From 2009 to 2017, Sea-Doo had watercraft that had suspension. Shoot, if you consider the XP and HX in the early 2000s, it too had a form of suspension.
As of now, Sea-Doo or any jet ski on the market doesn’t have suspension.
When I wrote this post, Sea-Doo still had suspension models. I decided not to change the post too much because it does a good job of explaining suspension on a jet ski.
Suspension Used To Be A Thing
Sea-Doo had suspension on a few models from 1995 to 2017, with a break in between 2005 and 2008.
As for 2018 and now, no jet ski manufacturer has suspension on their watercraft. It doesn’t mean it won’t come back, Sea-Doo has done it twice, but today you can’t get a new watercraft with suspension.
What Is Jet Ski Suspension?
If you have ever ridden a watercraft on a choppy day, then you know it can be painful and just not pleasant. To take the chop out, Sea-Doo came out with “iS” in 2009, which was their intelligent suspension.
This was also the time when Sea-Doo made some major changes to the body style and also introduced the iBR. Let’s be clear, Sea-Doo turned the jet ski world on it’s head with brakes and suspension.
I don’t think anyone expected Sea-Doo or any boat manufacture to come out with brakes and suspension, Sea-Doo did it, and it really pushed the watercraft world forward. Nowadays, all the major jet ski manufacturers have brakes, but sadly, suspension never caught on.
I remember hearing back from the owner, who was at the release party for the new Sea-Doo with suspension. She was trying to tell us what it was since they could not take any pictures.
This is the funny part. Every year I would joke about how one year they will fly. So, when my boss says over the phone that it’s hovering, all I can think of is flying a Sea-Doo.
Basically, the top deck floats above the bottom deck on a hinge with a spring to soften the blow. This is what she was trying to say, but all I heard was hovering.
A few days later, Sea-Doo went public with it, and we had watercraft that had brakes and suspension.
The problem was that it was during the recession, so many of these features were not that groundbreaking to the public as money was becoming very tight.
Is It A Gimmick?
For some odd reason, people thought the suspension was a joke. Many people still think it’s a novelty or gimmick. As someone who has driven many different watercraft over the years, I can honestly say the suspension really does work.
I’m not saying that because I sell them, they really do work. If we got to deliver units to a customer’s house on the weekend, and they have a suspension model, we will fight over who gets to drive that model.
Another thing people worried about was that they thought it was not reliable. Too many things to go wrong, and that’s why they won’t buy a suspension model. The crazy part is that the suspension has been the most reliable feature Sea-Doo has ever come out with. The suspension was more reliable than the iBR that came out at the same time and had fewer moving parts.
Here is a great video of the suspension just working. Watch this video and tell me it’s a gimmick…
What Sea-Doo’s Had Suspension?
Sea-Doo did away with suspension on their watercraft in 2018, but it was not the first time Sea-Doo put suspension on a watercraft.
Sea-Doo had suspension on the XP and HX watercraft for a short time before removing them. So, there’s a chance suspension on a Sea-Doo may come back, it would be nice to see on the Spark, but until then, here is a list of Sea-Doo’s that had Suspension.
- 1995-1997 HX
- 1997-2004 XP
- 2009 GTX Limited iS 255
- 2010 GTX iS 215
- 2009-2012 RXT iS 260
- 2010-2016 GTX Limited iS 260
- 2011-2016 RXT-X aS 260
- 2012-2017 GTX 155 S
iS – Is the intelligent suspension, you would press a button to adjust it or set it to automatic mode. An airbag was used to raise and lower the top deck and adjust the ride. Models with a depth finder would also automatically lower when you got to the dock, it was called dock mode.
S – The S model of suspension was a simple spring that you could adjust the tension, but to adjust it, you needed to be off the watercraft. You basically set it to how hard of a ride you want and left it there.
aS – The aS suspension was the most unique one as it was only on the RXT-X aS. The aS used a nitrogen filled FOX racing shock that had micro adjustments in the glove box.
The suspension on the XP and HX was the simplest one, with the fewest adjustments. The suspension was to take out the hard hits when jumping waves, as these watercraft were lightweight and agile.
The Sea-Doo GTX Limited was the first Sea-Doo to bring back suspension, and also the last model to have it in 2017.
Here is a video of me giving a review of the GTX iS 260 and showing the suspension…
Pretty cool huh!
2018 – No More Suspension
Never thought the day would come when I would have to say that suspension on Sea-Doo watercraft is no more. 2017 was the last year you could get any type of suspension on a jet ski.
Sea-Doo claims you don’t need it anymore due to their new ST3 hull. While it maybe true, it doesn’t help that the cool factor and having something from the future is now gone.
There was no cooler feeling than getting on an iS model and pressing the AUTO button. The machine would whirl to life, lifting you up. I guess we’ll have to find other ways to show off at the docks.
If you like this article, please be sure to check out my must-have jet ski accessories post too!
Why Did Sea-Doo Remove Suspension?
Some may argue that Sea-Doo got rid of suspension on a jet ski because of the cost to build.
I’m sure cost was a factor, but Sea-Doo was never afraid to sell expensive jet skis and from my personal experiences, people we’re buying the suspension models without much fuss.
The reason I think Sea-Doo got rid of the suspension was because of the number one complaint people had with it, they were not stable. We can see this reflected in the replacement with the new ST3 hulls, as Sea-Doo brags about how stable they are.
The suspension made the Sea-Doo too top-heavy, which it needed to be to have some travel for the suspension. While the ride was softer, it was not as stable, and people care more about stability than anything else. It’s why jet skis keep getting bigger and bigger, people don’t want to get wet on jet skis anymore.
Servicing A Jet Ski With Suspension
I need to make a note about servicing a Sea-Doo with suspension.
While you can do basic things like change the battery and change the oil, everything else is harder on a suspension jet ski.
The shop guys had it figured out, you could lift the rear up with a hoist and get to most things, but the average homeowner can’t do this. So if you’re looking to get a Sea-Doo with suspension, please note it’s much harder to work on.
You will also spend more at the repair shops because a lot of the things you need to do require taking the top deck off. Since Sea-Doo hasn’t made a Sea-Doo with suspension since 2017, I would advise avoid buying a used one unless you like working on such watercraft or desperately need suspension.
Here is a video showing you how to remove the top deck.
Shortcuts were found, but even then, it was still a pain to remove the top deck to work on the PWC.