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1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 Specs and Review [Video]

1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 Specs and Review [Video]

The 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 was almost identical to the high-performance 1995 XP 800 Limited except for having a different color scheme and dashboard. Like its predecessor, the ‘96 XP 800 was built on the race-inspired X-4 hull and powered by a 110 HP, 2-stroke Rotax twin engine.

If you want to learn all about this legendary jet ski, this post is for you.

We at JetDrift have compiled all you need to know into this 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 review!

1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 Review

Sea-Doo revealed its XP series in 1991 with the introduction of the XP 587. The popular Sea-Doo line underwent numerous changes over several generations, which were as follows:

You can learn all about the other models by following the links above!

The 3rd generation of Sea-Doo XP models debuted in the 1995 model year. This line included the entry-level XP 720 and the race-intended XP 800 limited.

These skis were built on the new X-4 platform, which offered much better handling than the outdated 2nd generation built on the XP hull.

This was no surprise since the X-4 was specifically designed for closed-course racing in cooperation with Bullit Marine. For better cornering abilities, it was narrowed at the bow but extended towards the stern and featured a pair of well-designed sponsons.

Its amazing capabilities made the ‘95 XPs very popular among racers and performance-minded riders.

This hull was carried over to the ‘96 XP 800 without any significant changes, just like the “standard” XP hood of the 720 model. The latter incorporated three gauges as well as a pair of adjustable mirrors.

This unique hood was a distinctive feature of Sea-Doo XPs, since most models came with this design, except the unique ‘95 XP 800 Limited. This model utilized a simpler hood, only had a single gauge and no mirrors.

The new model was labeled the 1996 XP 800, referring to its Rotax 787 R.A.V.E. engine. This power source was a 782cc, 2-stroke twin featuring dual Mikuni carbs, CDI ignition, the innovative R.A.V.E. exhaust valves (Rotax Automatic Variable Exhaust).

Surprisingly, this power source made its way to Sea-Doos from Ski-Doo snowmobiles.

The 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 provided 110 HP at 7,200 RPM thanks to its advanced features.

This engine was mounted in the hull in a slanted position to keep the center of gravity low. In other words, the cylinders weren’t in a vertical position, but instead laid on the left side.

This was a very unusual setup, since jet skis typically come with vertical engines.

The engine drove a high-performance axial-flow, single-stage jet pump equipped with a 4-inch spacer on its front. This extra spacer was intended to increase the pump’s volume flow, which resulted in a faster top speed.

Thanks to this unique addition, the top speed of the ‘96 XP 800 was about 56-58 mph, which could be increased beyond 60 mph with some aftermarket mods.

The yellow color scheme with the pink decals was also carried over from the Limited. Besides the body, its seat, hull, handle pole cover, and the hull were also dressed in yellow.

At first glance, the ‘96 XP was very similar in appearance to the ‘95 XP 800 Limited. However, the new model differed in some ways, including:

  • Completely yellow hull (the predecessor featured pink paint on its rear)
  • Flat seat with grab strap (the XP 800 Limited featured a hump seat)
  • “XP” decals on the top deck instead of “XP 800”
  • Large Sea-Doo decals on the sides of the hull
  • Three gauges incorporated into the hood (the Limited had one gauge mounted into the hood and one in the dashboard)
  • Dual adjustable mirrors
  • Different driveshaft and engine (787 vs. 787x)

Another invisible difference between the ‘95 XP 800 Limited and the ’96 XP 800 was the engine displacement. While the latter model came with regular pistons and cylinders (782cc), the XP 800 Limited engine was bored out for 786+cc by the factory.

The main idea behind this overbored engine was that Sea-Doo wanted to make the XP 800 Limited fit for racing in the 1200 class.

Standard features of the 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 were as follows:

  • Watertight front storage
  • Safety lanyard
  • Dual mirrors
  • Rear grab handle
  • Integrated vents
  • Electric trim system (VTS)
  • Tow hook
  • Front and rear eyes
  • Speedometer
  • Trim indicator gauge
  • Multifunction LCD gauge
  • Overheating beeper
  • Bilge drain plug
  • Tool kit
  • D.E.S.S. key

The ‘96 XP came equipped with an analog speedometer to the greatest delight of speed junkies. This gauge was placed on the right side of the dashboard while the speed sensor was mounted on the ride shoe.

