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This PWC is bad to the bone: Sea-Doo RXT-X aS 260.

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Peer through the window set into the top of the glove compartment on the Sea-Doo RXT-X aS 260 and you'll see a small blue and gray tank. Is this a Flux Capacitor? A nitrous oxide bottle? Nope, it's just Sea-Doo's latest technological rabbit pulled out of its hat, which lately seems to contain an endless flow of PWC breakthroughs.

Two years ago, I got my first look at the future while aboard the RXT-X iS 255, which featured an active suspension between the upper deck and hull that allowed me to stay with the young hotshot riders into steep 2- to 3-footers as we beat into a pre-hurricane headwind. The only beef expert riders had was that in really huge waves, the suspension wasn't stiff enough to avoid bottoming out, and it tended to be a little trampoline-like on the rebound. That's where the little bottle comes in, because now riders can turn the blue aluminum knob and, thanks to a nitrogen-charged remote oil tank, they can manually control the active suspension's stiffness.

So if you are cruising up the Intracoastal in 1 -foot seas, back it off to its cushiest setting. But if you head out of the inlet into 6-foot waves like we did last summer when a group of PWC riders headed to Bimini, then you turn the knob to stiffen the ride for more control. The RXT-X aS 260 also allows you to change the amount of preload with a wrench to give every-size rider the perfect ride.

So what is it like to ride a 260 hp PWC that weighs 960 pounds? To get that same power-to-weight ratio on a 2011 Camaro, you would need a 1,034 hp engine. Although the top speed is capped by an agreement with the Coast Guard at 65 mph (top speed is closer to 67 mph), the time it takes to get there will blow your mind. Try 0-30 mph in 1.7 seconds. What's special about the supercharged, intercooled 1.5L Rotax 4-TEC engine is how linear and smooth the power comes on. Throttle control is via your index finger on a drive-by-wire-controlled aluminum billet trigger, and the fury comes on as fast or as slow as you want. By selecting Touring mode, the power is more graduated and smoother. Select Sport mode and the X-Information Center warns you to hold on for dear life.

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The list of innovations is long, starting with the iBR braking system, which is an industry first. While really experienced riders have it ingrained in their DNA to stay on the throttle and steer their way out, the rest of us instinctively reduce the throttle or go for the brakes if we've got them. Besides, there are some situations you can't steer out of (Sea-Doo's O.T.A.S. system allows steering even with the throttle off).

Riders will love how the 260 always starts in neutral, so you can avoid panic starts where you bump into the closest obstruction while looking rather uncool in the process. Another benefit is that when you shift, your hands always stay planted on the handlebars.

Despite weighing nearly 1,000 pounds, the 260's S3 hull ensures that handling is superb; you'll have no problem creating a Vulcan mind meld between man and machine. The VTS trim system allows you to alter the hull's attitude for cruising, trim down for holeshots and turn within a boat length. The ergonomics are superb, with a contoured, flip-up seat that holds you well even during dragster-like starts. Another custom touch is that the X- Handlebars are totally adjustable, so you're assured of a perfect fit, reducing rider fatigue. Sea-Doos come with a closed cooling system to keep internal passages from corroding.
SEA-DOO
RXT-X aS 260

SPECIFICATIONS

Length                                   139 in.
Beam                                      48 in.
Capacity                            3 passengers
Dry Weight                              960 lbs.
Fuel Capacity                         18.6 gals.

POWER

Horsepower                                   260
Price           w/1.5L supercharged, intercooled
                          in-line 3-cyl. $15,999

NOTABLE
STANDARD FEATURES

Digital theft-deterrent system, ski tow, tilt
steering, lap timer, compass, clock

MUST-HAVE OPTIONS

Reboarding ladder, depthfinder, cruise control,
sandbag anchor, Speed Tie retractable
dockline

BUILDER

Bombardier Recreational Products,
sea-doo.com

Circle 7 on reader service card, page 33
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Title Annotation:tested: Sea-Doo RXT aS 260; new personal watercraft from Bombardier Recreational Products
Author:Jones, Alan
Publication:Boating World
Article Type:Product/service evaluation
Date:May 1, 2011
Words:703
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