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  1. #1

    "Best" Polaris Jetskis

    So my 1996 SL700 is more or running so I am looking for a second ski.

    The SL700 has enough performance for us and like the simplicity of the ski.

    Are there any models/years I should look out for? Are there any models/years I should avoid?

    It seems that 2000 and newer already have the latest ignition to allow for the easiest starting.

    Thanks,
    Chris


  2. #2
    Ryan Beernutz's Avatar
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    If you like the performance of your SL700, then I would recommend a 2000 or 2001 SLH. They are the successor to the SL700. Same lower hull, just a different top deck. The 2000 will be a dual carb model like your 96 SL700, and the 2001 will be a single carb. Both are rated at 95hp, and you should see similar performance as your 1996. I don't know about the 2000, but the 2001 will be equipped with the extended pump and sponsons.

    The Virage came out in 2000, and was the successor to the SLT line. Available as a 700, like the SLH and your SL700, as well as in TX trim, with a 1200 three cylinder.

  3. #3
    Click avatar for tech links/info K447's Avatar
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    I forget which, but some of the ‘newer’ models came with a plastic hood hinge. Those were subject to a safety recall, due to the hinge plastic cracking and suddenly failing. The hood could instantly flip up and smash into the face of the rider.

    The recall was to add a stainless steel flexible tether cable to both the hood and to the ski deck at the hinge. If the plastic hinge (which is not replaced as part of the recall) did later-on brake the hood would not strike the rider.

    If you buy a Polaris PWC with the plastic hinge for the hood, make sure that cable tether is also present. I have witnessed a hood hinge failure and the hood just instantly flips vertical at speed. No time for the rider to react.

    Via my signature links the tether kit part number info can be found.

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  5. #4
    She likes the bike. But the ski gets her wet!!!! xlint89's Avatar
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    Honestly, I really enjoy the Virage TXI.

    It's quick, playful, and has good top speed. Can be used for tubing also.

    I would enjoy a pair of them.

  6. #5
    Click avatar for tech links/info K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xlint89 View Post
    … the Virage TXI.

    It's quick, playful, and has good top speed. ...
    I rode a Virage TXi (Ficht fuel injected three cylinder engine) for about ten years. Agree with the Xlint comments.

    I did ride a Virage with the two cylinder engine for a short while. I was surprised at how launch less it was able to hang onto the water, with lots more hull bounce over waves. The hull just felt like it preferred the extra weight of the heavier ‘1200’ three cylinder engine.

    Still playful but the smaller twin engine also meant less enthusiastic acceleration and of course a lower top speed.

  7. #6
    casey67's Avatar
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    Making suggestions for other people is always a loaded question. There are soooo many variables and personal preferences.
    I would suggest "what" is best when you outgrow the SL700, or simply compliment the SL.

    The Virage TX is probably the "best" ski as a second. It is kinda a mid-sized SUV, it could do pretty much everything. Alot more comfortable with two riders, way more comfortable for cruizing and long rides. Capable of 3 riders and legaly pulling a tube (making water sports possible).
    The TX has the 1200cc engine which is just like the 700 as far a simplicity. You don't HAVE to use the added HP, but it is there if you develope a need for speed. The TX gets surprisingly reasonable mileage at lower speeds, but will burn plenty of fuel at wide open.
    It has a much larger fuel tank then SL700, so will match range or "all day" with SL.

    In my part of the country TX prices have been high. I think a near mint TX is worth 2500 and goes down from there. The SLTX"s seem to be priced more reasable and offer the advantages of a 3 seater but with the 1050 engine (except 99 X45) But still a great 2nd ski.

  8. #7
    Ryan Beernutz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by casey67 View Post
    Making suggestions for other people is always a loaded question. There are soooo many variables and personal preferences.
    I agree with what Casey has to say 100%. You may even find that you would like another ski that is set up differently just due the different handling and performance characteristics between them. My first ski was a 1996 SLX (780 triple). That model is factory equipped with the extended pump with twisted wedge and sponsons. It is a great speed and carving ski. Then I bought a 1996 SL700 like what you have, and man, it's a completely different machine. It can do donuts like nobody's business, and just all around is an entirely different feeling. We now have added a 2001 Virage TX and a couple of 2003 MSX 140s and they add even more difference to the equation.

    If you were local, I'd say come ride them all to get a feel for what you may like, but the cold is here, and finally intends to stay for the season.

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by xlint89 View Post

    I would enjoy a pair of them.
    That is where we are right now, I want to have 2-3 that all run at the same time. We keep our boat, and these skis at a friends house in town. It seems I should focus on the 96 and newer skis right now. I have seen a few Virages with that 1200cc engine that seems interesting.

    Thanks for the pointers!

    Which ones are FICHT vs regular oil injection like my SL700?

    Chris

  10. #9
    Click avatar for tech links/info K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MA-Chris View Post
    … Which ones are FICHT vs regular oil injection like my SL700?
    …
    All Polaris sit-down PWC 2-stroke engines have/had factory oil injection for engine lubrication.

    All pre-1999 engines had carburetors for fuel delivery into the engine.

    1999-2004 some of the 2-stroke Polaris engines had Ficht fuel injection, the others still had carburetors.

    Ficht was only offered on the Genesis, Virage and MSX 140 hulls.
    Genesis FFI and Genesis i models had the Ficht fuel injection (all Genesis have 1200 three cylinder engines)

    MSX 140 (1200) was only available with fuel injection.

    Virage TXi (1200) and Virage i (800cc) had fuel injection while Virage (700cc) and Virage TX (1200) had carburetors.
    Some TXi models had TX decals on the outside, just to be confusing.

    Carburetor engines have the spark plugs sticking straight up from the top center of each cylinder.

    Ficht engines have a compact fist sized Ficht RAM fuel injector top center on each cylinder, and the spark plugs are at a low angle on the side of the cylinder head.

  11. #10
    She likes the bike. But the ski gets her wet!!!! xlint89's Avatar
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    Please be warned that the fuel injected engines are nice, but they do have drawbacks. Namely the computer, fuel pump and fuel pressure regulator. They do fail, and cost for the computer repair is up there.

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