On the left side of the dash, there was a large trim indicator gauge. In the middle, you could find an advanced multifunctional LCD gauge with many functions, including:

  • Digital bar-graph fuel level gauge
  • Low battery voltage warning light
  • Engine overheating warning light
  • Low oil level warning light
  • Low fuel level warning light

Riding experience?

There’s no question that the 1996 XP 800 was the most desirable third-generation XP model. It featured the advanced X-4 hull, which handled like a dream and offered outstanding cornering ability.

This mini racing Sea-Doo required a “lean out” riding style as it turned quicker than any competitor sit-down jet ski (except for sport class PWCs). Proper riding required strong muscles and skills because in inexperienced hands, the hull can easily slide out while cornering.

Due to its light weight, the XP 800 accelerated very well, especially on calm water.

Therefore, it was no surprise that the XP 800 dominated the runabout class in those years, but it also gained many fans among recreational riders.

Today you can still find many of these vintage machines running on the water. Since today’s jet skis look like small boats, many buyers turn to these vintage crafts!

They are easy to handle and maintain while offering an unbeatable riding experience.

As my final word, if you are considering buying a vintage jet ski, you can’t go wrong with a Sea-Doo XP 800!

1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 Specs Chart

For your convenience, we’ve compiled the 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 specifications into these charts!


1996 Sea-Doo XP 800Dimensions and Capacities
Number of passengers1 operator and 1 passenger
Overall length254 cm (100 in)
Overall width105 cm (41.5 in)
Overall height92 cm (36.2 in)
Weight197 kg (434 lb)
Load limit160 kg (352 lb)
Hull MaterialComposite (fiberglass)
Fuel tank34 L (9 US gal)
Impeller shaft reservoir - Capacity90 mL (3 US oz)
Impeller shaft reservoir - Oil level heightup to plug
Injection oil reservoir4.5 L (153 US fl oz, 1.2 U.S. gal))

Engine Specs

1996 Sea-Doo XP 800Engine Specs
Engine typeRotax 2-stroke, type 787
Induction typeRotary valve
Exhaust systemWater cooled/water injected
Exhaust valveR.A.V.E.
Lubrication - typeOil injection
Lubrication - oil typeFormula XP-S Synthetic Injection Oil
Number of cylinders2
Displacement782 cm3 (47.69 in3)
Compression Ratio (corrected)na
Maximum Power (approximately)na
Maximum Torque (approximately)na
RPM Limiter Operation @7200 RPM ± 50
Cooling TypeWater cooled, total loss type - Direct flow from propulsion unit
Fuel - typeRegular unleaded gasoline
Carburetor - type and numberBN 40I Diaphragm - Quantity : 2
Cruising time at full throttle - Fuel tank without reserve~ 36 min
Cruising time at full throttle - Fuel tank reserve~ 7 minutes


1996 Sea-Doo XP 800Propulsion
Propulsion systemBombardier Formula pump
Jet pump typeAxial flow, single stage
Impeller Rotation (seen from rear)na
TransmissionDirect drive
Coupling Typena
Impeller shaft reservoir oil typeSea-Doo synthetic polyolester oil 75W90 GL5
Pivoting angle of direction (nozzle)~ 26°
Pivoting angle of variable trim system~ 8°
Minimum required water level for jet pump90 cm (3 ft)
Impeller Diameterna

Electrical Features

1996 Sea-Doo XP 800Electrical Features
Magneto generator output180 W @ 6000 RPM
Ignition system typeDC-CDI
Spark plug - Make and typeNGK BR8ES
Spark plug - Gap0.5 - 0.6 mm (0.020-0.024 in)
Starting systemElectric starter
Ignition timing - BTDCna
Ignition timing - Notena
Battery12 V, 19 A
Starting system Fuse 5 A
Charging system Fuse2 x 15 A
Gauges Fusena
Fuse - VTS system7.5 A
Fuse - Holder relay 5 A

These charts are for informational purposes only! For exact specifications, please refer to the factory manual.

