What is iBR on a Sea-Doo? [Video]
As the name suggests, the iBR (Intelligent Brake & Reverse) is Sea-Doo’s on-water brake and reverse system, which was introduced in 2008. The iBR works with the iTC system and utilizes a special gate to reverse water flow coming from the jet pump. This reversed thrust is used to decelerate and reverse the Sea-Doo and operate it at slow speeds.
If you want to discover this feature and its operation, you’ve come to the right place.
We at JetDrift have compiled all you need to know into this Sea-Doo iBR review!
What is iBR on a Sea-Doo?
Let’s face it, one of the biggest drawbacks of vintage Sea-Doos was the lack of a neutral and braking system. These early machines could only be slowed down by water drag and came with manual reverse.
But everything changed in 2008 when Sea-Doo introduced its innovative iBR (Intelligent Brake & Reverse) system.
What does iBR do on a Sea-Doo?
Simply put, this feature is intended for four different purposes, which are as follows:
- Ensure a neutral mode
- Decelerate the Sea-Doo
- Reverse the Sea-Doo
- Control operations at slow speed
But contrary to popular belief, the iBR doesn’t reverse the rotation of the impeller. Instead, the key element of the iBR system is a reverse gate (a.k.a. reverse bucket), which is a heavy-duty plastic bucket mounted behind the jet nozzle.
The main idea behind this gate is to reverse the water jet being generated by the Sea-Doo’s direct-drive system.
You can see a similar system on airplane turbines that use reverse thrust to decelerate when landing. These turbines are equipped with reverse gates to reverse the engines’ trust.
Surprisingly, Sea-Doo’s iBR system does the same job, but slightly differently.
The reverse gate on Sea-Doos is a heavy-duty plastic bucket mounted behind the jet nozzle.
At first glance, it looks very similar to the reverse gate on older Sea-Doos with manual reverse. This gate could be manually dropped using the reverse lever on these skis. The gate and the lever were connected via a simple cable.
Unlike its outdated predecessor, the iBR system is computer-controlled, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free operation.
The signals of the iBR lever go through the iTC (intelligent Throttle Contol) system. This fly-by-wire throttle system ensures a precise operation and allows you to engage various riding modes.
It’s also authorized to override iBR signals under certain circumstances.
The reverse gate on an iBR Sea-Doo is moved by a small electric motor, housed in the “Sea-Doo iBR actuator.”
It’s connected to the reverse gate via a threaded rod and a plastic gear set. Sadly, the latter is prone to breaking over time.
Despite its small dimensions, this motor is very powerful, which is why you should be careful when working on the iBR system.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and talk about the different modes of the iBR in detail!
1. Sea-Doo Neutral Mode
One of the key advantages of the iBR is that it allows the machine to start in neutral.
But as we discussed, this system isn’t a transmission, so it couldn’t disengage the impeller from the engine.
Instead, the iBR gate redirects the pump’s thrust enough to prevent the machine from accelerating. To that end, the Sea-Doo always starts with a partially deployed gate.
This carefully-adjusted position is the sweet spot that effectively balances between forward and reverse thrusts. Eventually, this setting causes the Sea-Doo to stay stationary until you hit one of the control levers.
In contrast, non-iBR Sea-Doos start moving forward immediately after starting its engine.
2. Decelerating the Sea-Doo with iBR
There’s no question that the biggest advantage of the iBR system is that it works as a brake on Sea-Doos.
This means that Sea-Doo riders no longer have to rely solely on water drag when they have to stop.
The iBR brought a new safety standard to this sport, as each iBR Sea-Doo is already equipped with a brake lever. Depressing this lever causes the iBR bracket to drop, which reverses the direction of the water thrust.
Finally, this reversed thrust decelerates the entire machine, which results in a much shorter braking distance. According to the manufacturer’s tests, from a speed of 50 mph, a Sea-Doo with iBR stops 100 feet sooner than a regular model.
On the other hand, the reverse gate’s lowest edge is about two inches below the bottom of the hull, which ensures the controlled amount of reverse thrust.
This limited braking force makes the operation much safer as it prevents riders from flying over the handlebars. Also, it prevents the nose from burying into the water while keeping the rear end of the ski planted in the water.
The brake lever can adjust the braking force, just like on a motorcycle.
3. Reversing the Sea-Doo with iBR
Besides decelerating, the iBR lever can also be used for reversing the Sea-Doo. Keeping the brake lever depressed causes the Sea-Doo to move backward after it stops.
The reversed water flow, which was used for braking, is now used to move the machine backward.
For safety reasons, the Sea-Doo reverses at a constant slow speed regardless of the position of the brake lever.
4. Controls Operation at Slow Speed
Last but not least, the iBR is also intended to control the operation at slow speeds. This safer and stress-free riding experience makes life easier for all riders, especially beginners.
Thanks to its precise, computer-controlled system, the iBR allows the Sea-Doo to literally turn around in one place.
This results in more precise operations, which come in handy while docking, launching, or riding in tight places.
How do You Use Sea-Doo iBR?
As a rule of thumb, you can control the iBR with the left handlebar lever, known as the “iBR Lever” or “brake lever.” Depressing this lever causes the iBR bracket to drop, which reverses water flow coming from the jet nozzle. This reversed thrust is used to decelerate or reverse the Sea-Doo depending on whether it is moving or stationary at the time.
When you start a Sea-Doo equipped with iBR, it always positions the iBR gate halfway down. This allows the machine to start in neutral.
