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Sea-Doo’s suspension concept works, but for whatever reason consumers didn’t make it a runaway hit like many of the company’s other recent innovations. The luxury-focused Sea-Doo GTX Limited S 260, though, makes a lot of sense for this technology.
Kindler, Gentler Ride
Engine: Three-cylinder EFI, Supercharged/Intercooled
Fuel Capacity: 18.6 gal.
Stowage Capacity: 16.6 gal.
Seating Capacity: 3
MSRP: Starting at $16,999
Sea-Doo’s suspension concept is certainly nothing radically new at this point, but for those still unfamiliar with the idea think of it as splitting the two primary parts of the craft so that each excels at its individual job. The hull is one part of the equation, in this case the S3 design that carries the entire GTX line. The rider-contact area – seat, footwells, and handlebars – is the other. Hit a wake or wave and the two pieces react separately. The hull cleaves through the water as usual, but the rider’s portion moves within the hull by as much as 5.5 inches, absorbing some of the jolt those wakes normally deliver. Sea-Doo accomplishes this feat via a twin-arm suspension, fore and aft. A centrally located spring and shock absorber provides the actual cushioning effect.
While the original suspension models utilized an “intelligent” concept that relied on electronic control, the current version is manual. The stiffness of the spring is set to rider preference via an adjustment bolt found below the saddle. Why change the stiffness? Besides taking into account the passenger load in the saddle, big-wave riders will want a stiffer suspension so as not to bottom out the seat and handlebars upon the impact of landing. Those looking for a cushier ride in milder conditions may choose to have a looser, more springy feel.
As we’ve always stated, be realistic in your expectations. Suspension smooths out the impacts but doesn’t magically eliminate them. Passengers often appreciate the suspension the most, as they lack handlebars to grab and often aren’t able to anticipate oncoming waves the same as a driver with clear vision ahead.
Classic GTX…With Extras
Apart from the suspension, this is a GTX 260 in Limited trim. That means the engine is the familiar 1,494cc Rotax 1503 HO, boosted by a supercharger (now maintenance-free) with external intercooler. It’s the former flagship powerplant in Sea-Doo’s lineup, and will push the boat to an electronically limited 67 mph and provide the low-end grunt necessary to rocket out of the hole or haul up skiers and wakeboarders. Multiple acceleration profiles can be selected by the rider, including the everyday power delivery of Touring mode, the full-on acceleration of Sport mode, or a fuel-conserving ECO setting.
A secondary lanyard can dramatically tame top speed for beginning riders; both lanyards are digitally encoded to the individual craft to prevent theft. Sea-Doo’s RiDE system handles reverse and offers high-speed stopping power should you need to put on the “brakes.” Cruise control and a no-wake mode, along with variable trim, round out the standards on the Sea-Doo GTX Limited S 260.
As to rider comfort, suspension is complemented by the ErgoLock seat, with exceptional support for the driver and additional tiered segments for up to two passengers.
As to what the “limited” designation brings to the table, trim is upgraded to the high-performance version, meaning you can save two settings and reach them quickly via no-look “double taps” of the up or down trim button. Other extras are an exclusive coloration, matched storage and towing cover, a backpack-style dry bag, safety kit and glovebox organizer, with splash-resistant storage for your cell phone. Gauge functions are expanded with the addition of depth, time/distance to empty, altitude, and water temperature readings. The final component are Speed Ties, clever retractable mooring lines that are always at the ready when you pull up to the dock.
Drawbacks? One leaps out of the spec page of the Sea-Doo GTX Limited S 260. Storage capacity is only 16.6 gallons, a longtime tradeoff for the suspension workings within the hull.
As for similar models to the Sea-Doo GTX Limited S 260, there simply aren’t any. No other manufacturer offers suspension, so it’s up to you to determine if the premium in price is worth it for that cushier, more comfortable ride.
Other boats do, however, come in a Limited version. Yamaha’s FX Limited SVHO ($16,899) tops the company’s similarly luxurious FX line, and comes with numerous extras, including a cover that incorporates a solar panel trickle charger, 12V outlet, pull-up cleats, color-matched tube, rope and storage strap, inflator, smartphone case and dry bag.
Or, if you really like the idea of suspension but not the near-$17,000 price, look within Sea-Doo’s own lineup. The GTX S 155 ($13,599), features the same hull form but with the non-supercharged 155hp version of that same engine.
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