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For many PWC enthusiasts, the coolest thing about the Sea-Doo RXT-X 260 when it made its debut in 2010 was a feature it lacked — suspension. Why celebrate an omission? Because the boat borrowed the big-water friendly, yet surprisingly agile hull and stylishly designed deck of the previous year’s suspension models, but sandwiched them together without the pricey, heavier guts required for suspension.
The result was a boat that, perhaps for the first time, truly showcased the impressive maneuverability of the S3 hull design. And one that, naturally, maintained the power and performance inherent to the RXT-X name.
Essentially that same boat returns for 2013. And yes, it’s still a heck of a lot of fun.
A Potent Combo
Once a radical departure for Sea-Doo, the S3 hull is now a given across the top of the line. It features a deep V to cleave through chop and produce a softer ride, as well as a step to aid in top speed. Perhaps its greatest strength is its ability to satisfy in nearly all water conditions. Head offshore and you’ll appreciate the confident manners and big-wave ability. Find a calm spot and you’ll marvel at the high-speed turns the boat is capable of snapping off with utter precision.
Of course, part of snapping off those precise turns has to do with horsepower. As the name implies (but Sea-Doo no longer publicly notes), this is the most brutal variation of the brand’s Rotax 4-TEC. It utilizes a supercharger with intercooler to maximize airflow into the engine, resulting in excellent power delivery. Top speed is electronically limited to a max 67 mph. As you may suspect, it gets there fast. In Sport mode, one of three acceleration curves that can be selected by the user, I’ve noted 0-30 mph times as quick as 1.7 seconds. That’s impressive for a craft of this size. Choose the tamer Touring mode and the craft’s ECU turns things down so that the rush isn’t quite as brutal en route to the same top speed. The third mode, ECO, lets that same ECU search out the most fuel-efficient manner in which to deliver power.
COMPARISON: Read our review of the Sea-Doo RXT-X aS 260
While performance and handling will always be the fun side of any craft, the RXT-X also boasts some civilized manners. Much of those are the result of the inclusion of Intelligent Brake and Reverse (iBR), Sea-Doo’s clever approach to slowing, braking, and reversing its craft. The system uses a modified reverse bucket to control the direction of pump thrust. Start at the dock and the bucket diverts that thrust so that the craft stays stationary, a novel idea for PWC. You can then choose to go forward by applying the throttle, or backward by squeezing the combination brake/reverse lever adjacent to the port handlegrip. It’s a very intuitive approach that lets a driver keep his eyes on the water at all times.
And yes, it does brake. Squeeze the aforementioned lever at speed and the bucket redirects that thrust in a more forceful manner, dramatically slowing the craft without the fear of going over the handlebars or veering sideways. It slows the craft to a stop in about half the distance normally required by simply releasing the throttle.
COMPARISON: Read our review of the Yamaha FZR
The RXT-X also benefits from Sea-Doo’s performance-minded electric trim system. Electric trim responds quickly, but finding your favored positions often requires a little too much time with your eyes off the water. Sea-Doo’s solution is to allow the driver to preset favored positions in both the bow-down and bow-up attitude, and then reach them with a simple double-tap of the trim toggle.
To The “X”treme
As a Sea-Doo “X” model, expect a fair share of tweaks. Adjustable handlebars have long been a hallmark. The latest variation can be tilted to fit the rider’s preference, and even widened or narrowed. Sponsons can likewise be dialed in to match the rider’s goals, making the boat respond even more quickly or calming the response down a notch. Both seat and traction pad material are also upgraded; the seat to a more sticky, textured surface and the mats to a trick diamond plate pattern that feels more aftermarket than the stock Sea-Doo carpet. Even the info display gets some attention, with features like a lap timer and supercharger boost indicator added to the mix.
And speaking of the display, it also features another well-thought-out trait; the display actually pivots with the handlebars, keeping the display in view whether sitting or standing.
Sure, there are shortcomings. Complaining about storage has become monotonous, but the cool makeover of 2010 limited it to only 13.7 gallons. That’s below the average by a good amount. Other features, however, stand apart for good reasons. Unlike competitors, the RXT-X seat is hinged, and raises on a gas strut. That eliminates worrying about a safe place to set the seat if you need to quickly check the engine compartment.
COMPARISON: Read our review of the Kawasaki Jet Ski Ultra 300X
Things like storage, hinged seats and touring modes, however, probably won’t be the primary concerns to an RXT-X 260 buyer. Instead, they’ll likely be far more interested in the craft’s performance. And by guaranteeing that the craft performs in nearly all water conditions, Sea-Doo continues to have a winner.
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