Thread: Long term review + Buyers guide.
12-26-2014, 06:20 PM #1
Long term review + Buyers guide.
Alright guys, sorry for the long post but i have made a long term review and buyers guide for anyone interested in buying/upgrading/purchasing a ski soon.
First ill start with the buyers guide:
Anyone looking to purchase a ski must first find out the local regulations, get the needed licensing and find out information about registration.
Another main aspect is calculating a budget for the new hobby, this includes the price of the ski, storage, gas, maintenance, transportation, equipment and so on.
And lastly; you need to find out where you will store the ski, where you will ride, and what you are planning on doing with the ski.
Here's an example:
-A used jetski may run you anywhere from 50$ to 20000$ (for a new one).
-Add to this insurance: 300-900$/year.
-Storage costs: Marinas usually charge by length, most skis are 9-12 feet long. Prices vary here from 17-45$/Ft per season. Do not forget if you're getting a trailer, you will need to store it somewhere too.
-Equipment usually runs from 200-2500$ depending on what you need/want. examples of this would be ropes, bumpers, bilge pumps. If you are a new owner of a watercraft; consider purchasing a marine GPS as it will be very helpful.
-Gas= Depends how often you're going to ride and the local prices. Personally i believe 20-25$/hour is a fair price for cruising on most 4tecs with our last summers pricing. (1.20-1.35$/L or 4.50-5$/Gallon.)
-Lets not forget maintenance. Yet again this will depend on the machine that you purchase but figure around 500-800$/year if you are going to be in a marina or in the northern part of the world. This should include oil changes, winterizing, covering/wrapping the machine, supercharger rebuilds, etc.
All of this is needs to be considered as maybe having the machine in a marina @ 500$/season is easier and more convenient than driving 1 hour there and 1 hour back and wasting 15$ of gas in the car on every trip.
If you are towing you will also need something to tow the trailer with:
-For a single small seadoo (older models or the spark) a station wagon/hatchback or van would work fine. I would not recommend towing with a sedan unless the ramp is just around the corner as most vehicles were not made for towing and will result in a very high increase in maintenance costs for the vehicle.
-For a larger seadoo on a single trailer (such as most newer models like RXP's and GTI's). I would recommend nothing smaller than a small to midsize SUV or CUV.
-For a double trailer with two skis on it : Pick-up truck, large SUV, large CUV, 4x4/awd will most likely be needed. Most Seadoo boats also need to be towed with vehicles of this type.
Now many will argue that their car X is a small but tows their double trailer just fine. That may be true; but you need to make sure you are not overloading the vehicle; and most importantly is most people do not realize that they end up paying more for gas/maintenance because they tow. Example: We have a midsize CUV and a pickup truck. Both can tow the double trailer fine, but the CUV has a much harder time stopping, its fuel consumption greatly increases even though we are only at half of the load suggested by the manufacturer. The pickup has a much easier time, with a slight increase in consumption.
The ramp and quality of the ramp is also very important as towing and launching can be done with most vehicles; but pulling the machine out will require a ton more force/work. So look around at the local ramps and find one that will be "better" (ex: less steep, concrete slab, sand/gravel bottom, wider) even if it is a few extra miles away.
Now its time for the long-term review.
This review will cover costs, maintenance, general ride quality, special features and opinion.
First: 1995 GTX.
Cost and maintenance is relatively low on this machine. I personally had fun for 3-4 hours for around 5 gallons worth of gas. Oil was 60$/Gallon (around there) and lasted 3-4 full tanks. This machine offered a wet ride but surprisingly very stable. It is a 3-Seater model however I only ever had 2 people on it (total of maybe 450lbs). Engine power was lacking and sluggish for two but for a single rider provided enough fun. I personally enjoyed owning this machine despite its age. Over the years i needed to replace the battery, spark plugs. It was owned prior to me and after me by people who did not maintain their machines. No winterizing. beaching etc. It proved to be reliable over the years. Fun and easy to throw around without falling off.
Special feature: Reverse.... I found it useful in some scenarios even though i believe it was more like a forward and Neutral.
Second: 1997 GS. This platform offered a lot more power in exchange for stability. I would/could not get two people on it but it was fun for one. It had more power, speed and a slalom typed hull compared to the GTX. Maintenance costs and operative costs were very similar to the GTX. As a bigger guy, I had a hard time keeping my balance on it at idle. No reverse also made it hard to dock in some situation.
