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JohnnyDefacto

My 2016 VTX experience

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JohnnyDefacto

Sorry I have no pictures, I am a horrible person. I do not blame you if you stop reading right now, but I do have some good info for prospective buyers.

WOW! I was blown away. My buddy has a 2016 VTX (raptor motor and 1615 prop).

Aesthetics:

First it looks great. I love the new tower and racks, bimini looks great and location of tower speakers was out of the way. Fit and finish is excellent as to be expected. On the water it looks like a normal 20' boat, but once you get inside, it feels a lot bigger. This one had the tatami mat which was my first experience with the stuff. I like it, I prefer carpet, but the mat was fine. Vinyl was very nice with a couple different textures.

Wake:

Stock 1100, 450's in locker, 1000 lbs lead (mainly midship, a couple hundred in bow) plus wedge at 3 positions from the right (or 0 wedge). With the gear reduction and the 1615 prop mated to the Ford Raptor motor, with the help of the Lifting power wedge, this thing popped right up no problem (was running 4500 rpms at 23 mph, changed the prop to a 17 pitch prop, forget the number, and the same speed rpm was 3500 and the boat still got us up on plane, although a lot slower). Back to the wake. Big, clean, malibu esque, and really big and clean! I had a blast on it. Rode it 73-78' at about 22.5 and it was fantastic. It felt a lot like my A22 with about 3800 lbs. The power wedge was nice as it could give you a little bit more lip but still keeping it clean. This set up was all the wake I would ever need. I was super impressed that it was soooooo good for a 20' boat. I have not ridden the old VTX, but I have spent a lot of time in a new X-20 and the A20's, and this wake was amazing compared to those boats (especially the x-20, that wake and wave are crap). If you like the Axis/malibu wake, you will love this wake.

Wave:

So we kept the configuration from wakeboarding the exact same, then surfed it with surf gate and some wedge (do not know the setting, but I think somewhere in the middle). The wave was big, steep, clean, curled even on the port side. I suck at surfing but it was still very fun. We then dumped all ballast (except the 1000 lbs of lead obviously) and checked out the surf wave with and without wedge. The wave was amazing for so little ballast (and 2 dudes). I really could not believe it. No matter what you did to the ballast, the boat threw out a very good surf wave. I tried to transfer to the other side but I suck and I forgot that I am even more terrible surfing backside, so it did not work out for me :D

Driver helm:

Heated seats are AMAZE Balls!!! The steering... I can not get over the steering, you guys with the 2015's and 2016's are lucky, it is like driving a new Audi or BMW, it is absolutely sport-tigh steering. My boat has a little play in the wheel, but this steering was absolutely quiet, smooth, solid, and could be turned with one finger even with ballast. The layout of the helm and position of everything is ergonomically correct (for me at least). I do not like technology touch screens in boats, big reason I went with my Axis, but this screen is excellent. It is bright, big, easy to use, sensitivity to touch is nice. I have had to jump in boat with touch screens and given just a few minutes of tutorial before I was sent off (mastercraft, supra, malibu, and mb) and this new set up is 10x better than all the other brands and the old malibu's. The best thing is the little control knob on the left, allows you to change music volume, change to the next or last song, change riding set speed, controls surf gate (and I think wedge adjustment too??? not sure). The dash is so thoughtfully laid out, the person or team that designed it are genius. I had this thing mastered after about 30 minutes. The seat sits a lot higher (or dash and windshield sit a lot lower) than previous malibu's. I liked how you sat down inside the boat in the older malibus, but I know for surfing this makes it difficulty, even with the seat bolster). I think that this was a good move for malibu, even though I do particularly like it.

Interior layout:

Standard Malibu. The storage is great though, flip up the seat cushions and the storage goes all the way down onto the hull, I presume. Very deep, plenty of room for whatever. Speaker positions are excellent. Had 4 cabin speakers 8", had 2 speakers in the walk thru area firing back into the cabin, had the battery switch located there as well. Then 2 more speakers in the bow.

Tower:

Looked great, was all black. The dark grey swivel racks were excellent as well. So easy to use. Yes, they are still bungee cords though :( Speakers mounted opposite of the board racks, mounting brackets same color as the board racks. Bimini folds open, straighten the two legs or poles (like those tent poles connected with a bungee you have to straighten to get them to come together) and then connect 2 little support legs easily to the tower. The bimini is solid. 2 Surfboard pockets on top are quicks and easy.

Ballast:

Fast, very fast to fill and empty, easy to use, easy to add whatever sack you want into the existing hard tank system.

Handling:

Of course it is a sports car on the water without weight, but what was surprising to me was how it handled heavily weighted and with wedge. It turns so easy, one finger either direction. When at speed, it holds true, does not pull one way or the other, but also does not "search" back and forth like on some boats when you put the rudder at a neutral setting. Fully weighted and wedged it turned so smooth and sharp, anywhere I pointed the boat, no matter how tight I turned, it would go there no problem. It surprised me my very first turn around as I gave too much input into the steering wheel and made a lot tighter turn than I wanted too. The V on the front of this boat is interesting, it looks like a malibu V until the last few inches as it spines out a little, the v goes a few inches longer than previous VTX's/ VLX's and makes it a little bit more of a "deeper V". But the wake is not side to side sensitive like a deep V boat, even with the wedge deployed, which was surprising. It handled chop and double ups very well for a little boat with a flat-style hull.

