Power Profile: Kawasaki Ultra LX

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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

TOP SPEED
51.9 mph

CRUISING SPEED
30 mph

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)

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Steven Bull is an Associate Producer and Host of PowerBoat Television. He grew up boating on runabouts and PWCs on the lakes around Huntsville, while his wife grew up on cruisers. It only took months after getting married for Steve to adopt that lifestyle. Together, they purchased a Sea Ray 380 Sundancer they keep at the Toronto Islands. A graduate of the University of Windsor’s business school, Steve worked in the front office of OHL and CFL teams before moving to Europe and working as a Ski Guide in the French Alps. He returned to Canada get a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University (formerly UWO). Steve’s broadcast experience ranges from the BBC World Service in England, to business reporter with NTV in Kenya, and from 2010-2014 as a multi-platform reporter and host with CBC News. In 2014, Steve combined his passion for boating with his skills as a broadcaster by joining Lifestyle Integrated where he contributes to Boats&Places Magazine, BoatTest.ca, BoaterNews.ca, and of course, PowerBoat Television.

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