2022 Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Review and Specs [Video]

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The Kawasaki SX-R 1500 is the most powerful stand-up jet ski ever built. It carries the legacy of the deservedly-popular SR-X 800, but it comes with a significantly larger hull and a 4-stroke triple engine rated at 160 HP.

If you want to find out more about this ski, this post is for you. We at JetDrift have compiled all you need to know into this Kawasaki SX-R 1500 review!

2022 Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Review

When the last 2-stroke stand-up Kawasaki jet ski, the 2011 SX-R 800, was sold many were worried that these iconic machines would disappear forever, and with good reason.

Let’s face it, the stand-up market has steadily shrunk over the years while boat-like runabouts have become more and more popular.

But to the delight of many stand-up enthusiasts, Kawaski surprised the market by bringing the SX-R back in 2017. However, unlike its predecessor, the all-new SX-R 1500 features a much larger hull and a 4-stroke engine.

(But contrary to popular belief, this machine is not the first 4-stroke stand-up jet ski in history, as the legendary Hydrospace S4 claims that title.)

Since its introduction in 2017, the SX-R 1500 has essentially remained unchanged except for some new color schemes.

Now without further ado, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and take a closer look at the 2022 Kawasaki SX-R 1500!

2022 Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Engine and Propulsion

The 2022 Kawasaki SX-R 1500 is claimed to be the “world’s most powerful stand-up jet ski” since its engine cranks out no less than 160 HP.

The engine was borrowed from the retired STX-15F (now STX-160), so the manufacturer didn’t have to develop a new engine from scratch.

According to The Watercraft Journal, Kawasaki considered using the supercharged engine of the Ninja H2 motorcycle in the new SX-R. But since the new ski had to be completed for the 2016 World Finals, there was no time to optimize that engine for the marine environment.

Therefore, the SX-R 1500 got the proven 1498cc 4-stroke, 4-cylinder DOHC Kawasaki marine engine, which only had to be bolted into the new hull. This naturally-aspirated power mill features digital fuel injection, an open-loop cooling system, and a mechanical throttle cable.

Yes, that’s right, unlike its runabout counterparts, the SX-R 1500 is still manufactured without a throttle-by-wire system. To fit into the smaller hull, the ski got a narrowed waterbox mounted onto the left side of the tray.

In a nutshell, the key features of the SX-R 1500 engine are as follows:

  • Displacement: 1498cc
  • 4-stroke
  • 4-cylinder inline
  • 16-valve, DOHC (4 valves per cylinder)
  • Fuel-injected
  • 160 HP
  • Supercharger: no
  • Intercooler: no
  • Cooling system: open-loop

Thanks to this amazing power source, the SX-R produces no less than 160 HP, which is exactly twice as much as its predecessor offered.

This amazing power ensures a top speed of 62-63 mph, making the SX-R 1500 the fastest stand-up-jet ski in the marketplace!

This engine power is delivered to a 148mm, axial flow, single-stage jet pump that produces a thrust of 957 pounds. Like the engine, this propulsion system was also inherited from Kawasaki’s Recreation runabout family, the STX-160.

This pump also houses the same three-blade, stainless-steel impeller, while the diameter of the steering nozzle was enlarged from 76mm to 87mm. Unlike the pump, the intake grate was inherited from the SX-R 800, which was slightly redesigned to fit the size of the new jet pump.

The engine was moved towards the rear side and mounted as deep as possible in the hull for the best weight distribution.

Standard features include a voltage regulator, in-tank fuel pump, tiny wet storage, two warning lights, a safety lanyard, and Kawasaki’s unique magnetic key system.

Turning the key to ON position allows you to check the fuel warning light, but it also prevents unauthorized starts. This unique magnetic key system is mounted into the tray on the left side of the hood latch.

2022 SX-R 1500 Hull and Dimensions

Let’s face it, the SX-R 1500 is huge, as it measures 104.5 inches in length, 30.1 inches in width, and 33.1 inches in height. The curb weight of the ski is also a massive 551 pounds, which means an (estimated) net weight of 500 pounds.

On the trailer, its appearance is even more shocking as the entire hull is completely visible. On the water, most of the hull is submerged, so the ski seems less of a giant in its natural environment.

Interestingly, despite its large dimensions, this is not the largest stand-up ski ever built. This title is claimed by the “transformer” Sea-Doo 3D marketed from 2005 through 2007.

Compared to the SX-R 1500, the 3D was 2.5 inches longer and 14 inches wider and weighed 565-600 pounds depending on the seat configuration. However, many riders said that the 3D wasn’t a “real” stand-up ski as it was actually built on a Sea-Doo XP hull.

Regarding competitor models, the 4-stroke Superjet is 95.7 inches long, while the tiny Krash stand-up jet skis measure about 84 inches in length and 28 inches in width. Sure, the latter’s models are in a different league since they are still powered by 2-stroke engines.

Back to the SX-R, its large hull houses a 6.1-gallon fuel tank. To compensate for the weight of the rider and the engine, the fuel tank is mounted into the bow, making the ski slightly front-heavy.

