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Honda AquaTrax R-12 Review and Specs [Video]

Honda AquaTrax R-12 Review and Specs [Video]

The Honda AquaTrax R-12 was a naturally aspirated version of the more powerful turbocharged R-12X. These skis were released as the smaller, 2-seater relatives of the 3-seater F-12 series. The Japanese manufacturer marketed the R-12 from 2003 through 2007 without any significant changes.

If you want to find out more about this runabout Honda PWC, you’ve come to the right place.

We at JetDrift have compiled all you need to know under one roof!

Honda AquaTrax R-12 Review

Honda AquaTrax R-12 Hull

The body of the Honda AquaTrax R-12 was made of industry-standard fiberglass-reinforced plastic.

But contrary to popular belief, the hull of this ski wasn’t a shortened version of the proven F-12 platform.

Even though their top decks were similar at first glance, the R-12 series featured a completely different hull design. In terms of dimensions, the “R” AquaTrax hull measured 120.6 inches in length, 45.4 inches in width, and 40.8 inches in height.

It was not only 5.4 inches shorter and 3.6 inches narrower than the large 3-seater F-12, but it also featured a shorter saddle rated for 2 riders.

The R-12 housed a 16.64-gallon fuel tank and two storage compartments, a tiny glovebox, and a bow storage.

You could expect the overall storage capacity of the ski to only be 5.8 gallons while its weight capacity was 338 pounds, 186 pounds less than the F-12.

Honda AquaTrax R-12 Engine

The R-12 AquaTrax series borrowed their 4-stroke engines from the F-12 line.

As a rule of thumb, the R-12X (ARX1200T2) was the turbocharged model, while the R-12 (ARX1200N2) housed a naturally-aspirated engine option.

The latter was a high-revving 4-stroke, 1235cc, DOHC, fuel injected, inline-4, purpose-built Honda PWC engine rated at 125hp at 7000 RPM. Thanks to its efficient 4-stroke design, it met all current EPA and CARB emissions standards.

This powerhouse came standard with a lot of advanced features, including:

  • 4-stroke, inline-4 architecture
  • DOHC valve system
  • Electronic keyless ignition system
  • Side-mounted, silent-type cam chain
  • IMR9D-9H Iridium-tip spark plugs
  • Honda Ignition Control System (ICS)
  • Off-throttle steering system (OTS)
  • High-pressure programmed fuel injection (PGM-FI)
  • Four 43 psi fuel injectors with 38mm throttle bodies
  • ECU-provided fuel injection maps for each cylinder
  • Stainless steel oil cooler
  • Dry-sump oil system
This engine was matched with a Solas 147mm jet pump for optimal performance. It housed a 3-blade, stainless steel impeller featuring polished edges.

Honda AquaTrax R-12 Features

The AquaTrax R-12 came standard with a wide range of innovative features, which were as follows:

  • Electronic keyless ignition system
  • Engine shut-off switch
  • Safety lanyard
  • Bow storage
  • Glovebox
  • Tool kit compartment
  • Fire extinguisher compartment
  • Sponsons
  • Trim system
  • Finger throttle lever
  • Manual reverse
  • One-piece seat for 2
  • Bow and stern eyelets
  • Deck mats
  • Drain plugs
Unfortunately, it lacked some convenience features like dual mirrors, ski-eye, and a reboarding step, which came standard on more advanced F-12 models.

The AquaTrax R-12 was also designed with an innovative multifunction display,  which had many useful functions, including:

  • Tachometer
  • Speedometer
  • Fuel gauge
  • Low fuel indicator
  • Multifunction meter
  • Low battery voltage indicator
  • Engine overheating indicator
  • Limit mode indicator
  • Low oil pressure indicator
  • PGM-FI malfunction indicator lamp
  • Warning lamp

Honda AquaTrax R-12 Top Speed and Performance

Honda PWCs built their reputation on amazing performance, and the R-12 was no exception. Even though it was powered by the naturally aspirated engine option, it still topped out at 54-55 mph out of the box.

This lively 125hp engine ensured a crisp throttle response and optimal performance across the entire powerband.

