Cutting Corners: 2015 Sea-Doo RXP-X 260 (Video)


PX2

Speechless. Well, more appropriately, wordless.

For several hours following our testing of Sea-Doo’s 2015 RXP-X 260, a blinking cursor and blank screen defied us to find the words to adequately describe the adrenaline-soaked bliss of piloting this untamed beast of a personal watercraft down the Colorado River running along to Lake Havasu, Arizona. Though any attempts to truly capture the thrill of such a ride in words is all but futile, we’ll start with something poignant and eloquent to best describe Sea-Doo’s premier race-bred two-seater: Badass.

Honestly, no other word could come close to feeling the 260-horsepower kick of the supercharged, external intercooled, 1494cc Rotax 4-TEC engine screaming to 70 mph while holding on with white knuckles and gritted teeth after executing the perfect high-speed turn. You’d just have to feel it to truly understand. But, we’ll do our best.

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Big changes for 2015 include the brilliant Sunburst Yellow and red hightlights for the RXP-X (and the whole X-Series, for that matter) and the new ball-and-socked DESS lanyard.

Let’s start off with the RXP-X’s unique ergonomics and controls, which are where the X-Series’ exclusive race-inspired features really stand out from the rest of Sea-Doo’s performance lineup. Upon initially nestling into the saddle, riders will experience what Sea-Doo has coined as the Ergolock system – a combination of ergonomic elements designed to increase rider control while minimizing upper body fatigue during tight cornering.

Most noticeable of these elements is the narrow race seat with knee-grabbing bolsters extending up into the “tank” (reminiscent of road racing motorcycles) and angled footwell inserts, which allow a rider to grab the tank with their legs, plant their feet, and really “lock in” for additional control and confidence in tight corners and rough water. A set of highly customizable X-Handlebars with Adjustable Ergonomic Steering (A.E.S.) complete the Ergolock system, offering simple adjustment of handlebar height (tilt), width, and grip/trigger angle to accommodate most any rider.

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Sea-Doo X-Steering system continues to offer some of the most adjustable and customizable steering arrangements in a stock PWC.

We fell in love with the comfort and fit of the RXP-X right off the bat. Even our six-foot-one-inch test rider felt comfortable on the bolstered seat during cruising, and raved that the Ergolock system promoted more confidence, control, and general “at-oneness” with the Sea-Doo during tight corners, high speed runs and aggressive maneuvering.

Rounding out the X-Series package are bright, race-inspired graphics and sponsor decals (new for 2015), a unique gauge cluster featuring (among 29 other functions) real-time supercharger boost readings, and rear sponsons that can be adjusted for three levels of traction and lateral stability: Freeride (for a loose, playful feel), Sport, and Race (the lowest and most aggressive setting). Small horizontal winglets on each sponson are said to improve lean angles during turning.

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The RXP-X continued its reign over the closed course this year with James Bushell winning a World Championship in Pro Runabout GP and Jean Baptiste Botti another Championship in Pro Runabout Open.

Once on the water, the 2015 RXP-X really showed us what it’s made of. Though riders have the option of three different engine performance modes – including the soft-yet-confident Touring mode, fuel-sipping ECO mode, and hold-onto-your-butts Sport mode – it was difficult to use anything but Sport mode after a single wide-open blast across the lake.

While the 1503 HO Rotax 4-TEC engine falls some fifty-plus horses short of Kawasaki’s 310-horsepower Ultra runabouts, you’d never know it. The instant we clamped down the fly-by-wire (or, Intelligent Throttle Control as Sea-Doo calls it) throttle trigger, the ’P-X leapt forward from standstill with an unbridled ferocity, dealing an immediate kick in the shorts and then pulling and pulling…and pulling. Before we knew it, the nearly 900-pound two-seater was dancing across the smooth water at a GPS speedometer-confirmed 70 mph.

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Although the RXP-X offers Touring and ECO modes, we couldn’t tear ourselves away from the iTC’s Sport mode. It’s what this ski was meant for.

A quick programming of the high-performance electronic Variable Trim System (VTS) allowed us to start in the trim-down position for fast planing and acceleration, then give a quick double-tap on the fly to move the jet to a trim-up position for high-speed stability. Conversely, one could opt to set the VTS for a quick transition to trim down in anticipation of hard cornering, as well.

Now, going really fast in a straight line is all good and fun. But where the RXP-X truly shines is in the corners, as it should. To be honest, the 2015 RXP-X is hands-down some of the most fun we’ve ever had on a bone-stock personal watercraft; we’ve tested highly customized race skis that don’t behave this well.

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Although the new coloring might be a little too polarizing for some, Sea-Doo is continuing the more conservative black-and-red livery as an optional color combination as well.

What’s great about the 2015 RXP-X is that, when approaching a turn, all that is required of the average rider is to sit down, lock the knees into the tank, turn the handlebars while leaning in, and hold on for dear life. Every time we cranked into a turn at high speed expecting the pump to offload or the tail end to spin out, we were rewarded instead with the Sea-Doo digging its nose into the apex, riding the rails and spitting us out the other end with a fistful of throttle and the whine of the supercharger boosting us back up to speed. With the sponsons lowered to the Sport position, we nearly granted ourselves a surprise ejection on more than one occasion.

With cross wakes and a bit of mid-afternoon wind-induced chop, we had concerns that the agile, closed-course tuning of the RXP-X would prove inadequate when handling chop at top speeds. We can’t say anything for rough seas or churning race conditions, but for mild chop and a mess of boat wakes at 50-plus-mph speeds, Sea-Doo’s deep-V, multi-stage T3 hull and stabilizing trim tabs worked in concert to keep the craft tracking straight and level through it all.

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With explosive acceleration and truly exceptional buoy-cutting prowess, the 2015 Sea-Doo RXP-X 260 is, in our opinion, truly badass.

Not once did the watercraft catch an edge and dangerously pull in an opposite direction or behave unpredictably in rough water. This was most surprising (and impressive) to our test rider with extensive experience on Sea-Doo’s venerable GTI hull which, though agile and fantastic overall, lacks rough water stability and can potentially buck unwary riders overboard.

When not destroying the buoy course or sucking its 15.9-gallon fuel capacity on wide-open runs, the RXP-X is mild mannered, brandishing many of the same options as the rest of the higher-end Sea-Doo lineup, including the exclusive iBR (intelligent Brake & Reverse) system, and a new ball-and-socket-style RF DESS (Radio Frequency Digitally Encoded Security System) lanyard key that automatically boots up the watercraft’s systems for quick starts as soon as the key is inserted.

You won’t find conservative colorways, standard retractable mooring cleats or cruise control (though both are an option), or waterproof sound systems with the RXP-X. But, if you want to feel what it’s like to ride a race-ready powerhouse of pure excitement and adrenaline, you’ve come to the right place.

For more information on the 2015 RXP-X 260 and the entire line of new Sea-Doo watercraft click HERE.

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Justin Stannard

A Southern California native, Justin strives to take full advantage of the local mountains, lakes, deserts and Pacific Ocean whenever possible. You can usually find him riding single track on his mountain bike, running a buoy course on an SX-R, or roosting a motocross track on his KX250F.

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