If you want to go forward, just hit the throttle (right) lever, and the computer will flip the gate up behind the pump. The gate remains hidden as long as the Sea-Doo is moving forward, which ensures the free flow of the water jet.
When you depress the iBR lever (a.k.a. brake lever) on the left handlebar, it folds the gate down. If you want to decrease the speed of the machine, keep the lever depressed until you reach the desired speed. The more you depress the lever, the sooner the Sea-Doo will stop.
If you’re still keeping the iBR lever depressed after the ski stops, you can expect it to move backward. Note that engine power is limited in reverse to maintain a slow speed and maximum control over the ski.
Are you wondering what would happen if you squeezed the throttle and the iBR lever simultaneously?
Keeping safety in mind, the computer is programmed to override the throttle input with the iBR input. In other words, depressing both levers causes the Sea-Doo to slow down rather than accelerate.
Releasing the levers allows the system to return to neutral position.
You can also rotate the Sea-Doo virtually in one place. Once reverse is engaged, keep the iBR lever depressed and turn the handlebar. The ski will rotate in the direction the handlebar is turned in.
For example, if you turn the handlebar to the right while in reverse, the rear side of the Sea-Doo will rotate to the right and vice versa. This is also true when the ski is in neural, providing the lowest maneuvering speed available.
Another key advantage of the revolutionary iBR system is that it doesn’t require you to take one of your hands off the handlebars. Also, you can keep your eyes on the surroundings as you easily control the levers without any extra attention.
Here’s a great video on how to use iBR on a Sea-Doo:
Takeaways – FAQs About Sea-Doo iBR
As a takeaway, we’ve answered the most common questions about this amazing Sea-Doo feature!
What does iBR Stand for on Sea-Doos?
The iBR is Sea-Doo’s brake and reverse system, which also ensures that the skis seemingly have forward, neutral, and reverse gears. However, iBR Sea-Doos still features a direct drive system like any personal watercraft.
What are the Key Parts of the Sea-Doo iBR System?
In a nutshell, the key elements of the Sea-Doo iBR system are as follows:
- iBR actuator (electric motor)
- iBR lever (mounted on the left handlebar)
- iBR gate (a.k.a. brake or reverse gate/bucket)
- Other hardware (wire harness, iBR push rod, etc.)
The system’s heart is the “iBR actuator,” which encloses a small electric motor, a set of plastic gears, and a threaded rod. This unit is connected to the iBR gate (a.k.a. reverse gate/bucket) via a push rod.
The reverse gate is a foldable plastic bucket mounted behind the jet nozzle. It’s designed to reverse the direction of thrust coming from the pump.
The entire system can be controlled with the iBR lever mounted on the left handlebar.
How Does the Sea-Doo iBR System Work?
The iBR system can be controlled by the left handlebar lever. When the Sea-Doo is in neutral, depressing this lever engages reverse mode. But when the ski is in motion, you can use the same lever for deceleration.
The lever sends signals to the ski’s ECU (main computer), which controls the iBR actuator.
What Year did Sea-Doo Come out with iBR?
Sea-Doo introduced its innovative iBR system in late 2008. The first Sea-Doos equipped with iBR hit dealerships in early 2009.
Which Sea-Doo has iBR?
What is the Difference Between iBR and iDF?
Although they do a similar job, Sea-Doo’s iBR and iDF systems are designed for completely different purposes. The iBR system provides a sense that the ski has a forward, neutral, and reverse “gears,” but it’s also used for braking the machine. In contrast, the iDF is a real gear in the driveline intended to flip the rotation of the impeller.
The main idea behind the iDF system is to clear the clogged pump and the intake area with little reverse thrusts. Since it only operates for 12 seconds, the iDF system can’t be used for backing up the Sea-Doo.
Do You Need iBR on a Sea-Doo?
Although iBR is not an essential feature on a Sea-Doo, it’s very nice, especially for novice riders. If you are a beginner jet-skier, it’s highly recommended that you invest in a Sea-Doo equipped with iBR!
Don’t forget that beyond brake and reverse functions, iBR helps you to dock and launch your jet ski with ease.
What is the Sea-Doo Spark iBR?
As the label in their name suggests, the Sea-Doo Spark iBR models are equipped with the Intelligent Brake and Reverse (iBR) system. This feature is standard on the Spark TRIXX series while optional on the base models.
Can You add iBR to a Sea-Doo Spark?
Although it’s not impossible to add iBR to a non-iBR Sea-Doo Spark, it’s not necessarily worth the effort.
Installing the iBR system on a Sea-Doo means adding all missing components, including the iBR actuator with the hardware and wire harness. Also, you have to drill a hole into the hull to connect the reverse gate and the actuator with the control rod.
Besides the hassle of the installation, the biggest concern here is the hefty price tag of the iBR system. Since aftermarket iBR systems are not available, your only chance would be to invest in an OEM kit.
Therefore, instead of installing iBR on a non-iBR Spark, it makes more sense to sell it and purchase an iBR model.
The other alternative of the iBR could be a manual reverse kit, which is available for the Spark series. This system is affordable and much easier to install since it connects the gate and the reverse lever with a regular cable.
Do Yamaha WaveRunners Have iBR?
Yamaha WaveRunners don’t feature iBR since this is a Sea-Doo-exclusive feature. Instead, most WaveRunners are equipped with the RiDE brake and reverse system almost identical to Sea-Doo’s iBR.
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