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Sea-Doo tricks out the Spark

By Liz Keener

Spark Trixx joins new models in ’17 lineup

When the Spark Trixx was unveiled with the 2017 Sea-Doo lineup at Club BRP in Orlando in mid-August, a video showed an inexperienced PWC rider doing tail-stands on the new unit.

Knowing I’d be aboard the Trixx at a media event in Tampa the following week, my first thought was: “I hope I don’t embarrass myself by being the only one to not complete any tricks.”

Then the test came, and sure enough, I was vertical in my own tail-stand within seconds. Sea-Doo designed the Spark Trixx specifically for performing tricks, but with a nine-position Variable Trim System (VTS), handlebars with an adjustable riser and step wedges, several stunts can be performed by even the most novice rider.

With models ranging from the rec-lite Spark all the way up to the performance 300 hp models, Sea-Doo offers a wide lineup of PWC.

With models ranging from the rec-lite Spark all the way up to the performance 300 hp models, Sea-Doo offers a wide lineup of PWC.

“We just wanted to have something to have fun, to mess around and re-spark what we created three years ago with the Spark,” Pascal Vincent, global product planning director for Sea-Doo and Ski-Doo, told me in Tampa. “Many people were asking why Sea-Doo is not in the stand-up market. It’s a niche market, and you need very good skills to master that. But with the Trixx, with very low skills, you can do tricks, and over time you can improve your skills and develop new tricks.”

The Trixx package retails for $7,299. It’s based off the 2-Up Spark and comes with Intelligent Brake and Reverse (iBR).

Though during the media demo, seasoned riders were coming off the Trixx with childish grins, Sea-Doo expects the Trixx to attract an even younger audience than the Spark. Vincent said many Spark buyers have been around their mid-30s, but the Trixx is meant to appeal to Gen Y.

“I think the Trixx will attract even younger people into the dealership because it’s cool, it’s social and it’s really affordable,” Vincent said.

While watching all three Trixx demo models out on the water in Tampa, he added, “The Trixx are always in movement. People are watching, looking; they want to share that, so it’s a gathering, it’s a happening, when you ride this.”

At the Club BRP dealer meeting, dealers were excited to see the latest Spark variation. The only complaint Vincent heard was that there were no demos available on site, feedback he noted for the future.

Vincent said the sales forecast for the Trixx has been set high, but after riding one himself, he believes Sea-Doo can hit its mark.

Price drop on GTI/GTS

Though dealers were excited to check out the Candy Blue and Chili Pepper Spark Trixx in the Club BRP showroom, they were also vocal about their excitement over the price drop on the GTI and GTS recreation models.

The 2017 GTS starts at $7,699, while the GTI starts at $8,899. Both units have also been updated for 2016, as the base models are now powered by the 900 HO ACE engine from Rotax — the same engine that powers the Spark — and they feature BRP’s Polytec hull.

“It’s a very great combination, the best value out there for a full-size watercraft,” Vincent said.

Pascal Vincent of BRP (left) talks to media at a demo ride in Tampa, Florida.

Pascal Vincent of BRP (left) talks to media at a demo ride in Tampa, Florida.

With the smaller engine and the new hull, about 150 pounds have been dropped from the total weight, keeping the power-to-weight ratio on par with the 2016 models.

“We shaved, in total, about 150 pounds out of the hull. That’s amazing. That’s a full passenger,” Vincent explained. “The power is lower, but because we shaved weight, we were able to maintain some very interesting performance in keeping the playfulness that the GTS is known for.”

The GTI and GTS lineups are targeted at young couples with children, who will appreciate the 30 percent increase in fuel efficiency over 2016, along with the reduced price.

“The GTI and GTS, which we call the recreation segment, is one of the biggest segments of the PWC market, and the typical customer, or target customer, is the young family that doesn’t want to put a lot of money into a PWC,” Vincent said. “They want something that’s affordable; they can have fun; they don’t care about power, and they don’t care about speed. They just care about affordability, low cost of ownership, low fuel consumption, and that’s exactly what we are delivering with the combination of the 900 ACE and the Polytec hull.”

GTR-X 230

Not to be missed in the 2017 lineup is the new GTR-X 230. The 230 horsepower is provided by a new Rotax 1500 HO ACE engine.

“It’s a new package with a new engine, obviously, the 1500 HO ACE, which is a very, very robust engine, very reliable and well performing,” Vincent said.

The 2017 GTR-X also offers Sea-Doo’s Ergolock system with the Ergolock seat, an Adjustable Ergolock Steering (A.E.S.) handlebar and angled footwell wedges.

The 1500 HO ACE includes a low-maintenance supercharger and uses regular gas instead of premium gas. In addition to the GTR-X, the 1500 HO ACE also powers the GTR 230, WAKE PRO 230 and GTX Limited 230.

With a nine-position Variable Trim System (VTS), handlebars with an adjustable riser and step wedges, any PWC rider can easily perform tail-stands, power slides, 180 hops and more on the Spark Trixx.

With a nine-position Variable Trim System (VTS), handlebars with an adjustable riser and step wedges, any PWC rider can easily perform tail-stands, power slides, 180 hops and more on the Spark Trixx.

BRP leads PWC market

There’s no doubt the PWC market is on the rise. Worldwide sales were up nearly 14  percent from 2014 to 2015, according to Statistical Surveys data in the 2016 Powersports Business Market Data Book. And in the U.S, month-over-month increases have been reported every month since September 2013, according to the Info-Link Bellwether report.

For worldwide market share leader BRP, especially, this is great news.

“It’s very exciting. For the industry as a whole, for BRP, obviously this is a very good sign. It’s a good sign that the economy is going on the right side, affecting the watercraft industry positively,” Vincent said.

But BRP staff members believe Sea-Doo has played a big role in the increase. When the Spark was released in the fall of 2013, it was developed with the intention of drawing new customers into dealerships, those buyers who had never even stepped foot into a powersports showroom.

And so far, as reflected in industry data, it appears Sea-Doo has delivered on that promise.

“It is extremely important because that is exactly our mission, is to make sure people know about watercraft and make sure we can increase the industry with our product offerings. I think we have the most complete lineup in the industry,” Vincent said.

Following last year’s introduction of the 300 hp models and three consecutive years of winning Red Dot Design Awards, along with improvements made to the 2017 lineup, the Sea-Doo team is hoping to see even more increases in 2017.

 

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