By Steven Bull
It seems that every year personal watercraft are taken to dizzying new heights in terms of technological advancements. The Kawasaki Ultra LX, however, feels like a back-to-basics jet ski – without being at all basic.
It’s a well-engineered machine that rips across the water. The hull design is stable at idle so if you happen to be in the middle of a bay trying to secure a GoPro for a BoatTest.ca video shoot, you won’t capsize. Always appreciated!
Though not as fast as its high-performance sisters in the Ultra line like the 310 LX, it easily cracks 50 miles per hour on a busy, choppy test day. In better conditions and with a lighter rider, you could get a few more clicks out of it. The low 50s is still really fast when you’re on something so small and light. Cruising around 30 mph was a little more comfortable, and realistic for most riding.
For newbies, and especially for parents, the dual-key system remains a big selling feature. The regular key unlocks the full power potential of the PWC, while SLO (Smart Learning Operation) key limits the output and speed.
The keys slide into a slot in a small compartment just behind the handlebars – a great area for phones and wallets. Bigger items and safety gear can be stored in the roomy bow compartment. The compartment is easily accessed while onboard due to a well-placed latch.
There isn’t the additional neutral/reverse throttle that the competitors have, but there is a reverse handle that you pull up and, when squeezing the regular, right-hand throttle you have good mobility to help position you at the dock or the ramp.
Some PWCs are big, comfy cruisers that try to replicate the amenities of a boat. The Ultra LX, however, stays true to its roots as a fun and nimble Jet Ski and is an absolute blast to ride.
Test Boat Engine
Four-stroke, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, four-cylinder inline
Length: 11 ft 1 in / 3.37 m
Beam: 3 ft 11 in / 1.19 m
Weight: 932.7 lbs / 423 kg
Fuel Capacity: 20.6 gals / 78 L
Price: $11,199 USD (MSRP)