Kawasaki SXR 1500 MSRP
Kawasaki SXR 1500 MSRP I had the opportunity to be one of the first non-Hydrospace employees to drive the Hydrospace. I wrote the first ride report on the Hydrospace S4 110 that night and posted it to the PWCtoday forum boards where it can be read up there today, just Google “riff’s Hydrospace review “. In hindsight, I think my review has stood the test of time. I made some courageous claims, but you never came to bear: I reckoned that the four-stroke turbo double cylinder powered ski would usher in an era of 80 mph-standups. I was wrong. A decade fast forward and I’m here to write another “First Ride” review. And again, I’m going to make courageous predictions about the potential of a new ski. This time I’m sure I’ll be right when it comes to 80 + mph skis, but time will tell if my other, even bolder Prognostikationen will come.
Today I write about the new Kawasaki SX-R1500, as well as the topic lightning rod that the Hydrospace was back in 2005, but for various reasons. The 2 skis share similarities to how the public reacted to them. She Hydrospace was seen as a villain who would destroy the sport, and today are feeling similar feelings about the new SX-R. Yes, the Hydrospace harms the sport, not because it existed, but because it was introduced into the racing scene. And as the IJSBA has already announced, they will learn from their mistakes of the past, so praise them.
As with most things in this world, we all want progress, but we just want this to happen on our terms. Don’t worry, this new Kawasaki is a step forward for the sport. I’m not getting paid to say that. I am no longer a sponsored racer who has something to gain from the sugar coating. So I ask you to keep an open mind when you read this article, and give this ski a ride before the verdict. In my opinion, if this ski is not successful, it could mean the end of standups for the good, and probably the biggest missed chance in this sport, since the Standup was originally killed in the 1996. This time there is no sanctioning body or evil OEM fault. We have to look in the mirror.
I haven’t ridden much since I stopped running 10 years ago. I own a beautiful new Yamaha Superjet, which I drove for the first time last summer, although I had it for several years. I haven’t been on the water in six months until this week. So when I ventured into body beach, I thought that the last thing I would do was ride the latest hot topic in the industry. And I certainly didn’t think I could get a good impression of it through my own rust.
Like most of you, I had preconceived notions of skiing. I was at the IJSBA World Finals when the ski was unveiled and none of it led me to give up my Superjet. The SX-R1500 is large. That’s no secret. And I’m not a fan of his looks while it’s on the stand/trailer. But I admit, when on the water, it starts to look more proportionate. The odd high binding line is hidden and the total length of the skis no longer jumps over them. Some predicted that this ski would mean the end of the closed course race because it was built with its size for offshore. Oh, how wrong were we all.
After I had stared at the ski for a few minutes, I was offered the chance to give him a few laps. The ski in question had handlebars, R&D scoop ridges, R&D rear sponsons and a R&D ECU reflash. That was the extent of the modifications, minimal stuff at minimal cost, but I think they had a big impact on the performance of the skis.
I drove about 30 seconds on my knees and just got a feeling for the throttle reaction. Then I got up and on to hit the buoys course and the first thing I noticed was most of what I expected from the ski was wrong. The ski did not feel great, as I had expected from the unique high binding line, and it did not feel great. Frankly, it felt in terms of length/weight/width Like most of the new privately manufactured racing standups, which in recent years have taken over the racing scene. Granted, I haven’t ridden much the last decade, so my opinion may not mean much, but here’s why it should maybe. After less than half a lap on the ski I forgot how long it has been since I drove.
I forgot that I’m rough out of shape and should be rusty. I forgot that I thought the ski was big and ugly. I got on my back right now and I pinned it. The ski took off like a well-tuned racing skis should, drove through the chop at 64 mph, and I hit the next corner as if I had ridden all week on the ski. I was completely lost. I just got to Häme the thing buoy to Ballard. The ski is plenty Agile. She leans, she sweeps, and she can be sharply turned. She didn’t feel hard at all. Fact is, it was fun, really fun.
I fell in love with the skis. When I took it back to the shore, I made the math how fast I could buy one. 64 mph with just one ECU reflash? My only frustration with the ski was that I never felt anxious. I started to wonder if I would still enjoy riding the ski after a week if there was no challenge. I asked my mechanic how fast we could throw a turbo kit at one. I want to feel what 85 mph is on a Standup. Surely this will get my adrenaline going.
There’s a lot to like about this ski. Sure, you can nitpick the aesthetics if you like, some did that with the original SX-R800. The cold, hard truth is this: it is revolutionary in that it has the ability to rebuild the racing scene. Ask yourself what it costs to build a Standup that goes 60 + reliably. Can most racers even take a 64 mph ski to his potential for more than a few curves? Let’s take the road race as an example. Few people on the planet can rip Mugello on a ninja ZX-10R in the race pace, but does that prevent the average Joe from simply riding a motorcycle down the road? Of course not.
