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semi

New to tow boats

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semi

Good people, 

I know this is the Malibu forum so i may get some biased opinion but i am new here and need to ask some questions. My wife and I are going to buy a ski/tow boat for the family. For years i have had a Ranger Fish & Ski with an outboard that didn't really fish or ski well. Before that many runabouts with I/O's and have been around boats and water sports my entire life. So the search is on. We have a Malibu, Tige, Moomba and Mastercraft dealer close or close enough to our lake house. That being said, i am unfamiliar with the brands and the good/bad of each. The sales guys all say theirs is the best of course. We also may not be looking at brand new.. A used boat fits more into the budget between the years of 2006 to the present unless we can get a great deal somewhere. But to be honest spending 100k on a boat in Wisconsin doesn't make a ton of sense since we only get to use them for about 4 months a year before the snow flies. But would consider for the right deal. 

My question is Malibu. I see them around our lake and other lakes. I don't know much about them and what they offer over the competition. I have heard that Natique and Mastercraft are the two premium brands when talking to friends and spending time online researching. So where does that put Malibu? Why did you chose Malibu? I want to make the right decision as i am finding some good used ones as well as working with some of the dealers on some Fall type pricing on left over new boats. Trying to stay around the 20 to 21 foot length for our lake. We enjoy surfing, wakeboarding and knee boarding the most. We do very little if any skiing so a V drive WAKE boat is what we desire. I really want reliability since pulling it out of the water and taking it to the dealer will be a great hassle. I want a great looking boat that has power to pull whatever we want to do on the lake. We also enjoy just hanging with friends and idling around the lake after a day on the water. Whatever advice or knowledge you can give me about Malibu would be great. 

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Sixball

So my thoughts are, any of the big three are would class. Each has its own little quarks. I ski all three. IMHO CC196 has the best overall ski wake. Very soft very small but the most prop wash. Malibu has a very slightly larger wake but very very soft, The RLXI is a little weight sensitive if you ski without an observer. This is easy to address with a small amount of weight on the observer side. The MC has the hardest wake ( crisp ) and the model before the current is the worst. The model before that not as bad. Not sure of the years. With that said I would not turn down a ride behind any of them. Now I want to say all my experience with the boats are at 35 off at 34 to 36 MPH. The speed and rope length can change everything.  I have skied A Moomba ski tug maybe 02 it was not in the same class. Not terrible but not in the same class. I have not skied the new CC 2000's or the new MC but they may be pricey But have heard good things on both.   Good luck and happy skiing! 

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Ridebutter

I chose Malibu/Axis for its ease of use and reliability.

Nautique and Mastercraft certainly have the longest legacy so they are the most known, but Malibu is the #1 seller by a-lot!  I like the well thought out engineering of Malibu and the incredible value of Axis.  I am a former Nautique owner, and while they are nice boats Axis just came to fit my budget and my needs better for surfing and wakesurfing.

Its like sports cars, everyone has their opinion and they all have different features, they all have strong points.  What matters is where the strong points match up with your needs.  Sounds like simplicity and ease of use are your priority.  I know of no other boat that works so well out of the box (without extra ballast etc.) than Malibu or Axis.  Surfing seems important and the most affordable option with a surf system is going to be a used Malibu or Axis with SurfGate.  

Happy to help, welcome to the forum!

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85 Barefoot
56 minutes ago, semi said:

Good people, 

I know this is the Malibu forum so i may get some biased opinion but i am new here and need to ask some questions. My wife and I are going to buy a ski/tow boat for the family. For years i have had a Ranger Fish & Ski with an outboard that didn't really fish or ski well. Before that many runabouts with I/O's and have been around boats and water sports my entire life. So the search is on. We have a Malibu, Tige, Moomba and Mastercraft dealer close or close enough to our lake house. That being said, i am unfamiliar with the brands and the good/bad of each. The sales guys all say theirs is the best of course. We also may not be looking at brand new.. A used boat fits more into the budget between the years of 2006 to the present unless we can get a great deal somewhere. But to be honest spending 100k on a boat in Wisconsin doesn't make a ton of sense since we only get to use them for about 4 months a year before the snow flies. But would consider for the right deal. 

