Early last month I was lucky enough to be invited over to Australia for the Club BRP annual launch and press conference. Club BRP is where BRP (Sea-doo) Australasia put on show their new line up for their dealers and the press, this year being 2012 and we had two all new models to get behind the handle bars of, the all new Sea-doo RXP-X 260 and the Sea-doo GTR, along with the complete line up of 2012 Sea-doo personal watercrafts for us to test. All this was set up on a beautiful lake an hours drive from downtown Brisbane. With the sun beaming down with an almost 30 degree day, a huge lake to ourselves and the complete lineup of Sea-doo’s, could we ask for much more?
Hopefully by now you have read my article on the new Sea-doo RXP-X (link here) so I don’t need to go into too much detail here, but I must admit, hopping onboard this ski again wearing only board shorts and a life vest (you can’t do this every day with NZ weather conditions) instantly put a smile on my face. Every time I have managed to scam a ride on one of these skis, I find myself grinning like a clown and forgetting about all the troubles in the world.
When I tested this ski earlier in the year the water temperatures in Christchurch were not the friendliest and keeping dry was high on the agenda, but this time all I wanted to do was throw the ski around and get wet. I had forgotten how aggressively these skis turn in and must admit I came pretty close to throwing myself off, but lucky enough with the ergo-lock seat system I had my legs tucked right in and managed to use the strength of my legs to stop me from getting thrown off the ski.
Before I go on too much, I must point out that Sea-doo are carrying on their innovation, by adding the iControl system onto all their new models, iControl for those that don’t know is a combination of brakes and neutral, when the skis are first started they start in neutral meaning no more creeping forward like all other watercrafts and with this they have a brake/reverse handle on the left handle bar. This makes maneouvering at the boat ramp or jetty a piece of cake and also adds the safety of being able to slow down from high speeds like no other watercraft can. All the current lineup are now equipped with these features making Sea-doo the current pioneers of technology in the watercraft industry .
After the RXP-X 260, I pushed my way past the other reporter to grab the lanyard for the other new watercraft for 2012, the Sea-doo GTR. The GTR is designed as a musselcraft on a budget. They have taken their very popular Sea-doo GTI three seater hull and added a 215hp supercharged engine to it. Coming in at just over (NZD)$20k this is one of the cheapest supercharged ski’s on the market.
I was impressed with how much fun the GTR was, it turns in sharp, not quite as aggressive as the RXP-X, but that is the difference of a ski that is designed to race (RXP-X) to a ski that is designed for the family that want a bit more power and speed than the average family. At top speed the watercraft sits very nice and stable in the water and in all sorts of water conditions you always feel like you have full control of the ski. I personally thought the ski felt very light and nimble, but after checking the specs it is only 20kg lighter than the RXP-X and only 5kgs heavier than its normally aspirated brother the GTI. The GTR comes in at 348kg. I hope to be able to do a full write up on the watercraft very soon.
As the day of fun was coming to an end, and only a few hours till I had to be at the airport, I had the hard choice of what would be my last ride for the day. GTI, RXT-X aS, RXT-X, Wake or the GTX
I’ve been lucky enough to spend a few hours on the RXT-X 260, but never managed to get onboard an ‘aS’ model. The ‘aS’ standing for ‘adjustable suspension’ Sea-doo are the only manufacturer to produce personal watercrafts with suspension. They released this technology in 2009 on their RXT-iS. The ‘aS’ model is designed in mind for rough water racers, the Adjustable Suspension allows the hull to move independently off the upper deck, isolating rider and passenger from the impact of rough water, the rider has full control of the suspension dampening via the adjustable nitrogen remote reservoir into the glove box. Turn it all the way to the left and the suspension stiffens right up to becoming nearly solid, and all the way to the right and you gets an uber comfortable ride with plenty of travel, somewhere in-between you will find the perfect position for whatever conditions you find yourself in. Hitting some rough water while trying to manoeuvre around a buoy the ski feels a little unpredictable, but I am sure with some more time under your belt you would get the confidence of knowing how the ski will react. If anyone has a spare one of these skis and would like to lend it to me for the Winter Endurance Series, please let me know as I am positive the RXT-X ‘aS’ with its 260 horsepower and suspension would be very well suited for this type of events.
By now I had run out of time so I returned the Sea-doo life vest and quickly threw on some clothes and made my way back to the airport to head home. While on the journey home I thought about the day I had just had and how well the team at Sea-doo had done to put it all together, and how lucky I was to get an invite. From what I saw Sea-doo have really got it all together with the product, their team and their dealer network. With nearly 50% market share in Australia it proves they are doing something right and leaves the other brands fighting for smaller percentages between themselves.
Information on the complete Sea-doo line up can be found here http://www.sea-doo.com/au/showroom/watercraft/all-series.aspx
A behind the scenes video.