And if a potential PwC buyer sees a Runabout on the showroom floor, is the first thing that comes to mind? Nope. But like the Super sport bike, when someone sees a Standup, he always thinks of races. This new SX-R is the first Standup jetski that virtually every rec can ride, but still has a purpose on the racetrack. It’s really a versatile ski that the Rec rider can take the Colorado River up and down, or the racer can have fun in the race. Let me repeat once again that the last part, “Fun racing “.
Wondering how many laps races actually take? I tell you, they take 2 laps. The rest of the time, the field is barely able to hold on to your skis. Passing is rare and mostly due to fatigue, not from driver error or actual bar to bar action. The lack of passing is a big reason why the sport has no spectators outside the bored family member who has been drawn to the races.
Imagine the standups that run reliably in the mid-1960s, with small modifications at a price of about $12k. A ski of which more people think that it can be competitive at cheaper cost means more racers. And at these speeds, while the ski may be easier to drive, I will predict that due to the new speeds more mistakes will be made. The races are won by the race, not by the attrition. Wouldn’t it be excited to see 20 pros line up struggling on forced induktionsstandups that beat 85 mph at the back immediately? Who loses in this scenario? What is there that does not like the potential of the new SX-R1500? Do you worry that now “Anyone can “? This ski is not a Runabout with a pole.
I know experienced professional racers who are afraid of the prospect of making 80 + on a Standup. So spare me the argument that this sport has simply become ‘ too simple ‘. The sport simply became faster and more accessible. Kawasaki is running TV ads again. The last time you ran ads, my knowledge was 1993. If your only criticism of this ski is its size or appearance I could suggest you take a step back and realize that you do not see the big picture here.
Fact is, with all the pros and cons there is much more good on this ski than bad. That means I’m going to address a topic that’s pretty important to me, because I think it’s important to run. I am a big fan of most motor sports. I know that the best motor sports have healthy and competitive private teams. The current revival of the independent hull manufacturer in PwC was good for racing. I imagine this new offer from Kawasaki will damage the sale of $35K standups. If Yamaha finally makes its own four-stroke Standup available, it will only be harder for the “little guy “. If Sea-Doo is involved in the Standup game, which is very likely, it would mean that the independents could sell their last skis.
I hope the independents find a way to move, perhaps as factory-based racing teams. Either way, we should not forget that the GP class and the independent hull manufacturer wore the torch and kept the Standup alive when it was thought to be dead. I will always respectfully appreciate your contributions to sport. However, if we ever come back to three major manufacturers competing for Standup ski sales, it means that this sport is going in an enormously positive direction.
With the trailer, the new SX-R1500 does not look like the traditional Standup. So what. Traditionally, this was a niche sport that could barely survive. Time to get rid of all the traditions and make new opportunities. This applies to all: the thugs, the promoters and the sanctioning bodies. What was done before has not worked. The new proposed class structure aims to keep the older skis, in which all have invested, still viable, while at the same time gently introducing this new Standup. This has never been so (rip the X-2, Blaster, Ski stock class circa 2000-04, etc.). I apologize for making this article less of a ride review and more of an op-ed on the Standup, as I see his role in the sport today.
I drove the new Kawasaki only for 3 laps. It is all I needed to have blown my mind and urge me to write this article. In my opinion, the ski is much better than anyone who has not ridden him will pay tribute to him. I won’t require you to go buy one. With or without skeptics, I think this ski will sell fast and Kawi will start an early run at 2018 production. But I beg you to shake the hands of Kanamori & fuzzy next time. Remember that we all would love an X-2f version. Encourage Yamaha to hurry with new Superjet. If the heels of the stand-ups were strong enough, we would be lucky to see Sea-Doo jumping into the game.
Kawasaki SXR 1500 MSRP
The new Kawasaki is fast and fun, and if you want a challenging task, there are many forced induction options available in the development cycle in Runabouts, which can be easily applied to the SX R1500.
- Reliable and fast
- Very well balanced at slow speeds and full throttle
- Turns well in every angle (not usually a feature of Kawasaki Standups)
- The air induction is very good because it is no longer dependent on the bonnet.
- The hood is extremely heavy, but unlike the Hydrospace, you do not have to get under the hood often and in my opinion heavy hoods to make better handling skis. Light Hoods lower the center of gravity so that the skis lean more over. Just my opinion/preference.
- approx. 27 minutes of running time on a buoy course (the SX-R800 was about 18 at wide open throttle racing)
- No More Mischöl
- This ski can go anywhere (California!)
- Aftermarket engine mods are easy to find
- Rec drivers will love the stability and immediate confidence that this ski inspires
- Racer will love the concept of actually being able to ride every round of your event
- Racer will love the new outrageous speeds. When the Racers drive 80 + and drive past the corners, it is galore, no one will miss the days of the follow-the-leader race.
- Rear schwäsons are a must
- If you are a racing driver, I would immediately add an aftermarket handlebar to get weight forward
- This ski probably conjures up the end of the log jump in races, but when it passes, I make the target conflict. Let’s face it, most just plow the log jump anyway
- I would say weight is a problem, but it didn’t feel heavy on the water
- I would say size is a problem, but it didn’t feel too big while driving
- I would say aesthetics is a theme, but the performance of the skis convinced me, so I closed my eyes