JETSKI TEST: SEA-DOO RXT-X AS 260 RS / SEA-DOO GTI SE 155

By: KEVIN SMITH, Photography by: KEVIN SMITH


Sea-Doo PWC jetskis-06.jpg Sea-Doo PWC jetskis-06.jpg
Sea-Doo PWC jetskis-01.jpg Sea-Doo PWC jetskis-01.jpg
Sea-Doo PWC jetskis-02.jpg Sea-Doo PWC jetskis-02.jpg
Sea-Doo PWC jetskis-03.jpg Sea-Doo PWC jetskis-03.jpg
Sea-Doo PWC jetskis-04.jpg Sea-Doo PWC jetskis-04.jpg
Sea-Doo PWC jetskis-05.jpg Sea-Doo PWC jetskis-05.jpg
Sea-Doo PWC jetskis-07.jpg Sea-Doo PWC jetskis-07.jpg
Sea-Doo PWC jetskis-08.jpg Sea-Doo PWC jetskis-08.jpg
Sea-Doo PWC jetskis-09.jpg Sea-Doo PWC jetskis-09.jpg
Sea-Doo PWC jetskis-10.jpg Sea-Doo PWC jetskis-10.jpg
Sea-Doo PWC jetskis-12.jpg Sea-Doo PWC jetskis-12.jpg

As Kevin Smith discovered, Sea-Doo’s RXT-X aS 260 RS and GTI SE 155 are two very different PWCs — but they both pack one helluva wallop…

JETSKI TEST: SEA-DOO RXT-X AS 260 RS / SEA-DOO GTI SE 155
The Sea-Doo RXT-X AS 260 RS and Sea-Doo GTi SE 155 PWCs. More acronyms (and power) than you can poke a stick at.

I recently found myself straddling some of the latest Sea-Doo PWCs once again, in this instance the family-friendly GTI SE 155 and power-packed RXP-X aS 260 RS. Yes, I'd had a brief taste of both these models (and more) at the Club BRP (Bombardier Recreational Products - the parent company behind the Sea-Doo brand) media and dealer event earlier this year. But that was a rather hurried affair, so I was looking forward to spending more time with these two models to get a clearer idea of their capabilities.

However, before we get stuck into the individual reviews of each model, there are a number of interesting new features to be found across the whole 2012 Sea-Doo range. One that really stands out is Sea-Doo's iBR (intelligent Brake and Reverse) braking system, a fantastic feature for novices and veterans alike. There is also the iTC (intelligent Throttle Control), the iS / aS (intelligent Suspension / adjustable Suspension) found on certain models, CLCS (the PWC industry's only Closed-Loop Cooling System), and even different "learning keys" to tailor a PWC's engine output to various levels of rider ability.

Yes, today's PWCs are becoming more technologically advanced by the day, and these features drastically enhance the ride experience for all.



SEADOO RXP-X AS 260 RS PWC

The RXT-X aS 260 RS is a performance thoroughbred, and a significant step up from the GTI SE 155 (see below) in this respect. This waterborne superbike is powered by a 260hp, supercharged Rotax 4-TEC motor with intercooler, and it churns out gut-wrenching power on demand. A high-powered motor obviously needs a high-performance hull, and this model delivers. The RS has the latest S³ (stepped, stable, strong) hull, which, while constructed of a lightweight but sturdy material, is ribbed and stepped to deliver nimble handling and rail-tight cornering.

This hull also incorporates new adjustable rear sponsons, which improve lateral stability. These sponsons have three settings: a higher setting creates a more "playful" freeride experience, while a lower one delivers more aggressive turning. The hull also has new bow stabilisers, which also provide lateral stability and improve steering in rough water, while helping to reduce any tendency for the bow to dive.

Another standout feature on this model is its aS (adjustable Suspension). This system allows the hull to move independently from the upper deck, thus isolating the rider and passenger from rough-water impacts. It can also be adjusted to suit the rider and the conditions. Is this just a gimmick, or does it really make a difference?
Having sampled it for myself, I can say it's definitely not a gimmick - it really does take the jolt out of the hull in rough going.

