Nothing draws people’s attention more than “new” and Kawasaki’s watercraft division simply hasn’t had a lot of “new” to bandy about – the redesign of the 17-year-old STX for 2020 not withstanding. That was welcome news earning the brand two new trim levels for the Recreation segment and was met with praise by The Watercraft Journal and other outlets.
Equally, the 2020 update (which maintained the hull design and jet pump of the outgoing STX-15F) included a resculpted deck and cockpit as well as the Ultra’s fly-by-wire electronically-controlled throttle and engine management hardware (first introduced on the supercharged models for 2010) – not to mention the now class-leading 20-plus-gallon fuel cell.
Yet, what drew more attention than the 2020 redesign was the bevy of information that this outlet unearthed pertaining to existing patents Kawasaki held awaiting to hit the public.
The first of which The Watercraft Journal revealed as a United States Patent for a hinged, two-piece seat – first materializing on the new STX models.
The new saddle has the driver’s seat latched down as before, with the rear passenger seat sliding on two arms locked into a plastic track on the back of the driver’s seat.
When unlocked, it can either fold up vertically, revealing a storage bin beneath it, or slide up and outward, and off completely. And per our description, the 2020 STX revealed WCJ to be correct yet again.
Paired with this early reporting in 2019 was the revelation that Kawasaki has owned a unqiue PWC braking & reverse patent as far back back as August 31st, 2017 (having been renewed three times since first being awarded). The design illustrates a right hand-side, thumb-activated braking lever similar to those currently used on Kawasaki’s KFX and Brute Force ATVs.
Per the diagrams shown, the brake is a true electronic engine override that cooperates with Kawasaki’s existing off-throttle steering assist program. This design places all of the control in the driver’s right hand – forward, neutral, reverse, and cruise control. The thumb lever overrides the accelerator, commanding the engine control unit to deploy the reverse bucket once deceleration conditions are met – all determined within fractions of a second.
Unfortunately, only one of these two patents came to fruition in 2020 – but it looks like the second and far more impactful innovation is finally coming to Kawasaki’s JetSki lineup in 2022. That’s right! Kawasakis are getting a brakes and reverse system – as well as a complete redesign.
What’s most amazing is that the images provided to The Watercraft Journal are nearly three years old! Shown in the original (vertical) image are persons gathered around a stack of paper printouts of four offerings: one “sporty” and three “cruising-oriented” trim packages.
In them reveal an artist’s rendering of a redesign similar to that of the STX: namely a new deck, hood, seat and steering arrangements.
The new Ultra is rumored to share both the folding rear seat with the Recreation segment craft as well as the watertight phone case found in the glove box.
Equally, the Ultra platform will retain its class-leading hull including its 22.5-degree deadrise true deep V-hull.
It’s also expected that the naturally-aspired Ultra LX will also finally receive the electronic engine management and throttle control system, providing the craft Cruise Control, Eco Mode and electronic trim.
Returning as well is the massive 20.6-gallon fuel cell, industry-leading 56-gallon storage capacity and massive horsepower output of 310-ponies from an Eaton TVS roots-style supercharger pressing an incredible 16.8psi down the throat of its 1,498cc 4-stroke powerplant.
Now for the disclaimer part: these are leaked images provided to The Watercraft Journal from third party sources, not Kawasaki. This information has not been confirmed by anyone at Kawasaki and likely won’t be until the 2022 models are ready to be revealed later this year. As for now, this is entirely speculative (albeit pretty well-backed speculation) so take it all with a grain of salt.