As is the case with many similar models, a touring designation essentially means a more distance-friendly seat, and the Kawi follows suit. The design is sculpted to fit the contours of riders’ good ‘ole buttisimos, but also to offer greater back support. A raised section is offered for both driver and passenger that literally cradles your body for extended time in the saddle. A plus? Should driver and passenger not quite match the seat’s preset curves, the foam is relatively soft and can compress below. On some competitive models this isn’t the case, and an ill-fitted passenger feels it the whole ride.
Five-position handlebars allow you to ride in comfort either sitting down or standing up.
Five-position handlebars enhance rider ergonomics, allowing you to kick back for a leisurely cruise or stand to get aggressive. Kawasaki even notes the cruiser seat “humps” can be used by standing riders to take some of the strain off the thighs during extended periods out of the saddle. I tried it and it works. You can actually half-stand, half-sit on the seat in an aggressive stance.
The difference between the LX and the X is a contoured seat, silver metallic color scheme and $300.
All Ultra models boast great capacities. Storage in the front bow tub is an amazing 53 gallons, meaning you can bring virtually anything you’d need along for the ride (not to mention a few things you don’t.) There’s the standard glove box, as well as a small nook under the split seat for additional items you want to keep closer at hand. Fuel capacity is just over 20 gallons.
The now-familiar Ultra standards are present and accounted for. You’ll find a flip-down boarding step to haul yourself back aboard in deep water, splash-deflecting hull ridges to keep the ride relatively dry, and a magnetic key for theft prevention. A second key is programmed to limit engine RPM; use it when turning the craft over to your more inexperienced friends and relatives.
In fact, the only other thing that really distinguishes the LX from the X is the color choice. Like most “touring” models, the color is more upscale, in this case a classic silver metallic. In contrast, the sportier X models are draped in bold red, blues, or greens. The color will likely appeal to a wider audience, and is in keeping with the craft’s high-end positioning. It will allow the craft, and rider, to keep a somewhat lower profile…at least until the driver pegs the throttle. With an MSRP of $12,299 the Ultra 260LX retails for $300 more than the X.
The Power Within
Ah yes, the throttle. Squeeze it and you’ll instantly realize this is still Kawasaki’s flagship performer. The supercharged, intercooled, 1,498cc, dual-overhead cam four-cylinder of the 250 is alive and well below the seat, now boosted to 260 horses thanks to a few tweaks. Pistons have been redesigned, compression ratio increased, and high-lift cams have increased the size of both the intake and exhaust. Ignition timing has also been advanced four degrees, and the impeller blades straightened to produce a more linear thrust.
With 260 ponies at the ready the Ultra 260LX gets up to speed in a big hurry.
One stat shows the clear difference: the 260 produces 61 more pounds of thrust than the 250. Acceleration is strong for a boat that tips the scales at over 1,060 pounds, with the Ultra 260LX reaching 30 mph in as short a time as 1.8 seconds in ideal water and load conditions. Top speeds also appear to have increased, with boats I have ridden easily surpassing the 65 mph mark, and on occasion reaching toward the upper 60s.
This is a great craft for high speed riding in most any water condition.
How the hull handles at those speeds depends on your riding location. In all cases the boat is extremely stable. Riders that want a quick and agile handler, however, may be occasionally frustrated by the Ultra’s turning personality. This is a big, heavy boat, and as such it works its way through a corner with more of an aggressive sweep than a sharp, abrupt angle. That may be the price to pay, however, for a craft that simply excels in rough conditions. The Ultra’s deep-V hull offers a superior ride when the water is less than ideal, tracking straight and true and reducing the wave-induced jolt typical of a smaller, lighter craft. That attitude has made it a favorite of offshore racers.
Gripes? The information display still disappoints. It’s too small, fuel level in particular is hard to read, and the mode buttons are located in a position where it’s awkward to make contact with a gloved finger. That powerful engine also sucks down more fuel than any other competitor according to my fuel-consumption tests (and others), and premium fuel is required.
Awesome powerful and a comfortable ride. What more do you want?
Still, I’ll be the first to admit those problems are minor when you consider the audience this boat targets. The Ultra 260 LX is one powerful, solid machine, a beast in the ocean and a plush, comfortable ride on the river or lake.
|Kawasaki Ultra 260LX Specs|
|Curb Weight||1062.8 lbs|
|Engine||Four-cylinder DOHC EFI; Supercharged/Intercooled|
|Bore and Stroke||83mm x 69.2mm|
|Fuel Capacity||20.6 gal.|
|Combined Stowage Capacity||53 gal.|
|Colors||Jet White/Metallic Phantom Silver|