My question is Malibu. I see them around our lake and other lakes. I don't know much about them and what they offer over the competition. I have heard that Natique and Mastercraft are the two premium brands when talking to friends and spending time online researching. So where does that put Malibu? Why did you chose Malibu? I want to make the right decision as i am finding some good used ones as well as working with some of the dealers on some Fall type pricing on left over new boats. Trying to stay around the 20 to 21 foot length for our lake. We enjoy surfing, wakeboarding and knee boarding the most. We do very little if any skiing so a V drive WAKE boat is what we desire. I really want reliability since pulling it out of the water and taking it to the dealer will be a great hassle. I want a great looking boat that has power to pull whatever we want to do on the lake. We also enjoy just hanging with friends and idling around the lake after a day on the water. Whatever advice or knowledge you can give me about Malibu would be great. 

 

21 minutes ago, Sixball said:

So my thoughts are, any of the big three are would class. Each has its own little quarks. I ski all three. IMHO CC196 has the best overall ski wake. Very soft very small but the most prop wash. Malibu has a very slightly larger wake but very very soft, The RLXI is a little weight sensitive if you ski without an observer. This is easy to address with a small amount of weight on the observer side. The MC has the hardest wake ( crisp ) and the model before the current is the worst. The model before that not as bad. Not sure of the years. With that said I would not turn down a ride behind any of them. Now I want to say all my experience with the boats are at 35 off at 34 to 36 MPH. The speed and rope length can change everything.  I have skied A Moomba ski tug maybe 02 it was not in the same class. Not terrible but not in the same class. I have not skied the new CC 2000's or the new MC but they may be pricey But have heard good things on both.   Good luck and happy skiing! 

 

?

OP, you'll be well-served by many different options, even other than "the big 3".  You'll likely find that comparable Malibus are a little cheaper than the CC and MCs.  I have had bus for 20 years.  I don't think you can find a better blend of features, performance, and price.  

Are you familiar with a VTX?  Have you gotten specific with any brand's particular models?

Edited by 85 Barefoot

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minnmarker

You are in the same situation with very similar needs as I was 2 years ago. I choose the Malibu for quality of the interior and for the wedge - which reduces the amount of ballast you need for surfing and boarding.  We also do a bit of recreational slalom and wanted a boat that had a reasonable slalom wake.  My lift is a 4,000 pound lift and I wanted to stay under that weight.  Since we are on a lake there was no need for a big boat.  The end result was a 21 LSV with low hours and in great mechanical shape.  Basically the same boat as the VLX except without factory ballast - which I'm now glad I do not have since it's hard to work around, as opposed to just putting in a clean install of reversible pumps and big bags.  Got a great deal since the owner really did not use (or clean) the boat - but did have the dealer do all the engine maintenance.  We have since added ballast, surf gates, and upgraded stereo.  I did look at Mastercrafts and Centurions but did not find any that could be both good surf and good ski boats.  Where in Wisconsin are you?

Ideas: Ride in (and behind if possible) as many boats as you can.  Talk to owners and their kids.  Low hours are usually good but a higher hour boat that's been babied might be better than a poorly maintained low hour boat. Don't eliminate boats without factory ballast or surf systems - they can be added.  Same for stereos.  Before you buy have (pay if necessary) someone knowledgeable go over the boat.

Welcome and have fun shopping.

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itznowonder

When we bought our first bu we were trading a supra. I LOVED the supra (1994 ts6m) so we went  to the supra store. My husband was a big guy and I even felt cramped in the supras cockpit (this was in 2005) I still go look hard at the supras when I go to boat shows and still feel trapped when sitting in one,( though I did not go to a show at all last year or this year.) I don't like snap in carpet or the feel of the interior of a MC and I think nautiques are without style. ok they have style but not in a good way. We decided on the bu because it looked sexy, performed for all the sports we wanted to participate in and the price was reasonable. I will always look at malibu and Supra , never at Mastercraft and nautique. I will consider tige and centurion. Also, another huge thing for me is that we all ride goofy and the malibu prop rotation lends to that. If  we were a mostly regular riding crew I would consider the others more heavily.

