacked with its performance. After each initial ride, players stood on the shore shaking their heads comparing the craft's impressive attributes.
Over the two days, it never ceased to raise a comment with everyone that threw a leg over it; but throwing a leg over the RXP was harder than throwing one over Michelle Pfeiffer, because my co-testers Benn Archibald and John Allen were equally enamoured with the craft.
Being Australian motorcycle road-racing champions they love fast, dynamic machines and pushing them to their limits, so both riders are not easily impressed - making them truthful and independent critics.
No matter their skill after having a steer, the pair - like me - was akin to giggling schoolkids who had just found a new toy. Our hourly conversations consisted of: "Hey guys, reckon I can have a steer of the RXP now?"
"Ah Bracksy, you might have to wait a bit we're still evaluating it - like you wanted us to."
"How much time do you need?! You pair have been evaluating it for the past two days!"
"Another week would be good!"

 

 

LET'S LOCK AND LOAD


Such is the attraction of the RXP. It's a weapon that, when unleashed, will have you laughing excitedly while straining your muscles as you battle to hang onto its awesome acceleration and horsepower.
And unlike turbocharged engines, the supercharger displays no lag whatsoever. As soon as you hit the throttle it's batten down the hatches and hang on.
When pushed to its top speed, you need a set of sunglasses or goggles as the wind blast feels like you have a WWF wrestler on your back giving you an eye gouge, ripping your eyelids over your head!
To put the "oomph" of this craft into some kind of perspective, compare it to a skiboat. People are pretty impressed with anything over a 200hp outboard hanging off the back, but a skiboat is around 5m long and usually weighs more than 800kg.
Conversely, the RXP packs 215 fire-breathing horsepower, is just over 3m long - 307cm to be precise - and has a claimed dry weight (without fuel or oil) of 358kgs!
Even for a somewhat "heavy" two-seater PWC, that's a serious power-to-weight ratio; plus it's supercharged. These impressive figures enable you to reach speeds of around 140kmh - more than enough to leave most in your wake.
With its stats there is no problem pulling a few skiers out of the water along with your observer perched behind the pilot. During our two-day test it had no trouble eating up every multi-seat craft we put it against, from cornering to straight-line speed runs.
Basically, there's no competition.

 

 

NUTS & BOLTS


To deliver such impressive performance, under the cowls of the RXP sits an intercooled and supercharged three-cylinder 1494cc Rotax engine with multipoint fuel injection and a compression ration of 8.5:1.
The transmission is direct drive (with forward and reverse) as well as an electric trim system incorporated into the aluminium axial-flow, single-stage jet with 10-vane stator.
There are several features included on the craft, one of which is rear-view mirrors - but their use is quite puzzling as nothing will ever get near you to worry about using them!
It also possesses state-of-the-art engine technology and management systems. These include Sea-Doo's "D-Sea-Bel" Sound Reduction System for near-silent running, off-power steering and 16-function diagnostic instrument panel, with speedo and tacho plus the Sea-Doo learning key.
This pre-programmed key is an engine-rev limiter that prevents the craft from exceeding 60kmh. Great for learners and taking a young tacker for a ride, but it would receive little use around me. The RXP is built for adrenalin-pumping action.

 

 

TRAIN ON RAILS


It's not only in a straight line that the RPX excels. The handling of the craft is sure, predicable and confidence inspiring. It takes an aggressive stance to unsettle it, as it has fantastic steering attributes.
After speeding and throwing it around for two days, all of us agreed that the RXP is a cut above. All were unanimous in saying that it's the best craft for steering, as it digs in and holds a line without trying to flick the rear.
Once in the turn, it grips and just drives through the briny as you increase the power. Sure, you can make it snap away, but as John Allen said: "It handles like a new racing slick!"
He hit the nail on the head: it really does hang in there like a sticky bit of rubber, which gives you confidence to pilot it hard without losing control too easily.
PWC purists might mock the fact that this 215hp craft is a sit-down weapon, but you'd have to be Big Arnie to ride a stand-up with so many ponies. For the majority of folk, a sit-down craft gives its rider more endurance, and is less hassle to ride fast.
Sure, stand-ups are great for the physical workout and extreme excitement they provide, but a sit-down job enables the experience to last much longer. And with so many horses under your rear, it's probably a good thing too!
Bombardier Sea-Doo has always claimed that it redefines the experience of watercraft, and this semi-vee fibreglass composite hull takes sit-down PWC handling to another dimension. It handles all sorts of punishment, and a bit of wind chop did little to dampen its spirits.
We had no qualms about taking it out into open water either, but when doing a bit of wave-jumping it pays to keep in mind just how much power it does possess. An over-enthusiastic blip of the finger-operated throttle will have you needing a spacesuit.

 

 

OPTION IT UP


Optional extras include a retractable ski pylon, a shock tube for docking, and a sandbag anchor which helps if - like me - you want to pull up and throw a line in.
And that's quite possible: there is heaps of storage space, with a huge bin in front of the handlebars as well as a glovebox for necessities like licence, wallet and mobile phone - and there's a bit extra under the seat.
While there are cheaper craft on the market, at $19,990 the RXP offers exceptional value for money considering the incredible performance it delivers. Where some other craft may lose their "fun factor" unless you're playing with someone else, the RXP is enough of a craft to enjoy by yourself. Then again, with someone else it would be lonely ride, as they wouldn't be able to keep up!
If you haven't got a PWC licence yet, the RXP is the perfect excuse to get one.

 

 


HOW MUCH?


Price as tested: $19,990
Options: Reboarding step, performance package

 

 


GENERAL


Material:  Fibreglass reinforced semi-vee
Length (overall): 307.0cm
Beam: 120cm
Weight: 358kg

 

 

CAPACITIES


Fuel: 60lt
Passengers: Two
Storage: 40.3lt

 

 

ENGINE


Make/model: Rotax, three-cylinder multipoint injected, intercooled, supercharged, SOHC four-stroke
Rated hp: 215
Displacement: 1494cc
Drive (make/ratio): Direct drive w/ forward and reverse, aluminium axial flow, single-stage 10-vane stator with hub jet pump with variable trim
Props: Stainless-steel four-blade impeller

 

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat #189

Find Sea-Doo boats for sale.

 


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