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Sea-Doo SPARK TRIXX (2017-)
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The Spark was a real game changer in the sense that those who weren’t sure about getting on the water became convinced when they saw the price tag. At about $5,300, it became a no-brainer for bringing on-the-water recreation to the family. Now, add some innovative features, a few upgrades to add to the ease of use, and water, and you have the Spark Trixx. It injects adrenaline to what is considered to be an entry-level watercraft, and therein lies the irresistible ingredients.
- Touring mode/Sport mode
- Off-Throttle Assisted Steering (O.T.A.S.)
- Interactive Multifunction Digital Information Center
- Wetgrip Footboard
- Tow Hook
- Emergency Floating Lanyard
|Length Overall||110" (279 cm)|
|Dry Weight||422 lbs. (192 kg)|
|Weight Capacity||352 lbs. (160 kg)|
|Fuel Capacity||7.9 gal (30 L)|
Currently no test numbers
Just because the Spark Trixx is all about the tricks, doesn’t mean safety was left off the table. The law requires that the operator wear a safety lanyard. One end of this safety lanyard plugs into a ball and socket type arrangement at the handlebars. Without the lanyard being engaged, the watercraft will not start. The other end of the lanyard connects to the operator. In this manner, should the operator part ways with the vehicle, the engine will stop and the Spark Trixx will not run away unattended. Just swim back over and reboard.
The typical method of connecting the lanyard is with an eye affixed to the flotation vest. Everyone who rides a personal watercraft such as this is required to wear a flotation vest -- not those orange life jackets that come for free with your boat. The vest not only provides better flotation, it is much safer in the event of falling off the vehicle.
Now to be clear, falling off one of these watercraft is not a hard thing to have happen. Especially when showboating. Heck, when Captain Steve was testing out this ride, he ended up in the water not once, but twice. It’s simply a matter of pushing the boundaries and extending yourself to see where you can go. Sometimes it’s in a kicking tailspin, other times the tailspin kicks you. It’s all part of the fun. Really -- it’s water, not concrete.
Now the Spark and the Spark Trixx share some obvious commonality. Among them is the instantly recognizable open architecture of the skeleton design. The benefits of this design are two-fold.
Firstly, it makes damage repairs much easier. Smack the dock and just replace an individual piece, not the whole body. Secondly, it’s saves a ton of weight. At only 422 lbs. (192 kg), it’s among the lightest watercraft around. That alone makes it a remarkably attractive addition to a cruisers swim platform.
The Spark models both utilize the 90-hp Rotax 900 ACE HO engine, and salt-water operators will love that it features a closed-loop cooling system. Much like a car’s radiator, the cooling system uses liquid coolant to maintain the temperature, but because we don’t have the benefit of air going over a radiator, we instead have a metal plate under the hull that is cooled by the water the Spark is riding in to keep the engine’s components cool.
Additionally, the metal plate of the heat exchange system actually serves as a mounting point for the engine and adds additional strength to the Polytec hull.
Engine access is one major difference between Sea Doo and the competition. In the entry-level models, there really is no easy access to the engine, only the checkpoints and maintenance features like oil fill and filter. Some argue that this is a deterrent, others say it keeps the uninitiated away from the mechanical components and leaves the work to the trained pros.
Of course, any gear-head can get to the engine with some tools, so this makes sense. Whether it makes sense for the buyer is, of course, up to the buyer. Either way, we don’t see it as a deal breaker since there’s a one-year warranty anyway. It’s just a way to keep the wanna-be weekend mechanics off the engine.
Even though this is a “price-point” machine, there are still some features that are shared with the high-end models:
- • Off-throttle steering helps maintain controllability when the throttle is released and thrust is removed from the equation.
- • The Sparks start in Touring mode by default. This give a more docile acceleration curve and is a great feature for the entry-level operator. When more performance is desired, press a button and get into “Sport” mode for more aggressive acceleration.
- • Interactive Multi-function Digital Display. This display allows the operator to cycle through different settings and display functions. It’s an LCD display, so it can easily be read in direct sunlight.
- • Sea Doo’s D-Sea-BeI system keeps the craft from becoming another irritant on the lake by combining a series of resonators and vibration- absorbing components to make it among the quietest on the water.
- • Comfort grips. Both handles on the Spark Trixx have the comfort grips that not only feel better on the hands, they prevent the fatigue from hanging on for extended periods. We’ve seen these types of grips on touring bicycles for the same reason.
