Bolt-On PWC Performance

Add punch to your PWC with easy-install kits.

Today's production PWCs are pretty fast right out of the box, but there are always those performance junkies who long for just a little bit more. The catch? Tinkering with today's high-tech four-stroke engines isn't as simple as modifying the simple two-strokes of old. Industry giant Riva Racing (rivaracing.com) offers a solution with "stage" kits, carefully selected bolt-on components designed to work together and not surpass the budget — or mechanical ability — of the intended customer.

Components of the most popular Stage I kits are relatively straightforward. Most packages include some type of high-flow filter to increase the amount of air available to the engine; other items include free-flowing exhaust components, impeller upgrades, performance intake grates and handling components like sponsons and ride plates. All are easy bolt-on upgrades for someone with average mechanical ability; I personally installed a Stage I kit in about three hours with basic hand tools. Should you have difficulty, Riva technicians are available via a toll-free phone number.

“We specialize in offering easy bolt-on performance kits that deliver specific performance gains,” Riva’s owner Dave Bamdas says. “This is a huge advantage for a customer that wants to add performance without testing a series of parts to find the best combination.” Will they void a warranty? It’s a dealer call, but doubtful. “The Stage I modifications are so mild, they really don’t put any extra stress on the machine,” Bamdas says.

So just what kind of bang for the buck are we talking about? Around 450 bucks for each additional 1 mph.

“It’s pretty basic stuff,” Bamdas says about the installations. “A novice mechanic could do it in his own garage.”

Quick Boosts
Riva Stage I kits will boost Yamaha's FZR from 67 to 70 or 71 mph for $1,338; Sea-Doo's RXT-X 260 from 67 to 72 mph for $1,107; and Kawasaki's Ultra 260X from 67 to 71 mph for $1,576. Those are speeds rivaling a $100,000 go-fast.