1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 Specs and Review [Video]
The 1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 is considered to be the first member of the 4th generation Sea-Doo XP series. It was built on an entirely new platform but inherited its Rotax 787 R.A.V.E. engine from the 1996 XP 800. Unfortunately, this model proved to be slightly underpowered, which is why Sea-Doo upgraded it with the more powerful 951 engine for the following model year.
If you want to learn all about this iconic craft, this post is for you.
We at JetDrift have compiled all you need to know into this 1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 review!
1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 Review
The 4 Sea-Doo XP Generations
The history of the legendary Sea-Doo XP family started in 1991. Since then, this model has undergone numerous changes over several generations, including:
- 1991-1992 Sea-Doo XP 580 (587) – 1st GEN
- 1993 Sea-Doo XP 650 (657) – 2nd GEN
- 1994 Sea-Doo XP 657x (657x)- 2nd GEN
- 1995 Sea-Doo XP 720 (717) – 3rd GEN
- 1995 Sea-Doo XP 800 Limited (787x) – 3rd GEN
- 1996 Sea-Doo XP 800 (787) – 3rd GEN
- 1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 (787) – 4th GEN
- 1998-2002 Sea-Doo XP Limited (951) – 4th GEN
- 2003-2004 Sea-Doo XP DI (951) – 4th GEN
You can learn all about the other models by following the links above!
1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 Review
The 4th generation Sea-Doo XP series (1997-2004) made its debut in 1997 with the ’97 XP 800.
Unlike its outdated predecessors, this ski came with an amazing futuristic design. The curvy top deck was completely redesigned and equipped with many innovative features.
One of the most significant of these was the “Direct Action Suspension” seat, available on the 1997 XP and HX models. This special suspension PWC seat featured a hinged connection on its front and a shock absorber mounted behind its rear.
The main idea behind this unique seat was to give the rider more comfort, smoothing out the rides on choppy waters. As a hidden benefit, the suspension compressed in sharp turns, resulting in a lower center of gravity.
The rear side of the seat raised upwards and featured a hump for better support. It looked like a motorcycle saddle rather than a regular PWC seat!
Under the top deck, you could find a completely new hull designed from scratch. This innovative 4th generation XP hull featured an “hourglass profile,” offering a unique riding experience.
The hyperbolic design routed water down the sides of the hull, so it wasn’t stored by the side rail or the chines. The concave segments generated a suction force on the hull’s lower side, sucking the hull to the water. As you can imagine, this ensured outstanding cornering ability.
On earlier Sea-Doo XPs finding the right riding position caused a lot of headaches, especially for novice riders. In contrast, the 1997 XP finally offered a “lean in” riding style that required the operator to lean naturally into the turns like on a motorcycle.
Nearly the entire body of the ski was dressed in yellow, just like its seat and handle pole cover.
This stylish design was completed with some parts in black like the sponsons, deck mats, rear grab handle, and the upper storage cover.
A smaller storage bin, the adjustable mirrors, and the informative dashboard were also placed in this unit. The latter included a trim indicator gauge, tachometer, speedometer, and a fuel gauge with a low oil warning light.
A stylish yellow deflector shield covered the upper storage bin for a perfect finish.
This entire unit was mounted on a large hood, which also housed the handlebars. Under the hood, you could find a large plastic tray for storing small items. Removing this tray allowed access to the engine compartment.
The outdated dash panel also vanished from the top deck, with all controls being relocated onto the handlebars.
The power source of the 1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 was the proven Rotax 787 R.A.V.E. engine carried over from the previous model year.
This 782cc, 2-stroke twin came with a variety of advanced features, including:
- R.A.V.E. (Rotax Adjustable Variable Exhaust) valves
- 2 x Mikuni BN 40I diaphragm-style carburetors
- Variable-rate oil injection system
- GP-style air intake system
- Handlebar-mounted start/stop button
- Electric start
- Digitally encoded theft-deterrent system (D.E.S.S.)
- Canted engine position
The Rotax 787 R.A.V.E. cranked out 110 HP at 7200 RPM thanks to these advanced features.
