Looking to buy one of the clean-burning new-technology personal watercraft? Check out the Honda 2002 four-stroke. You heard right. The same company that breathed life into the lean-burning CVCC Civic automobile engine back in 1973 is helping lead the way into the future of low-emission high-performance PWCs.
Starting from a clean slate enabled Honda engineers to rethink the total PWC package. Development of the AquaTrax hull focused on incorporating three key areas: turning, stability and ride comfort.
Honda wanted turning characteristics that allowed an intuitive riding style similar to riding a motorcycle. Stability was also of paramount importance, and this quality had to include stability in turns as well as straight-line stability at speed. Creating a comfortable PWC with quick-planing ability and a plush ride was equally important, because there's nothing enjoyable about enduring a jarring ride over choppy water.
A deeper deadrise in the AquaTrax hull shape yields a soft, smooth ride, but it also requires more power to accelerate the craft up to planing speed quickly. Therefore, both models incorporate fuel-injected four-cylinder 1,235cc four-stroke engines designed specifically for marine use.
In normally aspirated trim, this large displacement engine pumps out a remarkable 125 hp, plus plenty of torque for quick acceleration and strong towing. Add the intercooled turbocharger found on the F-12X model, and Honda's new top-of-the-line watercraft ups the ante to an amazing 165 hp — enough muscle to light up the eyes of even the most jaded PWC rider.
Add an abundance of convenience and comfort features — such as generous storage areas, easy-to-read instrumentation, quiet operation and a plush ride for up to three riders — and you've got a dynamic duo perfectly suited for a day of exhilarating fun or laid-back cruising.
Honda addressed the importance of safety by incorporating an electronically controlled off-throttle steering (OTS) system, which helps turn the craft in certain conditions even when the throttle is closed. There's also a selectable limit mode that provides a lower top-speed setting — ideal for beginning riders, borrowers and rental users.
Both the AquaTrax F-12 and F-12X meet the California Air Resources Board's (CARB) stringent 2004 two-star "very low emissions" requirement, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 2006 emissions standards. They can be ridden everywhere in the United States that is open to PWCs.
AquaTrax F-12 and F-12X Specifications
|Fuel capacity||16.6 gallons|
|Weight capacity||524 pounds (up to three people)|
|Models||Honda ARX1200N3 (F-12)/ARX1200T3 (F-12X) four-stroke|
|Bore and stroke||3.16" x 2.52"|
|Carburetion/fuel injection||Electronic fuel injection|
|Impeller||Stainless steel three-blade variable-pitch|
|Maximum engine speed||7,000 rpm/6,100 rpm|