2008 Honda AquaTrax F-15X Preview

Brand new design and more powerful engine highlight first new entry since 2002

For the first time since entering the personal watercraft market in 2002, Honda has built a brand new vehicle from stem to stern—the F-15X.

With a new, more powerful engine and a longer hull, the F-15X is Honda’s answer to the recent PWC innovations from Sea-Doo, Kawasaki and Yamaha.

The F-15X is powered by a new 16-valve 1,470cc turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which is a big jump from the 1,235cc unit powering the F-12 series. Despite its power, Honda says the efficient, low-emissions 4-stroke design burns up less fuel than a comparable 2-stroke.

Maximum combustion efficiency and power is provided by high-pressure programmed fuel injection. Fuel is delivered through four laser-drilled holes in each of the four injector nozzles.

High-frequency engine vibration, according to Honda, is virtually eliminated thanks to the gear-driven dual engine balancer system. Oil loss is prevented and breather system clogging is avoided when the vehicle is overturned because of a crankcase breather system with three breather chambers.

One of the key new innovations on the F-15X is the Honda Ignition Control System (ICS). This system senses low oil pressure and abnormally high coolant temperatures and will limit or shut off engine operation entirely if necessary. Engine speed is limited to 3,000 rpm if oil pressure drops below the optimum level.

Honda says the F-15X can pump out 200 horsepower, which is a big improvement over the F-12X and puts it in the same league with many of the other cruisers on the market.

The hull is almost eight inches longer than the previous version and, according to Honda, overall handling is improved.

A dry-sump design allowed Honda to mount the engine lower in the hull, which lowers the center of gravity. High-speed stability and low-speed maneuverability were addressed with the sponson design.

Docking is made easier by the raised bond-line design, which also provides additional splash protection for the rider.

With a fuel capacity of 18.5 gallons, the F-15X holds almost two more gallons than the previous models. Though you can ride longer between gas stops, you can’t carry quite as much gear with you as storage capacity falls from 25.6 gallons to 23.1 gallons.

A digital LCD shows speed, trip distance, travel time, clock and engine hour meter. An LCD analog bar-graph display for fuel level also indicated remaining time left to ride, so you won’t have a very good excuse if you run out of gas.

As it did with the F-12 series, Honda will offer a GPScape model of the F-15X, which will come standard with a waterproof GPS unit. The GPScape can store up to 100 waypoints and includes a digital compass function.

The F-15X has an MSRP of US$13,299, while the F15X GPScape will cost an additional $1,000.

2008 Honda F-15XSpecs
Engine Type: 1470cc liquid-cooled dry-sump inline four-cylinder with intercooled turbocharger
Bore x stroke: 79mm x 75mm
Compression ratio: 8.5:1
Valve Train: DOHC; four valves per cylinder
Induction: Self diagnostic PGM-FI system with automatic enricher circuit
Ignition: Computer-controlled digital with three-dimensional mapping
Transmission: Direct shaft-drive
Pump: Axial-flow single-stage 155mm jet pump with reverse
Hull: Fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP) outer hull, inner hull and deck
Storage Capacity: 23.1 gallons
Overall Length: 133.8 inches
Overall Width: 49 inches
Overall Height: 42.4 inches
Seat Length: 49 inches
Fuel Capacity: 18.5 gallons, with low-fuel warning
Color: earl White/Metallic Silver and Bright Blue Metallic
Curb Weight*: 961 pounds *Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and a full tank of fuel-ready to ride.