2022 Kawasaki Ultra Jet Ski makeover coming – with reverse trigger!

The Kawasaki Ultra is due to undergo its first major makeover in 14 years, with a new top deck and – hopefully – the reverse trigger fans have been asking for.

The 2022 Kawasaki Ultra Jet Ski is expected to come in for a major change when it is unveiled later this year – ahead of Australian showroom arrivals in time for summer.

While Kawasaki remains tight-lipped, there is widespread industry speculation the 2022 Kawasaki Ultra Jet Ski series is about to receive its biggest makeover in 14 years.

Unconfirmed reports claim the 2022 Kawasaki Ultra Jet Ski will gain a new top deck with even better storage, a larger digital dash display and – finally – a reverse trigger that has been promised for at least two years, replacing the awkward reverse lever on the console.

If the reverse trigger gets the go-ahead, Kawasaki will be the last to adopt the convenience feature among its Jet Ski and personal watercraft rivals. 

Sea-Doo introduced a reverse trigger in 2009 on certain 2010 model year watercraft, and had a reverse trigger on all models by 2013.

Yamaha introduced a reverse trigger across its range of WaveRunners in 2015.

The patent images for the Kawasaki reverse trigger were revealed in a scoop by the world’s leading PWC website, The Watercraft Journal, in 2019 not long after the patents were filed.

Images from the patent filing – click here for the original document – show Kawasaki has developed a right-hand trigger for forward and reverse, activating the reverse function with the rider’s thumb.

Sea-Doo and Yamaha have reverse triggers on the left handlebar and the accelerator trigger on the right handlebar.

Although the reverse trigger is yet to be confirmed, we hope it is part of the 2022 overhaul for the Kawasaki Ultra and is also added to the Kawasaki STX160 range.

While we’re at it, just in case Kawasaki is reading this, could they please add trim adjustment to the STX160 and non-supercharged Ultra Jet Skis? Those watercraft tend to push their nose into the water in mild chop.

We are also hopeful the new top deck on the 2022 Kawasaki Ultra Jet Ski range will see the handlebars repositioned forward slightly; the current configuration is not ideal to operate in rough water while standing because the handlebars are too far rearward, even in the highest setting.

Meantime, for the 2022 Kawasaki Ultra Jet Ski series, the 1.5-litre supercharged and 1.5-litre non-supercharged four-cylinder engines are expected to carry over from before with minor running changes or revisions.

Customarily, the engineering investments in bodywork and electronics are done out of sync with engine upgrades, because of the significant costs involved. 

That said, there is also the possibility Kawasaki may want to double down with its flagship range. 

In Australia last year, Kawasaki had a 6.5 per cent share of the personal watercraft market – versus Sea-Doo’s 67.5 per cent market share and Yamaha’s 26 per cent slice of local sales – according to confidential figures obtained by Watercraft Zone.

Kawasaki has the most to gain with a new model, and longtime rivals Sea-Doo and Yamaha have the most to lose.

A new top deck on the 2022 Kawasaki Ultra Jet Ski series – with a larger and flatter rear deck – would give Kawasaki an opportunity to cash in on the booming fishing Jet Ski segment, which Sea-Doo and Yamaha currently dominate.

While the 2022 Kawasaki Ultra Jet Ski will look new thanks to the overhauled top deck, it is expected to use the same hull as today’s model. 

The Kawasaki Ultra Jet Ski heavy-duty fibreglass hull – regarded as the toughest in the industry in an era of experimental lightweight materials used by Sea-Doo and Yamaha – is expected to carry over unchanged.

That means the speculated changes to the 2022 Kawasaki Ultra Jet Ski series would mirror those made to the 2020 Kawasaki STX160.

When Kawasaki’s entry level STX160 Jet Ski (pictured below) was overhauled in late 2019 as a 2020 model year, the 14-year-old hull design was carried over from before – but the craft gained a new top deck, dash display, and storage system.

If history is a guide, the current generation Kawasaki Ultra Jet Ski series – now 14 years old – is due for an overhaul this year or next.

Exact details are yet to be revealed, though when the 2022 Kawasaki Ultra Jet Ski range is unveiled internationally in August or September 2021, there is widespread speculation we will see a redesign.  

While these changes are not confirmed by Kawasaki, they would give the Ultra Jet Ski series a much needed boost against newer rivals such as the Yamaha FX HO and FX SVHO and Sea-Doo RXT-X300.

Meantime, The Watercraft Journal editor in chief, Kevin Shaw, is hosting a live YouTube episode out of the US on the possible changes coming to the 2022 Kawasaki Ultra Jet Ski line-up.

Kevin Shaw is generous with his time and knowledge and you can ask him questions directly during the live YouTube session; a token of your appreciation in the form of a tip in the sidebar menu is welcome and appreciated.

Click on the link below to tune in live from 10am Sydney time on 12 July 2021, – or if you’ve missed it, watch a rerun.

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