2004 Kawasaki Jet Ski STX-R 1200 Review

Powerhouse engine makes this PWC race ready and quick

Story by Christopher Riley, Photography by Chris Bradley, Apr. 14, 2004
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A true power house of a motor is the standard on this blistering quick Kawasaki STX-R 1200cc two stroke race ready machine. Amazing handling and acceleration make this the perfect choice for anyone wanting a little extra bite in their bark.

Just like the other runabouts by Kawasaki this year, the STX-R comes with a good multi-functional display, black grips and a nice controls set-up. We rode this JetSki in race conditions with the aftermarket bars, and didn’t really notice much difference. The tripper throttle is really nice compared to the ‘thumb pushers’ we’re used to.

The engine access compartment is small and leaves a little to be desired, but we’d rather see motor and parts than empty space any day, so it’s all good. When it comes to a total package race runabout, this is the one to do.

About as stylish as it gets, the Kawasaki STX-R has a very distinctive look. Sitting next to its smaller brother, the 900 STX, you wouldn’t notice too many differences. The hull lines are clean and very sleek. 

This being more of a race ready sport craft, we aren’t going to knock it much for the lack of a ‘neater’ paint scheme. Instead, we’ll say it’s nice and more than adequate.
Being close to a production race craft, the STX-R might lack in a few of the usability areas, but it certainly doesn’t score low. The absence of a reverse gear is easy to get used to; other than that, you can still ride three-up very comfortably.

Gas consumption was acceptable, and the gas tank is plenty large enough. There’s lots of leg room and the ride was smooth and easy to control at slow speeds. Towing would be no problem, as there is power to spare.

GPS showed us running at 59.1mph, 59.5mph, 60.0mph, and 60.3mph in four directions. We’ve seen these watercraft do 70mph with the right impeller and pipe combination. This machine isn’t about the top speed, it’s about getting there as quickly as possible.

Acceleration is very quick, as the two-stroke power plant really pumps the water, jumping from idle to full speed in just a couple seconds. A super flat ride around 60mph affords excellent control for such a monster runabout.

With improved handling over its STX 900 sibling by adding better rear sponsons, the STX-R 1200 can cut corners at speed, allowing riders to really feel the G-forces. Another handling improvement comes in the ride plate. Unlike the 900 STX, the STX-R has no reverse, allowing for a better ride plate and it really makes a big difference.

STX-R 1200 Specs
Engine Type: Two-stroke, three-cylinder with crankcase and reed valve induction
Displacement: 1,176cc
Horsepower: 145 @ 7,000 rpm
Bore/Stroke: 80.0 x 78.0mm
Compression Ratio: 5.8:1
Cooling: Inducted water
Carburetor/Injection: Triple Keihin CDCV40 with single fuel pump
Type of Lubrication: Dry Sump
Ignition: Digital DC-CDI with K-TRIC
Starting: Electric
Propulsion system: Jet pump, axial-flow, single stage
Thrust: 904 lbs
Fuel Capacity: 16.4 gal
Oil Capacity: 1.3 gal
Overall Length: 122.8 in
Overall Width: 46.5 in
Overall Height: 40.2 in
Dry Weight: 639 lbs
Color: Jet White/Candy Lime Green

 

 

 
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