This careful design enables the SX-R to pass through the waves easier, which results in smoother rides. The tank cup is also located on the front of the top deck, making refueling very easy.

Surprisingly, the ski also comes with a small wet storage integrated under the handle pole. This storage is actually a nook in the top deck covered by rubber mesh, ideal for storing an action camera, dock lines, tow rope, or even smaller safety accessories.

The top deck is obviously influenced by the previous SX-R, but it is more aggressive and features a longer and sharpened nose. To keep water spray away from you, the bow is equipped with special splash deflectors labeled “Kawasaki Splash Deflector (KSD).”

The hood latch, just like the handle pole, was carried over from the previous model. However, the latter was strengthened to handle the increased performance.

Keeping safety in mind, there’s a slim handlebar pad at the top of the pole. You can also find two warning lights integrated into this cushion; one is for engine warnings while the other is a low-fuel-warning.

You can also find corrosion-resistant MX-style handlebars with a trigger throttle at the top of the handlebar pole.

As expected, the new SX-R 1500 is designed with a larger tray that measures 34 inches in length and 16 inches in width. The tray and the inside of the fins are covered by high-quality Hydro-Turf traction mats for the most comfort and traction. But unfortunately, the fin tops remain unpadded.

The overall design of the deck fins is more rounded, which translates to less leg pain when aggressively riding. In contrast, on older Kawasaki stand-ups, the fins had a more angular shape. This was quite uncomfortable for legs when they were braced against them.

Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Performance and Handling

Let’s move on and talk about the riding experience in detail!

As we’ve discussed, the SX-R 1500 is huge. Consequently, you can’t expect the same agility on it as the SX-R 800 or other smaller stand-ups!

This machine is so stable that you can even ride it in a standing position at a no-wake speed if you are a relatively small sized rider. Yes, it’s true, this ski has enough buoyancy to keep a small adult rider afloat at minimal speed, or even with the engine off!

One of the main advantages of this superb buoyancy and the large soft tray is that the SX-R is much easier to reboard than any competitor model.

Therefore, this ski can be a great choice for beginners, seniors, and larger riders for whom deep-water reboarding is always a bigger challenge.

On the other hand, the SX-R 1500 is less nimble and playful than you would expect from a stand-up ski. But let’s face it, this is definitely not a freestyle ski designed for doing stunning tricks.

Instead, it’s a high-performance modern 4-stroke machine with an outstanding 160 HP engine. Although the ski is pretty huge, it was designed with bouy racing in mind.

This can be felt in every corner as the ski turns like a trail on rails while literally glued to the water.

Due to its heavyweight, the ski sits deep in the water while its deep-V-shaped hull is equipped with nearly full-sized sponsons. All of these features contribute increased stability and outstanding cornering.

Combined with amazing engine power, the SX-R 1500 is capable of extremely aggressive turns.

The tray is slightly sloped towards the bow for an optimal riding position, which moves you towards the handlebars.

Despite its shocking 551-pounds curb weight, the machine is lively in straight lines. According to the manufacturer, the SX-R 1500 is the fastest accelerating jet ski in Kawasaki’s fleet, as it even outperforms supercharged Ultra 310 models.

Conclusion?

On the one hand, the 2022 SX-R 1500 is an extremely heavy giant-sized ski compared to the competitor stand-up models. Due to its dimensions, this craft is much less playful and incapable of freestyle tricks. Because of this, it’s obvious that the SX-R is not for everyone.

If you are looking for a nimble and lively freestyle ski, you should consider a 2-stroke Yamaha Superjet, a vintage SX-R 800, or even a Krash freestyle jet ski.

But on the other hand, the SX-R 1500 is extremely powerful and offers decent cornering ability. It’s also very stable and easy to reboard from deep water.

Therefore this ski is recommended for beginners and senior riders looking for an “easy-handling” and forgiving stand-up ski. Bigger riders may also find the SX-R comfortable as it has much better buoyancy, a larger tray and handlepole than rival skis.

What’s more, it can also be a good choice for hardcore riders who are looking for great adrenalin rushes and aggressive turns over freestyle tricks. On top of that, due to its 4-stroke engine, the SX-R can be used in waters where two-stroke engines are prohibited.

As a final word, we dare to say that the SX-R 1500 carries on the legacy of its predecessors, but not in the way many had expected!

2022 Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Specs Chart

For your convenience, we’ve listed the Kawasaki SX-R 1500 specifications in these charts!

Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Dimension Chart

Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Dimensions and Capacities
Overall Length2 655 mm (104.5 in.)
Overall Width765 mm (30.1 in.)
Overall Height840 mm (33.1 in.)
Curb Mass250 kg (551 lb)
Dry Weight (lbs)228 kg (503 lb)
Air Draft (1)604 mm (23.8 in.)
Maximum Draft (2)351 mm (13.8 in.)
Fuel Tank Capacity23 L (6.1 US gal)
Maximum Number of Riders1 person

Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Engine Specs Chart

Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Engine Specs
Type4-stroke,DOHC, 4-valve, water-cooled
Number of Cylinders4-cylinder
Displacement1 498 cm³ (91.41 cu in.)
Performance160 HP
Bore and Stroke83 × 69.2 mm (3.27 × 2.72 in.)
Compression Ratio10.6:1
Ignition SystemDigital transistor
Lubrication SystemSemi-drysump
Fuel SystemDigital fuel injection
Research Octane Number (RON)Minimum Rating 87
Engine Oil TypeAPI SG, SH, SJ, SL or SM with JASO MA, MA1 or MA2
Engine Oil ViscositySAE 10W-40
Engine Oil Capacity5.0 L (5.3 US qt)

Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Performance

Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Performance
Minimum Turning Radius4.0 m (13.1 ft)
Fuel Consumption43 L/h (11.4 US gal/hr) at full throttle
Cruising Range46 km (28 miles) at full throttle
Cruising Range29 minutes

Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Drive Unit

Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Drive Sysem
CouplingDirect drive from engine
Jet Pump: TypeAxial flow, single stage
Jet Pump: Thrust4 250 N (433.4 kgf) (955.6 lb)
SteeringSteerable nozzle
BrakingWater drag

Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Electrical Features

Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Electrical Features
Starting SystemElectric starter
Battery12 V 18 Ah (10 HR)
Spark Plug:NGK CR9EKB
Gap0.7 0.8 mm (0.028 ~ 0.031 in.)
TerminalSolid post terminal
Ignition Timing3° ATDC @1 300 r/min (rpm) 32° BTDC @3 000 r/min (rpm)
Idle Speed1 300 ±100 r/min (rpm)

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

Takeaway

As a takeaway, we’ve answered the most common questions about the Kawasaki SX-R 1500!

Why is the Kawasaki SX-R 1500 so Heavy?

The Kawasaki SX-R 1500 is pretty heavy as it features a 4-stroke high-performance engine and a very large hull.

Can You Do Tricks with a Kawasaki SX-R 1500?

Although the SX-R 1500 is definitely not a freestyle ski, it’s still capable of some basic tricks. But don’t expect to do a backflip on it!

However, as shown in the video below, an SX-R 1500 can even do a barrel roll in experienced hands!

When Was the Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Released?

The Kawasaki SX-R 1500 was revealed in October 2006, but was marketed from 2007.

How Many Passengers Can the Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Carry?

Since it’s a stand-up ski, the Kawasaki SX-R 1500 can legally carry only one adult rider.

Does the Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Have a Storage Compartment?

Unlike other stand-up skis, the Kawasaki SX-R 1500 features a tiny wet storage at the top of the deck.

How Much Fuel Does a Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Use?

According to the official operator’s guide, the Kawasaki SX-R 1500 burns 11.4 gallons of gas per hour at full throttle.

What is the Range on a Kawasaki SX-R 1500?

Since the SX-R 1500 gets 11.4 GPH at WOT, its 6.1-gallon fuel tank offers about 30 minutes of playtime or a fuel range of 28 miles. However, you can expect much better range if you are not so hard on the throttle (which is not easy!).

Many riders say they can usually ride for one hour on their SX-R 1500 before the fuel warning light comes on. The fuel light pops relatively quickly on this ski, typically after burning about 4 gallons of gas.

Does the Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Have Reverse?

No, the Kawasaki SX-R 1500 comes without a reverse and brake system.

What Size is the Kawasaki SX-R 1500?

The Kawasaki SX-R 1500 is 104.5 inches long, 30.1 inches wide, and 30.1 inches high.

How Much Does a Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Weigh?

The advertised curb weight of the Kawasaki SX-R 1500 is 551 pounds which translates to an approximate net weight of 500 pounds.

What Kind of Engine is in the Kawasaki SX-R 1500?

The Kawasaki SX-R 1500 is powered by the 1498cc, 4-stroke, 4-cylinder DOHC Kawasaki Marine Engine, featuring a digital fuel injection, electric start, and an industry-standard open-loop cooling system.

How Much Horsepower Does a Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Have?

Thanks to this powerful engine, the Kawasaki SX-R 1500 produces 160 HP.

Is the Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Supercharged?

No, the SX-R 1500 is doesn’t utilize a supercharger.

How Fast Can a Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Go?

The top speed of the Kawasaki SX-R 1500 is about 62-63 mph under ideal conditions.

How Much Fuel Does a Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Hold?

For a long playtime, the Kawasaki SX-R 1500 comes with a 6.1-gallon fuel tank.

How Much Oil Does a Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Take?

The Kawasaki SX-R 1500 holds 5.3 quarts of oil, but you will need only 4.4 quarts for an oil change.

How Long is the Factory Warranty on a Kawasaki SX-R 1500?

The factory warranty only covers the Kawasaki SX-R 1500 for one year.

How Much Does a 2022 Kawasaki SX-R 1500 Cost?

In 2022, the Kawasaki SX-R 1500 is available for an MSRP of $10,299.

Where Can You find a Kawasaki SX-R 1500 For Sale?

If you are looking for a Kawasaki SX-R 1500 for sale, don’t hesitate to visit Kawasaki’s official website.

You may also find our jet ski comparison tool useful, which allows you to compare the latest jet ski models head-to-head!

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