The letter “X” has gained quite the reputation in the last decade. Add it to anything from a sports drink to a fledgling alternative sports competition, and suddenly you’ve added instant street cred. Sure, Product A might be cool and all, but Product X is the sh…, well, you know the word I’m getting at.
Sometimes that X, however, is just an image. And then sometimes it actually designates something x-tra special.
Like Sea-Doo’s RXT-X…
Go Speed Racer
Sea-Doo touts the three-passenger RXT-X as having “race-inspired” power and features. I agree. The RXT-X, and its two-passenger sibling the RXP-X, are the closest things to race boats I’ve ever seen in production. The RXT-X handles with absolute precision, it blasts out of the hole at just a touch of the throttle, and it boasts one of, if not the fastest top speeds in the game. Overpowering for the inexperienced rider? Absolutely. But put one in the hands of an aggressive pilot with the necessary skills, and the RXT-X is — dare I say it — the most x-treme ride in the business.
The figures that set the performance junkies tongues wagging typically are all about speed and acceleration, so I’ll cut right to the chase. Peg the throttle and the RXT-X is capable of a legitimate 67+ mph when ridden solo. I knocked out a 68.3 on my most recent ride, while hitting that magic 30 mph mark in only 1.7 seconds. That’s the kind of fast that stretches out your arms, juices up the adrenaline flow, and pastes one huge grin from ear-to-ear.
The muscle in the equation comes from a heavily tweaked version of Sea-Doo’s familiar 1,494cc 4-TEC. It features substantially more (25-percent) supercharger boost than on the 215hp variant, a much larger intercooler, high-flow fuel injectors, and new forged pistons. Acceleration is enhanced by a change in pump location. Borrowing the rideplate from the RXP has resulted in the pump sitting about a foot-and-a-half farther back, an elongation of the intake that provides an abundance of water to the pump. A top-loader intake grate provides an even load.
Yes, all this newfound power requires premium gasoline, but let’s be honest. This type of buyer typically isn’t overly concerned with the fuel bill. Even if they were, the RXT-X has proven to actually burn less fuel than its immediate competition. And while Sea-Doo definitely stretches the marketing limits with the 255 hp designation (in reality it’s more like 233 hp), the combination of power and the boat’s relatively light 804-pound dry weight result is one of the quickest, fastest production machines ever built.
Cuts Like A Knife
Lost in the numbers game, however, is the craft’s handling. At this end of the curve, most craft have a distinct personality. Some sweep a little through the turns, some require ongoing corrections to remain hooked up. The RXT-X, however, simply responds. I recently rode the craft head-to-head with some of its counterparts through a waterski-style slalom course, and the boat is sharp, predictable, and utterly aggressive. Never was I surprised or panicked by a full-speed hiccup. Instead, the boat does what you want, when you want, and as fast as you want.
Of course, it does all that in relatively calm water. If there’s a “but” to be added here it’s that the RXT-X can lose a little of that ride when things get big and choppy. This nimble, agile hull feels like it gets tossed around more in wavy conditions. Maybe that’s to be expected, as it’s light and rides relatively high atop the water. Yes, it gets the job done, but if your average riding area is of the big and choppy variety, you may be better served by one of the big heavyweights, like Kawasaki’s Ultra 260.
Overall, however, this may be the ultimate performance ride currently available. I felt equally comfortable sitting or standing, the former aided by a carefully sculpted non-slip seat and the latter benefiting from long-awaited traction mat upgrades. I also appreciated a billet aluminum finger throttle (no more thumb!), strong and stylish billet handlebar riser, and a slightly wider handlebar that provides an added measure of leverage. It’s not adjustable on the fly, but can be tailored to driver preference with hand tools.
A high-performance variable trim is the final piece to the puzzle. Electric trim is convenient, but notoriously slow. It also requires the driver to take his eyes off the water to locate the desired position on a display. Sea-Doo’s answer is a quick-responding electric trim with driver-selected presets. I tapped the button and trim jumped right to a full-down position for hard acceleration. Once up and underway, I tapped the button again and trim rapidly moved to my bow-up, best-speed setting, all without ever taking my eyes off the water.
The Little Things
On a boat with such an obvious agenda, will things like storage matter? If it does, you’ll probably be at least satisfied with the craft’s near 30-gallon capacity. There’s no step for deepwater reboarding, but hey, it’s not really that kind of boat. Most of the other standards, however, remain. Present and accounted for are the O.P.A.S. (Off-Power Assisted Steering) paddles at the stern, which drop down and provide directional control should the driver release throttle in conjunction with a panicked, collision-avoidance turn. As they’re mechanical, the system works whether the engine is running or killed by a pull of the lanyard. The RXT-X also offers Sea-Doo’s digitally encoded security lanyard, along with a second lanyard that can be programmed to a limited speed. Closed-loop cooling also takes a little of the sting out of end-of-ride maintenance in saltwater, and gives that high-performance engine a more stable temperature.
Now to that not-so-little detail — the price. For the pleasure of all this performance, Sea-Doo demands a premium, naturally. Retail is $13,699. That’s a lot of money. But of course, this is also a lot of performance.
My suggestion? If you’ve got the means to make the purchase, and ride somewhere relatively calm, take a test ride.
Trust me, it will make it easier to open that wallet.
|Sea-Doo RXT-X 255 Specs|
|Dry Weight||804 lbs|
|Engine||Three-cylinder EFI, Supercharged/Intercooled|
|Bore and Stroke||100mm x 63.4mm|
|Fuel Capacity||15.9 gal.|
|Combined Stowage Capacity||29.6 gal.|