What is a Wet Bike? Suzuki Wet Bike Review [Video]


The Suzuki Wet Bike is a unique and amazing watercraft, which even James Bond rode in one of the 007 movies! Instead of regular hulls, the Wet Bike runs Although it was manufactured decades ago, you can see many of them running on the water.

If you would like to learn more about the Suzuki Wet Bike, or are even consider buying one, this post is for you.

We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled the key info about this amazing machine under one roof!

What is a Wet Bike?

The Wet Bike is a vintage personal watercraft, which was introduced in the late ‘70s. As the name implies it was designed to be a “water motorcycle.” It looks like a motorcycle, but instead of wheels, it has skis (hydrofoils) that keep the machine on top of the water.

The first Wet Bike hit the market in 1978, just a couple of years after Sea-Doo’s and Kawasaki’s Jet Skis were released. This amazing watercraft was manufactured by Spirit Marine, which belonged to Arctic Enterprises. This is why the machine was also known as an Arctic Cat Wet Bike.

Nevertheless, it is often referred to as a Suzuki Wet Bike because it’s powered by a Suzuki engine.

The machine is propelled by a jet pump like any other personal watercraft and jet ski, but they are otherwise different in many ways. Let’s take a closer look at these!

What is the Difference Between a Jet Ski and a Wet Bike?

Simply put, the main difference between a jet ski and a Wet Bike is that the latter doesn’t feature a regular boat-like hull. Instead, it rides on hydrofoils, which replace the wheels on this water motorcycle. Moreover, while jet skis are steered with jet pumps, wet bikes are front steered like regular motorcycles.

It’s safe to say that a jet ski works in the same way as a boat, since they float on top of the water even if they are not in motion.

But because of their design, Wet Bikes can run on water as long as they maintain a significant speed. This is because their hydrofoils work like airplane wings, they need speed to generate buoyancy.

What does this mean?

In a nutshell, if you ride a Wet Bike, you have to maintain a fast speed all the time. If you release the throttle, the hydrofoils, along with the entire machine, begin sinking.

Even if the body of the bike is half floating on the water at slow speeds, your feet will definitely be wet.

What’s more, since it’s very tipsy, you end up in the water every time you try stopping the bike. The starts on a Wet Bike are also quite tricky, which makes using it difficult for many riders.

Regarding the Wet Bike vs. jet ski debate, we can’t forget to mention the trailering/launching issues.

Since jet skis are quite similar to boats, you can easily load them onto a trailer. You just gently drive the jet ski onto the trailer bunks and move into place with a manual wrench. In contrast, loading a Wet Bike onto a trailer is always a big hassle.

On top of that, you can’t carry any gear on a Suzuki Wet Bike. So let’s face it, it doesn’t have any advantages over a regular jet ski, only disadvantages.

For better comparison we’ve included the key factors into one chart.

Wet Bike vs. Jet Ski Comparison Chart

  Jet Skis  Wet Bike
Hull “boat-like” hull runs on hydrofoils
Steering water jet front steering
Riders 2-3 2
Storage yes no
Top speed (mph) 50-70 32-38
Dry Weight (lbs.) 350-1000 317-350
Performance (HP) 60-310 50-60

Let’s move on and take a look at the Wet Bike top speed and performance specs!

Suzuki Wet Bike Top Speed and Performance

The top speed of the first Wet Bikes was as low as 32 mph, since they were powered with a 50 HP engine. The 723 cc, 2-stroke Suzuki power source featured dual Mikuni carburetors, CD ignition, and an electric start.

In 1985 the engine was replaced with a 798 cc, 60 HP power plant, which increased the top speed of the Wet Bike to the 36-38 mph range. At that time this was the fastest personal watercraft on the water!

 (In contrast, today’s jet skis can reach the 50-70 mph with ease.)

