|Sea-Doo GTX Limited iS 255|
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by Thomas Ludens
Each year, manufacturers introduce a slew a new of models, all of them packaged with some new feature or option. Rarely, though, do they reinvent the product they are building. Enter Sea-Doo, with their brand new GTX Limited iS 255. This sporty vessel revolutionizes expectations of what a personal watercraft can be. That begins with the entirely new hull and deck that have been designed for this vessel, but the innovation is far more comprehensive than that.
The Limited iS 255, along with the RXT iS 255 that is also being released this year, introduces a trio of exclusive new integrated technology systems that function seamlessly together to provide a level of safety and comfort never before seen on a PWC.
First there’s the Sea-Doo iControl system, which is the “brain” of the craft. It may be a behind-the-scenes component of the vessel, but its presence will be noticed immediately by anyone who takes the iS 255 for a spin. Integrating and controlling all the various systems to optimize their functionality, iControl allows the PWC to adapt on the fly to meet riders’ needs for different riding styles, changing water conditions and whatever else a certain situation requires.
In addition to this governing function, iControl works with the intelligent Throttle Control to provide the rider with many advanced features and benefits, including cruise control, a GPS speedometer, off-throttle assisted steering and Slow Speed Mode. The new Interactive Multi Function Digital Info Centre displays all these functions in a way that reduces confusion and keeps the rider fully informed.
Sea-Doo has long been at the forefront of suspension on PWC. They began in 1995, with the introduction of a suspended seat. Further innovation in seat suspension followed, but now the company is taking their efforts to a whole new level. The new Intelligent Suspension System (iS) is the industry’s first ever full suspension system. The iS supports the entire rider environment, expanding from the seat to also include the handlebars and footrests.
To maximize the functionality of iS and ensure the smoothest ride, Sea-Doo offers the system in two different factory-set calibrations. The RTX iS 255 has a sportier set-up to accommodate the larger waves of offshore riding, while the GTX Limited iS 255 model is set for a smoother ride at cruising speeds targeted at touring riders, like the many here on the Great Lakes. So, personalization begins before you make your purchase—but it doesn’t end there.
iS can be adjusted on the fly, using a rocker switch on the left handlebar that allows the rider to fine-tune the suspension calibration through nine different settings that range from soft to firm. There’s also an auto-calibration mode for maximum ease of use: it automatically adjusts firmness to ensure that the maximum amount of suspension travel is available in every condition without bottoming.
As one would expect, this makes for an extremely comfortable ride, even in rough waters. iS also provides improved control and reduces fatigue over longer distances, since you don’t have to fight and counteract the effect of each and every wave to remain on course.
The final major breakthrough introduced on this relatively little vessel is the Intelligent Brake and Reverse System (iBR). An unprecedented electronically controlled hand-braking system, iBR provides significantly better control and confidence by allowing riders to slow down and stop on demand as well as delivering superior low speed maneuverability. The throttle on the right handlebar controls the speed of the reserve and a lever on the left handlebar controls the amount of braking. The braking action is progressive, making the iS 255 far more responsive than other PWC.
The result is, in the words of Capt. Mark Rizzo, chief of the Coast Guard Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety, “a revolutionary improvement to the safety” of PWC. For this, iBS was awarded the Boating Safety Award.
These new systems are mounted on the all-new Sea-Doo S3 hull. Built with an exclusive new material that’s simultaneously lighter and stronger than the alternatives, the stepped design glues the craft to the water, providing a precise and stable ride—even in rough water.