It was not only more reliable but also more fuel efficient than the turbocharged R-12X.

You could expect the fuel economy of the R-12 to be 9.25 gph at WOT, which could be decreased to 3 gph while cruising. At the same speeds, its turbocharged variant burned 13.84 and 4 gph, respectively.

In addition to its great top-end and arm-stretching acceleration, the R-12 was also known for having great maneuverability and exciting handling.

Compared to the larger F-12, the R-12 was smaller, quicker, more predictable, and turned tighter. What’s more, its hull offered dryer rides, which was a game changer in choppy water conditions.

Its unique hull featured a sharp chine and well-designed sponsons, which allowed the ski to roll into the turns effortlessly.

Keeping a low center of gravity in mind, the engine was planted deeply inside the hull. However, due to a relatively high seating position, the ski became tippy at lower speeds with an adult passenger onboard.

But let’s face it, just like its competitors, the Sea-Doo RXP 215 and Yamaha GP1300R, the Honda R-12 was more of a solo performance PWC rather than a family runabout.

Riders also appreciated its manually adjustable quick trim system, which ensured a better hook and helped prevent porpoising.

Honda AquaTrax R-12 Problems

Honda AquaTrax PWCs were some of the most reliable PWCs of their time.

Compared to the old 2-strokes the only drawback of these skis was their relatively complex electrical system.

They were packed full of sensors that were sometimes prone to failing. These malfunctions could foul the ECU, which reduced its top speed or delivered various error codes.

We also have to mention that even though it housed a naturally aspirated engine, it required premium gasoline, which was not only more expensive but also more difficult to find.

The R-12 was also a less-featured Honda PWC model, meaning that it lacked some key accessories like a reboarding step.

Even though it had a “reboarding groove,” that worked as a second grab handle, reboarding the R-12 was much harder to do than on the F-12. This is not surprising since the latter was not only larger and more stable but also equipped with a reboarding step.

What’s more, since the R-12 came with a 2-rider saddle and lacked a ski eye, it couldn’t be used for tow sports.

Honda AquaTrax R-12 Specs Charts

For your convenience, we’ve listed the main specs of the 2006 Honda AquaTrax R-12 in these charts:(Please note that the specs may vary by the model year.)

Honda AquaTrax R-12 Engine Specs

2006 AquaTrax R-12Engine Specs
Type4-stroke, inline-4
Number of cylinders4
Displacement1235 cm³ (75.3 cu. in)
Bore and Stroke79 × 63 mm (3.11 × 2.48 in)
Lubrication systemDry sump
Cooling SystemWater-cooled, open circuit, direct flow from propulsion system
Starting SystemElectric starter
Spark Plug Gap0.8-0.9 mm (0.031-0.035 in)
Spark Plugs TypeIMR9D-9H
Valve clearance (cold) – Intake0.006 in (0.16mm)
Valve clearance (cold) – Exhaust0.01 in (0.26mm)

Honda AquaTrax R-12 Propulsion

2006 AquaTrax R-12Drive System
Propulsion SystemJet pump
Jet Pump TypeAxial flow, single stage
Minimum level for jet pump operation3 feet (90 cm)
Impeller3-blade, stainless steel

Honda AquaTrax R-12 Performance

2006 AquaTrax R-12Performance
Maximum Output125hp (91.9 kW) @ 7000 RPM
Maximum Fuel Consumption9.25 US gal/h (35 L/h)
Cruising Range at full throttle1.8 hours
Idle speed1200 +/- 100 r/min

Honda AquaTrax R-12 Dimensions

2006 AquaTrax R-12Dimensions
Overall Length120.6 in (3062 mm)
Overall Width45.4 in (1154 mm)
Overall Height40.8 in (1036 mm)
Passenger capacityOperator and one passenger
Cargo capacityFront storage compartment: 6.6 lbs (3 kg), glove box: 1 lbs (0.5 kg)
Maximum weight capacity338 lbs (153.5 kg) rider, passenger, all cargo

