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The 2021 Sea-Doo RXP-X 300 benefits from a significant weight loss, more storage space, larger fuel capacity, and improved handling.
Engine: 1,630cc supercharged/intercooled triple cylinder
Fuel Capacity: 18.5 gal.
Storage Capacity: 40.6 gal.
Seating Capacity: 1 (2 w/optional passenger seat)
When Sea-Doo introduced the RXP-X in 2012, it was arguably one of the most unique performance craft on the water. And boy, did it turn. Crank the bars, throw your weight to the inside of the turn and the RXP-X would literally slice up the water, railing through the tightest corners yet seen from a production craft. Add some clever ergonomic touches to actually keep the rider in the saddle and it seemed not much could touch the craft. That combo led to an impressive nine-year run for the craft, with only a horsepower upgrade freshening things up.
Ultimately, however, the competition didn’t just touch the RXP-X, it pushed. Yamaha’s GP1800R SVHO, in particular, began to capture a significant chunk of the RXP-X’s hardcore audience. Meanwhile, some aggressive, yet more recreationally minder riders noted the RXP-X could feel a little too extreme.
So for ‘21, Sea-Doo set out to change things up slightly. To make the 2021 Sea-Doo RXP-X 300 simultaneously more impressive for those performance types…but a little less daunting for those whose on-water exploits were more recreationally minded.
That makeover did not include a horsepower upgrade. The 2021 Sea-Doo RXP-X 300 has the same 300-horsepower Rotax 1630 ACE engine as its predecessor, complete with supercharger and intercooler to squeeze out every last ounce of power. The top deck, however, borrows heavily from the GTI, including the adoption of its CM Tech construction. That decision gives the craft a shocking amount of storage for a performance craft (40.6 gallons!), but also contributes to a 67-pound weight loss. Add a two-inch forward shift to the engine and gas tank’s position, a larger 18.5-gallon fuel capacity, a re-pitched, highly polished impeller and new top-loader intake grate and you’ve got a craft with much-improved horsepower-to-weight ratio and designed to get up and out of the hole with brutal quickness.
How quick? Try 2.9 seconds to 50 mph, and 3.6 seconds to 60 mph. Top speed’s not too shabby, either, exceeding 68 mph (reportedly limited to about 68.5 mph in the United States, but capable of low-to-mid 70s unrestricted).
The 2021 Sea-Doo RXP-X 300 is also designed for a solo rider, at least in stock form. Should you want company on occasion, an optional passenger saddle securely clips into place. The solo saddle obviously contributes to that weight savings, but also reflects the reality of how most riders were using the craft. That saddle gets a grippier texture as well as an adjustable backrest, which can be relocated forward or aft as much as five inches to accommodate taller and shorter pilots but above all really lock the rider in position and prevent slipping. In stock form the craft features a low-profile fixed setup made from cast aluminum; the former telescoping neck is now an option.
Still very much in place is the trademark hourglass curvature to the saddle that, along with returning canted footwells and deep knee pockets, lets riders use their legs for leverage and support and take a good deal of the strain off the upper body during those brutally sharp corners.
Speaking of brutally sharp corners, yet another new feature tweaks the craft’s infamous handling. As alluded to above, the RXP-X’s T3 (“tight turning T-shape”) hull was mostly loved by hardcore race-types but could prove occasionally intimidating to those that weren’t totally pro. In particular, the craft could occasionally hook up a little too sharply during sweeping turns, producing a bite when a rider arguably expected more of a flow.
The new T3-R design retains the sharp keel/soft outer chine combo that allowed the boat to roll so intuitively and powerfully into turns, but introduces a new feature to the inner chines dubbed the “shark gill.” A series of slanted grooves molded into the chine’s edge midway down the hull, these serrations break up the surface tension that could cause that unexpected bite, allowing the boat to sweep as the rider intended.
The overall result is a familiar, but improved ride. Combined with non-adjustable sponsons shared by the RXT-X, the redesigned weight distribution (compliments of that slight shift forward in engine and fuel tank) and a new, more rearward placement of the pump inlet, the 2021 Sea-Doo RXP-X 300 now rides with a little bit more of the bow in the water, enhancing its turning ability while increasing the predictability. The boat’s pivot point now also feels more centered below the rider. Straight-line, rough-water tracking also benefits. In short, the RXP-X loses a few of its ultra-aggressive “quirks” and becomes a more rider-friendly machine that both extremely hardcore and the more recreationally minded can both appreciate.
Other new features also make the boat a little more consumer-friendly, including the addition of the LinQ accessory mounts (to add a cooler, gas caddy or extra gear storage), that aforementioned massive storage, and the option to add Sea-Doo’s neatly integrated BRP Premium Audio system.
As a solo or two-passenger machine, the 2021 Sea-Doo RXP-X 300 still matches up most closely with the Yamaha GP1800R SVHO ($14,749). The GP likewise corners on the proverbial dime. The adoption of a secondary saddle “base,” similar to that found on the EX models, allows for a narrower, more contoured saddle with pronounced bolster to secure the driver in position. Combined with wider footwells, the combo lets riders similarly transfer a portion of the strain in turns from the upper body to the lower body.
While both craft feature a similar “launch control” feature, designed to automatically trim the bow for ideal acceleration and top speed, Yamaha also adds a “cornering control” feature that detects when a rider chops speed in anticipation of a hard corner and drops the bow to get more hull in the water. It then once again trims the bow upward for best top speed as the rider accelerates coming out of the turn.
And yes, an optional Bluetooth sound system is also available, like Sea-Doo’s neatly integrated into the design.
It’s not a copout to say that any buying decision will be best made after a test ride, if available. These craft are two of the hardest cornering, most responsive PWC produced to date, and an absolute thrill to ride. Each, however, has a distinct personality.
Whichever you choose, just be prepared to be grinning like a kid at Christmas after that first high-speed crank of the handlebars.
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