Have you ever seen a bumblebee on the water? The new, yellow Sea-Doo RXT iS 255 from the Bombardier Recreation Products company (BRP) fits the bill, but performs more like those flying insects you see on the V energy drink commercial.
Packed with innovative features and some breakthrough technology (on a PWC, anyway) such as suspension and brakes, the design techs at BRP have made this more like an aqua dirt-bike than just another PWC.
These models feature technology Sea- Doo calls iControl.
The base system for all their new innovations, iControl includes: Intelligent Brake and Reverse (iBR)—the first on-water braking system on a PWC;Intelligent Suspension (iS)—the first full on- water suspension system on a PWC; Intelligent Throttle Control (iTC)—the first true neutral on a PWC; and the S3 Hull—the first stepped hull on a PWC.
The iBR braking system is a marvel of technological design and adds increased safety and control to the riding experience. The braking system works via the onboard computer, dropping the reverse bucket when the brake/reverse lever is engaged. You can squeeze the lever as hard as you like; however, the computer maintains careful application of the bucket so you do not stop suddenly and go flying over the handlebars. It is surprisingly effective and the end result is a 30-40 per cent shorter stopping distance over standard brakeless PWCs.
The iS system works by separating the hull from the deck via two gas struts and coils, thus isolating the rider. It can be set to your preference (nine settings are available) and also utilizes an automatic function that will calculate your weight and set it accordingly. It will also constantly monitor the settings while riding and adjust accordingly if conditions make it necessary. It does not take all the bangs out of the ride. It has just over 15cm of travel in all. But it will take some of the sharp edge out of the knocks and bumps experienced in general riding situations and more particularly in choppy conditions.
More experienced riders will notice less shock in the steering and over time less fatigue on your arms and legs, which means you’ll have a longer riding time.
At idle speeds, the brake lever also activates reverse. When the craft is started, the iControl computer places the bucket in a perfect neutral position so that the craft is not propelled forwards or backwards. The craft will sit there in neutral. Blip the throttle and the iControl will engage forward. Pull on the brake lever, and you get reverse. Let it all go and you are back to neutral. each lever is on different handlebars, so you can engage them without taking your hands off the handlebars and remain in control at all times. There is also an automatic setting for no-wake zones and a cruise control that can be set to any speed.
Sea-Doo claim the new S3 stepped hull reduces drag and also works to stabilize the craft at speed. It certainly delivers a smooth, sure ride through corners and harder turns, but the hull, being 22cm longer, is simply not as nimble as the sporty RXT-X model, which also weighs 65kg less.
The same supercharged, intercooled 1.5l Rotax engine that was released last year on the RXT-X and RXP-X models, rated at 255hp, provides the power for the iS 255. This engine has closed cooling, which reduces wear and maintenance for saltwater riders. Given the added weight this craft carries over the RXT-X, we believe the fuel capacity should have been extended further than the 10 additional litres. Storage is also considerably less—we assume due to the suspension system—but the true beauty of this craft is that it sets a new bar in technology and design, and makes PWCs even safer. We wouldn’t mind the NSW government reviewing the Sydney Harbour ban (based on safety issues, we were told) so we can all see a few more bumblebees flying about.