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Sea-Doo’s RXT 260 is far from basic. It’s loaded with the brand’s best technologies. But for me, much of the craft’s appeal is that, for all its fancy trappings, it still gets the basics right. It’s quick, it’s agile, it’s comfortable…
…and as a result, incredibly versatile.
The Hull-Engine Combo
Much of that basic appeal comes from the combination of the RXT 260’s hull and powerful engine. The first is the go-to design in the brand’s lineup, a hull first introduced on Sea-Doo’s very first suspension model, but later borrowed to carry the entire GTX line. It’s got plenty of length (139+ inches) to offer a commanding presence in virtually any water condition and a step aimed to limit drag and lock the boat to the water.
In rough waters, it’s the hull’s trademark deep-V that minimizes the impact from chop and helps the craft maintain its heading. Yes, the RXT can feel slightly softer than its competition when it comes to rough-water prowess, but it’s a softness that you can appreciate and that doesn’t detract from the boat’s actual response. Head into calmer waters and you’ll happily note an aggressive carving style that delivers great results when paired with an intuitive inside lean. Sponsons keep the stern locked down. Maximize the handling by playing with the fast-responding electric trim. Use it to push the bow down for more hull in the water when railing through those turns, then use it to raise that bow and get some of that surface out of the water to maximize top speed.
COMPARISON: Read our review of the 2015 Yamaha FX SHO
A clever touch? Sea-Doo employs a double-tap button feature that lets the driver preprogram two favored trim settings, then quickly reach them without taking eyes off the water to watch a display.
As to that engine providing the power, it’s the most brutal Sea-Doo currently has on tap, a 1,494cc Rotax the brand used to peg at 260 hp. It uses both a supercharger and intercooler to maximize the power output, and easily puts the RXT into that familiar flagship territory. Top speed in my testing has been a relatively easy 65 mph, and typically 67 before the craft’s electronic governor kicks into action.
As to how fast it gets there, 1.8 seconds is a fair time with a light load. That’s grin-producing power, whether you’re using it to make like a racer, thrill the kids, or leverage the occasional skier and boarder up and out of the water. The ability to choose how brutally that power is delivered also deserves kudos. A push of a button tames the power delivery somewhat for an easier ride and more fuel savings; another tap unleashes the engine’s full potential. Activate an eco-minded mode and the onboard computer will determine the response that best conserves fuel.
Extras You’ll Use
While the hull-engine combo may truly make or break any PWC, extras can often distinguish a boat from other worthy competitors. Arguably none here is more useful than Sea-Doo’s celebrated Electronic Brake and Reverse (iBR) technology. The Cliff’s Notes version? iBR allows the RXT to start up stationary at the dock and be easily shifted into forward, neutral or reverse via the throttle and iBR lever mounted opposite each other adjacent to each handgrip. Shifting between these theoretical gears makes docking in even the most pressure-packed situations almost effortless, and keeps your eyes always on the water. iBR can also be used to rapidly decelerate the craft should you come upon an obstacle, or just simply want to quickly adjust your speed.
As to how the system does all these things, look at the reverse bucket and its integrated spoiler. At speed, that spoiler drops and grabs water, causing the rapid slowdown. At slower speeds, the combo deflect water exiting the pump to varying degrees, using a little to keep the craft relatively motionless, or more to allow it to back up conventionally.
COMPARISON: Read our review of the 2015 Kawasaki Jet Ski Ultra 310X
The RXT also features cruise control and no-wake mode. Cruise is especially useful during those extended rides, as it lets the driver set the speed and then simply fully grasp the handgrip, throttle and all. It also, however, will prove useful in watersports towing duties, as it allows the driver to maintain a steady speed. No-wake is the better choice for those really slow-speed times, and keeps the boat moving forward at about five mph with no touch of the throttle whatsoever. Both systems disengage should the lanyard be pulled, or in the case of cruise control, the throttle be released.
Additional comforts include dual safety lanyards, one for normal speed operation and the other for a slower-speed mode. Both also provide theft prevention, as the craft can’t be started without them. A new Radio Frequency connector debuts for 2015, with a ball-and-socket connection. Sea-Doo also cleverly hinges the saddle for easy engine maintenance, and offers tilt steering to adjust the handlebar angle to rider preference.
COMPARISON: Read our review of the 2014 Sea-Doo RXT-X 260
Even great boats have shortcomings. The RXT 260’s has long been storage. The design provides only 13.7 total gallons, which is far below competitor’s capacities.
Jack Of All Trades
As to where the RXT 260 fits into the packed Sea-Doo lineup, the craft has actually carved a small niche to itself. On the luxury side, the only GTX offering with 260 hp is now the pricey GTX Limited iS 260, which offers additional extras plus the brand’s Intelligent Suspension system. Things are a little more crowded on the RXT side of the family, but the RXT-X aS 260 likewise offers a suspension system. Only the RXT-X 260 truly comes close, offering a few truly race-inspired extras but adding well over $1,000 to the bottom line.
That leaves the RXT 260 – with its familiar hull, powerful engine, and truly useful extras – as a pretty versatile choice.
Especially if you’re trying to please a variety of masters.
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