For those looking to get a shot of adrenaline at an affordable price, the GTR-X 230 delivers. She’s got all the performance needed to stretch the rider’s performance boundaries, but isn’t top-heavy with fluff that drives the price up. Still, it’s a remarkably well-equipped watercraft in its own right, boasting some performance features that make it the extra-performer that it is.
- Seating capacity of 2
- Electronic iBR reverse system
- Touring/sport mode
- Ergolock seat
- Handlegrips with palm rest
- Tow hook
- Swim platform carpet with Sea-Doo logo
- Wide-angle mirrors
- Footwell carpets with Sea-Doo logo pattern
|Length Overall||130.6'' / 331.6 cm|
|Beam||48.5'' / 123.1 cm|
Currently no test numbers
1 x Rotax 1500 HO ACE
There’s more to a performance watercraft than tossing in a larger engine, and Sea-Doo seems to have a lock on making the riding experience more comfortable and more enjoyable by putting more of the body into the riding experience. It does this with Ergo-Lock.
Without Ergo-Lock, we’re forced to lean more and hang on, causing a lot of upper body fatigue over a very short time. Sea-Doo builds its performance watercraft with the ability to use more of the body to lock the rider into a better reinforcing position by using the strongest muscles of the body to do so. So what is Ergo-Lock?
Ergo-Lock is a system incorporated into the performance watercraft that allows the rider to more effectively use the leg muscles to lock the body into position. It not only reduces upper body fatigue, it actually allows the rider to push his or her boundaries even further while maintaining the confidence to actually stay on the vehicle throughout the performance envelope. It consists of three key components:
- 1. The Seat. The Ergo-Lock seat is well padded and narrows as it carries forward and then flares out again. This configuration allows the knees to lock into position much more naturally, so when a turn is entered, the knees can come up and further lock the body into position.
- 2. Angled Foot Wells. Sea-Doo makes the foot well angle upwards as it goes outward. This raises the leg, allowing the knees to lock into that raised seat padding even more.
- 3. A.E.S. Adjustable Ergonomic Steering. Lastly, there’s the adjustable steering. Loosen two screws, and the steering wheel can be adjusted for width and grip angle. Gauge marks on both sides ensure that the adjustments come out evenly to both sides.
Of course, a larger engine does play an integral part of the performance package. For the GTR-X 230, Sea-Doo chose the Rotax 1500 HO ACE. This is a supercharged engine with an external intercooler and a closed loop cooling system.
It’s an updated version of the 1503 4-Tech engine and includes several modifications. The super charger has been updated to provide more boost and zero maintenance. The internal intercooler has been removed, and in its place is a larger and corrosion resistant external intercooler.
It’s also been updated for the newer ACE head ease of access, much like the company’s 300-hp model, making it easier to reach the dipstick and oil filter, as well as add more power with a new ACU and cam profile.
Best of all, it’s optimized for operation with regular 87-octane fuel.
- • ITC -- Intelligent Throttle Control. The throttle on the GTR-X 230 is electronically linked to the engine, so there’s no feedback to the trigger. Additionally, this allows for some clever and useful features to be added into the system, all as standard features.
- • Neutral Start. By default, the watercraft will start in the neutral mode. This makes it safer when starting at the dock or when people are in close proximity.
- • Touring Mode. The GTR-X 230 also starts in touring mode, which provides a more relaxed acceleration curve on the way to top speed. This is the mode to put newer riders in, and, certainly, it makes touring more relaxed. Having the machine start in this mode will save a lot of frustration and fear when first time riders are aboard.
- • Sport Mode. Press the “sport” button, and all the power of the Rotax 1500 is unleashed and ready for instant deployment. Now it’s time to hang on and try to keep up with the instant acceleration on up to top speed.
- • Eco Mode. When touring or going for distance, just press the Eco button, and the machine will instantly set the best cruising speed for the most distance traveled relative to the least fuel consumed.
IBR -- Intelligent Braking and Reverse. This is a biggie. Sea-Doo pioneered this technology, and it’s truly a game changer. While the right trigger controls the throttle in the usual manner, the left trigger acts as a brake and reverse. It does this by dropping the reverse bucket down into the path of the jet exhaust and redirects it forward. Simple enough, but this system is intelligent.
