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Sea-Doo GTI, GTI LE, and GTI RFI Review and Specs [Video]

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Sea-Doo introduced the GTI line in 1996, and surprisingly it’s still in production! But unlike their 2-stroke predecessors, the newest Sea-Doo GTI models come with 4-stroke Rotax engines and a much bigger hull.

If you want to discover and compare the vintage 2-stroke Sea-Doo GTI models (1996-2006), you are in the right place.

We at JetDrift, have compiled the key specs of these legendary machines into one post!

The 2-Stroke Sea-Doo GTI Line

The 2-stroke Sea-Doo GTI family was in production from 1996 to 2006 and featured four different models, which are as follows:

IntroducedModelccHP
1996GTI71885
2002GTI LE71885
2003GTI LE RFI787110
2004GTI RFI787110

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and take a closer look at each model!

Sea-Doo GTI vs. GTI LE vs. GTI RFI vs. GTI LE RFI Chart

For your convenience we’ve listed the key specs of the entire 2-stroke Sea-Doo GTI line in one chart:

Specifications1996 GTI2002 GTI and GTI LE2004 GTI RFI and GTI LE RFI
Engine Rotax 717Rotax 717Rotax 787
Engine stroke222
Cylinders222
Displacement (cc)718718782
Rev Limit (RPM)700071007200
Performance (HP)8585110
Top speed (mph)42-4442-4450
CarburetionSingle Mikuni BN 40iSingle Mikuni BN 40iFuel injection
LubricationOil injectionOil injectionOil injection
Dry Weight (lbs)484600695
Weight capacity (lbs)496535536
Fuel Capacity (gal)121515
Oil Capacity (gal)1.21.61.6
Rider capacity333
Length (in)119121121
Width (in)46.94747
Height (in)37.44141

Source: Source: Operator’s Guide BRP

Sea-Doo GTI Review

The first Sea-Doo GTI hit the market in 1996 and was positioned as a middle-level 3-seater model. Besides the GTI, the new 2-seater GSX was also unveiled that year.

The GTI shared the hull with the flagship GTX but was powered by a less powerful (Rotax 717) engine and lacked the LCD gauge as well.

This all-new 3-passenger platform featured a large 2-piece saddle, 12-gallon fuel tank, 1.2-gallon oil tank, and roomy storage.

The dimensions of the 1996 Sea-Doo GTI were also remarkable, as it was 119 inches long and almost 47 inches wide. The dry weight of the machine was 484 pounds while the weight capacity was rated at 496 pounds.

The 1996 Sea-Doo GTI put out 85 HP, as it was powered by a 718cc, 2-stroke, Rotax twin engine.

In the following years, except for some new color schemes, the GTI remained unchanged until 2001, when Sea-Doo released the all-new fiberglass-reinforced GTI hull.

The introduction of this new platform on the basic GTI line surprised the market, as manufacturers typically reserve new inventions for flagship models.

This new platform had some DNA from the RX line, but it was extended to handle the weight of three passengers. Its semi-V design offered great performance and was very comfortable at the same time.

This means that the GTI reached its planning speed quickly but cut the chop nearly as effectively as a deep-V-shaped hull.

Finally, many riders found the new GTI easier to handle than the flagship Sea-Doo GTX models.

The new hull was 47 inches wide and 121 inches long, which was more than 3 inches longer than the GTX hull.

Although the machine was marketed as a 3-seater model, it was actually only comfortable for two adults and a child, just like today’s Rec-Lite PWCs.

Besides the large front storage, the new GTI platform offered three other smaller storage spaces. These were a glove box in front of the rider and two smaller buckets.

One of them was placed under the seat while the other was hidden under the windscreen.

The total storage capacity was a remarkable 33.8 gallons!

The dry weight of the machine also jumped up to a whopping 600 pounds, so the new GTI was 116 pounds heavier than its predecessor.

Unlike its hull, the engine of the 2001 Sea-Doo GTI remained unchanged, so it still featured the 717 Rotax power plant. The 85 HP twin featured a rotary valve intake and a Mikuni BN 40i carburetor.

The GTI was propelled by a ‘bombardier formula jet pump’ which was standard on all 2001 Sea-Doo models. The pump also featured a stainless-steel impeller and a “manual” reverse system.

The latter was actually a bracket behind the pump that reversed the direction of the water jet. This system was controlled by a lever mounted on the console.

The reverse system on this Sea-Doo was very useful during docking and maneuvering when picking up/starting a wakeboarder.

