2009 Sea-Doo GTI 130 Review

Entry-level craft loaded with fun and features

If a bargain is what you are looking for, look no further than the GTI series of personal watercraft by Sea-Doo.

Sea-Doo has been producing PWCs for the nation’s enthusiasts since the beginning and more commonly than not they have enough variety for every budget. Sleek and stylish, the GTI 130 has a ton of performance packed into a complete economical package so let’s take a deep breath and dive in. This personal watercraft is targeted towards maximum family value and fun on the water.

Sitting on the GTI 130 you will notice a form fitting narrow center for more comfortable riding. Having more leg room and less bulk in between your legs will help make the days of riding last even longer. The seating is super padded and is comfortable for hours. There is room for three on the GTI 130 and the second passenger has his/her own strap to hold onto.

If tow sports are your thing, the spotter has rear facing footrests to make for comfortable riding while towing. Just over the bars you will notice a multifunction digital information center. This ‘control central’ shows you vital information such as fuel and voltage levels as well as having a tachometer, hour meter and maintenance indicators. There is also a signal to let you know when you have the standard key or learning key installed. Reaching down to the left of the bars you’ll notice the reverse lever near your knee. Having the reverse lever on the left and the throttle on the right of the handlebars makes for easy control of the craft while docking or maneuvering around other watercraft in the area.

The sealed removable storage container will keep the water off your wallet, lunch or whatever you want to keep dry.The sealed removable storage container will keep the water off your wallet, lunch or whatever you want to keep dry.

The center console is interesting as the top opens and slides rearward for better use of the compartment. The center compartment is very deep and roomy so getting that extra bottle of water in is no problem. Speaking of storage, there is a sealed removable container under the nose of the GTI 130 that is totally sealed and it will keep all your daily needs free from harm. Pack it at the truck and haul it to the dock. There is plenty of room for everything you should need on the water.

With the Progressive-V hull design of the Sea-Doo GTI 130 you will notice a wider, flatter more stable ride and with the FRP construction the machine is light and very strong.

Should someone adopt your Sea-Doo without permission the D.E.S.S. security system will stop them in their tracks. With PWC encoded keys, simply remove the key and this makes it impossible to start the watercraft. No other Sea-Doo key except the one programmed to the machine will start it. This Digitally encoded security system doesn’t mean they cannot physically take the watercraft, but it does mean that they will not be able to use it. So that should deter any ‘joy’ rides.

To get out on the water with family and friends can be fun and eventually the younger or less experienced members of your family will want the keys to the GTI 130. This may be a concern if these riders have not ridden the craft by themselves before. But rest assured the engineers over at Sea-Doo have had the same thoughts about safety and have come up with a good plan of attack. The Sea-Doo GTI 130 personal watercraft has a learning key. If you feel the need to limit new riders so they can prove worthiness and before turning up the powerful 130hp Rotax 4-tec engine, just program the learning key to either 35 or 45 mph limits and send them on their way.

Ok, you might say “well that limits the rate of speed but how do I teach them that the PWC doesn’t turn without throttle input?” Not to worry, Sea-Doo has covered that one as well. The off-power assisted steering, or OPAS as Sea-Doo calls, will help in these situations. This bit of engineering helps when there is no throttle input or should the engine cut off. The OPAS steering system is comprised of two fins mounted just behind the sponsons on the craft. This will help newer riders to become aware of off power operation without risking damage during learning.

One last safety feature that will assist riders in the event they should capsize the watercraft is that these GTI models are self righting. This means that the PWC will turn back over to the upright position without input from the rider. There is even a Tip over protection system or T.O.P.S., built in to protect the engine if this happens. These are all great features to consider when looking for a family watercraft.

Speaking of the engine in this GTI 130, I can tell you it has power for everyone. The 1494cc 4-stroke is developed by Rotax and claims 130hp. It has a single overhead cam and 4 valves per cylinder. The engine is fed by Multi-port fuel injection and is programmed to reduce emissions and conserve fuel for even more economic value.

This Rotax 4-tec engine has a closed loop cooling system, which means your engine is not subject to water conditions. Most PWCs on the market pull water from the pool that you are riding in to cool the motor. The closed loop system uses antifreeze coolant to keep the engine running cooler while also lessening the chance of costly maintenance as well since the hazard of corrosion or debris being ingested into the cooling system is gone.

Sea-Doo’s direct drive system has forward, neutral and reverse. With its aluminum stator vanes, large diameter driveshaft and stainless steel impeller the GTI is always ready to rip. Also, dual siphon pumps continuously remove any water that may get into the engine compartment.

There are many optional accessories available for the GTI base models, including a fold down reboarding ladder, retractable ski pylon, speedometer, lake temp sensor and depth finder. Items like a safety kit, mooring ropes and a sand bag for an anchor are also available. And all of this comes with a one year limited warranty from Sea-Doo.

Ride Impressions

Pushing through the waves in the sunny Pensacola, Fla. bay area we had many different types of water to test in. Being close to the ocean gave up plenty of rough seas and the GTI 130 holds its own in the choppy rough water. The GTI was stable and gave a feeling of security in the big stuff. I instantly found a comfortable seat as described before and when not riding the next big wave it was nice to have a comfortable and spacious place to rest.

As for handling, the GTI does not corner like a more sporty craft, but it is more graceful and forgiving of the sharp tweaks to the bars. For an entry-level craft, that is about what you’d hope for.

The GTI felt smooth in its power delivery and had a mild mid-range jump. Obviously we are not talking about the RXT-X but in its own way the GTI seemed sporty enough if you factor in what it costs to upgrade to ‘Millennium Falcon’ level of Sea-Doo race models.

The reverse lever on the left side made getting the GTI 130 docked a cinch and having the throttle control without taking my hand off the bars was a huge bonus. Overall this model is in the right price range and has features everyone can love. With finances being a big decision maker I think this little sleeper will catch a lot more eyes in the years to come.

2009 Sea-Doo GTI 130 Specs
Length 127 in
Width 49 in
Height 45.9 in
Dry Weight 735 lb
Fuel Capacity 15.9 gal.
Combined Stowage Capacity 12.4 gal.
Engine Type 130 hp Rotax 4-TEC engine
Intake System Normally aspirated, 52mm throttle body
Displacement 1,493.8 cc
Bore and Stroke 100mm x 63.4mm
Compression Ratio 10.6:1
Rated Horsepower 130
Cooling System Closed Loop
Fuel Type Regular Unleaded
Propulsion System Sea-Doo Direct Drive
Transmission direct drive, forward/neutral/reverse
Impeller Stainless Steel
Price $7,799

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