2002-2005 Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Review and Specs [Video]

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The 1200 STX-R was the racing version of the popular 3-seater STX Kawasaki Jet Ski series. It shared its platform with the 900 STX but borrowed its more powerful, 145 HP engine from the high-performance Ultra 150.

If you want to find out more about this race-ready Kawasaki Jet Ski, this post is for you.

We at JetDrift have compiled all you need to know into this Kawasaki 1200 STX-R review!

2002-2005 Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Review

The innovative Kawasaki 1200 STX-R was built for the manufacturer’s factory race team and won the IJSBA’s Pro Runabout 1200 Superstock championship in 2003.

This model was a unique blend of a high-performance, 145 HP triple powerhouse, and the 3-seater STX runabout platform.

It was lighter and much faster than its runabout Kawasaki siblings, but on the other hand, it came with fewer features.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and talk about this legendary machine in detail!

Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Hull and Top Deck

The 1200 STX-R shared its hull and top deck with the popular 900 STX.

This deep-V platform was completely revamped for the 2000 model year. It returned with longer strakes for better tracking and quicker acceleration, plus a rounded keel for smoother and more comfortable rides.

This platform measured 122.8 inches in length, 46.5 inches in width, and 40.2 inches in height. The dry weight of the ski was 644 pounds, 35 pounds lighter than the flagship STX D.I.

It was made of hand-laid fiberglass and the hull was covered with scratch-resistant Gelcoat. It utilized an innovative spray deflector to reduce bow spray.

The 2002-2003 models came with a 5.3-quart oil reservoir and a 14-gallon fuel tank, which was increased to 16.38 gallons in 2004.

Its redesigned top deck housed a front storage pocket (glovebox), a rear storage pocket, and a large bow storage compartment.

The latter featured a hinged hood with a hydraulic dampener and a separate fire extinguisher container.

In terms of color scheme, the SXT-R was marketed with a race-inspired, white/black/Kawasaki-green design.

Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Engine and Propulsion

The sporty Kawasaki 1200 STX-R shared its engine with the high-end Ultra 150. This power mill was a 2-stroke, 1176cc, triple-carbed, 3-cylinder Kawasaki marine engine delivering 145 HP at 6,750 RPM and a maximum torque of 154 N.m. at 6,000 RPM.

This engine was based on the proven 1071cc, 120 HP Kawasaki engine, which had an 80 mm × 71 mm bore and stroke, and featured triple Keihin CDCV 38 carburetors.

In contrast, the new 1200 Kawasaki engine had an 80 mm × 78 mm bore and stroke, and enjoyed three Keihin CDCV 40-35 carburetors.

(This power mill was the most powerful 2-stroke Jet Ski engine, and was phased out by the 4-stroke, 1199cc engine of the STX-12F.)

Thanks to its bigger displacement and the more advanced carbs, the power of this engine jumped from 120 to 145 HP.

Other engine features were carried over from the predecessor, including:

Engine power was delivered to a standard axial-flow, single-stage jet pump, featuring a stainless-steel, 3-blade, oval-edge impeller.

This high-capacity jet pump was rated at a maximum thrust of 904 pounds.

Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Features

The 1200 STX-R came standard with many advanced features, including:

  • Magnetic keyed ignition switch
  • LCD instrument panel
  • Choke knob
  • Fuel knob
  • Handlebar-mounted start/stop buttons
  • Engine shut-off lanyard
  • Front storage compartment
  • Fire extinguisher compartment
  • Under-seat storage pocket
  • Front storage pocket (glovebox)
  • Smart Steering System
  • 3-rider seat
  • Seat latch
  • Tool kit
  • Drain plugs
  • Finger throttle lever
  • Dual mirrors
  • Tow hook
  • Mooring cleats
  • Rear grab handle
  • Performance sponsons
  • Underwater exhaust outlet
  • Deck mats

Although the luxury STX D.I. came standard with a reverse and a reboarding step, the 1200 STX-R lacked these important features.

On the other hand, it featured the innovative Smart Steering System, which provided some steering force in off-throttle situations.

