When Sea-Doo announced the Explorer Pro, I was ecstatic.
I’ve owned several different models, and my riding has changed overtime from racing/wave jumping/churning up water everywhere to more distance-focused riding. I still have a 2019 Trixx 3up for fun, and I love the power of my 2018 RXT300, but as I get older I realize I’m more interested in…well, exploring. The GTX Limited seemed like a perfect fit, with extra comfort, though it’s rare I go over 55mph (though Sport mode on both that and the RXT going from 0-70 in 5 seconds will always be awesome, like a maglev launch on a roller coaster).
One of the most distinctive things about the Explorer Pro is the windshield
. It’s a little weird looking at first glance, and really, did I care about the wind so much? I don’t ride when it’s below 60˚, so would this allow me to? Also, Kevin Shaw has openly expressed his contempt for the windshield, and while I don’t agree with everything he says, he’s experienced enough to have at least some credibility there.
But then I thought about it some more, and I realized why I might like the windshield: as a bug deflector. There are several river sections on the Tennessee river that are full of gnat-like clouds of bugs (the section right below Fort Loudon Dam is a great example), requiring me to wear a mask and preferably goggles. After I plow through one of those sections, I have to stop and wipe away the hundreds of dead insects from my face and clothing. Blech. And of course those bug swarms are always in super smooth glass sections of the river where’s there’s little wind, so you go faster through it. And anyone who rides a lot has gotten hit with a long “big” bug in the face or neck, and while it smarts, it’s nice to know that I’m protected from getting bug welts. For me, fewer bug swarm messes was a reason to feel excited about the windshield.
Skipping to the good part, yes, the windshield works to keep bugs off
, though there’s still a lot of bug spatter on the windshield after going through a heavy cloud of them.
I also went out on the river in January, and darn it if the windshield kept me much warmer than I’ve ever been before when the water is in the 40’s and the air is in the 50’s.
My hands, body, and even my face/head needed virtually no extra gear…I rode without gloves and outside of generally being a little cold because of the temperature, that windshield kept my hands from aching from wind-coldness. When I rode more recently when it was warmer (though still not hot yet), the wind reduction from the windshield was indeed invigorating. I didn’t realize how loud and harsh the wind was hitting me at 50mph until it just wasn’t anymore.
Also, the limited amount of spray I experienced on those January rides was indeed almost all stopped by the windshield.
So there’s four good things about the windshield: bug deflecting, wind-coldness prevention, wind buffeting stoppage, and random freezing color water spray stoppage.
But that, unfortunately, is not the end of the review. There are issues I’ve continued to face with the windshield, and I believe that many of them could be addressed by Sea-Doo. But more on that later. Let’s talk about the issues.
The most important issue by far is that the windshield is too low for the “Explorer” rider.
If I’m doing distance rides, or casual sightseeing along the river, I’ll be sitting mostly straight up. And when I sit up, the windshield doesn’t stop the wind/water/bugs from my chin up (and that’s in the fully “up” position of the windshield). If I duck down like I’m racing, it’s great, but you can only do that for so long, and as I mentioned, that’s not really what this machine is for, right? So…the windshield is definitely too short, and cannot be adjusted higher. I purchased a cheap motorcycle windshield extension and will be trying that out to see if it works for me, but I don’t have high hopes for it. This is from a January ride:
Polarized multicolor halos.
I wear polarized sunglasses when I ride. Always have. I don’t think I even own a non-polarized pair of sunglasses. But when you look through TWO polarized lenses (your sunglasses and the windshield), you get “oil slick vision,” where there are lovely curved multicolor strands running everywhere. Super distracting, and they highlight the distortion (see below) around certain sections of the curved windshield. This isn’t a “just clean your glasses” or “clean your windshield” issue, this happens all the time. Argh. I am considering getting some non-polarized sunglasses, but I’m not always
looking through the windshield (often I’m looking over it, see above), so it feels like a weird solution.
Putting the windshield in the “down” position doesn’t really work for riding.
As a safety (?) feature, Sea-Doo has made the windshield able to fold forward down to the front. It doesn’t latch onto anything when you do that, however, so it bounces around when riding. After trying that for a bit, I put it right back up. For hot days when I want the wind (and yes, bugs), in my face/body to keep me cool, this won’t work that well for me. There might be a way to bungie it down, and I’ll spend some time working on that as a solution as it gets warmer.
. While I’m a freshwater rider, the Tennessee River and tributaries are kind of gross. The water has maybe 1’ visibility, so there’s lots of crap in it. Sludge, plankton, whatever Yamaha’s add to their pee spout, all sorts of stuff is in the river, and so spray also has those things. And that leaves a spotty reside on the windshield. That residue isn’t nearly as distracting or irritating as the oil slick halos, but it has caused me to carry a little bottle of windex with me when it starts to build up. I can’t even imagine the mess for saltwater riders.
Of the four issues listed above, the first three are ones that I think Sea-Doo could address (make the windshield taller, remove the polarization, and provide a latch for the forward/down position)
. Spots are just a windshield thing, my boat needs regular window washing too, so I understand it (though the boat is much higher and gets less spray than the Explorer Pro).
In summary, I’m still glad there is a windshield on the Explorer Pro
, but I long for a “fixed” version that would address some of the issues I’ve run into.