Captain's Report by Christopher Hughes
The all-new 2012 GTX S 155 has the latest in adjustable suspension for watercraft. In this image you can see that the adjustment is as simple as turning a ratchet.
Sea-Doo has been tweaking the GTX S 155 over that last year and has added yet another feature, the ability for the rider to adjust the suspension to his or her liking. The suspension system allows the hull and upper deck to move independently from each other, which cushions the rider from the buffeting effect of the water on the hull at speed. The suspension will allow the upper deck to travel 5.5” (13.9cm) and this is where the adjustment comes into play. Since every rider is a different weight, you can adjust the resistance, stiffening or softening the suspension movement.
The adjustment point for the suspension is located under the seat and here is an area we want to point out some differentiators. Notice how the adjustment can be made with a simple ratchet tool. This makes the process much easier than having to get your hand in a small place and try to turn some type of lever. Also, notice how the support bracket is stainless steel, even though this part of the watercraft is not usually seen. Now look closer, you will see a premium strut that is holding the seat in the open position. Having the seat hinged with a strut to hold it up is in our opinion, an important design feature.
The above images also shows us how the seats are upholstered using several types and sections of stain-resistant UV-protected vinyl stitched together.
The GTX S 155 is designed as a luxury model that provides a smooth dry ride along with ergonomic handlebar and seat design.
Looking at the GTX S 155 you can see that this watercraft has a special seating design. In our opinion, the forward part of the driver’s seat is an important area because it impacts comfort and the ride. It first impacts comfort due to the ergonomic design of allowing your legs to be in a more natural position, closer together and angled in at the knees. The impact on the ride will come when you are curving in the turns, this design will allow you to use your thighs and legs to grip the machine, reducing the amount of work your arms will need to do to hold you on the machine.
The seat back for the driver is also important. It not only provides support, it also helps keep the rider in place in aggressive maneuvers. Behind the drive in the first passenger position is a grab strap mounted to the seat. If you have ever ridden with two or three others, you know how much more comfortable it is for the driver without a person clutching your midsection. The aft end of the seat, or position three, is flatter and this is so when you are towing, the passenger can comfortably face aft. Notice also the built-in grab handle behind the seat.
The low profile and almost horizontal design from the handlebars to the seat is not just for looks. It aligns the rider’s position in a stress free ergonomically neutral position.
In the above images you can clearly see the splash deflector just aft of the nose of the watercraft. This prevents water from running up the hood cover and directly into the riders face. It deflects the water off to the sides, helping to keep the ride dry. Just aft of the deflector on port side is a slap-cap fueling point. In our opinion, not having to open a cover and seat to refuel is a good thing. But always remember to vent your watercraft before starting it.
Under the forward hood is a storage area with a removable watertight insert.
We all need stuff when we go on the water and the GTX S has a relatively large forward storage compartment under the hood. Inside is a storage insert that is watertight and removable which also makes a convenient carrying case you can just pull out and take up on the beach with you.
View of the multifunction “Driving Center” display on the Sea-Doo GTX S 155 which provides reporting on 28 functions.
The GTX S is equipped with iControl which is the all-encompassing term that Sea-Doo uses to describe a combination or technology features. The first feature is iTC or intelligent throttle control. This operates electronically, making the GTX drive by wire and is an advanced throttle system that starts you in neutral, which in our opinion provides easier control dockside. It also features an activity-specific Cruise Control, Touring /Sport mode, ECO mode, and Variable Trim System that can all be set to accommodate your riding style. This lets you set up the watercraft to your own particular riding preferences, which you can change and reset as you wish to adjust to new riding locations and conditions.
Another feature is VTS which is an electronic Variable Trim System. This provides trim adjustments of the jet pump nozzle to help maximize acceleration and your stability at speed.
One of the more noteworthy tech features is iBR or Intelligent Break and Reverse. This feature provides you with an actual breaking system. It also allows you to shift between forward, neutral and reverse by actuating a control level on the port side hand grip. Our tests of this system on other Sea-Doo watercraft have shown that the breaking system significantly reduces the distance it takes to stop. The ability to shift back and forth between neutral, forward and reverse without taking your hand off the handlebar is great. It makes maneuvering around the dock and marina a breeze.
Your window to iControl is the multifunction display that Sea-Doo calls the ‘Driving Center” which reports on 28 functions including Fuel level, Tachometer, Speedometer, Hour meter, Compass, Clock, Fuel consumption meter, Touring / Sport mode, ECO mode, Cruise control, Slow mode, VTS, Suspension settings: manual mode, Suspension dock mode ON_OFF, F-N-R indicator, Low fuel level, Low oil level, Low oil pressure, Low voltage, Overheat, Hi voltage, Check engine, Sensor check, Battery protection, Key (wrong key), Learning Key, Maintenance info, and Error codes.
iControl also provides you with an electronic learning key and security system. The programmable learning key allows you to adjust or limit the performance based on a rider’s experience. The security system is a theft deterrent that encodes the electronic key allowing only you to start your watercraft.
This view of the aft end looking under the observer grab handle shows the tow point.
Just below the seat back grab handle is the tow point, located on the articulated arm for the suspension system. The GTX S also has a fairly good sized swim deck which is convenient for getting ready on your ski or wakeboard.
The GTX S 155 has the S3 hull which is made from a lightweight composite material.
The GTX S has the S3 hull which is designed to create specific low pressure zones through the use of steps to reduce the overall drag. Other design elements along with the sponsons help to deliver the tight cornering and nimble ride our tests have shown we can expect from any Sea-Doo model. Many boaters underestimate the importance of the hull design when it comes to watercraft. There is a belief that a machine this small relies more on engine power. In fact, the design of the hull can have a great impact on speed. Once we perform a full test on the new GTX S, we will have the numbers to report back. As it stands, our test ride did not include our test gear being connected.
Powering the GTX S 155 is a 1,494 CC four-stroke, 4-cylinder, naturally aspirated Rotax 4-TEC engine. It is designed to run on regular unleaded 87 octane gasoline and has a clever closed loop cooling system. The ride plate on the back of the watercraft has the engine coolant circulating through it acting as a radiator since it is in constant contact with the water.
The engine is connected via direct-drive to a stainless steel impellor inside the aluminum, axial flow, and single stage jet pump unit.
The adjustable wing mirrors are positioned inside the rub rail to reduce the possibility of striking the dock.
The team at Sea-Doo has been on top of the wants and needs of the boaters. In addition to items we covered above, the GTX S has standard tilt adjustable handlebars, a fold down re-boarding step, and convenient storage compartment forward of the drive, under the handlebar. The overall looks are an area we always score Sea-Doo very high. In recent years we have also noticed an improvement in the overall fit in finish of the new machines. There is no doubt that Sea-Doo is focused on the market for each of their watercraft, and with the target for the GTX S being the luxury market, we think they hit the mark perfectly.