Sea-Doo XP Comparison Chart

We’ve also compared the key specs of the different Sea-Doo XP models head-to-head in one chart:

Gen.NameYearEngineccHPTop Speed (mph)Weigth (lbs)Hull Design
IXP 5801991"Yellow" 5875805545365I gen. SP
IXP 5801992"White" 5875805645365I gen. SP
IIXP 65019936576507045373II gen. SP
IIXP 650x1994657x6508050412II gen. SP
IIIXP 72019957177188550412X-4
IIIXP Limited 8001995787x RAVE786+11056434X-4
IIIXP 8001996787 RAVE78111056434X-4
IVXP 8001997787 RAVE78211056525Parabolic
IVXP Limited1998947 RAVE95113060551Parabolic
IVXP Limited1999947 RAVE95113060551Parabolic
IVXP Limited2000947 RAVE95113060561Parabolic
IVXP Limited2001947 RAVE95113060561Parabolic
IVXP Limited2002947 RAVE95113060561Parabolic
IVXP DI2003947 DI95113060561Parabolic
IVXP DI2004947 DI95113060605Parabolic

1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 For Sale

If you are considering purchasing one, you probably want to know where to find a Sea-Doo XP 800 for sale. As this model vanished from the market in 1996, it’s already a collectible item, so finding one is not an easy task!

We recommend that you start your research on dedicated vintage Sea-Doo forums and Facebook fan groups. Aside from some good deals, you may find some valuable info there about this ski.

Besides these sources, you may also find some used Sea-Doo XP 800s for sale on Craigslist, PWC Trader, and other dedicated jet ski swap sites.


As a takeaway, we’ve answered the most common questions about the 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800!

What is a Sea-Doo XP 800?

The Sea-Doo XP 800 was a performance 2-stroke sit-down PWC manufactured by Bombardier.

What Year did Bombardier Make the Sea-Doo XP 800?

The Canadian manufacturer marketed the 3rd generation Sea-Doo XP 800 in the 1996 model year.

What Kind of Engine Did the 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 Have?

The engine of the 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 was a 2-stroke, 782cc, “Rotax 787 R.A.V.E” twin featuring dual Mikuni carbs, CDI ignition, and an oil injection system.

How Much Horsepower Did a 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 Have?

The 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 provided 110 HP at 7,200 RPM.

How Many People Could Ride a 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800?

The tiny Sea-Doo XP 800 was rated for two riders, but it was actually a solo ski.

How Much Weight Could a 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 Hold?

The total weight capacity of the Sea-Doo XP 800 was 352 pounds.

What Size was the 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800?

The 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 was 100 inches long, 41.5 inches wide, and 36.2 inches high.

How Much Did a 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 Weigh?

The dry weight of the Sea-Doo XP 800 was only 434 pounds.

Did the 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 Have Reverse?

No, the Sea-Doo XP 800 was manufactured without reverse.

Was a Sea-Doo XP 800 a 2-Stroke Ski?

Yes, the Sea-Doo XP 800 utilized a 2-stroke twin engine.

What Size Storage Compartment Did a Sea-Doo XP 800 Have?

The Sea-Doo XP 800 utilized only a small front storage bin.

How Much Fuel Did a 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 Hold?

The Sea-Doo XP 800 utilized a 9-gallon fuel tank and a 1.2-gallon oil reservoir.

How Much Fuel Did a 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 Use?

The Sea-Doo XP 800’s fuel consumption was about 15 GPH at WOT.

How Fast Did a 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 Go?

The top speed of a 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 was 56-58 mph out of the box.

Could the 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 Tow a Skier or a Wakeboarder?

Although it was equipped with a tow eye, the 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 was not recommended for tow sports.

How Much is a 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 Worth?

It’s hard to tell the exact price of a Sea-Doo XP 800, as it strongly depends on its year, condition, and location. But as a rule of thumb, the prices typically range from $1,000 up to $4,000.