To dampen the engine noise, the GTI featured the innovative D-Sea-Bel noise reduction system, which utilized vibration-absorbing parts as well as a series of special resonators.

Regarding all the bells and whistles, the GTI did not provide as many as the flagship GTX. However, it was fitted with many useful additions, which were as follows:

  • Large mirrors
  • Ski eye
  • Passenger hand grip behind the seat
  • Built-in footrests on the swim platform
  • Soft and ergonomic 3-passenger seat
  • 15-gallon fuel tank
  • 6-gallon oil tank
  • 8-gallon overall storage
  • Digitally Encoded Security System (“DESS Key”)
  • Multifunction gauge

Since its engine remained unchanged, the new GTI was slightly less lively due to the increased weight. However, it still offered plenty of power for towing a wakeboarder or a skier.

The combination of this performance, the extended hull, and the extra-wide swim platform made the upgraded GTI a great “tow Sea-Doo.”

Drawbacks?

Mainly it’s top speed as it was significantly lower than competitor 3-seater PWCs that time.

Sea-Doo GTI Top Speed

With the 85 HP engine option, the top speed of the Sea-Doo GTI was only about 42-44 mph. This was the real speed of this machine, as the speedometer often showed up to 45-47 mph. But as we know, speedometers are prone to lying!

Thanks to the 15-gallon fuel tank the cruising time of this Sea-Doo was more than 1 hour at WOT.

1996 Sea-Doo GTI Specs

ENGINE 1996 GTI
Engine type Rotax 717, 2-stroke
Induction type Rotary valve
Exhaust system Water cooled/water injected
Lubrication - type Oil injection
Lubrication - oil typeBombardier Rotax Injection Oil
Number of cylinders 2
Displacement 718 cm3 (43.81 in3)
Engine rev limiter setting7000 RPM ± 50
Starting systemElectric start
PERFORMANCE
Horsepower85
Cruising time at full throttle - Fuel tank without reserve~ 1 hour 8 minutes
Cruising time at full throttle - Fuel tank reserve~ 10 minutes
ELECTRICAL
Magneto generator output160 W @ 6000 RPM
Ignition system type CDI
Spark plug - Make and typeNGK, BR8ES
Spark plug - Gap0.5 - 0.6 mm (.020 - .024 in)
Battery12 V, 19 Ah
Fuse - Starting system 5 A
Fuse - Charging system 15 A
CARBURETION
Carburetor - type Diaphragm type
Carburetor - quantity2
Fuel - typeRegular unleaded gasoline
COOLING
TypeWater cooled, total loss type - Direct flow from propulsion unit
PROPULSION
Propulsion systemBombardier Formula pump
Jet pump typeAxial flow, single stage
TransmissionDirect drive
Impeller shaft reservoir oil typeSEA-DOO synthetic polyolester oil 75W90 GL5
Pivoting angle of direction (nozzle)~ 26°
Pivoting angle of variable trim systemN.A.
Minimum required water level for jet pump90 cm (3 ft)
DIMENSIONS
Number of passengers (driver included)3 (5865) 2 (5866)
Overall length302 cm (119 in)
Overall width119 cm (46.9 in)
Overall height95 cm (37.4 in)
Weight220 kg (484 lb)
Load limit (passengers + luggage)225 kg (496 lb)
CAPACITIES
Fuel tank45 L (12 U.S. gal)
Impeller shaft reservoir - Capacity90 mL (3 U.S. oz)
Impeller shaft reservoir - Oil level heightUp to plug
Oil injection reservoir4.5 L (1.2 U.S. gal)
MATERIALS
Hull Composite (fiberglass)

2002 Sea-Doo GTI LE Review

The Sea-Doo GTI LE was actually identical to the standard GTI except that it was equipped with OPAS (Off Power Assisted Steering).

As its name suggests, this system provided some steering ability when the throttle was closed.

Sea-Doo’s OPAS system featured a pair of fins mounted on the stern of the hull. When you turned the handlebar, these fins acted like the rudder on a boat.

This was important because due to the design of jet-powered vessels you can’t steer a jet ski if you don’t apply some throttle.

Keeping safety in mind, Sea-Doo designed this system to help inexperienced riders in off-throttle situations.

But unfortunately, this system had the main drawback.

These fins were activated based on the pressure in the pump, so when you released the throttle, the water pressure dropped in the pump, which allowed the fins to move.

Although it did a good job on glassy water, it caused many problems in rough water conditions. Why?

