In most years, the new stuff is reserved for the top-of-the-line models. New hulls, new engines and even new styling usually find their way into a top-of-the-line model of one kind or another and then gradually work their way down to the rest of a manufacturer's lineup.
Sea-Doo took a different tack this year when it introduced a new hull on its bread-and-butter GTi model, long the mid-priced three-seater model in Sea-Doo's lineup. The hull uses technology based on last year's high-performance RX model, though the new fiberglass-reinforced hull was extended to accommodate three riders. The semi-V design provides a nice balance between performance and comfort, allowing the GTi to get up on plane in a hurry and stick in turns, yet retaining the soft entry of a full-V design.
In some ways, this new hull makes the GTi a better riding watercraft than the top-of-the-line GTX models. The hull is that good. Although the GTi gives away 3.1 inches to the GTX, the steeper angle on the hull and more aggressive strake pattern allow the GTi to slice through heavy chop better than the GTX, the bow of which has a tendency to wander when the water gets rough. It is also rock solid in turns, with none of the sliding you get with the GTX during tight rights and lefts.
This aggressive attitude is reflected in the new styling of the GTi. Sea-Doo incorporated the sharper angles of the RX into the new top deck. The Cozumel green-and-white color scheme adds a hint of luxury to the package.
The craft is powered by Sea-Doo's proven 85-horsepower 720 series Rotax marine twin. The 718-cc, oil-injected, in-line twin features a single Mikuni BN 40-38 carburetor, rotary valve intake and a tuned aluminum pipe. Bore x stroke are 82 mm by 68 mm, and the compression ratio is 6.2:1. Power is transferred to the water through the standard Bombardier Formula Jet Pump, pretty much the same pump found throughout the rest of the Sea-Doo lineup, with a large-hub stainless-steel impeller designed to give the GTi added power on the low end.
The engine and engine compartment are also fitted with Sea-Doo's D-Sea-Bel noise reduction, which uses a series of Hemholtz resonators, acoustically insulated air intakes and a foam-wrapped waterbox/muffler to dramatically reduce the amount of the sound generated by the engine.
Although the 720 Twin was once Sea-Doo's performance engine, it has long been tuned to provide a very consistent power band for towing. In fact, Sea-Doo is marketing the GTi as its ultimate "tow vehicle" on the Pro Wakeboard Tour, mainly because of its incredibly smooth power band and its ability to hold engine rpm at a variety of midrange speeds. The 85-horsepower package also provides enough low-end grunt to get an average-size adult out of the water without too much strain. The only complaint we had was that it lacked a little top end, especially when compared to top-of-the-line three-seaters on the market. We look forward to Sea-Doo pairing this new hull with both the 130-horsepower and 110-horsepower engines in its lineup.
Sea-Doo also built in a number of standard features with towing in mind. First and foremost is the extra-wide rear platform on the deck, which is wide enough to allow a skier or wakeboarder to sit and slip the bindings of their ski or board onto their feet.
The forward/neutral/reverse system is still the best in the industry when it comes to usefulness. The location of the lever on the left side of the console allows you to use it in tandem with the throttle, something that can be extremely handy when dealing with a small child at the end of the tow rope, not to mention when docking. The oversized speedometer can be read with a quick glance, the wide mirrors actually work, and the ski eye makes attaching and undoing a tow rope a snap. The hand grip at the back of the seat and built-in footrests on the rear deck also provide a secure seat for a spotter.
The rest of the riding area is also extremely comfortable. There's an extra-soft, form-fitting seat narrowing toward the front that is comfortable with or without a passenger. Space is tight with three adults, though the ride is comfortable enough on short jaunts.
There's also plenty of storage on board — 33.8 gallons in all — including a large front storage area under the front hood, a glove box beneath the handlebars, a small bucket under the windscreen and a storage bucket under the back section of the seat.
Fuel capacity is 15 gallons — pretty generous considering how stingy the engine is. Other standard features include the D.E.S.S. (Digitally Encoded Security System) starting system, which uses a computer chip in the safety lanyard that is programmed to only start your watercraft. The system also can be programmed to include information about the owner, including name, address, place purchased and phone number in case of theft. The multifunction gauge provides pretty much all the information you need, everything from how much gas you have remaining in your tank to the engine information such temperature or rpm.
All in all, it's a pretty complete package, especially considering the midrange price tag.
|Weight (dry)||600 pounds|
|Manufacturer's suggested retail price||$6,699|
|Bore x Stroke||82 mm x 68 mm|
|Fuel Delivery||(1) Mikuni BN 40-38 carburetor|
|Intake system||Rotary valve|
|Lubrication||Variable-rate, oil injection|
|Type||Bombardier Performance jet pump|
|Impeller||Stainless-steel, large hub|
|Instrumentation||Speedometer/Info enter (16 functions)/fuel/oil gauge/ D.E.S.S.|
|Fuel capacity||15 gallons (3 in reserve)|
|Oil Capacity||1.6 gallons|
|Storage Capacity||33.8 gallons|
For more information
Sea-Doo/Bombardier Recreational Products
730 East Strawbridge Avenue
Melbourne, FL 32901