1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 (717) Specs and Review [Video]

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The 1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 (a.k.a. GSI 717) was a more advanced version of the base GS 720, with more features. They shared the same GS platform and the single-carb Rotax 717 engine, but the GSI was also equipped with electric trim, LCD infocenter, and MPEM. Sea-Doo only marketed the 2-seater GSI in the 1997 model year.

If you want to learn all about this ski, you’ve come to the right place.

We at JetDrift have compiled all you need to know into this 1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 review!

1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 Review

Sea-Doo revealed its 2-seater GS family for the 1996 model year.

The main idea behind this series was to create a bridge between large 3-seater runabouts and the race-intended 2-seaters (XP and HX).

Over the years, Sea-Doo offered the 2-stroke GS in five different configurations, including:

By 1997, this series had been expanded with the base GS and the mid-tier GSI (a.k.a. GSI 717 or GSI 720).

The GS and GSI were almost identical, except the latter featured the LCD infocenter with MPEM. It was also equipped with the innovative electric VTS (variable trim system).

The high-end skis in this breed were the GSX models. They were available with different engine options, including the carbed 787, 947, and the fuel-injected 787 RFI.

For your convenience, we’ve compiled the key differences of these machines into one chart:

Sea-Doo GS vs. GSI vs. GSX Comparison Chart

ModelGSGSIGSX models
EngineRotax 717 Rotax 717Rotax 787 and 947
GaugesFuel gaugeInfocenterInfocenter and Tachometer
Electric trimNoYesYes

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and talk about the GSI 720 in detail!

1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 Review

The 1997 GSI was built on the V-shaped “GS” Sea-Doo hull, which was introduced on the ’96 GSX 800.

This composite fiberglass platform measured 105 inches in length, 45.7 inches in width, and 94 inches in height. Like the base GS, the GSI also weighed 500 pounds and offered a total load limit of 364 pounds.

The GSI offered more stability than the tippy XP and HX thanks to its larger platform. However, even if it was designed as a 2-seater ski, it could barely carry an adult passenger.

Therefore, the GSI was much more of a solo machine than a family PWC.

Its top deck incorporated a bow storage, which housed two separate waterproof storage units. These were designed for storing a tool kit, owner’s manual, fire extinguisher, and even personal belongings.

Unlike its high-performance GSX counterparts, the mid-level GSI utilized an 85 HP Rotax 717 engine. This single-carb, 718cc, 2-stroke twin came with many advanced features, including:

It’s safe to say that the key advantage of this power source was its simplicity. It was the largest carbed 2-stroke Sea-Doo engine without RAVE power valves.

(RAVE exhaust valves ensured higher HP but required annual clearing and made the engine less reliable.)

On the other hand, the GSI offered a lower top speed than its more powerful brothers. While the flagship GSX Limited hit a remarkable 60 mph, the GSI topped out at only 50 mph.

The GSI was equipped with a variable rate oil injection system featuring a 1.6-gallon oil tank. Thanks to this system, refueling the ski was a lot more convenient.

As far as fuel usage, the GSI got an 8.7 GPH at WOT, so its 15-gallon tank ensured riders one and three-quarters of an hour play time.

Standard features of the 1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 included:

  • One-piece seat rated for two riders
  • Handlebar-mounted start/stop button
  • VTS trim system
  • Front storage basket
  • 15-gallon built-in fuel tank
  • 1.6-gallon oil reservoir
  • Electric start
  • Tether cord
  • 3-position fuel valve (ON, OFF, RES)
  • Fuel gauge
  • Overheating warning device
  • LCD infocenter with MPEM
  • Ski tow eye
  • Full deck pads
  • Thumb throttle
  • Bilge drain plugs
  • Sponsons
  • Rear grab handle
  • Tool kit
  • D.E.S.S. key

The Sea-Doo GSI was known for easy handling, affordable price tag, and low maintenance. Due to these features and its smooth operation, it was considered a great beginner ski.

However, the GSI never could reach the popularity of the race intended XP series.

It was a “Jack of all trades, master of none” type of machine, as it lacked the stability and capacities of 3-seater runabouts and offered far less fun than high-performance models.

Due to its 2-seater configuration, it wasn’t legal to tow a wakeboarder or skier in most states.

On top of that, its LCD gauge and MPEM were very expensive, which translated to higher manufacturing and repair costs.

Because of this, the GSI was less appealing than the base GS with regular analog gauges. Due to poor sales numbers, this model was only available for one year.

While the GSI was only marketed in 1997, the base GS remained part of the lineup until 2000.

The last model in the 2-stroke GS series was the GSX RFI, available from 1999 through 2001.

After that, Sea-Doo ceased its 2-stroke GS line to make room for 4-stroke GTI and GTX models.