This is because rough waters caused the pressure to drop in the pump, which activated the fins. This was always a headache as it resulted in an unnecessary drag and an “extra steering force” whether you wanted it or not.

Since this was very disturbing, many owners eventually removed these fins from their machines.

You can see Sea-Doo’s OPAS system in this video:

2002 Sea-Doo GTI LE Top Speed

The 2002 Sea-Doo GTI LE top speed was about 42-44 mph, just like the standard GTI. As we’ve discussed, these models were basically identical except for the OPAS system on the GTI LE.

2002 Sea-Doo GTI LE Specs

ENGINE 2002 GTI and GTI LE
Engine type Rotax 717, 2-stroke
Induction type Rotary valve
Exhaust system Water cooled/water injected
Lubrication - type Oil injection
Lubrication - oil typeBombardier Formula XP-S synthetic injection oil or Bombardier Injection Oil (or equivalent)
Number of cylinders 2
Displacement 718.2 cm3 (43.81 in3)
Engine rev limiter setting7100 ± 50 RPM
Starting systemElectric starter
PERFORMANCE
Horsepower85
ELECTRICAL
Magneto generator output160 W @ 6000 RPM
Ignition system type Digital CDI
Spark plug - Make and typeNGK, BR8ES
Spark plug - Gap0.45 mm (.018 in)
Battery12 V, 19 Ah
Fuse - Main15 A
Fuse - Charging system 15 A
Fuse - VTS system N.A.
Fuse - MPEM 5 A
CARBURETION
Carburetor - type BN 40i (diaphragm). Fuel accelerator pump.
Carburetor - quantity1
Fuel - typeRegular unleaded gasoline
COOLING
TypeWater cooled, total loss type - Direct flow from propulsion unit
PROPULSION
Propulsion systemBombardier Formula pump
Jet pump typeAxial flow, single stage
TransmissionDirect drive
Reverse systemYes
Impeller shaft reservoir oil typeSEA-DOO synthetic polyolester oil 75W90 GL5
Pivoting angle of direction (nozzle)~ 20°
Pivoting angle of variable trim systemN.A.
Minimum required water level for jet pump90 cm (3 ft)
DIMENSIONS
Number of passengers (driver included)3
Overall length307 cm (121 in)
Overall width120 cm (47 in)
Overall height104 cm (41 in)
Weight272 kg (600 lb)
Load limit (passengers + luggage)243 kg (535 lb)
CAPACITIES
Fuel tank56.5 L (15 U.S. gal)
Impeller shaft reservoir - Capacity115 mL (3.9 U.S. oz)
Impeller shaft reservoir - Oil level heightUp to plug
Oil injection tank6 L (1.6 U.S. gal)
MATERIALS
Hull Composite (fiberglass)

2003 Sea-Doo GTI LE RFI Review

The biggest change in the 2-stroke Sea-Doo GTI line was arguably in 2003, when the 717 engine was upgraded to the more powerful Rotax 787 RFI.

Thanks to this 782cc, 2-stroke Rotax twin, the 2003 Sea-Doo GTI LE RFI produced no less than 110 HP.

Besides the bigger displacement, the other key advantage of this engine was that it came with a fuel-injection system instead of a carburetor. (RFI = Rotax Fuel Injection)

Since the new power plant debuted in the GTI LE’s hull, the GTI LE RFI was also equipped with the afore-mentioned OPAS steering assistant system.

The bigger engine also resulted in some extra pounds, so the weight of the 2003 Sea-Doo GTI LE RFI increased to 695 pounds.

In the 2003 model year the basic GTI and the GTI LE were also available with a 717 engine as an option.

However, Sea-Doo dropped the RX as well as the 4-seater Sea-Doo LRV due to poor sales figures.

2003 Sea-Doo GTI LE RFI Top Speed

With the advent of the more powerful 110 HP engine, the top speed of the 2003 Sea-Doo GTI LE RFI was about 50 mph.

2004 Sea-Doo GTI RFI Review

In 2004, the standard GTI model got the same 787 engine upgrade, and the model was released under the name of 2004 Sea-Doo GTI RFI.

This means that in 2004 the Canadian manufacturer offered four different GTI models with two engine options, which were as follows:

  • Sea-Doo GTI (Rotax 717)
  • Sea-Doo GTI LE (Rotax 717)
  • Sea-Doo GTI RFI (Rotax 787)
  • Sea-Doo GTI LE RFI (Rotax 787)

The latter models were often referred to as ‘787 GTI line’ highlighting its more powerful engine, while the basic models were known as the ‘717 GTI line’.