Like in the other premium Sea-Doo PWCs, the RXT-X aS 260 RS comes with a list of fancy features a mile long - there simply isn't room to go into detail all here. However, a few of the more notable features include: ultra-hot styling, iBR, high-performance electric VTS (Variable Trim System), adjustable tilt steering, interactive multifunctional digital info centre that reports 32 key operating functions, digitally encoded security system, and much more.

Now, while all that's whizzing around your head, let's take a look at what really matters - how it goes.



SUPREME PERFORMANCE

With that 260hp supercharged motor, this is no toy on the water. When you pull back on the throttle on one of these babies you've gotta hold on tight because the sheer ferocity of the acceleration tries to slide your face around the back of your head. In short, this thing goes hard - way hard - and when you see 120kmh flick up on the speedo (in clear and open water, of course), you know you're on something special.

For recreational use, this kind of speed is really over the top, but it's exactly what you want for racing. In fact, this model's S³ hull is designed to suit the racing fraternity; it's very sensitive and hooks into turns fast, unlike the less sensitive T³ hull found on some Sea-Doo models, which feels totally different - it carves.

As a recreational user in flatter waters I would prefer the T³, but if bay and offshore use was more my thing, I'd definitely go for the S³.

The RXT-X aS 260 RS's performance is mind blowing in every respect, from its acceleration to top speed, to its excellent stability, to its unrivalled ride characteristics. However, don't think that just because it's a weapon it's only for the pros, because Sea-Doo's "learning keys" mean you can limit its performance, allowing the rider to hone their abilities over time.



THE WRAP

New designs, new technology, new features, and one hell of a PWC - that's what you get with any model in the 2012 Sea-Doo range. Even the lower-spec models deliver an exhilarating ride and first-class performance, and the more I ride them, the more I like them.

Over the years the technology incorporated into these products has shot through the roof. What will PWC pilots be riding in a decade's time? Something with wings, probably…

When it comes to these two particular models, I really can't choose one over the other. I'd buy both, so I could have the RXT-X aS 260 RS for fun and the GTI SE 155 for fishing. Actually, if I could only have one I'd go for anything in the range from 155hp and up - and I'd make sure it had the fishing set-up, cruise control, and the suspension system.



On the plane...

> Exhilarating performance

> Handles a load well

> Something for leisure riders, fishos or long-range racers alike



Dragging the chain...

> Hull sensitive in turns (although it's designed to be like that)





SPECS: SEA-DOO RXT-X aS 260 RS

HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $21,798 (excluding trailer and registration)

Options fitted: As standard

Priced from: $21,798



GENERAL

Length: 3.54m

Beam: 1.22m

Weight: 443kg (dry)

Hull: S³ Hull

DIMENSIONS

People: 3

Fuel capacity: 70lt

Storage capacity: 62lt



ENGINE

Make: 1503 XHO Rotax 4-TEC engine

Type: Supercharged with external intercooler, 60mm throttle body

Displacement: 1494cc

Fuel type: 87RON (91RON recommended)

Propulsion system: Sea-Doo Direct Drive

Jet pump: Aluminium, axial flow, single stage, large hub with 10-vane stator

Impeller: Stainless steel



MANUFACTURED & SUPPLIED BY

Bombardier Recreational Products

56 Canterbury Road

Bankstown, NSW, 2200

Tel: (02) 9794 6600

Web: www.brp.com.au

Originally published in TrailerBoat #288, November 2012







SEA-DOO GTI SE 155 PWC REVIEW

The list of features continues with the latest GTI SE 155, which comes with iControl (which integrates and controls all the various systems to create the best possible ride), ECO mode (which determines the most economical power delivery and sets the optimal engine speed for the greatest fuel economy), multi-function digital information centre, digitally-encoded security system, fold-down re-boarding step, touring seat for three, and plenty of watertight stowage space. There are plenty more features, too, but way too many to mention here…



FISHO FRIENDLY

Rather than the standard GTI SE 155, this one came packaged up as a dedicated fishing platform, with a Lowrance GPS / fishfinder and a rear-mount rod holder / live well setup. These boxes can be ticked at the time of purchase or added later as a simple retrofit, so you can have a standard PWC or a fishing PWC - the choice is yours!



