Easily one of the most anticipated watercraft from last year, is the return of the Kawasaki SX-R stand-up jet ski. Obviously this year, it’s coming with a whole lot of more power and a whole new engine!

It was 1973 when Kawasaki introduced the jets, and 44 years later they’ve introduced the first production, four-stroke 1.5 litre jet ski, the SX-R. The new SX-R shares a lot of its parts and DNA with the existing ST-X 15F and ultra line-up.

The motor itself comes directly out of the 15-F, using almost all the parts from the engine and the pump, while the intake manifold is off of the 310 and X and R models, as its made out of the composite plastic material that helps keep it cool with the long runners for better acceleration.

We also found that access to the spark plugs and other maintenance points are easily accessible… The SX-R features a 6 gallon fuel cell in the front, which also allows for considerable more riding time, out on the lakes and rivers etc.

The big talk for the new SX-R was obviously the 160 horsepower that came from the naturally aspirated 1.5 litre engine. For us, while horsepower is always attractive we wanted to see how the ski handles. We want to know how the 160” length of the new ski, which is considerably longer than the outgoing 800 model, handles, how it behaves and how it responds to rider input…

Admittedly my stand up skills are lacking but having spent the whole day with the SX-R, i’ve gotten to know a little bit of its behaviour:

The ski is amazingly responsive. The auto-response effect is immediate but more importantly, the hull is responsive to rider input. So rider input, weight shift and leaning over, so all the responses you would expect from a smaller ski. There’s nothing about the new SX-R  that makes us question its ability to go around buoys, cut a hard turn and navigate through offshore chop or rough water conditions in a closed course – this ski is truly impressive.

We found throttle response is immediate, as well as steering implements. Obviously the ski size and 551pounds makes it considerably larger than any other previous stand-up. What this does as a benefit, is allow the SX-R to cut through chop very well. It allows the amateur or novice rider to feel far more confident than any other stand up I have tested before.

It’s very possible that new 160 horse powered Kawasaki SX-R has everything necessary to rekindle the sport of stand-up riding, whether you’re a racer, a recreational rider or just an enthusiast who wants to get back in the water!


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