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The Kawasaki SX-R 800 is one of the most famous jet skis ever built.
Although it hasn’t been manufactured since 2011, you can still find many of them running on the water!
Just like the Yamaha Superjet, the SX-R 800 is one of the most popular 2-stroke stand up PWCs.
If you are considering buying one, or would like to find out about this amazing jet ski, this post is for you.
We, at JetDrift, have gathered all you need to know into this comprehensive Kawasaki SX-R 800 review!
Kawasaki SX-R 800 Review
Everything started in 1972 when Kawasaki built the first prototype of the stand up Jet Ski.
Over the years these stand ups went through several generations, and in 2003 Kawasaki introduced the new SX-R 800.
This model came with a completely new hull design, which offered much smoother rides by radically reducing porpoising.
Compared to its predecessor SXi 750, the new hull is wider and longer, and just like the top deck, it was made of FRP (fiberglass reinforced plastic).
Thanks to its larger dimensions the SX-R 800 is much more stable, which is a key point for larger and beginner riders.
Kawasaki also narrowed down the gunwales to make the tray wider and roomier. This redesigned upper deck not only allows riders to reboard much easier but also led to a better balance due to the broader stance.
A nice addition is that the end of the handle pole, the whole tray, and the gunwales all feature soft padding to protect your body from bumps.
The handle pole was also redesigned to move minimally forward-backward, which resulted in a less tiring riding experience.
Turning with an SX-R 800 is very easy and requires little effort, but if you ride it aggressively it will surprise you with how it can make really sharp turns. That’s why the new SX-R 800 became so popular among closed course racers right after its release.
Unfortunately, Kawasaki’s 2-stroke stand up jet ski line was canceled in 2011 due to environmental restrictions, thus the SX-R was discontinued to the great regret of many fans.
In remembrance of previous decades, in 2011 Kawasaki released a special edition SX-R 800, which features a logo with „Commemorating 37 Years of Jet Ski.”
Kawasaki SX-R 800 Specs
Kawasaki SX-R 800 Horsepower and Engine Specs
As terms of performance, the Kawasaki SX-R offers no less than 80HP, powered by a 781cc, 2-cylinder, 2-stroke engine. This power source features dual 40mm Mikuni carburetors, electric starting and an open-loop cooling system. With its lightweight engine and hull, the SX-R 800 power-to-weight ratio is 0.2HP/lbs.
Beyond the more powerful power plant, the pump is also slightly modified compared to the SXi 750. These differences result in much better acceleration, while the top speed remains the same.
Kawasaki SX-R 800 Top Speed and Performance
Are you wondering how fast an SX-R 800 goes? In stock condition, this jet ski can hit 48 mph, but it depends on many circumstances like your weight and/or the weather. If you are looking for more power, with some modifications the top speed of an SX-R 800 can reach an amazing 60-70 mph range!
Considering that today’s sit down jet skis can easily hit the 67 mph range, at first glance 48 mph doesn’t seem like such an outstanding performance.
But you can be sure of that it offers a ton of fun on a small and lightweight stand up, like the SX-R 800!
Let’s face it, stand up jet skis aren’t designed for reaching extreme top speeds, but for doing sharp turns and amazing tricks.
Kawasaki SX-R 800 Weight
Although the SX-R 800’s curb weight is only 397 pounds, it’s still 61 pounds heavier than the Yamaha Superjet.
The main advantage of these small weights is that you can handle these jet skis much easier. You can even tow them with smaller cars, and can launch them effortlessly. Moreover, they can even be hauled on a truck bed or a hitch hauler!
In contrast, sit down jet skis can even reach a weight range of 800-1,000 pounds!
Kawasaki SX-R 800 Dimensions
Regarding the SX-R 800 dimensions, it’s just 90.6 inches long and 28.7 inches wide. Although this model is significantly smaller compared to sit down jet skis, it’s still much bulkier than the first jet ski models.
Kawasaki SX-R 800 Fuel Consumption
When it comes to the SX-R 800 fuel consumption, there is no doubt that it burns a lot of fuel. According to the owner’s manual, the SX-R 800 can burn 8.5 gallons of gas every hour at full speed. Considering its small (4.5 gal) fuel tank, you can completely run dry in half an hour if you ride it very hard.
On the other hand, being realistic you can expect to get around 1-2 hours of good riding depending on your style and the environmental conditions.
Due to its high fuel consumption, the SX-R 800 fuel range is just 24 miles at full throttle. If you keep your speed low, you can expect to get better gas mileage, but it’s still not ideal for a long-distance tour.
If you do your research you can find many ideas on forums on how to take extra gas with you on a stand up jet ski; like installing a small gas container in place of the tool kit or strapping it on the front of the deck.
Please note that these are very bad ideas, as they can be risky for you and the environment as well.
Also, keep in mind that modifications strongly affect fuel consumption. If you worry about the gas bills, best practice is to leave the ski in stock condition.
