Captain's Report by Christopher Hughes, BoatTEST.com COO
It is hard to know where to start so let’s start from the driver’s point of view. When I took my seat and grabbed the handlebars, the first thing I noticed was the large multifunction display. Being an information hungry rider, I was happy to see such a big display. Better yet, it will provide 23 different items of information including tachometer, speed, compass, clock, oil pressure, and my favorite -- real time fuel flow. And since the GTI SE 130 is GPS enabled, your speed over the bottom is much more accurate than the traditional spinner speedo.
One of the features I like best on the new Sea-Doo GTI SE 130 is the IBR, or as Sea-Doo calls it, Intelligent Brake and Reverse and they are the only manufacturer offering this feature. But, my favorite function is not the brake; it’s the ability to change between forward, reverse and natural with the left hand lever and not having to remove your right hand from the handlebar.
On the starboard handlebar is your squeeze throttle, as well as having the control buttons for your mode select and your VTS, or Variable Trim System, which enables you to control the angle of the jet pump. By adjusting the angle of the jet pump you can raise or lower the bow angle when riding. The handgrips are at a natural angle and have a comfortable feel.The GTI SE 130 is fly-by-wire. Called ITC, Integrated Throttle Control to the Sea-Doo team. Meaning that the throttle controls and the reverse bucket are all computer controlled. This is how Sea-Doo integrates the Eco mode which is a setting that adapts engine output to our specific driving conditions. In this mode the computer sets the optimal power setting and speed for the best fuel economy. The brake and reverse is also controlled by the computer. Every time you start you will be in neutral, which in our opinion is as it should be.
In the Belly of the Beast
The GTI SE 130 is powered by a 1494 cc naturally-aspirated Rotax 4-TEC engine which is fed by a 15.9 gallon fuel tank and will run on regular 87 octane unleaded gasoline. This engine has a closed-loop cooling system which is great for people using their machine in saltwater. With no place to mount a radiator, Sea-Doo looked to the running surface, the ride plate to be specific. The coolant is sent to the ride plate which exchanges the heat with the sea water. It is an old concept used on workboats and large yachts for years, and I think this adaptation on the Sea-Doo is both clever and practical. This engine is connected via direct drive to the jet pump assembly which houses a four-blade, stainless steel impeller with an 11/18 pitch.
From bow to stern the hull has a slight concave design at the keel. The hull is made utilizing the LFI (Long Fiber injection) process which is comprised of a polyurethane and fiberglass composite material. This material and process allow the hulls to be manufactured to very high tolerances and with finer detail. There are double chines that fade into flat strakes in the last few feet moving aft. The overall length of the GTI SE is 132.6” with a beam of 48.5” and a height of 44”. The total dry weight is 745 lb. making the wet vehicles weight just a hair over 800 lb.
Star Wars Styling
Sea-Doo has always been on the cutting edge of PWC styling, and the GT SE 130 reminds me of a fighter right out of a George Lucas' movie. In fact the angular body styling began on Italian sports cars and it has been spread from there to everything from yachts to electric toasters. It is edgy, aggressive-looking, and there is nothing dowdy-looking about it. The GTI SE 130 simply looks fast even at rest. From front to back, there is a combination of angles and lines that make it look like a world-beater from any direction. I have always been a fan of the way the Sea-Doo team uses cutouts and shadows as part of the design to make their PWCs look faster, but they are practical as well. The seating is a low-profile design with an aft wrap around rider grab handle. I should also note that all visible metal parts have been chromed. We're told that all colored surfaces that are not a part of the hull are made with a special, high-quality gel-coat.
Designed as a three person PWC, the low sides on the aft seat portion make it ideal for an aft facing observer. There is also a tow point located under the aft handhold, in addition to the automatic line tender mentioned above. When towing with the spotter facing aft and the wake dude coming aboard, you need all the room you can get.
Options For Your Customization
Last but not least is a final distinguishing feature of Sea-Doo PWCs -- the options. I like the ability for new PWC owners to able to fit-out their machine for their specific intended purpose. The GTI SE 130 has a long list of options which start out with a 3 position retractable tow pylon, and includes electronic options like depth finder, cruise control and, believe it or not, a removable wakeboard rack.That is my look at the new GTI SE 130 from Sea-Doo. Although I did not cover all the items and features, I feel these are the important ones to focus on when comparing PWCs.
Standard and Optional Features