- • Intelligent Brake and Reverse. It’s actually pretty impressive that this feature is included on a price point watercraft, and we’re glad to see it. The right trigger is the throttle while the left activates the braking and reverse feature. At the dock, just a quick squeeze and release has the Spark Trixx moving slowly in reverse, and adding throttle will add speed. Now, steering is also reversed, so don’t turn the handlebars in the direction you want the rear to move. Steer the bow.
- When at cruising speed, squeezing the brake trigger overrides the throttle, and the reverse bucket drops while managing speed to prevent launching the driver off the vehicle. Braking is controlled and steering is still available. Keep the reverse trigger pressed and reverse takes over again. We did this time and again and never saw even a hint of control loss, and we stopped within seconds of pressing the trigger. Very impressive, and more so that it’s on an entry-level machine.
Trixx Specific Features
While the Trixx is still a Spark, this model has some features that the base Spark does not.
- • Handlebar with Adjustable Riser. This premium handlebar is fabricated from aluminum and is set 150mm higher than the regular Sea Doo Spark. It’s also adjustable into multiple positions making it easier and more comfortable to lean, maneuver, and play more with the machine itself.
- • Step Wedges. At the rear of the footwells are wedges to support the feet and bring the weight to the rear of the craft for added tricks. This is part of what allows what has become the Trixx signature trick -- the tailwalk.
- • Extended Range Variable Trim System (VTS). The VTS normally adjusts the angle of the nozzle to change the behavior of the watercraft, keep the ride parallel to the water, and allow for overall adjustability to varying distributions of weight.
- The Extended Range VTS has double the range of the regular VTS for the SPARK, so you can exaggerate how high you can raise the nose or how deep you can bury it in the water, making performing tricks as easy as can be.
Once Capt. Steve got on the water with the Spark Trixx, it was a matter of wringing it out and seeing what both he and the Trixx could do, and in no time, he had rolled it over and was dumped in the water. Such is the way when you push the vehicle and see where limitations begin and end. But it’s this sort of operation that the Trixx really brings out.
Of course, we can quickly master putting the trim all the way up, standing on the foot wedges, and tail-walking across the lake, but with a little more time and practice, and yes... dunking, some interesting maneuvers start to manifest. Tail stands, power slides, 180-hops, and plenty of “yet-to-be-named” (we figure we’d name the “getting dunked overboard” the Capt. Steve) tricks are all not only possible, but easier with the Trixx.
Entry Level Observations
As with our test of the original Spark, we knew that Capt. Steve wasn’t the target audience. So we dusted off our kid from the last test and turned him loose on the Spark Trixx. Much like before, he took to it like a duck to water, but this time, we saw him get much more aggressive and push his own envelope of handling. Such is the way with the Trixx, it challenges you to grow and try new things, mostly because it’s easy to do.
While the Sea Doo Spark Trixx is a pretty tricked out model, there are still some options that we’d consider.
- • Front Storage Bin Kit. This simply adds storage to the front and eliminates the open skeleton design that makes the Spark so easily recognized. And frankly, storage is always at a premium regardless of the vehicle.
- • Front Deflector Lid Kit. Now that the water is not flowing through the open front end, it’s nice to deflect the wash overboard with a deflector kit.
- • Reboarding Step. You’re going to end up in the water -- get comfortable with that fact. Deal with it a little better with the reboarding step. It flips down from underneath the rear deck to make climbing back aboard that much easier.
- • D.E.S.S Key. Digital Electronic Security System makes it so that only your security lanyard key is the one that will start your Sea Doo Spark Trixx. It’s a great idea since the basic keys are available right off the shelf and allows anyone to start and ride off with your precious Trixx. Even better is that it comes with another key, a “learning key” that reduces the power output making it safer for those first time riders trying out your Spark.
- • Grip Mat. This mat goes into both the foot well and back deck and not only adds traction, it adds heat resistance. Those decks can get hot after a few hours in direct sunlight.
- • Sea Doo Trailer and Cover. If you’re not going to be leaving this on the swim platform or the beach, then a trailer makes transport a viable option. Either way, a cover is an essential way to protect your investment.
Both the lightweight and light price of the Spark makes it seen on cruisers all over the place. All you have to do is start looking, and they’ll be seen. With the added features of the Spark Trixx, we can easily see that it won’t be long before this model starts replacing the previous as the next sought after “on the water” toy of the cruising set.