Engine power was delivered to a Bombardier Formula water jet pump. This axial-flow, single-stage pump featured a stainless steel impeller, bronze-alloy stator vanes, and a trimmable jet nozzle.
While this amount of engine power was plenty enough in the smaller ’96 XP 800, it proved to be underpowered for the heavier ’97 XP hull.
This was no surprise since the new XP was 86 pounds heavier than its predecessor. This significant increase in weight ensured a worse power-to-weight ratio, which resulted in slower acceleration.
Despite this, the 1997 Sea-Doo XP hit a top speed of 56 mph under ideal conditions. Although it was more stable than the ‘96 model, its deep-V hull was still very agile, which made it difficult to ride for beginners.
Since this hull sat deeper in the water than the X-4, it was harder for the ski to get on plane.
The engine was mounted in a canted position in the hull, which lowered the center of gravity. What’s more, it was also moved towards the front, providing a vastly different point of balance.
Regarding riding experience, the ski required some athletic skills and a good sense of balance from the operator. Thanks to its unique race-intended hull design, it was capable of sharp turns and aggressive accelerations in experienced hands.
Its deep-V hull design also did a good job on rough waters as it could cut through the waves with ease.
Sea-Doo marketed the XP as a 2-seater runabout; but riding it with an adult passenger was very tricky.
Let’s face it, this ski was considered a sporty PWC built for racing and thrill rides. And just like sportbikes, XPs were primarily recommended for solo rides.
Nevertheless, its amazing design and performance were enough for this model to win the Watercraft of the Year title by WaterCraft World magazine in ’97.
Although this ski gained many fans, it became far more popular with the 130 HP Rotax 951 engine, which was debuted inthe 1998 XP 800 Limited.
1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 Features
The standard features of the 1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 were as follows:
- Watertight front storage
- Safety lanyard
- Dual mirrors
- Rear grab handle
- Integrated GP-style air intake system
- Electric trim system (VTS)
- Tow hook
- Front and rear eyes
- Fuel gauge (with low-oil warning light)
- Trim indicator gauge
- Monitoring beeper
- Bilge drain plug
- Fuel valve
- Tool kit
- D.E.S.S. key
1997 Sea-Doo XP Issues
As we’ve discussed, the main problem with this ski was its underpowered Rotax 787 engine configuration.
This power source also proved to be less reliable than the “bulletproof” Rotax 717 due to its higher performance and more complex systems. For example, its R.A.V.E. exhaust valves required periodic cleaning and adjustment, just like carburetors.
One of the most common problems with this model was the poor location of the MPEM module, which was prone to letting water in and failing.
1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 Specs Chart
For your convenience, we’ve compiled the 1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 specifications into these charts!
1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 Dimensions
|1997 Sea-Doo XP 800||Dimensions and Capacities|
|Number of passengers||2 (driver included)|
|Overall length||269 cm (106 in)|
|Overall width||104 cm (41 in)|
|Weight||236 kg (520 lb)|
|Load limit||136 kg (300 lb)|
|Hull Material||Composite (fiberglass)|
|Fuel tank||45.5 L (12 U.S. gal)|
|Impeller shaft reservoir - Capacity||90 mL (3 U.S. oz)|
|Impeller shaft reservoir - Oil level height||up to plug|
|Injection oil reservoir||4.5 L (1.2 U.S. gal))|
1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 Engine Specs
|1997 Sea-Doo XP 800||Engine Specs|
|Engine type||Rotax 2-stroke, type 787|
|Induction type||Rotary valve|
|Exhaust system||Water cooled / water injected with regulator|
|Lubrication - type||Oil injection|
|Lubrication - oil type||Formula XP-S Synthetic Injection Oil|
|Number of cylinders||2|
|Displacement||781.6 cm3 (47.7 in3)|
|Maximum Power (approximately)||110 HP|
|RPM Limiter Operation @||7200 RPM ± 50|
|Cooling Type||Water cooled, total loss type - Direct flow from propulsion unit|