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abattle10

Does your lake have a length restriction that is making you stay at 20-21 feet? If not then I would still keep the 22-23 footers in the running if you found one with the right options/price/location. 99% of our boating is done on a 95 acre lake and before we had the LSV, we could have never imagined a 23 foot boat on our lake. Before the LSV we were in a 19 ft I/O and the only reason we ended up in the LSV is because our dealer had a killer deal and we fell in love with the look and lines of the 23. But after having the 23 for two years, it would be tough to go back down to 21 feet or less. Point being, our LSV does not feel that big on our tiny like and we sure would not trade the space for something smaller.

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minnmarker
10 minutes ago, itznowonder said:

Also, another huge thing for me is that we all ride goofy and the malibu prop rotation lends to that. If  we were a mostly regular riding crew I would consider the others more heavily.

:plus1: Very good point if you're going to do a lot of surfing.

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Malibuzer
Just now, minnmarker said:

:plus1: Very good point if you're going to do a lot of surfing.

Which boats are opposite rotation now? 

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Woodski

@semi:  Welcome to the site and welcome to inboard boat ownership when you sign the check.  First, I will provide a short comment as you are doing internet research, as you scroll through all the comments take into account that DD owners are probably the most brand passionate group of owners on the planet, so most comments will have a level of positive brand loyal bias to them.  That is not necessarily bad as it does show a level of performance & quality for that brand.  Why do you hear "big 3":  Correct Craft (Nautique) and Master Craft were generally considered the cream of the crop for many decades and were the approved towboats for 3 event ski tournaments, ski shows, etc.  In 1993 Malibu introduced the SV23 hull on the Echelon and the wake performance combined with the great boat attributes propelled the Echelon in to the 'club' or performance standards of the Nautique and Master Craft.  Combining that with fabulous reviews in the magazines, establishing a very good dealer network and then rolling out a series of great products has propelled Malibu to be the top selling DD boat manufacturer.  In addition, Malibu has been in the forefront of bringing innovative options to market (wedge, swivel pylon) making them stand out in the crowd.  Hopefully that kind of sets the stage for you.

As for comments on the specifics you are after, I can't really help as I focus completely on the 3 event aspects along with barefooting so I lean towards the Echelon, Response variants of the Malibu lineup.  I can tell you that I am very happy with my vessel, it has provided 1000 hours of great and reliable service, been a source of great times and enjoyment, allowed me to beat the crap out of my body and smile endlessly while doing it.  As for a 4 month season, I live on the same latitude you do, and use my boat 7 months out of the year.  Once you get one, I think you will extend your season, it just takes various outfits from drysuits, to full wetsuits on down or a full basement of clothes for any weather condition.

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itznowonder
3 minutes ago, Malibuzer said:

Which boats are opposite rotation now? 

pretty much all of the others, I think. Definitely Mastercraft and Centurion

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Fffrank
8 minutes ago, itznowonder said:

pretty much all of the others, I think. Definitely Mastercraft and Centurion

I'm not aware of any boats (including Malibu) that are still offering RH rotation v-drives.  Backing up to the right is now "normal."  

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Malibuzer
12 minutes ago, itznowonder said:
1 minute ago, Fffrank said:

I'm not aware of any boats (including Malibu) that are still offering RH rotation v-drives.  Backing up to the right is now "normal."  

pretty much all of the others, I think. Definitely Mastercraft and Centurion

That is my understanding as well now. 

 

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itznowonder
1 hour ago, Fffrank said:

I'm not aware of any boats (including Malibu) that are still offering RH rotation v-drives.  Backing up to the right is now "normal."  

when did Malibu change?

Or is it just V Drive? I have a DD

 

Edited by itznowonder

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semi

We added Axis in the mix today as well. Again, don't know anything about them other than its a variant of malibu. Found another dealer that just sells them an not malibu. 