SIMPLE FIT-UP

There are a number of flat surfaces to mount the sounder, the most ideal spot on either the port or starboard angled panel next to the dash. Unfortunately, the standard brackets supplied with sounders aren't always the easiest to use, but thanks to the latest compatible Ram mounts they can now be mounted basically anywhere with a minimum of fuss.

On the rear platform, you then have a mini fishing set-up, which includes a live well / kill tank with stainless frame, and a number of rod holders. Depending on your target species you can have it plumbed up for baits or just use it as a basic kill tank or tackle box. The frame is then secured to the hull with three turnbuckles, and it sits tight without any movement while underway.

The GTI SE 155 will happily accommodate both bait and lure fishermen. In the case of bottom bashing at rest, it's comfortable enough to sit facing the fishbox on the rear platform. For gamefishing you can utilise the rod holders for trolling, although they are facing straight up - I'd be looking at installing a few adjustable rod holders that can face outwards.

Although you can retrofit fishing gadgets to any of the Sea-Doo PWCs, the GTI SE 155 is probably one of the better models in this respect, especially if you need to travel a fair distance to the fishing grounds: the 155 is significantly more economical than the higher-horsepower models.

However, if fuel economy (and footing the subsequent bill) isn't an issue, then by all means kit out one of Sea-Doo's premium models, which also provide a bit more comfort thanks to their suspension systems.



PERFORMANCE

It might "only" pack 155hp, but the GTI SE 155 is not left wanting when it comes to power or acceleration. For novices and cruisers the throttle response is set to "touring" mode by default, giving a progressive acceleration curve for a more confident ride. A flick of a switch then engages "sport" mode, giving instantaneous power and a more aggressive throttle response.

In sport mode the GTI SE 155 delivers the typical Sea-Doo holeshot performance - it rockets from zero to hero in the blink of an eye. There's more than enough gumption to please adrenalin junkies and those who want to carry one or two passengers.

Stopping, of course, is a slightly different matter. You don't normally come to a halt with blinding speed on a PWC, but with the iBR braking system I have to say you do pull up pretty fast.

Let me tell you, jam the anchors on at 100kmh on one of these babies and you'll be amazed by the deceleration. The iBR system is a great safety feature, but it should still be used with caution, and preferably when travelling in a straight line.

Regardless of the ride mode selected, the GTI SE 155 is blessed with a remarkably smooth ride. The hull allows it to cut through the chop nicely and it has above-average stability, while also exhibiting a pleasing steering response. These Sea-Doos really don't throw much spray off the hull, either, and if you do cop a bit off the bow in rougher going it only takes a tweak of the trim to eliminate it.

When you don't feel like playing, the economical powerplant means the GTI is well suited to long-range trips, too, but in this role I think I'd miss the cruise control function of the higher-spec models - it really does help to reduce hand fatigue.



THE WRAP

Overall the GTI SE 155 is definitely a nippy performer on the water and the ride has a nice, secure feel to it that will appeal to newcomers and old hands alike. It's got a heap of standard features and as a three-seater it's great for taking some mates or some of the family along for the ride.

The ability to kit it out as a fishing craft, meanwhile, only broadens its appeal even further.



SPECS: GTI SE 155

 

HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $17,308 (excluding trailer and registration)

Options fitted: Rear-mount fishing box system, Lowrance Elite 5X DSI GPS / sounder combo

Priced from: $15,659 (excluding trailer and registration)



GENERAL

Length: 3.37m

Beam: 1.23m

Weight: 343kg (dry)

Hull: LFI, composite



CAPACITIES

People: 3

Fuel capacity: 60lt

Storage capacity: 116.6lt



ENGINE

Make: 1503 NA or 1503 Rotax 4-TEC engine

Type: Naturally aspirated with 60mm throttle body

Displacement: 1494cc

Fuel: 87RON

Propulsion system: Sea-Doo Direct Drive

Jet pump: Aluminium, axial flow, single stage, large hub with 10-vane stator

Impeller: Stainless steel



MANUFACTURED & SUPPLIED BY

Bombardier Recreational Products

56 Canterbury Road

Bankstown, NSW, 2200

Tel: (02) 9794 6600

Web: www.brp.com.au

Originally published in TrailerBoat #288, November 2012

Find Sea-Doo boats for sale.

 


Want the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the free TradeBoats e-newsletter.