Special feature: DESS system. It added security but may cause potential problems in the long run.
Both of the previous machines did not offer any fun in the chop as they simply "flew over" the waves like a skipping stone. Turning was acceptable at best. Storage was pretty wet and not very big as it housed the minimum equipment and it was practically full.
Added: 2005 GTI: I have only ridden this machine a handful of times and cannot comment on it in depth. I Do believe that these machines were economical for their time and offer family fun for a bang. It did feel sluggish when pushing it even with just me on board. But would be suitable for a couple going on a cruise and simply enjoying the water. Not "very" stable as i have managed to flip it twice.
Third: 2006 RXP 215.
Now this is a beast of a machine. Very reliable despite what is written on here and else where. Very powerful and fun machine. Wet ride, stable enough for one person to do pretty much anything they would want. Cost and maintenance increases with these types of machines. I would say this offers around 1-3hours of fun for 5gallons/20Liters of gas. Depending on how hard you run the machine. Offers slightly more stability on the wakes but overall still remains like a skipping stone. Supercharger maintenance, intercooler, closed loop cooling, etc add potential issues and maintenance costs. Over the years i have only replaced the impeller, wear ring, spark plugs, battery, starter solenoid.
This machine weighs a lot more and the parts are also more expensive compared to the older machines.
This machine is still alive with 260+ hours on it. Had its supercharger washers explode inside and never washed out.
It was not winterized prior to my ownership, had hit a rock that was just barely below the surface which cracked the hull near the intake grate. This platform is known to be very easy to mod and offers/offered the most amount of parts.
Special Features: I believe this machine offered the best amount of storage capacity compared to newer and older machines. It had two bins, and the glove compartment. All of which stayed surprisingly "dry". I also believe this machine was one of the "easier" machines to work on because of the removable rear cowl/seat assembly.
Fourth: 2005 RXT and 2008 RXT-X. Very fun to ride and have the added stability for two people. I would say these hulls started cutting through the waves but their length is what gave them an advantage in the water.
Same maintenance and operating costs as the RXP. Offer a more "dry" ride.
Fifth: 2010 RXT-X: new breed of machines. Very reliable and could be "economical". handles well at high and lower speeds, very stable and over all an amazing platform. Big improvement over the older RXT's in terms of reliability and over-all characteristics of the ride. This machine does not feel as long as the older RXT's as it is more maneuverable. However still incomparable to the RXP of the older generation. This machine added more maintenance as it has the iBR which is more expensive in operating costs as even taking the pump out and swapping a wear ring is more time consuming. Storage is.. small... dry but not something i would consider enough for a cruising machine. I believe that this as well as the GTI platform are the most suited for the 2-up cruising.
Sixth: 2011 Wake 155: This is in my opinion a large improvement over the older (2005) generation of the GTI platform. Storage is... large but "unusable" It gets wet, hot and everything flies around in there. It is suitable for towels and such in large dry bags and life jackets but i would not keep water bottles in there for example. The glove compartment can fit standard water bottles but 2-3 bottles in, a pair of glasses, phone and paperwork and its full.
Special features: ski pylon, ski mode, added power.
The ski pylon is an improvement over the SS ring on the upper deck; But i found it reduced the chances of the rope being sucked into the pump. The skiers I have towed did not notice "much" of a difference. Ski mode is a decent feature because it adds cruise control. However setting it up is difficult. Example: If the skier knows that "ramp 3 and 20mph" is ideal for them; then it is perfect. But having someone who never drove a ski before or skied will lead you to try more times than needed to find the perfect numbers. A good "driver" will be able to get the person out and maintain the speed better than this "option". One safety feature of this is: Your wife can press all the way on the gas and you would get the same launch and speed every time (once you've found your perfect numbers). This machine is for someone looking to try and learn water sports, not Professional skiers or wake boarders. The 155 vs 130 hp difference on this GTI platform does not offer significant difference in terms of performance.
Seventh: 2012 GTI 130 se: Over all the same as the wake; I found the step ladder to be something that is a "must" on most machines past 2010. The water level is afew inches above water and can be hard to jump back on for the weaker people. The reverse and iBR is fun and something I would suggest for new buyers as well as people who have been into this hobby for a while. Have I ever been in a situation in which i NEEDED to brake and stop? No, But for most people stopping is an instinct that people tend to have;; compared to giving it gas and evading the obstacle that people learn after years of jetskiing. These models ARE more economical compared to their supercharger counterparts because of the increased compression; resulting in higher speeds for any given RPM. Ex: at 3500rpm; this platform cruises at around 35mph. The same speeds can be achieved on the supercharged platform at 4000rpm.