Other surprises in this lineup were the all-new 4-stroke Rotax engines, as well as the new supercharged flagship Sea-Doo, the RXP 215.

In the next model year, the GTI line basically remained unchanged.

In 2006, to the greatest regret of many fans, the entire 2-stroke GTI family was dropped when Sea-Doo unveiled the new GTI platform powered by 4-stroke engines.

2004 Sea-Doo GTI RFI top speed

Just like its brother the GTI LE RFI, the top speed of the 2004 Sea-Doo GTI RFI was also about 50 mph under ideal conditions.

2004 Sea-Doo GTI RFI Specs

ENGINE 2004 GTI RFI and GTI LE RFI
Engine type Rotax 787, 2-stroke
Induction type Rotary valve
Exhaust system Water cooled/water injected with regulator
Exhaust valve Rotax Adjustable Variable Exhaust (RAVE)
Lubrication - type Oil injection
Lubrication - oil typeBombardier Formula XP-S II synthetic injection oil
Number of cylinders 2
Displacement 781.6 cm3 (47.7 in3)
Engine rev limiter setting7200 ± 50 RPM
Starting systemElectric starter
PERFORMANCE
Horsepower110
ELECTRICAL
Magneto generator output270 W @ 6000 RPM
Ignition system type Digital inductive type
Spark plug - Make and typeNGK, BR8ES
Spark plug - Gap0.45 mm (.018 in)
Battery12 V, 19 Ah
Fuse - Battery15 A
Fuse - Main20 A
Fuse - Charging system 20 A
Fuse - VTS system 7.5 A (installed but not in use)
Fuse - MPEM 5 A
Fuse - Fuel pump 10 A
FUEL SYSTEM
Fuel injectionRotax Fuel Injection (semi direct), single throttle body (56 mm (2.21 in))
CarburetorN.A.
Fuel - typeRegular unleaded gasoline
Fuel - Minimum octane numberInside North America: 87 (R + M)/2 - Outside North America: 91 RON
COOLING
TypeWater cooled, total loss type - Direct flow from propulsion unit
PROPULSION
Propulsion systemBombardier Formula pump
Jet pump typeAxial flow, single stage
TransmissionDirect drive
Reverse systemYes
Jet pump oil typeSEA-DOO synthetic polyolester oil SAE 75W90 GL5
Pivoting angle of direction (nozzle)~ 20°
Pivoting angle of variable trim systemN.A.
Minimum required water level for jet pump90 cm (3 ft)
DIMENSIONS
Number of passengers (driver included)3
Overall length307 cm (121 in)
Overall width120 cm (47 in)
Overall height104 cm (41 in)
Weight315 kg (695 lb)
Load limit (passengers + luggage)243 kg (536 lb)
CAPACITIES
Fuel tank56.5 L (15 U.S. gal)
Impeller shaft reservoir - Capacity100 mL (3.4 U.S. oz)
Impeller shaft reservoir - Oil level Up to plug
Oil injection reservoir6 L (1.6 U.S. gal)
MATERIALS
Hull Composite (fiberglass)

Sea-Doo GTI RFI for Sale

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to find a 2-stroke Sea-Doo GTI or a Sea-Doo GTI RFI for sale.

Since the entire GTI line was dropped in 2006, the majority of these vessels were scrapped or went to collectors.

But with a bit of luck, you can find a Sea-Doo GTI RFI for sale on Craigslist, or other jet ski ad websites.

Besides these sources, you may also find some great deals on jet ski forums as well.

Conclusion

The 2-stroke Sea-Doo GTI line hit the market in 1996 and was in production until 2006.

From 1996 to 2000 the early GTI models were built on a smaller hull, while from 2001 on the entire line shared a new bigger platform.

We can distinguish two main different GTI models, the 717 GTI (and GTI LE) featured a smaller, 85 HP engine and offered a top speed of 42-44 mph.

In contrast, the more powerful 787 GTI RFI (and GTI LE RFI) was powered by a 110 HP, fuel-injected Rotax twin engine and topped out at 50 mph.

The main difference between the basic and the LE models was that the latter was equipped with Sea-Doo’s OPAS steering assistant system.

These were basically two small fins that acted like small rudders in off-throttle situations. Apart from this little difference, the whole GTI line has shared the same hull since 2001.

Finally, the whole 2-stroke Sea-Doo GTI family was canceled and replaced with all-new 4-stroke GTI models.

This is our short Sea-Doo GTI and Sea-Doo GTI RFI review. We hope you like it!

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