 

No restrictions on our lake, just restrictions with our current boat lift that is rated at 4600lbs. I also will tow it places and my truck is rated for 8600. The boat would stay in Northern Wisconsin's lake country on a 500 acre lake. 

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minnmarker
9 minutes ago, semi said:

 The boat would stay in Northern Wisconsin's lake country on a 500 acre lake. 

Half Moon in Polk County?  If so we are very close.  There are a few TMC members up there and many in the MSP area.

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River Monsters
4 hours ago, semi said:

I have heard that Natique and Mastercraft are the two premium brands when talking to friends and spending time online researching. So where does that put Malibu? Why did you chose Malibu? 

People with Nautique and Mastercraft tend to speak of the Big Two.  Around here there is the Big Three.  Other forums have Big Three's with their brand inserted with Mastercraft and Nautique or sometimes Big Four's with Nautique, Mastercraft, Malibu, and their brand.  Nautique and Mastercraft make great boats.  Malibu is a very big company selling a ton of boats and they do most things very well.  All this thinking is really 15 years old as most brands are offering very solid products.  In general, the more expensive boats are still nicer.  In general, Nautique Mastercraft and Malibu make very solid boats with tested and functional features that last longer and don't change as frequently.

Dealer experience is also very important, maybe more than brand is.  This particular online community make Malibu better, you will always get an answer and help if you need it.

Good luck in your search.

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footndale

Where do you reside in Wisconsin? What body of water do  plan on using the boat at?

Best all around family ski boat is the 99-04 Sunsetter LXI. Does everything sport well. Also in your price range.

Just and example of what it looks like. http://www.ski-it-again.com/php/skiitagain.php?endless=summer&topic=Search&category=Comp_Boat&postid=38867

I ski/foot behind many boats and they all have some advantage. If purchasing new, the dealer would be the biggest reason to pick a particular brand. Used doesn't' matter much. 

 

 

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Gavin17

I was in your shoes about a year ago when we sold our I/O. 

I considered Mastercraft, Nautique and Malibu.  My budget was 30k.  Since I was shopping used I was more concerned w/ condition and maintenance than make or model.  I looked at a ton of boats and we bought the Malibu we did because it was in such good condition.  It was serviced by a good shop and stored indoors.  I originally wanted a 21 footer but the boat we ended up finding the best deal on the 23.  We love it, no regrets.  

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semi

I am just south of Park Falls. But don't live there just have a place on a lake. Reside in SE wisc in the big city. 

Our budget will be somewhere between 35k and 70k with hoping to find a good used for around 35-45k. My wife cringes at the 70k range. But we have found some left over 2015's in the 60 range (Tige)

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footndale

I would talk to Twin Lakes Marine and check out the new demo Sanger, 215S. Used at Worlds this last weekend. Very nice.

https://www.facebook.com/ajax/sharer?appid=586254444758776&p%5B0%5D=1371370896214036&id=1371370896214036&s=2

 

For Malibu, Tinus marine is very good.

Edited by footndale

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minnmarker
3 minutes ago, semi said:

I am just south of Park Falls. But don't live there just have a place on a lake. Reside in SE wisc in the big city. 

Our budget will be somewhere between 35k and 70k with hoping to find a good used for around 35-45k. My wife cringes at the 70k range. But we have found some left over 2015's in the 60 range (Tige)

That's a nice area - but long drive...

For 35-45 you'll have your pick of very nice used boats.  If you have a dealer on or very near your lake that brand(s) may be the way to go (new or used) unless you're mechanically inclined.  For the pre touch screen boats most inboard dealers can service (save your weekend) most parts of any brand.  Once you get into the boat specific electronics (as opposed to engine electronics that are more universal) then you may have to haul the boat quite a ways to get service.  Any inboard dealer should be able to do oil changes, winterization, etc.