|Fuel - type||Regular unleaded gasoline|
|Carburetor - type and number||BN 40I Diaphragm - Quantity : 2|
1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 Propulsion
|1997 Sea-Doo XP 800||Propulsion|
|Propulsion system||Bombardier Formula pump|
|Jet pump type||Axial flow, single stage|
|Impeller Rotation (seen from rear)||na|
|Transmission||Direct drive / split FR and RR|
|Impeller shaft reservoir oil type||Sea-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 pump||90 cm (3 ft)|
1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 Electrical Features
|1997 Sea-Doo XP 800||Electrical Features|
|Magneto generator output||180 W @ 6000 RPM|
|Ignition system type||DC-CDI|
|Spark plug - Make and type||NGK BR8ES|
|Spark plug - Gap||0.5 - 0.6 mm (0.020-0.024 in)|
|Starting system||Electric starter|
|Ignition timing - BTDC||na|
|Ignition timing - Note||na|
|Battery||12 V, 19 A|
|Starting system Fuse||5 A|
|Charging system Fuse||2 x 15 A|
|Fuse - VTS system||7.5 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.||Name||Year||Engine||cc||HP||Top Speed (mph)||Weigth (lbs)||Hull Design|
|I||XP 580||1991||"Yellow" 587||580||55||45||365||I gen. SP|
|I||XP 580||1992||"White" 587||580||56||45||365||I gen. SP|
|II||XP 650||1993||657||650||70||45||373||II gen. SP|
|II||XP 650x||1994||657x||650||80||50||412||II gen. SP|
|III||XP Limited 800||1995||787x RAVE||786+||110||56||434||X-4|
|III||XP 800||1996||787 RAVE||781||110||56||434||X-4|
|IV||XP 800||1997||787 RAVE||782||110||56||525||Parabolic|
|IV||XP Limited||1998||947 RAVE||951||130||60||551||Parabolic|
|IV||XP Limited||1999||947 RAVE||951||130||60||551||Parabolic|
|IV||XP Limited||2000||947 RAVE||951||130||60||561||Parabolic|
|IV||XP Limited||2001||947 RAVE||951||130||60||561||Parabolic|
|IV||XP Limited||2002||947 RAVE||951||130||60||561||Parabolic|
|IV||XP DI||2003||947 DI||951||130||60||561||Parabolic|
|IV||XP DI||2004||947 DI||951||130||60||605||Parabolic|
1997 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 1997, 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 1997 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 4th generation Sea-Doo XP 800 in the 1997 model year.
What Kind of Engine Did the 1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 Have?
The engine of the 1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 was a 2-stroke, 782cc, Rotax 787 RAVE twin featuring two BN-40I Mikuni carbs, CDI ignition, and a variable rate oil injection system.
How Much Horsepower Did a 1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 Have?
The 1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 provided 110 HP at 7,200 RPM.
How Many People Could Ride a 1997 Sea-Doo XP 800?
The 1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 was rated for two riders, but it was actually a solo ski.
How Much Weight Could a 1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 Hold?
The total weight capacity of the Sea-Doo XP 800 was 300 pounds.
What Size was the 1997 Sea-Doo XP 800?
The 1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 was 106 inches long and 41 inches wide.
How Much Did a 1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 Weigh?
The dry weight of the Sea-Doo XP 800 was 520 pounds.
Did the 1997 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 had a total storage capacity of 5.5 gallons.
How Much Fuel Did a 1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 Hold?
The Sea-Doo XP 800 utilized a 12-gallon fuel tank and a 1.2-gallon oil reservoir.
How Much Fuel Did a 1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 Use?
The 1997 Sea-Doo XP 800’s fuel consumption was about 14 GPH at WOT.
How Fast Did a 1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 Go?
The top speed of a 1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 was 56 mph under ideal conditions.
Could the 1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 Tow a Skier or a Wakeboarder?
Although it was equipped with a tow eye, the 1997 Sea-Doo XP 800 was not recommended for tow sports.
How Much is a 1997 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 $1,500 up to $6,000.
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