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  1. #1
    Hydrotoys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Mesa, AZ

    Ultra 250, first ride report.

    Standard Hydro Disclaimer: This is my STOCK review of the Ultra250. Maybe my skis is different in a good way or a bad way. I have no way to tell. Maybe the SIMPLEST THINGS will make a huge change, but I didn't want to talk about that. I don't claim it to be accurate, just a simple perception, from 5 engine-hours of riding time...about 6-8 hours of real time.

    I have no idea what the aftermarket will bring, so I won't add anything like that. Also, if you were looking for "tea and dumplings" you won't get it from me. So, if you think that bad things are being negative, you should probably just close this thread. I don't want to offend any of you delicate wall flower "fanboyz" that bleed brand names.

    I'll divide it up into performance, ergonomics, and touring.

    Summary based On a scale of 1-10: 1 equal horrible, 10 equal unfreakinbelievably great.

    -Performance: A FIVE.
    -Ergonomics: A EIGHT.
    -Touring: A SEVEN.

    Performance: Summary-Low top speeds, don't buy it if you wanted great speeds out of the box. Great handling and just a bunch of fun to turn Poorly mapped throttle is going to be a big issue.

    Conditions: 60deg, low humidity, 1200ft, lake-no current, no wind, light chop, cold water.300lb rider for speeds. Bone stock. 5 hours on the clock. Premium 91. Garmin 5, duct taped to hood. Hope I didn't pull off any paint with the duct tape.

    63.5 on 20 gallons.
    64.7 on half tank indicator.
    65.8 five minutes on the buzzer.

    I'll take a stab at WHY so low...plowing. This ski is way, nose heavy.
    Probably why it turns so good too. Also why it launches perfect everytime. It plows BAD. It's not harsh, but just bust right through any waves, wakes, or any other nasty water (not that I really had but a few chances.) A wedge or a trim system will wake this ski up, IMHO. But I digress... You RXP boys don't have ANYTHING to worry about until the mods come. I did have a camera, and a half a gallon of water in the front compartment, with a towel and some gloves.

    Smoke 'em if you can find 'em boyz.

    Dead start to 60 is approx 10-12 seconds...I was counting in my head while watching a gps, so it's not accurate. Just thought I'd throw that out there. It leaps off the line, has good midrange up to about 60, then peters up to 65 slowly from 63 on. A strong stage-1 RXP with a decent rider will smoke this ski if careful on the start. On the flip side, this ski is SUPER repeatable. It leaves hard, and strong, every time. It never spins the prop. It never bounces. It never does something different. It never porpoises. If you BLINK while racing this ski, it will leave you.

    The turning is one redeeming value worth HIGH praise from me. Imagine riding a sportbike, with true turn-in leaning, that doesn't snatch or grab you, but is super responsive. That is the Ultra250. It has almost magical powers for such a large ski. I am TIRED from all the turns I did today. It was downright fun! Of course, with such a boring top speed, playing with the handling was a seriously bright spot. I didn't want to load the engine on tight hard turns, but I'm pretty sure it will turn HARD. I did rush a couple of no-wake bouys in a deserted part of the lake, and this big monster TURNS! It was kind of scary to have this big monster follow such a tight line. There is potential there. 11ft long and it turns way better than most 10ft skis, and maybe as good (stock) as most 9ft skis. Back to the turning. Let's say you are cruising along about 50 or so, and turn the bars 3" to the right...the ski pops off the middle chines and TURNs...NOW. RIGHT NOW. RIGHT FREAKIN NOW. It's so cool! It's super predictable, and after you get the hang of it, you might find yourself twitching the bars, just to pop the ski off the chines. I did note some bow-hunt at certain speeds, but
    nothing to write home about. No chine slap in the corners, typical of a deep-v.

    Body language is extremely important to this hull. At mid-range speeds, if you lean to theleft, the ski will lean to the left. If you lean to the right (and I mean slightly) the ski will follow. It's weird, but at the same time, super-predictable, and downright fun. I could turn this ski by shear willpower...and where the pizza-gut was laying.