Dedicate at least a couple days to perusing this site and Wakeworld.com to familiarize yourself with options and issues.  We're all proponents of the way we did, or do, things but only you and your family can decide on size, features to get now or to add, brand, age, cost, how much time are you going to spend cleaning, etc.  That last one is not trivial.  If your old boat looks a bit ratty and you don't care as long as it starts and runs you may get conflicted about letting the same happen with a new boat - or you may end up burning your weekends cleaning it.  Neither are fun - and fun is the operative word!  If you get a dark colored hull and leave it on the lift all summer it will not look good - especially if your lake has a lot of iron in it.  White is best if you're a low maintenance guy.

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ibelonginprison

I chose Malibu because I don't wear a flatbill (meaning I can't own a Nautique) and I don't smoke a pipe and wear a captains hat (meaning I can't own a Mastercraft)

In all seriousness - the Malibu has been part of the "Big 3" for quite some time. Think of it this way... Mercedes and BMW stick their nose up at Infiniti, but Intiniti makes a product that easily competes, even if it doesn't have "the aristocracy" that the other two have. Malibu, MasterCraft, Nautique, Skiers Choice (Supra/Moomba) all make good products. A boat in the last 10 years by any of them will treat you right if it's been well cared for. 

 

I chose Malibu because it had the exact wakeboard wake that I was looking for (soft with a gradual ramp, and a nice lip - tons of pop but very rider friendly for those that aren't pro status and want to ride 75' off at 24.5mph), with the right technology, and it has the best looking interior styling FOR MY TASTE. Some people prefer Nautique, some prefer MC, I prefer Malibu. Always have.

2006 23LSV, 600+ hours on mine, *knocks on wood* no issues. Still runs like the day she came off the showroom floor. Keep 'em maintained and they'll treat you right for a long, long time.

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CumminsBu

Wake, looks, price and the Crew.   

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95echelon
4 minutes ago, ibelonginprison said:

I chose Malibu because I don't wear a flatbill (meaning I can't own a Nautique) and I don't smoke a pipe and wear a captains hat (meaning I can't own a Mastercraft)

In all seriousness - the Malibu has been part of the "Big 3" for quite some time. Think of it this way... Mercedes and BMW stick their nose up at Infiniti, but Intiniti makes a product that easily competes, even if it doesn't have "the aristocracy" that the other two have. Malibu, MasterCraft, Nautique, Skiers Choice (Supra/Moomba) all make good products. A boat in the last 10 years by any of them will treat you right if it's been well cared for. 

 

I chose Malibu because it had the exact wakeboard wake that I was looking for (soft with a gradual ramp, and a nice lip - tons of pop but very rider friendly for those that aren't pro status and want to ride 75' off at 24.5mph), with the right technology, and it has the best looking interior styling FOR MY TASTE. Some people prefer Nautique, some prefer MC, I prefer Malibu. Always have.

2006 23LSV, 600+ hours on mine, *knocks on wood* no issues. Still runs like the day she came off the showroom floor. Keep 'em maintained and they'll treat you right for a long, long time.

Probably better to say malibu is Audi than Infinity. German, Practical, good at a lot.

Personally I would stick with the big 3 plus axis for resale reasons alone. (Malibu, MasterCraft, Nautique). I would rather have a used big 3 boat than a new budget boat any day, maybe with the exception of MB who @IXFE can chime in on if he wants to.

Lots of people in here are talking about DD's but OP said he didnt ski much, he wants a V Drive. 23 foot is the largest your lift can potentially support, but with that towing capacity and lift you will be a bit safer in a 21, 21.5 or 22. In malibu you want the VLX or the LSV, there will be no others in that price range you want if you surf. In Axis you can get anything you would like.

2004 and newer malibu LSV's have the newer hulls that surf well, 2005 and newer VLX's have the V25 (newer style) hulls as well. Both are good. If I were in your shoes I would consider:

2015 22 VLX (70kish)

2006 or newer VLX

2006 or newer LSV

Axis T23

If you buy a boat built in the last 3-4 years the decision is really hard as all the boats are great from the big 3, however if you spend 35 k and get a boat in my era (mine is an 05) I would get malibu. Their design has stood the test of time better in my opinion (once you remove the stickers).

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