Speaking of the SX-R 800 features, there are as few as possible with noo large dashboard or gauges, speakers, or other dispensable additions. Moreover, the SX-R 800 doesn’t really feature any storage compartments.
You can only find a small tool kit inside the hull, and the water inlet to which you can connect the hose when you flush your jet ski.
Yamaha Superjet vs. Kawasaki SX-R 800 vs. SX-R 1500
To the regret of many fans, for 4 years Kawasaki didn’t manufacture stand up jet skis. But in 2017 the company surprised the market and released the new SX-R 1500.
Let’s compare these two models with each other as well as the Yamaha Superjet!
|Specs||SX-R 1500||SX-R 800||Yamaha Superjet|
|Top Speed (mph)||62||48||45|
|Curb Weight (lbs)||503||397||336|
|Power to Weight Ratio||0.29||0.20||0.22|
|Fuel Capacity (gal)||6.1||4.5||4.8|
Kawasaki SX-R 800 vs. SX-R 1500
The SX-R 800 vs. SX-R 1500 debate is one of the greatest arguments among stand up jet ski fans.
It’s a well-known fact that the new 1500 has a much bulkier hull and a 4-stroke engine, which results in a much higher curb weight and better stability.
Many say that this model is not a freestyle jet ski, as you can do much fewer tricks on it. However, it’s great for buoy racing and big adrenaline rushes, just not for freestyle tricks.
On the other hand, it offers an amazing top speed (62 mph) in stock condition, and its improved stability is a huge advantage for beginners and larger riders.
As there are lots of pros and cons on both sides, let’s compare them side-by-side:
SX-R 800 Pros:
– Lower weight
– Smaller dimensions
– Offers a playful ride and tricks
SX-R 800 Cons:
– 2-stroke engine (less durability, restrictions, oil consumption)
– Requires more attention and maintenance
– harder to reboard from deep water
– Less stability
– Slower top speed
SX-R 1500 Pros:
– 4-stroke engine (no premixing, you can ride it everywhere)
– Fuel-injected (no ”carb work” needed)
– Much better stability
– Easier to re-board
– Faster top speed
– Available off the shelf
SX-R 1500 Cons:
– Less playful rides
– Bulkier and heavier
– Higher purchase price
– Higher fuel consumption
SX-R 800 vs. Superjet
Another main competitor of the SX-R 800 is the Yamaha Superjet. Although this stand up WaveRunner is powered with a 2-stroke engine, surprisingly it’s still in production.
If we compare these two PWCs we can see that their dimensions are very close, but the Superjet is still a smaller ski. It doesn’t just have slightly smaller dimensions, it’s also 61 pounds lighter.
The Superjet’s smaller and less powerful engine (701cc, 73 HP) leads to a slightly slower top speed, but as a result of the significant weight difference, it has a better power-to-weight ratio (0.22).
When it comes to the riding experience, it safe to say that the Superjet is noticeably better for jumping and offers more playful rides.
Finally, it’s all a matter of personal preference. If you are hesitating on which one to buy an SX-R 800 or a Superjet, it’s highly recommended that you try both before you make your final decision.
Kawasaki SX-R 800 For Sale
Kawasaki SX-R 800 prices
If you are considering buying one, the good news is that you can find many Kawasaki SX-R 800s for sale at PWC Trader, eBay or Craigslist.
Before you start your research you can learn what to look for on a used jet ski from our step-by-step buying guide.
Prices? Although we are speaking of a vintage 2-stroke jet ski, they are advertised with hefty price tags. This means the SX-R 800 prices range from $4,000 to $8,000 depending on the age and condition. Modifications can also lead to in higher price tags. Just make sure they are properly installed!
Is an SX-R 800 Still Worth Buying?
Is an SX-R 800 still worth buying? The answer is that it depends! If you are looking for a playful stand up jet ski for a low price, the SX-R 800 may be one of your options.
If you are sticking to Kawasaki, you can still consider some other models like the 440, 550, or 750 as some of them still show up from time to time on the second-hand market. But keep in mind that these jet skis are older and less powerful, as well.
If you are looking for a brand new stand up, your options would be the SX-R 1500, the Yamaha Superjet, or a freestyle PWC from Krash.
The new SX-R 800 was introduced in 2003 and received a lot of attention, becoming very popular.
There is no doubt that it was designed to be an “out of the box” racing jet ski. It offered a lot of power, and excellent carving ability, so it satisfied racers as well as recreational riders.
Sadly, Kawasaki canceled this model line in 2011 after less than 37 years of production because of environmental restrictions.
Fortunately, you can still find many of them running on the water!
If you are looking for an SX-R 800 for sale, you can still find some on PWC Trader, eBay, or Craigslist.
Although you can expect fun rides and great tricks on these vintage 2-stroke jet skis, beware of their drawbacks before you make your final decision.
These are mainly the higher fuel consumption, less durability, and the need for more maintenance. It’s also good to know that 2-stroke jet skis are banned from many areas.
If you are new to stand ups, you can make good use of our guide with the basics of how to ride one!
This is our short SX-R 800 review. We hope you find it useful!
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