Doo’ing it better for 2007? – September 25, 2006

KEY WEST, Fla. — Just one year after introducing a revolutionary new, price-point conscious four-stroke line with the revamped GTI series, Sea-Doo has elected to focus more on its existing offerings for 2007.
The company’s eight-model lineup, unveiled to the press during an extravagant, pirate-themed introduction in Key West, Fla., in August, features several notable changes, including an expanded choice of engines in several models, a notable ergonomic shift across the board and a moderate exterior restyling of the company’s flagship GTX series.
New Form, Better Function
From a styling standpoint, the biggest change in the line for 2007 is reserved for the aforementioned GTX models, which have received what Sea-Doo is referring to as a “flow-thru” top deck. Company designers said the design allows wind to pass through the front cowling area, rather than be forced over the top. The gauge brow rests noticeably higher, and chrome accents are more fully integrated into the overall design scheme, rather than appear as the add-ons that marked the previous design. In terms of color, the GTX and GTX Limited introduce a new vibrant blue to the company’s existing palette.
A more functional part of the makeover is the adoption of a touring seat, similar to what’s found on the Yamaha FX Cruiser line. Far more plush than previous Sea-Doo offerings, and with an integrated backrest that promises better lumbar support, the touring seat is nonetheless still relatively soft, enabling a crowded crew of riders to compress it under their weight, rather than feel it jab into their posterior should they not fit into the saddle’s predetermined contours. New stitching on the seats, similar to what you’d find in the general boating market, also lend a richness to the seat’s overall look, as well as make it easier to establish the new contours.
Under that new forward deck, the GTX line also gets a new removable storage bin, similar to what was introduced on the ’06 GTL line. Sea-Doo is pushing the idea that riders will gear up at home, and then simply carry the bin aboard. The stowage area below the bin can also be kept for damp or wet items, enabling the watertight bin to stay dry.
Perhaps the most noticeable change, however, is discovered once under way. A new, more aggressive handlebar stance has been introduced not only in the GTX lineup, but throughout the entire model range. In a bold move, Sea-Doo has elected to abandon the steeply raked, laid-back ergonomics that is almost synonymous with the brand in favor of a much more aggressive, upright angle on the bars. The angle has been raised a reported four degrees upward, while the bar length itself has been lengthened three inches overall. The result is the driver now feels far more control over the craft, able to drive it a little more rather than just go along for the ride. Previous Sea-Doo designs often felt narrow, and resulted in the driver’s elbows forced in tight to the torso.
Aggressive riders, as well as those who prefer to stand occasionally, should find the position far more comfortable, as well as allow them to more naturally assume an aggressive posture during performance riding. The same general ergonomics also can be found on all two- and three-passenger craft for 2007.
More Engine Choices
Sea-Doo also has elected to give its customers a greater choice of engines in 2007. The GTI SE, introduced just last year, will now add the company’s familiar 155 hp 4-TEC to the existing 130 hp standard in what seems like a nod to the GTI’s much-praised hull design. Two other models, the boardsports-oriented Wake and the musclecraft RXP, also now feature a choice of powerplants. Sea-Doo likewise upsized the Wake, offering the 215 hp engine shared by the RXT and RXP. The RXP, meanwhile, will now be offered in a tamer, more affordable 155 hp variant, an engine that now boasts a CARB Three Star cleanliness rating. The king of the hill in terms of performance remains the 215 hp RXT; the most affordable package the 130 hp GTI.
Worth noting is the former 185 hp, supercharged variation on the 4-TEC is now dropped from the line. Company officials said the demand was just not there, with most customers opting to either go for the base 155 hp version, or ramp all the way up to the supercharged, intercooler-equipped 215 hp model.
Other changes include the expansion of the Learning Key rev limiter concept. Designed to offer a moderate speed cap for beginning riders or those turning their ski over to novice friends and family members, the lanyard-based Learning Key can now be programmed to one of two speed-cap settings by the delivering dealer.
While it was not present at the 2007 press intro, the stand-up/sitdown hybrid 3D DI also remains in the lineup. Pricing was not available following the sneak peak provided to the press, but should be available just as this issue hits the street. psb

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