It not only drops the bucket down, it senses how fast the machine is moving and adjusts the power output accordingly. So when we are running flat-out, the brake trigger reduces power while simultaneously dropping the reverse bucket. The result is that the watercraft stops in a shorter distance, 160’ (48.78m), according to Sea-Doo, while still allowing the driver to maintain complete control. We tested it over and over, and it’s an astounding addition to the features.
At idle or low speeds, it’s a reverse feature that allows backing off the beach or docking with ease. One caveat, steering is reversed when backing down. Turning the wheel to the left, moves the rear to the right. The easiest way to wrap your mind around this is to always face forward and the handlebars steer the bow, not the stern. We basically stopped from a speed run, pivoted, and blasted off in the opposite direction with incredible ease.
VTS – Variable Trim System. The Variable Trim System allows the rider to adjust the angle of the exhaust port and, thereby, fine tune the trim of the watercraft. This is helpful when running through various conditions such as calm or choppy water as well as correcting for different weights on the seat. With the X models of watercraft, there are several presets that allow for quicker changes on the fly.
Interactive Multifunction Digital Information Center. This centrally mounted gauge at the handlebars allows selectable information that includes VTS presets, fuel consumption readouts for both instant & average fuel use, fuel level, tachometer, speedometer, hour meter, compass, clock, touring mode/sport mode indicators, eco mode indicator, and the F-N-R gear indicator.
Additionally, the X-Watercraft has some additional enhancements to the info center. Here, it also displays time/distance to empty, top/average speed, rpm, lap timer, and engine temperature.
Palm rests. By putting palm rests on each of the grips, Sea-Doo has increased the comfort level of the handlebars dramatically. It’s not only much easier to hang on while riding, but it’s more relaxing. We’ve seen these on other applications such as motorcycles and bicycles and for good reason. They do their job remarkably well.
The GTR-X 230 comes with 30.7 gallons (116.4 L) of storage in two separate compartments. The first is just ahead of the rider and behind the handlebars. It’s a great spot for water bottles, keys, wallets, etc., but keep the cell phones in a dry bag if they go in here. This compartment isn’t waterproof.
The second storage compartment is just ahead of the handlebars, under the bow visor. This one is huge and can swallow a lot of gear -- and it’s removable.
D.E.S.S. and Learning Key. With radio frequency technology and a ball-and-socket design, the Digitally Encoded Security System (D.E.S.S.) key ensured that only your key will start your Sea-Doo. The Learning Key uses the same technology to start one, and only one, watercraft. It also allows the owner to program performance limits based on rider experience. This is a huge feature for those that want to share their performance watercraft with the kids.
D-Sea-BeI system. With everyone thinking they live “On Golden Pond” when they buy their lakefront house, the last thing they need is the screaming of a personal watercraft ruining their tea on the porch.
This system combines a series of resonators and vibration, absorbing components to make all Sea-Doo watercraft some of the quietest on the water.
Driving the GRT-X 230
There’s no lacking for power in this budget-conscious racing machine, that’s for sure. While the 300-hp versions may be a bit faster, don’t feel like this is a compromise in any way, shape, or form. It’s pure adrenaline and excitement.
For the uninitiated, it takes a few minutes to get into the mechanics of how to lean before entering the performance turn, and once in, the G-forces will have their way with you. It’s here where the Ergo Lock system really starts to become a more welcome set of features.
With sport mode engaged, she cranks around and blasts off, requiring a near-death grip on the handlebars, lest the vehicle attempt to leave the rider behind. Hanging on rewards the driver with acceleration that will outpace all others on the lake, so be prepared.
It’s also a watercraft that will school you, forcing you to better your technique every time you ride. Even during a ride, you’ll get better and better with each consecutive move. So let it all hang out and watch how quickly you turn pro.
At $12,999, it’s among the lowest priced performance model Sea-Doo sells. She’s got stunning good looks and thrilling handling to go with it. The same model with a touring seat built for three can be had in the GRT-230 for $1k less, but if you’re looking to keep that X-level of performance, then this will satisfy, and it has everything most riders would need to keep that satisfaction level at its peak.