2009 Sea-Doo GTI SE 130/155 Review

Sea-Doo's entry-level line gets some special treatment

Making waves is easy for everyone, but making those waves look great is only as hard as hopping up onto the 2009 Sea-Doo GTI 130/155 hp SE models from the Canadian-based company.

The adventures begin with performance, styling and comfort from the ‘Special Edition’ models in the ever-popular GTI line. Having custom coloring in the appropriate named ‘Abyss Blue’, Sea-Doo’s extras on the GTI line make a fun ride even more so. So let’s get deeper into the recreation segment of Sea-Doo’s personal watercraft world.

The certifications on the GTI models read like a master’s degree. One of the most coveted certifications is from the California Air Resources Board or CARB. This certifies Sea-Doo watercraft in a 3 star rating for ultra low emissions. This certification alone is a great score for Sea-Doo engineers. The Rotax engines in the Sea-Doo watercraft are also among the quietest on the water.  Sea-Doo has named the system that helps keep its PWC line quieter as the D-SEA-BEL system. This is great not only for the future of personal watercraft but it makes a day of riding more enjoyable as well.

As with the standard GTI 130 you get an incredible ride that is more stable and drier than the competition. The Hull of the GTI 130/155 has same characteristics as the standard model but with a little more flash. The FRP construction makes the hull easier to maintain which means less money out of pocket. The FRP construction also makes this craft stronger and lighter. These hulls are a Progressive-V composite design, which is wider and flatter to provide great results in rough water. This means that beginning riders as well as old school veterans will feel more comfortable on the water and more confident in their machine. The GTI line is made to suit all level of skills and that makes everyone smile a little bigger when pulling away from the dock.

As we change from the construction of the GTI 130/155 SE models to the beauty and controls I would point out that the overall look of the SE model is stunning. And for the price point ($8,699 / $9,399) it is a great value for any budget. The color choices of the 2009 GTI SE models are not overwhelming – Abyss Blue is the only option. This is the only hanger in the options – having a variety of colors to choose from would help make them extra special models. I personally like the color but it might have served Sea-Doo well to offer at least one more for the SE models.

Get on board the ‘cruise ship’ GTI SE and you’ll find custom-sewn seating that offers better lower back support for its rider. These models have three passenger capabilities. There is a strap for the middle passenger to hold on to and hand holds for the third to make everyone’s day enjoyable. The seating is two toned with a silver color added to the Abyss Blue, making this craft stand out in the crowd.

Looking to the controls of the GTI SE model we find many similarities to the standard model, but with a few more extras. The chrome fairing over the digital dash is our first major indicator that this is a SE model. Then you’ll notice wide mirrors that can be adjusted to get view of the action behind you. There is also a small chrome cap on the sealed carry compartment just above the open handle at the front of the machine. The footwells sport new and upgraded mats that provide great looks, extra comfort and a non-slip surface for aggressive riders.

A fold-down reboarding ladder on this model makes getting back up into the driver’s seat after a swim much easier. And as you reboard the GTI SE model you will notice a very well engineered ski rope eye right below the seat on the rear of the machine that will provide towing capabilities. When docking the GTI SE you should have total control as the reverse lever is on the left side of this craft under the bars. This makes controlling the gas easier as you won’t have to take your hand off the bars to put the GTI SE into reverse.

The digital dash has a few add-ons as well, starting with a speedometer. The dash has many things to keep you aware of how the GTI SE is fairing on every ride. A fuel level indicator gives you a visual on how much fun is left in the tank and the lake temperature sensor will let you know if it’s going to be a cold swim back if you didn’t pay attention to the fuel level. The Multi-functional dash also displays other important things like the hour meter, maintenance info, low oil pressure, sensor checks, and proper key info for the learning keys. Low voltage, tachometer, overheating warnings and P-codes are also on display. All of these indicators will be very helpful in maintaining not only the machine but the fun on your days on the lake.

The GTI SE models come with all the standard features found on the base GTI as well. Things like the double density comfort hand grips, temporary docking loops, reboarding platform, water tight removable storage bin and large glove box. There are also dual drainage plugs, an external exhaust cooling flush attachment, bumpers and sponsons. The crafts are protected by Sea-Doo’s D.E.S.S. or digitally encoded security that means no one can ride without the key. These Sea-Doo watercraft cannot be ‘hot wired’ or started without the proper key…period! This is a great theft deterrent and makes the insurance agencies happy when applying for coverage.

You get the learning keys with the GTI SE models as well. The fact that you can get your family familiar with the machine without worry of speed or control is great. The Off Power Assisted Steering (OPAS) offered on the GTI family means that you will have control at some degree even when the engine is shut off. This makes the novice a little more comfortable on a new machine.

As for engine choices for the GTI SE models, you get to pick between the 130hp version and the 155hp version. These both are Rotax 1494cc 4-strokes with a single overhead cam and four valves per cylinder. These engines are multi-port fuel injected for a crisp throttle at any altitude. Both have the closed loop cooling system, which means less possibility of contamination to the body of water you are riding in. This will also prolong the life of your engine as it doesn’t require water from the lake or stream you’re in to cool the engine so none of the contaminants therein will go through the engine.

The propulsion system on the GTI SE models is a Sea-Doo direct drive, which delivers optimal performance with the Rotax engine. You have forward, neutral and reverse on these machines and this makes maneuverability a cinch. With other items such as a stainless impeller, replaceable urethane wear ring, aluminum stator vanes and dual automatic vacuum siphon pumps the machine can self sustain in most conditions.

Ride Impressions

So with all the great features listed it was hard to stay off the GTI SE models. Riding again in the Pensacola Bay area I found that the hull of the GTI SE, as well as the Base model, was very controllable and it was confidence inspiring as well. The power difference between the 130hp version and the 155hp version was noticeable but both were equally enjoyable. These Rotax engines fire to life with almost no effort at all and the power is very smooth and linear.

The comfort level of watercraft available today is incredible and the GTI family is very capable of taking a full day of riding without leaving you feeling beat up. Even with passengers on board the craft still feels stable and controllable. The reboarding ladder made easy work when getting back onto the machine and the platform seemed to have ample room to get situated before jumping back under the controls.

The biggest attraction for me was the affordability in a machine with so many options. I’m not sure when too much will be enough but with the options available in the SE versions of the GTI family I have reached a personal limit.

2009 Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 / 155 Specs
Length 127 in
Width 49 in
Height 45.9 in
Dry Weight 755 lb
Fuel Capacity 15.9 gal.
Combined Stowage Capacity 12.4 gal.
Engine Type 130 hp Rotax 4-TEC engine / 155 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
Cooling System Closed Loop
Fuel Type Regular Unleaded
Propulsion System Sea-Doo Direct Drive Racing Pump with high performance intake grate axial flow, single stage, large hub
Transmission Direct drive, forward/neutral/reverse
Impeller Stainless Steel
Price $8,699 (SE 130) / $9,699 (SE 155)

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2009 Sea-Doo GTI 130 Review