The dashboard enclosed a basic LCD instrument panel, inherited from the older STXs and the 900 STS. (The 2001-2006 900 STX models, the flagship 1100 SXT D.I., and the Ultra 150 got larger, more advanced instrumentation.)

The features of the 1200 STX-R’s instrument panel were as follows:

  • Speedometer
  • Tachometer
  • Clock/Time/Trip/Hour meter display
  • Fuel level gauge
  • Low fuel warning light
  • Water temperature symbol
  • Engine oil level gauge
  • Low oil warning light
  • Battery symbol
  • Check engine symbol

Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Performance

Powered by the 145 HP engine option, the 1200 STX-R could hit a whopping 60-62 mph under ideal conditions. With some performance mods, its top speed could be pushed into the ballpark of 65-70 mph!

As one may expect, this outstanding performance came hand-in-hand with poor fuel economy.

The claimed fuel consumption of the 1200 STX-R was 13.3 GPH at full throttle, so its 16.38-gallon tank ensured a fuel range of 72.1 miles or 1 hour and 13 minutes of riding time. With the 14-gallon tank, it was only 1 hour and 3 minutes.

In terms of handling, its redesigned deep-V platform offered a smooth riding experience and outstanding cornering abilities but it also did a good job on rough waters.

Unlike the 900/1100 STX families, the 1200 STX-R came without a reverse system. Although this was a big flaw, it also allowed for a more advanced ride plate, which ensured better handling.

Its hull was also equipped with special racing sponsons for optimum high-speed handling.

Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Problems

In a nutshell, the biggest problems of the Kawasaki 1200 STX-R were as follows:

  • Lack of a reverse system and a reboarding step
  • Hull cracks (2002)
  • Complex triple-carb engine
  • Aging oil lines

Designed as a factory racing Jet Ski, the 1200 STX-R lacked a reverse system. This key feature became more prevalent on jet skis in the late ‘90s, but some models were sold without it even after the Millenium.

The STX-R also came without a reboarding step, which was a standard feature of the flagship STX D.I. Since these skis shared the same hull, the fittings were mounted on the rear of the STX-R as well. Therefore, installing a reboarding step on this ski was an easy job.

It’s also good to know that the hull of the 2002 STX-R was prone to cracking around the motor mounts. As we know, this design flaw was fixed in 2003.

The triple-carb, triple-cylinder engine of the ski was much harder to work on than its twin siblings.

On top of that, it featured more complex Keihin CDCV carburetors, which were much more difficult to tune than their base CDK counterparts.

We also have to mention the defective factory oil lines of the STX-R, which were prone to getting brittle and cracking over time.

To prevent oil starvation, these hoses had to be periodically replaced, but some owners preferred to remove the entire oil system instead.

Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Specs Charts

For your convenience, we’ve compiled the key specs of the 2005 Kawasaki 1200 STX-R into these charts:

Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Engine Specs

Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Engine Specs
Engine type2-stroke, 3-cylinder, crankcase reed valve, water-cooled
Displacement1 176 mL (71.8 cu in.)
Bore and stroke80.0 x 78.0 mm (3.15 x 3.07 in.)
Compression ratio5.8 : 1
Compression Pressure970 kPa (9.9 kgf/cm2) @ 440 r/min (rpm)
Ignition systemDC-CDI
Lubrication systemOil injection (break-in period: oil injection and gas/oil mixture 50:1)
CarburetorKeihin CDCV 40-35 x 3
Starting systemElectric starter
Battery12 V 18 Ah
Engine oil type2-stroke, NMMA Certified for Service TC-W 3
Engine oil tank capacity5 L, 5.3 qt (US)

Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Tuning Specifications

Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Tuning Specifications
Spark Plug Type NGK BR9ES
Spark Plug Gap0.7 ∼ 0.8 mm (0.028 ∼ 0.032 in.)
Spark Plug TerminalSolid post
Ignition Timing 15° BTDC @1250 r/min (rpm) - 22° BTDC @3500 r/min (rpm)
Carburetor Idle Speed - in water1 250 ±100 r/min (rpm)
Carburetor Idle Speed - out of water1 800 ±100 r/min (rpm)

Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Drive System

Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Drive System
Coupling Direct drive from engine
Jet Pump TypeAxial flow, single stage
Jet Pump Static Thrust4 020 N - 410 kgf (904 lb)
Steering Steerable nozzle
Braking Water drag

Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Performance

Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Performance
Minimum Turning Radius 4.0 m (13.1 ft)
Fuel Consumption50.5 L/hr (13.3 US gal/hr) @full throttle
Cruising Range (1)116 km (72.1 mi) @full throttle (with 3 persons onboard)
Cruising Range (2)1 hour and 13 minutes

Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Dimensions

Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Dimensions
Overall length122.8 in (3 120 mm)
Overall width46.5 in (1 180 mm)
Overall height40.2 in (1 020 mm)
Dry Weight2 864 N - 292 kg (644 lbs)
Fuel tank capacity16.38 US gal (62 L) including 1.32 US gal (5 L) reserve

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

Takeaways

As a takeaway, we’ve answered the most common questions about the 2002-2005 Kawasaki 1200 STX-R:

What is a Kawasaki 1200 STX-R?

The 1200 STX-R was a race-ready runabout Kawasaki Jet Ski. It utilized the STX platform and the engine of the Ultra 150.

When did the Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Come Out?

The Kawasaki 1200 STX-R debuted in 2002.

What Years Did Kawasaki Make the 1200 STX-R?

Kawasaki marketed the 1200 STX-R from 2002 through 2005.

What Size was a Kawasaki 1200 STX-R?

The Kawasaki 1200 STX-R measured 122.8 inches in length, 46.5 inches in width, and 40.2 inches in height.

How Much Did a Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Weigh?

The dry weight of the Kawasaki 1200 STX-R was 644 pounds.

How Many People Could Ride on a Kawasaki 1200 STX-R?

The Kawasaki 1200 STX-R was rated for three riders.

What Kind of Engine was in the Kawasaki 1200 STX-R?

The Kawasaki 1200 STX-R was powered by a 2-stroke, three-cylinder, triple-carb, 1176cc Kawasaki marine engine.

Was the Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Supercharged?

The Kawasaki 1200 STX-R utilized a naturally-aspirated engine.

Was the Kawasaki 1200 STX-R a 2-stroke?

Yes, the Kawasaki 1200 STX-R was powered by a 2-stroke engine.

Was the Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Fuel Injected?

Yes, the Kawasaki 1200 STX-R was a carbureted jet ski.

How Much Horsepower Did a Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Have?

The Kawasaki 1200 STX-R produced 145 HP in stock condition.

How Much Oil Did a Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Hold?

The Kawasaki 1200 STX-R had an oil injection system featuring a 5.3-quart oil tank.

How Much Fuel Did a Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Hold?

The ‘02-‘03 Kawasaki 1200 STX-R had a 14-gallon fuel tank while the ’03-’04 models came with a larger, 16.38-gallon tank.

How Much Fuel Did a Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Use?

The claimed fuel consumption of the Kawasaki 1200 STX-R was 13.3 GPH at full throttle.

What was the Fuel Range of the Kawasaki 1200 STX-R?

The fuel range of the Kawasaki 1200 STX-R was 63.4 miles or 1 hour and 3 minutes with the 14-gallon fuel tank, and 72.1 miles or 1 hour and 13 minutes with the 16.38-gallon tank.

How Fast Did a Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Go?

The top speed of a Kawasaki 1200 STX-R was about 60-62 mph under ideal conditions.

Could the Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Tow a Skier or a Wakeboarder?

Thanks to its three-seater configuration and powerful engine, the Kawasaki 1200 STX-R could easily and legally tow a wakeboarder or skier. Sadly, it lacked a reboarding step and a reverse system.

How Much Weight Could a 1200 STX-R Hold?

The weight capacity of the Kawasaki 1200 STX-R was 496 pounds.

Did the Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Have a Reverse?

No, the Kawasaki 1200 STX-R came without a reverse system.

Did the Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Have a Brake?     

No, the Kawasaki 1200 STX-R was manufactured without a brake system.

How Much Does a Kawasaki 1200 STX-R Cost?

The asking price of a used Kawasaki 1200 STX-R varies between $1,000 and $7,000 depending on the year and its condition.

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