Finding family fun nowadays can be a task within itself given all the choices available. Riding the waves with your family, however, has been made easier and it’s affordable as well.
Kawasaki’s personal watercraft lineup includes the huge hull and three-seat capability of the Ultra LX sport touring Jet Ski. This machine boasts a mild-mannered 1,498cc engine that has an attitude of greatness with plenty of inclusions for growing riders. Let’s take a look at all the engineering that has been put into this machine to make it one of Kawasaki’s plush riding personal yachts.
Starting with its impressive design, the Kawasaki Ultra LX makes most PWCs look small. Utilizing the largest hull in Kawasaki’s lineup, the Ultra LX super-strong hull design has been extended 250mm to make it stable in the rough, choppy water. The handling of the machine will also benefit from this extended length.
Turning the Ultra LX is effortless according to Kawasaki and at higher speeds the banking angle is sharper yet smooth and stable. This can be attributed to the V-angle on the hull, which is 22.5 degrees sharper than the Kawasaki’s 15F. This will help to reduce sharp turn spin outs. It also makes the Ultra LX really cut through the rough water, providing a smoother ride. Overall the new design makes the Ultra LX a water-borne Cadillac. The sleek lines and beautiful, brilliant colors make this machine very attractive as well. The Ultra LX is offered in Jet White and Sunbeam Red.
Onboard storage has also been expanded to a massive 53 gallons. With the majority of this stow able space up front in the nose; the sealed area has a removable storage tray that is easily lifted from its hiding spot. And if you need fluid nourishment on the ride you can hide two average sized drink bottles in a drink holder located in the center console. The last of your storage needs can be found under the rear seat. This space is limited, but can be used for mooring lines or other small items.
Getting into the ergonomics of the craft we found that the seating was spacious and very comfortable. With plenty of leg room any rider will be comfortable aboard this craft. The handlebars are also five-way adjustable so that any sized rider can comfortably handle the craft either sitting or standing. The rear boarding step is retractable and a bit longer to make getting back onto the Ultra LX a breeze in deep water. The step retracts back underneath the rear bumper and this keeps it from getting damaged.
Quattro KSD is a term used to describe Kawasaki’s splash deflector system on the Ultra LX. The ridges you see under the craft and near the bow help reduce water from splashing forward towards the direction of travel. This helps keep the spray out of your eyes when making high speed corners. The thought of being able to see where you are going is definitely a good one and leave it to Kawasaki to think of everything.
Working our way back along the rear of the Ultra LX we noticed newly designed sponsons. These little additions to the hull help keep the Ultra LX stable and also prevent swaying, or what most call wallowing, during straight-line riding. The new design has also contributed immensely to the Ultra’s great maneuverability when turning at high speeds. This gives the novice rider more confidence and will help in making them feel comfortable driving the craft.
Another feature that inspires confidence is the SLO mode key, which limits the amount of speed and acceleration of Kawasaki’s Ultra LX. This key gives the novice rider a chance to feel out the craft and learn to control it without the intimidation of full-on power. There are two distinctly different and separately colored keys to eliminate any confusion as to which mode you are in.
Getting to the power of the Ultra LX we find a finely tuned 1498cc 4-stroke four cylinder power plant hiding under the seat. This mechanical wonder produces intense acceleration for its class. The low to mid-range torque is incredible. The dual overhead cam design along with four valves per cylinder helps in producing the awesome power. The water proofing of the electrical system, primarily the ECU and ignition coils, helps prevent shorting in that system and keeps the craft moving forward.
Being a fuel injected machine means that a responsive throttle and easy starting can be expected from the Ultra LX. The fuel injectors are a high flow design using four orifices, which assists in building the awesome acceleration for the craft. The single 60mm throttle body gets the air into explosion central.
With a great looking personal watercraft Kawasaki has hit a home run. While testing this machine on the Tennessee River we found out what it was like to ride like a king. Although the Ultra LX doesn’t peak out on the top of the speed dial we figure 55-57 MPH is plenty for just about any rider. The arm stretching acceleration made for some interesting times on the river and riding over 200 miles on the machine let us get a little insight on the comforts of this machine. The seat is plush and feels very comfortable even after a full day of riding, though we didn’t stay seated very long.
Turning the Ultra LX requires just a bit more strength than the typical Jet Ski but with the larger hull and hull shape this is to be expected. It just takes a little getting used to.
With the vast storage area it seems like you could hold a fourth body, but we don’t recommend it as the Coast Guard is unlikely to approve. If there were grocery stores on the water we could go shopping with this mammoth. Wonder if there’s room for a grill or a mini-fridge?
The Ultra LX is equipped with reverse, which is no big secret but having it on the left side of the craft makes docking the machine more controllable and keeps your hand on the throttle for precision engagement.
The added length to the re-boarding step was a welcome feature when we jumped into the river for a swim and complementing this is a super large grab bar mounted on the back seat.
Overall the Kawasaki Ultra LX was a fun and comfortable Ski. Kawasaki has done its homework and at $9,799 it’s priced right for any family.
|2008 Kawasaki Jet Ski Ultra LX Specs|
|Dry Weight||838 lbs|
|Engine||Four-stroke, DOHC, four valve per cylinder, inline four-cylinder|
|Bore and Stroke||83mm x 69.2mm|
|Fuel Capacity||20.6 gal.|
|Combined Stowage Capacity||53 gal.|
Rick's Riding Gear
Rick is outfitted in Slippery Switch vest, jersey and gloves.
Visit SlipperyWetsuits.com for more information.
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