While hardcore enthusiasts barely give them a second glance, pure entry-level boats have their place. Sure, thatís often in rental fleets, but the traits that make them popular in that arena ó price, reliability, and ease of use ó also make them appealing models to those that donít insist on the latest and greatest.
Sea-Dooís GTS 130 fits that bill, while bringing some surprising style to the mix. Time to check out Sea-Dooís most affordable watercraft for 2012.
One of the most appealing features of the GTS is its price ó $8,299 ó but once you look past that sticker, itís the boatís looks that will keep your attention. Modeled on the same platform as the GTI series, itís got a modern, edgy appeal that looks far pricier than it is. Sure, graphics are simple. The boat is primarily a black hull and white deck, with minimal red accents. Itís a clean look, however, that wonít make you look like youíre riding the blue-light special.
And with the looks of the GTI series come the advantages of the GTI series. Ergonomic touches include footwells canted inwards to take pressure off the knees, and a sloping surface that avoids sharp angles to keep your feet in constant contact with the deck. Aft, a generous boarding platform provides the room to haul yourself aboard. Even the seat is surprising, with a stadium-style step to provide the passenger a clear view forward, and a back-hugging bolster for the driverís support. There may be no tilt steering, but instrumentation includes an 18-function digital display, and wide-angle mirrors keep tabs on whatís in your wake. Not too shabby.
Also not too shabby is that the GTS gets elements of Sea-Dooís Intelligent Throttle Control, including Touring and Sport modes. Touring provides a gentler acceleration curve great for everyday riding or to soften throttle response when towing; Sport mode gives the driver access to the engineís full potential. The GTS even includes ECO mode. With this setting activated, speeds are tamed to provide as much as 46% improved fuel consumption at wide-open throttle.
Other Sea-Doo basics further the driverís control of the boat. A digitally encoded lanyard serves as a theft-prevent device. A second lanyard can be used to dramatically taper the engineís performance for those times when true newcomers are aboard.
Ultimate control, however, comes from below. This is the same 16-degree deadrise hull the series has featured for years, and it gives the boat a looser feel than its higher-end counterparts. Thatís a good match for this audience, but also gives the boat a more playful side as a driverís skill level improves. It can still carve a buoy course with predictable manners, but throw that weight around a little and you can spin it like the days of old. Spray-reducing chines keep things relatively dry. At virtually any speed, stability is top-notch, and will inspire confidence.
As to performance, this is the base 1,494 cc Rotax, a well-proven commodity in the Sea-Doo line. It tops out around 55 mph, and features acceleration that should get most of your crew out of the water when towing. In short, it does the job like the GTI models above, but donít expect to win many local drag races. You should save plenty of fuel, however, and still get anywhere youíre going at a decent speed. And letís face it, most of us cruise at 35-40 a lot more than we might like our friends to think.
So whatís missing? One biggie is reverse. Without it, expect to have a little harder time navigating around a tight dock or launch ramp. The lack of this feature alone is reason enough for many to consider jumping up in price, although truth be told we all use to get by without this feature back in the old days. Other items missing, but temptingly available as options, include a reboarding step, ski tow eye (a basic hook is standard), and removable storage bin.
Too littleÖor all you need? Thatís up to you to decide. But if you do go the basic route, at least you no longer have to look as though youíre riding an outdated, stripped model with a serious lack of style.
On the contrary, the GTS will turn some heads.
|2011 Sea-Doo GTS 130 Specs|
|Dry Weight||745 lbs|
|Engine||Naturally aspirated three-cylinder EFI|
|Bore and Stroke||100mm x 63.4mm|
|Fuel Capacity||15.9 gal.|
|Combined Stowage Capacity||30.8 gal.|
|Color||Viper Red and White|