By: Bazz, Pete and Kerrie Middleton, Paul Nixon, Shane and Jo Hardiman

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The Sea-Doo RXP-X 255 offers as much speed as any normal person can handle on a jetski.


We'll be running a few jet ski tests during the summer months, because a lot of ATV riders also own jet skis, and the first one we've pushed into the water is the new Sea-Doo RXP-X 255. It's the company's top-of-the-line two-seater watercraft and one of the two most powerful jet skis available, two-seater or otherwise.


(A word of explanation: 'jet ski' is a term invented by Kawasaki and is their intellectual property. That's why the oafish term 'Personal Water Craft' was invented, because other manufacturers weren't allowed to use the words jet ski to describe similar products. However, since Personal Water Craft is clumsy, PWC sounds like an outdoor urinal, and 'jet ski' is the term still used by the buying public, we'll continue to call them jet skis wherever possible).


Having got that out of the way, it's safe to say that Sea-Doo put everything into the RXP-X that high-end buyers would expect. Major Grunt topped the list. They borrowed the Rotax engine from the 215hp RXT, formerly their most powerful model, then gave it a larger supercharger and external intercooler, which boosted output to a startling 255hp. You think ATVs and motorcycles are fast? Ride this thing. 255hp is enough to suck your brains out your ears.


We looked for the RXP-X's closest competitors in the high-po two-seater class but right now there are none. Honda's Aquatrax R-12X has 165hp so that's way off the mark. Kawasaki's new 260X ($22,499) and 260LX ($22,999) have slightly more power but they're both three-seaters. Yamaha's new two-seater, the FZR ($20,955) is powered by a supercharged, 1.8-litre four-stroke engine, which looks impressive on paper but develops only 210hp.


All that leaves the Sea-Doo gloating smugly at the top of the horsepower totem. No-one can touch 'em. Well, no-one but MV Agusta, who claim to be working on a barking mad, 308hp V8 jet ski. HSR-Benelli say they're building a 342hp, 2.2 litre machine, but presumably for the exclusive use of Greek shipping tycoons who no longer find solace in Ferarris, Lambos and northern Italian women.


Pretty cool. The RXP-X looks well built and nicely finished. We liked the paintwork, the engine is very quiet, and the swoopy Hyper Silver bodywork makes it look fast on a trailer. There's plenty of dry storage space too, always handy on a jet ski, and well shaped mirrors giving you a clear shot of rear-view action when you're towing a couple of kids in a ski biscuit.


Ergos are a good fit. The seat is comfortable and well shaped and that helps you stay you in position when you're cranking a high-speed turn. The handlebars are adjustable, so you wont have to go for an aftermarket, like the UMI, if you want to race. There's no padding around the steering column though and that could prove painful if you slide forward quickly and ram your gum-nuts into it. The footwells have plenty of room, are nicely angled so you can lean into them when you're turning hard, and although the deck mats have plenty of grip it'd be nice if they ran further forward.


This machine has push-button electric trim control via a toggle switch on the left switchblock and it couldn't be simpler to operate. The 20-function instruments - speedo, tacho, hour meter and so on - are comprehensive and easy to read at any speed, and to make things really simple the start button is also the stop button. The throttle is a small, billet aluminium trigger with a light but progressive action and plenty of feel. You won't suffer thumb pump here.


It's up there with the best and that's because half the people who work at BRP must be electronics engineers.

· Among the features offered on this machine are the already mentioned electric Variable Trim Control, enabling you to set the trim to suit a variety of surface conditions. Push the button up to raise the nose, push it down to lower it. A monkey could do it, in fact I think one of our monkeys did do it.

· The cooling system is a 'closed loop' design so there's no salt water in the engine's cooling system. The only raw water-cooled part of the engine is the exhaust and that's flushed through a simple hose fitting.

· A rev limiter works well to prevent over-rev should the rear end break loose, not that that's likely to happen because this thing corners faster than a ferret in a tunnel.

· As we all know, jet skis are difficult to control at low speed in a 'power-off' situation because with no power they can't be steered. Sea-Doo overcomes this problem with its OPAS system (Off Power Assisted Steering). OPAS uses spring-loaded side rudders at the rear of the machine that retract when beaching, docking or trailering but deploy when the throttle is released or the motor turned off. When deployed they make manoeuvring at low speed safer but you still don't have the measure of control you have with even a little power on.

· The machine has a reverse bucket and that too makes it safer to manoeuvre at low speeds. It also helps you avoid looking like a goon if you misjudge your approach to a wharf or your mate's expensive cruiser.


Stupid question. According to Sea-Doo - and our seat-of-the-pants freak-ometer - the RXP-X gets to 80kph in 2.9 seconds. That's faster than a Ferrari. Faster than electricity in a powerline. Faster than an unwed mother of six on her way to Centrelink. Yeah, it's quick. Power off the bottom is impressive, so is the midrange, but it's the uninterrupted, slightly insane rush to 100kph that really takes your breath away.


This ski gets up on the plane quickly and at that point feels strong enough to break through the earth's gravitational field and head for the outer planets. The sensation of speed is heightened by the eerily quiet engine, a total lack of vibration, and on calm water the impression that you're not on water at all, you're flying at low altitude.


A high performance intake grate, better known as a scoop grate, loads the jet pump and makes sure it gets water when it would otherwise be close to cavitating. Shane Hardiman, a former jet ski endurance racer, thought the scoop grate was actually too aggressive. Said Shane, "If a racer wants to chase extra speed by raising the rev limit, he'd have to go a less aggressive scoop grate. Basically, there'd be too much water in the pump housing at high speed, the impeller couldn't keep up and he'd get hydraulic lock-up.



Another of our testers, Pete Middleton, also raced jet skis so he knows what fast feels like. Pete said the RXP-X isn't fast enough to race - what the hell are those guys doing to their skis? - but it's sure as hell fast enough for any recreational jet jock, or any family man who wants a little more towing or wave jumping power than his ho-hum ski can churn out.


Maybe that's not so surprising though. What we have here is a three-metre long ski that weighs 360kg and has 255hp to play with. That's a pretty impressive power-to-weight ratio. If you've ridden a seriously fast ATV or motorcycle you'll love the merciless grunt the RXP-X delivers. This is effortless power that launches out of the hole and has no trouble hauling a 100kg skier out of the water. It's not what we'd call a dry ride in choppy water but if you drop the speed a tad, and adjust the trim accordingly, the spray level definitely goes down.


We loved the acceleration on offer here, but as much as that we liked the big Sea-Doo's stability. With all the useful technology on tap it feels safe whether you're an expert or a beginner, and if you're an expert, this thing will really rock your jocks.



Specifications: Sea-Doo RXP-X 255



Type - Supercharged Rotax 4-Tec

Displacement - 1494cc

Bore/stroke - 100x63.4mm

Comp ratio - 8.4:1

Cooling - Closed loop system

Output - 255hp (190kW)




Type - Pump type - Racing pump with scoop grate. Axial flow, single-stage, large hub with 10-vane stator




Type - Direct drive, forward-neutral-reverse, variable trim.

Impeller - Stainless steel




Type - Semi-V, composite




Length - 307cm

Width - 122cm

Height - 116cm

Dry weight - 361kg

Fuel capacity - 60L

Storage capacity - 40.3L




Price - $19,995.

Colour - Hyper Silver

Standard accessories: X bars, billet throttle, X-traction footwell carpet and deck pad, X-racing seat, double density hand grips, removable engine hatch.

Originally published in TrailerBoat #243

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