Suzuki Wet Bike Specs

For your convenience we’ve gathered the key specs of this amazing watercraft under one roof:

Suzuki Wet Bike Specs 1972-1985

  • Overall Length: 7.5 ft.
  • Overall Width: 2.0 ft.
  • Hull Length: 6.0 ft.
  • Dry weight: 350 lbs.
  • Floatation Capacity: 600 lbs.
  • Engine: 2-stroke, water-cooled, 50 HP Suzuki
  • Top Speed: 32 mph
  • Intake System Reed Valve
  • Impeller Size 7.3 x 4.5 in.
  • Planing Speed: 11-15 mph
  • Top Speed: 32 mph

Suzuki Wet Bike Specs 1986 & up

  • Overall Length: 7.4 ft.
  • Overall Width: 2.0 ft.
  • Hull Length: 5.93 ft.
  • Dry weight: 317 lbs.
  • Floatation Capacity: 600 lbs.
  • Engine: 2-stroke, water-cooled, 60 HP Suzuki
  • Intake System: Reed Valve
  • Impeller Size: 7.3 x 4.5 in.
  • Maximum Speed: 38 mph
  • Planing Speed: 11-15 mph

Riding Experience

It’s safe to say that the riding experience on a Wet Bike is a cross between a motorcycle and a regular jet ski.

Its pump offers a thrust of 500 pounds, so you can expect plenty of power on the bike. As we’ve discussed, the main difference between jet skis and Wet Bikes is that these odd machines run on hydrofoils instead of regular hulls.

This machine features front steering, which means that you can steer it with the front hydrofoil instead of the pump.

Thanks to this unique design, the Web Bike offers a unique riding experience. When you ride it, you have to lean into the turns just like on a regular motorcycle, but you have to apply some throttle as well.

The key to properly riding a Suzuki Wet Bike is to keep your momentum all the time. If you release the throttle, the hydrofoils start to sink into the water and the bike slows down in a very short time!

Thus, riding this watercraft is not easy. It requires a good sense of balance, some athletic skills, and some practice.

The start is typically tricky for beginners, but once the bike reaches its planing speed it becomes much more manageable!

How Much is a Wet Bike Worth?

As a rule of thumb, a Wet Bike is worth around $1,000-$5,000 depending on its age and condition. If you are considering buying one, be prepared for a lot of research. Since these machines haven’t been manufactured since the mid-‘90s, finding one in a good condition is more of a challenge.

The other difficulty you would face is that Suzuki Wet Bike parts are becoming increasingly difficult to find in the market.

Moreover, service shops typically refuse to work on PWCs that are more than 10 years old. This means you will likely have to maintain and service your machine on your own!

If you still want to stick with this vintage PWC, you probably want to know where you can find a Wet Bike for sale.

Suzuki Wet Bike for Sale

If you are looking for a Wet Bike for sale, you should start your research at Wetbike.net. This website is the “go-to” place for every buyer and owner since it contains tons of great info about the bikes.

The site also features a forum, where you can find good deals or you can ask the owners any questions you may have.  

Besides this dedicated fan page, if you are lucky, you can find a Suzuki Wet Bike for sale on Craigslist, PWCTrader, or other online ad sites.

Conclusion

The Suzuki Wet Bike is known as a “water motorcycle” and for good reason. It looks like a motorcycle, but instead of wheels it runs on hydrofoils.

It’s slightly difficult to start and ride a Wet Bike because if you lose your momentum the machine starts to sink into the water.

Another drawback of Wet Bikes is that they lack storage space and can only carry two riders. Moreover, because of the hydrofoils it’s not easy to load this vessel onto a trailer.

So, finally due to these disadvantages, the Wet Bike never became very popular and in 1992 it disappeared from the market forever.

But surprisingly, there is still a solid fan base for this unique watercraft who keep these machines alive. What’s more, there is a noticeable demand for them in the market. It seems they are like old wines, as they age, the demand for them increases!

All this means is that if you are looking for a Wet Bike for sale, you will need some luck finding one in the market.

However, since the last models were manufactured in the mid ‘90s, you can only select among very aged machines.

But despite all of these disadvantages, the Suzuki Wet Bike is on many bucket lists. It offers a unique experience and gets more looks than any brand-new flagship jet ski!

(Not to mention that it far cheaper as well!)

References

https://www.jetdrift.com/wet-bike/

http://www.deckjetwatercraft.com/wetbike

https://www.personalwatercraft.com/features/whatever-happened-to-the-wetbike-1335.html

https://www.thedrive.com/article/17448/live-your-80s-dreams-with-a-wetbike

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