1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 Specs Chart

For your convenience, we’ve compiled the 1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 (GSI 717) specifications into these charts!

1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 Dimensions

1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720Dimensions and Capacities
Number of passengers2
Overall length267 cm (105 in)
Overall width116 cm (45.7 in)
Overall height99 cm (39 in)
Weight227 kg (500 lb)
Load limit165 kg (364 lb)
Fuel tank56.5 L (15 U.S. gal)
Impeller shaft reservoir - Capacity90 mL (3 U.S. oz)
Impeller shaft reservoir - Oil level heightup to plug
Injection oil reservoir6 L (1.6 U.S. gal)

1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 Engine Specs

1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720Engine Specs
Engine type Rotax 717, 2-stroke
Induction type Rotary valve
Exhaust system Water cooled / water injected
Lubrication - type Oil injection
Lubrication - oil typeBOMBARDIER ROTAX injection oil
Number of cylinders 2
Displacement 718 cm3 (43.81 in3)
RPM Limiter Operation @7000 RPM ± 50
Cooling TypeWater cooled, total loss type. Direct flow from propulsion unit
Fuel - typeRegular unleaded gasoline
Carburetor - type and numberMikuni BN 40I (Diaphragm type) Quantity :1

1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 Propulsion

1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720Propulsion
Propulsion systemBombardier Formula pump
Jet pump typeAxial flow, single-stage
Impeller Rotation (seen from rear)na
TransmissionDirect drive
Impeller shaft reservoir oil typeSEA-DOO synthetic polyolester oil 75W90 GL5
Pivoting angle of direction (nozzle)~ 26°
Pivoting angle of variable trim system (GSII model)± 8°
Minimum required water level for jet pump90 cm (3 ft)

1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 Electrical Features

1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720Electrical Features
Magneto generator output160 W @ 6000 RPM
Ignition system type CDI
Spark plug - Make and typeNGK, BR8ES
Spark plug - Gap0.5-0.6 mm (.020 - .024 in)
Starting systemElectric starter
Battery12 V, 19 A
Starting system Fuse 5 A
Charging system Fuse15 A
Fuse - VTS systemna
Fuse - Holder relayna

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

Sea-Doo GSI 720 For Sale

If you are considering purchasing one, you probably want to know where to find a Sea-Doo GSI 720 for sale. As this model vanished from the market in 1997, it’s already a collectible item, so finding one is not an easy task!

We recommend that you start your research on dedicated 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 GSI 720s for sale on craigslist, PWC Trader, and other dedicated jet ski swap sites.

Takeaway

As a takeaway, we’ve answered the most common questions about the Sea-Doo GSI 720!

What is a Sea-Doo GSI 720?

The Sea-Doo GSI 720 was a mid-tier 2-stroke Sea-Doo PWC.

What Year did Sea-Doo Make the GSI 720?

Sea-Doo only produced the GSI in 2007.

How Many People Could Ride a 1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720?

The Sea-Doo GSI 720 was rated for two riders.

What Size was the 1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720?

The Sea-Doo GSI 720 was 105 inches long, 45.7 inches wide, and 37 inches high.

How Much Did a 1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 Weigh?

The dry weight of the Sea-Doo GSI 720 was only 500 pounds.

What Kind of Engine Did the 1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 Have?

The power source of the 1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 was a single-carb Rotax 717 engine (718cc, 2-stroke twin).

How Much Horsepower Did a 1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 Have?

The Sea-Doo GSI 720 provided 85 HP at 7000 RPM.

Did the 1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 Have Reverse?

No, the Sea-Doo GSI 720 came without reverse.

What Size Storage Compartment Did a Sea-Doo GSI 720 Have?

The Sea-Doo GSI 720 featured only a smaller bow storage basket.

How Much Weight Could a Sea-Doo GSI 720 Hold?

The total weight capacity of the Sea-Doo GSI 720 was 364 pounds.

How Much Fuel Did a 1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 Hold?

The Sea-Doo GSI 720 featured a 15-gallon fuel tank.

How Much Fuel Did a 1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 Use?

The fuel consumption of the Sea-Doo GSI 720 was about 8.7 GPH at WOT.

Could the 1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 Tow a Skier or a Wakeboarder?

No, the Sea-Doo GSI 720 was rated for two riders, so it wasn’t recommended for tow sports.

How Fast Did a 1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 Go?

The top speed of a 1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 was 50 mph in stock condition.

Was a 1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 a 2-Stroke Ski?

Yes, the Sea-Doo GSI 720 utilized a 2-stroke twin engine.

How Much is a 1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720 Worth?

It’s hard to tell the exact price of a 1997 Sea-Doo GSI 720, as it strongly depends on its condition and location. But as a rule of thumb, the prices typically range from $500 up to $2,000.

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