Captain's ReportTested by Capt. Vincent DanielloPolaris has introduced a completely new hull, the MSX, with three 2003 models using the sharp-turning, smooth riding design. The only significant difference between the new models is the engine installed. The MSX 150 and MSX 110 feature the company’s new four-cycle turbocharged engine, available in 150 or 110 horsepower, which correspond to the boat model numbers. The EngineThe MSX 140 is fitted with Polaris’s previous top-shelf engine, a two-cycle, direct fuel injected engine rated at 140 horsepower. So why would anyone opt for a two-stroke when a quieter, smoother running, more efficient four-stroke is available? The presumptive answer is price. The 140 offers performance similar to the 150 for several hundred dollars less. Also, Polaris has been using the two-stroke engine for a while, decreasing the chance of any first-model-year jitters. But after riding both the 140 and 150 consecutively, I realized the rough-idling, pulsating, boisterous characteristics of a two stoke engine give the boat a unique feel that many riders prefer. After all, isn’t Harley-Davidson incredibly popular because of their “notorious” ride and feel? Similarly, it’s been reported that Mazda tested hundreds of exhaust configurations before introducing the first Miata, trying to capture just the right “note” and reverberation of a classic roadster.While the feel between the models may be antonymic, because they are built on identical hulls performance is indiscernible. In addition to testing the various MSX models, we tested several Polaris boats built on the company’s previous hull design. The new hull has a much more pronounced “V” shape, making a sharper entry to cut through waves instead of bouncing over. Polaris calls the new form a “Progressive Dihedral Stepped” hull, which in addition to the new “V” shape is a flamboyant way to refer to the pronounced chine that protrudes dramatically from the hull at the bow, and tapers gradually to nothing about amidships. The chine actually angles back down toward the water in an aggressive hook-shape, and is located well above the water when the boat is running on plane. This seems to offer three distinct advantages. First, spray from the hull hits this hook and deflects back into the water, providing a dryer ride. Second, when the boat leans into hard turns this chine digs in and helps carry the bow aggressively through the turn. Third, because the chine is only in the water during turns it does not add wetted surface and slow the boat the way planing strakes do. The new hull also includes a boldly flared sheer line that provides deeper footwells.Performance and RideWhile the stepped chine and deeper footwells make ordinary riding dryer, I found extremely hard turns will dig the bow into the water. When this occurs, the sleek, low profile design pushes a sheet of water up over the handlebars. If you want to stay dry, you can, even when riding aggressively. Just don’t do high-speed, hard-over, nearly-throw-you-off-the-boat-G-force turns, unless you’re willing to get doused.As for dock appeal, this new boat is sharp, capturing the essence of a high-performance motorcycle. I particularly liked the smoked plexiglas cover shielding the chrome-plated instrument pod from the sun, although it was a bit difficult to reach beneath the plexiglas with a chamois. Particularly in salt water, if the chrome is neglected it may detract form the boat’s appearance in a few years.The contours of the seat and vertically oriented handlebars were an improvement in form and function over the company’s previous models, providing a more natural posture while riding and further contributing to the look and feel of a motorcycle. The MSX is not only fun to ride, it looks good too.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Polaris MSX 140 is 56 mph (90.1 kph), burning gallons per hour (gph) or N/A liters per hour (lph).
- Time to plane for the Polaris MSX 140 is ~ seconds.
- Time from 0 to 30 of the Polaris MSX 140 is 2.8 seconds seconds.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!