After a day of riding being 3-4hours of cruising and stopping somewhere to eat or chat, with a couple high speed runs; the GTI platform consumed around 17 Liters of gas. about 4 Gallons and some. The supercharged skis would consume 5 and some gallons of fuel; around 20-22L. Supercharged skis also have some additional maintenance.
Eighth: 2012 RXP-X 260: My favorite machine when riding 1-up. Hands down the best performance in the waves and this means more comfortable when cruising when the water isnt glass flat. the ride is wet when the machine is pushed hard. The machine feels unstable at low/moderate speeds yet i never felt like it was close to flipping over, I was just riding sideways. 2-up the machine is acceptable but being slightly tipsy feeling in the "cruising speed range" as well as the slightly hard/short seat, makes it something that is puts this machine in the "occasional 2-up". Cost of operation is slightly more compared to the other supercharged skis. I believe it is due to the hull shape which cuts the waves and needs more speed to get up on plane; the difference is not great. The ski consumes 22-23L as opposed to the RXP215 that consumed 20-21L and the RXT-X being in between the two. The model offers many special features including "everything" adjustable that I have personally adjusted once to my preference and left them as-is. The ergo-lock is amazing for touring and cruising around. Storage? Same as the others; However the optional storage bin really helps in my opinion.
Ninth: 2014 Spark H.O. 3-up. Different cup of tea for different types of people...
First time i rode this machine I was surprised by now quick it felt for its power. I found this machine to be exceptionally fun and nimble, operating costs were low as well as the original and maintenance. The downside? I managed to flip it over on multiple occasions, its a pretty wet ride; storage space that was available on board was at best enough the minimum required equipment and a couple of personal belongings. Would i purchase a spark? I wouldn't. I can only see its use as a go out and have fun machine; something from the 90's where going out for a cruise is a workout and leaves you exhausted for the night. However the cheap price and costs associated with this machine definitely is attractive to many new owners. Gas consumption? 20$ for 2-3 days worth of riding.
2008 180 Challenger se with tower and 215hp engine option:
Very fun boat; i would not call it dry as the nose dives and causes some water to get in if you slow down too quickly; very spacious and has many features. Lacks a few features here and there and quality was moderate. Performance is quick and good for something its size; consumption is the same as the jetskis. However the larger tank gives it enough range for cruising. Does surprisingly well in the chop. The boat is acceptable in towing a wake boarder or skier.
The carpet is definitely an option to consider. The boat lacks a table or area for eating. Seating says 8 but i say 6-7 at most. the rear bench is not wide enough for 4 adults.. The windshield is a good thing to have. Storage is adequate at best; the big compartments may need to have some sort of dividers/boxes in some cases.
2010 Speedster 150 se with tower and 215hp engine option: I would not consider this machine as an alternative for a ski; it is a different style of driving and control; It is more relaxed and offers less of a rush. Towing is about the equivalent of towing with a ski; it is not something that will provide a comfortable pull or wake but it is acceptable for someone learning. The boat is almost bare naked and barely has any options; Storage is lacking and the lack of windshield makes this a sport boat as opposed to cruising or going out for a long period of time. Performance in the chop is better than a ski given its length but it does poorly overall in the waves; Bounces over the waves. This boat is on its own class, It lacks the comfort features of the other boats offered by seadoo and lacks the performance of a jetski. This is a good purchase for someone looking for a performance boat for 3-4 people.
I Have boated in fresh water lakes which offer "glass" flat water on some days and moderate to small chop (1-2feet in most areas; however swelling in some areas to 5-6 feet). Storing any of the above in water will result in the need for a hull cleaning once a season (at the end) minimum. As i said previously; i would recommend a marine GPS; built in for the boats and hand-held for the jetskis to see where it is safe to boat, shallow depths and hidden rocks can cause thousands worth of damage which could have been avoided with the help of a map/gps.
Hope this helped, I know this is a lot of information that isnt too well organized but feel free to ask me any questions and i will answer them to my best knowledge/opinion.
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