    The throttle is a reason to be concerned. WHENEVER I let off the throttle, it takes about THREE SECONDS for the engine speed to come back down. It does this in straight aways, corners, and even if you punch it off the line, and then let off the throttle. Poor, poor, job on Kawi's part, mapping this throttle system. It really was the most dis-heartning part of the handling. It interfered with your ability to chop-throttle steer or coast... somebody's gonna plow this puppy into a few docks.

    The engine is super snappy at any rpm. You punch the throttle and she is "on-tap" anywhere, EXCEPT over 7700 rpms. It's just flat up there. It feels like the torque curve is way GONE by by then.

    Last edited by Hydrotoys; 02-03-2007 at 06:58 AM.

  2. #2
    ou812's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Nice write-up mark!

    Do you think the Ultra ecu might be like the RXP/T ecu? It ran in Tard mode in phases till about 9hrs & then opens up. I remember at 5 hrs on my RXP I was getting 66mph @ 7900rpm at best & then a little more each hr till 10 hrs & it ran 69.1 @ 8100 stock. Give it a few more hrs & we'll know.

    "WHENEVER I let off the throttle, it takes about THREE SECONDS for the engine speed to come back down"

    for off throttle steering I suppose?

    So when are you guys gathering again?
    Last edited by ou812; 01-26-2007 at 07:28 PM.

  3. #3
    Hydrotoys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Mesa, AZ
    It was at 7780rpms. I think it was in TIRED mode.

  4. #4
    RxPrider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    lake ozark
    It may not be the fastest, but sounds like a fun ski on rough water weekends. it looks like it wants to eat you from the front lol

  5. #5
    Phil's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Smith Mountain Lake, VA
    Thanks for the real poop on this puppy Mark. I had a feeling this wasn't an RXP eater out of the box.

  6. #6
    Hydrotoys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Mesa, AZ

    Summary- Gauges suck. Seating is near perfect for most riders. Tilt works nice. Platform is solid. Keep small items away from the steering! Watch the sharp rub rails!

    The gauges themselves are okay, but they have some issues. They felt inclined to BURY them in the dash about 6". IF that wasn't bad enough, the reset and mode buttons are on the bottom. You can't reach them, without contorting your arm around.

    GET THIS..YOU HAVE TO BE NEARLY STOPPED TO OPERATE THE MODE OR SET. How stupid is that!? Really, really un-necessary, and just WIERD.

    There is some washout on the boost, and on the gas gauge. If you can picture this... The sun is behind you, on the right side, the gas guage is washed out totally, but the boost gauge looks great. If the sun is behind you, on the left side, the boost gauge is washed out totally but the gas gauge looks great. They are the two smallest LCD displays, and IMHO the two most important. The speedo was wierd too. I matched it to the GPS throughout the speed range. It was accurate, within 2mph, up to 32mph, but would hang there, as the GPS climbed up past 38mph, and then it would be accurate again up to an indicated top speed. Not bad really. There is a "max speed and rpm" and that is very nice, for smooth water. But you have to slow down to reset it. The LCD readout is clear, but too dark because of the super-large shade where the hood handle is. This "window-awning" is the real culprit. If you could ditch it, then the gauges might look okay, even being that low. The buttons are a disaster.

    The security key is a mess as I knew it would be. You are continually opening the glove box, to wiggle it so that the ski springs back to life. Try not to overstuff your glove box, or you may dump stuff in the footwells so that Kawi can save you from yourself. Plus if you have too much stuff in there, it might push the key out, sending you over the handlebars. You have a standard kawi safety lanyard to keep track of too.

    WHATEVER you do, don't put small items up near the gauge. They will fall down inside the cavernous steering opening, and bounce around inside the shell, until you can get it to fall down all the way. At that point your lost item is either up front in some forbidden zone, or luckily for me, in front of the seat, under the side panels...but be careful taking the seat off, or that cell phone will be in the bottom of the engine...just don't put crap up there.

    There is no good "flat spot" to mount a GPS or fish finder. Get ready to drill some body panels.

    The panels all seemed to fit good, and were quiet during the ride.

    The seat is great. It is light-weight, and pretty darn comfortable. My knees were bent the right way, and I could stand comfortably, with the bars in the upright position. Riding 2-up will be no problem. i was sitting forward, with my feet on the footwells, and back with my feet tucked backwards. Sometimes I sit on the seat with my feet on the seat underneath me. It was all comfortable. You do feel a part of the ski, not on-top of the ski. I did note one time, when I was standing up, and back, my legs felt like I was pushing on the sides of the seat. Not sure if that was just from my height. You can superman on this ski so easy.

