Two buoys, one at each end of Long Beach Marine Stadium in Southern California, define the riding area for one stop in an endless summer of Sea-Doo Demo Days weekends. By special dispensation, I've been given the opportunity to ride the Sea-Doo RX DI on the Friday before the event, and now I, a middle-aged missile, am rocketing toward the northernmost buoy. I should be setting up for a sweeping 180-degree turn but I need a couple more seconds to get the most out of this speed run. I have a greed for speed.
Who said greed is good? A couple more seconds turns into a few more seconds, and now the buoy is too large and too close for comfort, so I drop the trim, back off the throttle a tad and pitch the RX DI into the corner, fully expecting to spin.
No spin, no spray. In fact, midway through the turn, I get back on the throttle all the way and exit the corner with tired arms. Idling back to the beach a few laps later, I check my peak speed on the watercraft's multi-function information center. It reads 70 mph.
We all know personal watercraft speedometers lie, often to the tune of 5 mph. But take 5 mph from 70 mph and you're still left with 65 mph. That's fast, the kind of fast on the water that could be frightening on a PWC with anything less than exceptional handling. The 130-horsepower RX DI delivers that crisp agility with a hull that tracks exceptionally and doesn't skip or slide in corners. Electronic variable trim, or VTS in Sea-Doo speak, certainly helps hold through turns, but once familiar with the RX DI I was able to turn confidently at relatively high speeds with the PWC trimmed up all the way. Throughout the most aggressive S-turns, the ride was dry, although if you want to kick up cooling spray by leaning all the way forward and burying the watercraft's nose in a turn it can be done.
Speed and handling are highlights of the two-seater RX DI, but they are far from the whole story. The watercraft, as well as one of three-seater GTX siblings, features Orbital Direct Injection. (A carbureted version of the RX also is available.) The mechanics of the system, air-pressure-driven injectors combined with electronic fuel-injection components and mapping to deliver precise amounts of fuel to each of 951cc engine's two cylinders are not as relevant as the outcome: up to 75-percent reduction in emissions, according to Sea-Doo literature. That would make the two-stroke RX DI compliant with Environmental Protection Agency emissions-reduction requirements for 2006. Still another reported benefit of the system is greater fuel efficiency over carburetion.
One Sea-Doo model, the two-seater GSX RFI retains the Rotax fuel-injection system introduced in 1998. The RFI system was a solid step toward emissions reductions, but it also made models equipped with it feel slightly anemic during acceleration. Throttle response was smooth, but lacked punch. No such gripes could be lodged against RX DI, which packs a wallop, albeit a smooth one, when the throttle trigger is pulled. In repeated-though-informal tests — wristwatch to watercraft speedometer — the RX DI hit 60 mph in less than six seconds.
Putting that kind of performance in the hands of beginners, children and even your hilarious-but-over-confident uncle Bubba would be a bad idea. Here again, Sea-Doo has come up with a superb solution. It's called the Learning Key lanyard and it looks like the Digitally Encoded Security System lanyard that's standard on all Sea-Doo models. (Without the D.E.S.S. lanyard, the PWC won't start and, if properly connected to a rider, the PWC's engine will stop running if the rider gets tossed.)
The Learning Key looks the same as the D.E.S.S. lanyard, except it's white instead of yellow to keep you from confusing the two. Attach the Learning Key lanyard to the watercraft and it automatically keeps engine speed below 5,000 rpm, which in the case of the RX DI was less than 35 mph, according to the watercraft's speedometer. Accidents can still happen and the water still feels hard if you fall off at that speed, but the Learning Key is a fantastic rider- control tool for responsible Sea-Doo owners.
Another nifty feature of the RX DI is a reverse gear. Reverse is generally limited to three- and four-up personal watercraft, but it can come in handy on a two-seater in tight areas, or merely just to stop forward movement at idle.
Not so long ago, the terms performance-oriented and environmentally sensitive were thought to be mutually exclusive when it came to personal watercraft. The Sea-Doo RX DI proves that both can co-exist in one PWC. The RX DI is a crisp and clean ride for the new millennium.
|Dry weight:||606 pounds|
|Fuel capacity:||15 gallons|
|Fuel reserve capacity:||3 gallons|
|Engine:||Rotax two-stroke w/Orbital Direct Injection|
|Jet pump:||Axial flow single stage large hub|
|Impeller material:||Stainless steel|
For more information contact:
Sea-Doo/Bombardier Recreational Products
730 East Strawbridge Avenue
Melbourne, FL 32901