Honda AquaTrax R-12 Fuel and Lubricant

2006 AquaTrax R-12Fuel and Oil
FuelUnleaded Premium Gasoline
Pump octane number91 or higher
Fuel capacity16.64 US gal (63.0 L)
Recommended engine oil typeAPI Service Classification SG or higher except oils labeled as energy conserving on the API service label SAE 10W-40 JASO 4T Standard MA or MB Pro Honda GN4, HP4 (without molybdenum additives) or HP4M (with molybdenum additives) 4-stroke oil or an equivalent motorcycle oil
LubricantWater-displacement corrosion-proof lubricant (without Teflon or molybdenum additives, such as CRC 6-56 or equivalent)
Engine oil capacity – after disassembly5.3 US qt. (5.0 L)
Engine oil capacity – after draining4.2 US qt. (4.0 L)
Engine oil capacity – after draining & oil filter change4.3 US qt. (4.1 L)

Honda AquaTrax R-12 Electric System

2006 AquaTrax R-12Electric System
Battery12 V – 18 Ah
Generator0.31 kW/5,000 RPM
Main fuse30 A
Other fuses5 A, 7.5 A
These charts are for informational purposes only! For exact specifications, please refer to the factory manual.


As a takeaway, we’ve answered the most common questions about this popular Honda PWC:

What is a Honda AquaTrax R-12?

The AquaTrax R-12 was the first 2-seater 4-stroke PWC ever built.

When did the Honda AquaTrax R-12 Come Out?

The Honda AquaTrax R-12 was introduced in 2003.

What Years Did Yamaha Manufacture the AquaTrax R-12?

The AquaTrax R-12 was manufactured from 2003 through 2007.

What Size was an AquaTrax R-12?

The AquaTrax R-12 measured 120.6 inches in length, 45.4 inches in width, and 40.8 inches in height.

How Much Did a Honda AquaTrax R-12 Weigh?

The dry weight of the AquaTrax R-12 was 746 pounds (2004 model).

How Many People Could Ride on a Honda AquaTrax R-12?

The Honda AquaTrax R-12 was rated for two riders but it was more of a solo machine.

What Kind of Engine was in the AquaTrax R-12?

The engine of this PWC was a naturally-aspirated, 4-stroke, 1235cc, fuel-injected, inline-4, Honda marine engine.

Was the Honda AquaTrax R-12 Supercharged?

The Honda AquaTrax R-12 had a naturally aspirated engine option.

Was the Honda AquaTrax R-12 a 2-stroke?

The Honda AquaTrax R-12 was powered by a 4-stroke engine.

Was the Honda AquaTrax R-12 fuel-injected?

The Honda AquaTrax R-12 had a fuel injection system.

How Much HP Did a Honda AquaTrax R-12 Have?

The Honda AquaTrax R-12 delivered 125hp at 7000 RPM.

How Much Oil Did a Honda AquaTrax R-12 Hold?

The Honda AquaTrax R-12 held 5.3 US quarts of engine oil, of which 4.3 quarts were replaceable (w/ filter).

How Much Fuel Did a Honda AquaTrax R-12 Hold?

The Honda AquaTrax R-12 was designed with a 16.64-gallon fuel tank.

How Much Fuel Did a Honda AquaTrax R-12 Use?

The claimed fuel economy of the AquaTrax R-12 was 9.25 gph at full speed.

What was the Cruising Range of the Honda AquaTrax R-12?

The range of the Honda AquaTrax R-12 was 1.8 hours at WOT.

How Fast Did a Honda AquaTrax R-12 Go?

The top speed of a Honda AquaTrax R-12 was 54-55 mph out of the box.

Could the AquaTrax R-12 Tow a Skier or a Wakeboarder?

Due to its 2-rider seat, the AquaTrax R-12 couldn’t legally be used for tow sports.

Did the Honda AquaTrax R-12 Have a Trim System?     

This Honda PWC came standard with a quick-shift trim system.

Did the Honda AquaTrax R-12 Have a Reverse?              

The PWC featured a manual reverse system.

Did the Honda AquaTrax R-12 Have a Brake?   

This Honda PWC was marketed without a brake system.

How Much Does a Honda AquaTrax R-12 Cost?

The asking price of a used Honda AquaTrax R-12 varies between $3,000 and $6,000 depending on the year and its condition.