BOAT TEST: SEA-DOO RXT


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The PR tag used to sell the new 2005 Sea Doo 215hp RXT three-seater performance craft is “leave everything else behind” and after riding the inter-cooled, supercharged beast there is no reason to expect that any other PWC can keep up with it

BOAT TEST: SEA-DOO RXT
SEA-DOO RXT

 

SEA-DOO RXT


For the launch of the new Sea-Doo RXT three-seater the good folk from Bombadier Recreational Products invited a crew of reprobates including dealers, advertising reps and the odd journo up to the Couran Cove Marine Resort on South Stradbroke Island, a 45-minute ferry trip from Hope Harbour near Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast.
We were treated to a gala dinner on the night we arrived, and the dealer of the year awards were presented. Bill's Motorcycle's of SA, Adelaide Outboards of SA, and Makz Gear Ltd of the Shakey Isles in New Zealand all received Outstanding Achievement Awards. NZ's PWC Planet was crowned the dealer of the year.
Sea-Doo provided test models of most craft in their range, with the centre of attention the new RXT. As hoped, the Gold Coast turned on the ray meter for pristine skies. There were two courses set out for us to play on as long as we dodged the occasional cruiser motoring by.
The cruisers did come in handy as an excuse for a bit of wake jumping at full noise - but I paid the price after very painfully drilling the end of the handlebar into my thigh as the craft slid on the wake. My entire left thigh was black for a week.
PWC are great fun and when you get a few likeminded souls together the frivolity and laughs escalate as fast as the RXT's acceleration. Even BRP's ambassador Greg Murphy - whose job it is to promote sensible PWC riding - enjoyed a good old hoon: if anyone got near him on the water they were immediately drenched with a shower of water.
Also on hand for the day was a sample of the Sea Doo Sports Boats. Basically jet boats with the manoeuvrability of a team of Russian gymnasts, these boats will warrant a full test in an upcoming issue of TrailerBoat.

 

 