    The steering was most excellent. It still has a minor side/side rock, but not bad. When all the way up, you can not see the gauges, because of the window-awning. The steering in the "full-up" position, reminds me of a wave blaster. All the way down, they remind me of a XP or other SD offering. The seat strap seems well placed, and the ski-spotter footwells work great for superman position. The steering selector is simple and effective. Nice.

    The bording ladder looks great...but my chicken-ass ain't getting in that cold water to use a ladder!

    I mentioned the super-sharp rub rails. WTF is that all about? Why would you do that? What possible advantage could slicing up somebody's hand be? Super weird.

    The ride is buttery smooth, but of course you'd expect that on flat water, on a 11ft hull with a super thick seat, and hydroturf footpads. I was trying to hit some side waves, but really had none to hit. Maybe next time. Krista got this thing turning pretty hard a few times. It didn't slide out, but you could sweep the tail, if you tried hard enough.

    The footwells are well placed, and didn't grab my attention at all...well the cold water rushing in when you stopped does!

    The front compartment is nice. The upper bucket is shallow enough to store most of your small items. I had some stuff under the front compartment, but it seemed to not move around, just lay at the back wall.

    I didn't use the rear tray. It's small, and I don't trust the rear seat latch.

    The reverse handle is a mess. You have to reach inside of it, and find this hidden button to pull it up... then you have to press the hidden button to set it back to forward. I almost accidentally snapped it off, more than once, while doing some docking stuff. I'm thinking that a good mod would be to open up the mechinism, and remove the button, and awl mechinism to make it just like all the other reverse systems.

    The ski's manors around the dock are perfect, as long as you don't touch the throttle. If you touch the throttle, it LURCHES in that direction, possibly causing issues for you. Just let it idle, and it will follow low speed commands precisely. There is a touch of starboard-torque steer at idle, so just compensate a tad.

    There is a minor splash issue when you turn sharp. It doesn't throw up a nasty wall like the RXP, but instead it throws up a thin sheet of fine water, that coats everything, including you. I think a splash deflector is a must for touring, or cold weather.

    The engine is boringly smooth, and quiet. Sewing machine like. No real sounds except from the whirring sound of the supercharger. You can generate a nice whistle around 6200rpms if you hold it there for a few
    seconds. I did note some pinging sounds around 3000rpms while first accelerating. It did it a few times. I avoided 3000rpms while accerating after that. I don't know what the noise was.

    The grips are those stupid Kawi "swollen" grips with the little rubber razors. I'll be installing some ODI rogues as my first mod. The throttle was just your standard type throttle. The bar cover seems rather cheap to me. It's not really textured, didn't fit real well, and has a casting line, RIGHT where you look. It moves around, so you can't grab it or use it for anything.

    NEXT: Touring opinions...I didn't do any touring, however. Maybe later.
    Last edited by Hydrotoys; 02-03-2007 at 07:04 AM.

  7. #7
    Im excited because I race in CC. This things sound way different from the Cruiser every one said it was going to be. Im stoked. Give me punch and turn and Ill buy the rest..

  8. #8
    13xracing - aka 427racing 13xracing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    lincoln ne
    How much did you say you weighed?? It said 300lbs. There will be a difference between some one like me (155lbs) and you (300lbs). No offense by any means, just stating a 145lbs difference. This is very disappointing news, but sounds like great potential.

  9. #9
    JFizzleJR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Quote Originally Posted by 427racing View Post
    How much did you say you weighed?? It said 300lbs. There will be a difference between some one like me (155lbs) and you (300lbs). No offense by any means, just stating a 145lbs difference. This is very disappointing news, but sounds like great potential.
    if the ecu is in tard mode as the rxps were, there is a lighter rider, and its closer to sea level, the ultra should be close to the rxp in top speed IMO.
    i dont want that to happen though cuz im an rxp guy.

  10. #10
    Moderator OsideBill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    United States
    Honest, Informative and Insighful article. We need to get you some sheet time at one of the Mags. Great report Mark!!!!

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