Pros:

The wake size surprised me, it was very big and clean. The surf wave was incredible. The boat just got past its break in period so no tuning of the wave has happened yet, just touched "presets" and then "surf left or surf right" and boom! Excellent wave, weighted, wedged, unweighted, unwedged you can't really mess this thing up. Fun to drive, handles excellent. High freeboard. Deep storage. Drivers helm is layer out better than any other boat I have ever been on. Touchscreen is so simple, so easy, almost everything is accessible on just a single screen. Trailer is so nice. The TACO quick connect fender locks are RAD!!!!! That power lift wedge is amazing. It really helps a ton to get up on plane, we did a test with that 17" prop and 3000 lbs of ballast. No wedge, the boat would not plane, with lift wedge, the boat planed no problem. You can really see the difference in the boat and wake with every setting of that wedge, it responds instantly and you can see the bow move up or down considerably with each setting, like 4". The phone holder to the left built into the manual controls is so nice, fits basically any size smart phone.

Cons: And these are mainly my personal opinions, except #3, for #3 is freaking ridiculous:

1. The raptor motor is louder than the INDMAR and PCM's I have used in Malibu's, so it is a little bit more noisy in the cabin.

2. Warming tray over motor is very shallow, I think that Raptor motor sits up a little taller. No big deal.

3. The retractable ski pylon still does not retract all the way down, this has not changed since 2005! Why Malibu do you continue to do this, it is a knee buster, a toe breaker.... have it retract below the sun pad.

4. The sun pad is a 2 piece, like my Axis. I do not like this set up, I think the 3 piece sun pad is a better design, but that is preference.

Thats it. If you have any questions or things I forgot let me know. I will take pictures next time of the surf wave because it is fantastic. The wakeboard wakes on malibu/axis never turn out well for me, but I will take them anyways. This boat is sick, if you have a length restriction due to lake rules or garage space, then 20 footers were a tough choice. The previous VTX (never ridden behind) was good and more of a cross over boat, this VTX will not ski well at all. The X-20 is crap. The A20 is a good all around budget boat that throws nice waves and wakes, the rzr and r20 are nice little boats, moomba's 20 footers I have heard are nice, but this VTX is on a whole different level. You could put this guy up against most 21-22 footers and it will hold its own. It makes me excited to ride behind the new VLX 22.

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wakebrdr94

Hit the water and no call this time! Sounds like I need to talk to that boat owner!

Then I guess we should ride the VLX.... ;)

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oldjeep

If this new vtx really will not ski well then they eliminated more than 50% of it's market. Still waiting to hear from a skier on their take. Looked fine from the video, but you never know what the speed or line length is.

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Sailvi767

If this new vtx really will not ski well then they eliminated more than 50% of it's market. Still waiting to hear from a skier on their take. Looked fine from the video, but you never know what the speed or line length is.

It won't ski well with 1000lbs of lead in the boat. I assume the owner has no intention to ski. I know it will ignite the usual firestorm but 1000 lbs of lead is way to much in a boat this size. I suspect it will also be well over the trailer capacity. The biggest beating a hull takes is on the trailer. Just the weight of the engine can hook a hull if the boat is not bunked all the way to the transom. I would take out at least half the lead and add a ballast bag.

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oldjeep

I'd agree with that. I'll admit I glazed over reading all the surf stuff;)

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JohnnyDefacto

It won't ski well with 1000lbs of lead in the boat. I assume the owner has no intention to ski. I know it will ignite the usual firestorm but 1000 lbs of lead is way to much in a boat this size. I suspect it will also be well over the trailer capacity. The biggest beating a hull takes is on the trailer. Just the weight of the engine can hook a hull if the boat is not bunked all the way to the transom. I would take out at least half the lead and add a ballast bag.

The double axle trailer will handle the 1K just fine, same trailer (except for 2' shorter) than the VLX or MXZ22 which weight 600 and 700 lbs more, respectively. So it would be like adding 300 lbs of junk into a 2016 MXZ22 and worrying about the trailer capacity or the boat hull. Definitely need to have a real skier test one of these out completely unweighted, but just from looking at the front of the new hull and seeing how big this wake gets leads me to believe that it may have lost its "cross over" crown, as the old VTX was arguably one of the best cross overs out there. I could be wrong. Time will tell.

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wakebrdr94

I think the thing to remember with the VTX is, it's a crossover boat. It's a boat designed to perform well across a variety of sports, but not going to be "the best" of any of them.

A person who is only interested in skiing is going to get a response. Someone wants wakeboard and not ski is going to get a VLX or LSV on a wake hull (assuming they want a bigger boat) The are many things that make the VTX appeal to different people. It fits in a garage, easier to trailer, easier to maneuver on the water than a larger boat, it's an upgrade from their 18' bayliner and they still want a small boat, lake size restrictions, "the kids want to wakeboard, but I still like to ski", etc.

Regardless of the reason why someone would want a VTX, it's still a great boat, especially at the 20' class.

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UWSkier

Not exactly a ringing endorsement from Risto...

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Giesh164

Can anybody compare the board wake of a loaded vtx with power wedge 2 (so '15 or '16) to the board wake of a fully loaded a20? I've previously owned an a20 but now looking to order a 16 vtx

Thanks

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