THREE SEATER


The PR tag used to sell the new 2005 Sea Doo 215hp RXT three-seater performance craft is "leave everything else behind" and after riding the inter-cooled, supercharged beast there is no reason to expect that any other PWC can keep up with it. Well, maybe one and that's the RXP two-seater version!.
Trailer Boat was enamoured with the two-seater we tested last year and the latest offering from the French Canadian manufacturer only enhances the company's claims that Sea Doo sets the standard in high performance personal watercraft. This is the first three seater PWC putting out over 200 hp so the others have a bit of work to do to answer the HP call.
The RXP raised the bar in the performance and handling stakes and if anything the new RXT version is a more complete craft. Maybe it's the extra length or the extra weight of the RXT. The RXT three-seater is 25.5cm longer at 332.5 cm long, it's 2.4 cm wider at 122.4 cm, 3.8 cm higher at 112.8 cm and pushes the dial on the scales to 394kg; a further 36kg over it's two seater sibling.
Everything else is the same: the engine is a Rotax four-stroke, three-cylinder with multi-point fuel injection in a 1494 cc powerplant with closed loop cooling system and runs on unleaded fuel held in a 60 litre fuel tank.
The power is delivered via a aluminium, axial flow, single stage 10 vane stator jet pump and it has direct drive with forward and reverse gears with a four-blade stainless steel impeller and is housed in a semi v fibreglass reinforced hull
The seating position is comfortable with your arms falling easily onto the bars with a spacious seat and deep foot wells making the position rather neutral.
Other standard features include a 15-function LCD information centre with easy to read analogue speedo and tacho as well as Sea-Doo's Off Power Assisted Steering, D-Sea-Bel noise reduction, plus Sea Doo learning key for novices that limits the speed mirrors and a reboarding step.
Also, all Sea-Doo come with a programmable ignition security key attached to the safety lanyard. This is a great anti theft device as the key has a chip that records the all owner's details and where and when it was purchased among other pieces of information. It would be an idea to keep a spare one handy as if you went away for a weekend and mislaid one then it's a big problem to get it going
One up the RXT is mind boggling and only experienced people should be riding it as its turn of power is remarkable. Out of the hole the craft launches onto the plane in an instant and if your willing to hold the thumb operated throttle fully on, in just over five seconds you're travelling at close to 120km/h. That's stunning in anyone's language and travelling along at that speed without sunnies or some form of eye protection makes it next to impossible to see, the wind blast flapping your jowls peeling your skin
 Flat stick in a straight line at over 110km/h it's a matter of the bravery of the rider to how fast to attack the hairpins. Slowly upping the speed at each run this scribe was quite comfortable at 80 -90 kays tipping it into the 180 deg turn. There was no hesitation in the craft it turns effortlessly and gives confidence to the rider. Maybe it's the hull or the sponsons design but I reckon it turns better than the two-seater RXP. When you're really getting into it I found it better to stand as it made me more planted in the craft and you can tilt the craft into the turn to aid grip. Sitting on the seat when giving it the berries in a turn you have to grip with your inner knee to stop sliding off the seat and as such with the centre of gravity made it harder to tip the craft into the turn plus you have to hang on a lot harder to stay in control. If you do that all day you're going to get arm pump and cut down on the fun factor.
I put this to the test a number of times on the course that the Sea Doo folk had set out. At around 500 metres apart it gave great opportunity to test the theory.
The sponsons are one of the reasons for its insane handling. In most craft when hooking along at speed and the bars are violently turned hard it is easy to get the stern to flick out and slide.
Sure, it can still be done on the RXT but when the question is asked to turn at speed it digs in and steers where the pilot intends although if you try hard enough you can get yourself spat off the back like a watermelon pip without too much trouble.
It is also apparent when turning the bars rapidly as if going through a series of ess-bends. The craft digs in and turns immediately.
I've never been a big fan of off power steering no matter who the manufacturer as generally the operation is next to none. Admittedly the OPAS of the Sea- Doo does work but its effect is limited. Steering in the tight spots when using the throttle does takes some getting used to but a quick blip of the throttle gives more confidence inspiring and instant steering. Quite simply a bit of applied power is a lot safer to get out of a tight spot in a hurry.
As for the infamous noise factor the new technology makes that socially unacceptable intrusion definitely a feature of the last century
Seeing it is a three-seater it was probably a good idea to put three bodies on board and determine how it lopes along with the extra weight.
Normally there would be a young tacker somewhere in the mix but as there were no tin lids around two adults were commandeered for a session. Obviously, with an extra 150kg + hanging on the back uttering, " If we go Bracksy, you're coming with us" arms firmly locked around my waist, it does sink in the stern a little but there is plenty of power to get on the plane - it just happens slightly slower. Also the steering characteristics change, making it lighter in the front but it's nothing to be daunted about and with a bit of practice, tossing them off the back would be no trouble. Whether you stay on is another question.
Unlike the RXP, the RXT doesn't feature variable trim the people from BRP explaining that with the different weight bias of rider and passengers on the longer wider and heavier RXT, the trim is not needed. I'd still like to experience a prototype that did have it
The RXT comes in two colours: Apple Green or Viper Red and has a RRP of $20,990 and more buzz for your buck than many other craft

 

 

 

 
Specifications: Sea-Doo 215hp RXT

 

 

HOW MUCH?


Price as tested: $20,990
Options fitted: nil
Priced from:  $20,990

 

 

GENERAL


Material: reinforced fibreglass
Type:  semi v
Length Overall: 332.5 cm
Beam: 122.4 cm
Weight: 394 kg dry

 

 

CAPACITIES


Seating: 3
Fuel capacity: 60 l
Storage capacity: 199 l

 

 

ENGINE


Make/Model: Rotax
Type:  SOHC, three cylinder four stroke inter-cooled supercharged with multi-point fuel injection and closed loop cooling
Rated HP:  215hp
Displacement:1494cc
Weight: NA
Drive: aluminium axial flow single stage large hub with 10-van stator jet pump with stainless steel four-blade impeller and direct drive forward and reverse gear

 

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat #194

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