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Pickle Fork or Not (Lots of questions inside)


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Hey all,

 

Just getting back into the boating community. I have been reading the forums for a while and I love the idea of an Axis or Malibu boat. I'm very torn on which model to get and was hoping for some insight from any owners who have had multiple boats and noticed the huge pro's in the newer boats vs older. The more I read, the more town I get. I'm hoping to buy new and enjoy it for the years to come.

A little background from me. Last boat I had was a 2003 Supreme V210. It was a great first boat for myself. I put a few fat sacs in the rear and one in the front. It put out an OK wave and it was good enough to allow myself and friends to learn to surf and fall in love with wake surfing! A couple negatives I found which i'm sure are corrected with almost any new boat now was the length of the wave (I had to surf pretty close to the boat as it wasn't very long), I hated having to manually fill the fat sacs (i know i could have plumbed them in but the stock ballast system didn't fill very fast so I was basically done the fat sacs by time the stock ballasts were full). So a good stock system with a great performing wave is really important.

The biggest thing for me in a boat is the wave! It was the main driver for getting rid of the Supreme and wanting to upgrade. I love surfing and primarily only surf. However, I have two young boys 3 and 5 who will be getting behind the boat and probably wake boarding. My wife just loves lounging around on the boat soaking up the rays, so now i'm thinking a pickle fork bow. What are the pro's and con's to a pickle fork? Does it affect the wave? From what I've read it changes the cabin size. Have you tried both? What did you think?

Couple boats i've been tossing around.

A22 - Doesn't have all the luxury in the cab as a Malibu but from what I've heard they have great waves and with them having the power wedge now, there isn't anything manual about setting up a great wave. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

21MLX - New boat, has lots of the Malibu bells in whistles. It's an upgrade from the Axis but still isn't the top of the line.

22MXZ - I would say this boat is basically at the top of my budget if not over. Have to see what kind of pricing I can get and if the upgrade is worth the dollars!

Common thing between them all is the pickle fork. I like the pickle fork just to allow multiple people to be in the bow comfortably. We usually spend lots of time up front when we are on the water. But again, what does the room up front cause me to lose on the rest of the boat? If pickle forks aren't your thing what other models would you suggest?

 

Sorry my post is kind of all over the place. I just wanted some feed back from the Malibu community. Kind of list what we want out of a boat and what you guys suggest!

 

Thanks a ton!

-Herm

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I was never a pickle fork fan, however, the difference in room up front in a friends 2012 MXZ compared to my 2011 VLX is huge. I haven't noticed a difference behind the windshield so if more space up front is what you want you should pickle it for sure.  

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If you are pricing 22MXZ, check out the 23LSV as well.  Traditional bow, new hull in 2018, and Bu’s most popular model.  Or the 22VLX for a traditional nose option as well.   

With Axis getting PW2 in 2018, you just really have to decide if the bling of the Malibu is worth it to you.  Functionally now, the Bu and Axis lines are very similar now.  

What is your tow vehicle?  That could dictate some things as well.   Tow to the lake or have a lift?  

My experience is the pickle fork rides a little lower in the front, so easier to dip the nose especially when fully loaded than a traditional bow.   

How many will you have out normally?  If a larger crew, that may push you away from the 21MLX (shorter and narrower beam).  

Also, don’t discount going used either.   Starting in 2016, the 5 year warranty applies so all those models are still in warranty.   Lots of good looking gently used 23LSVs out there right now, several from members here.   

 

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My experience is the pickle fork rides a little lower in the front, so easier to dip the nose especially when fully loaded than a traditional bow.   

This used to be accurate, but it's different with the 2017 and up models.  My 17 22mxz is about the same as my 2014 23LSV when it comes to dipping the front.  Truth be told I've never had it happen on the new boat, but I'm somewhat careful too.

Agree with hethj7.  22MXZ and 23LSV are about the same $$$.  That being said I'm not going back to a regular bow boat ever.  (Malibu or otherwise)  We really like the extra space up there even though both my wife and I like the looks on a traditional bow a little better.

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I would be towing about 10 minutes to the lake near by. My tow vehicle is a 2012 F150 - Towing Cap is 11,000lbs. Usually its around 6-8 including the 2 kids in the boat. Not a ton more generally.

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Are you in an area where the water is still solid or can you get out and demo, even if you don't get in the water? You're looking at 3 boats with a $50K price range difference between them so my sense is that budget isn't your top concern here.

I'm with @hethj7and really like the 23 LSV and traditional bow. Having driven a 24 MXZ and 23 LSV back to back quite a bit for surfers, I get tired of looking over the larger pickle fork bow all the time and much prefer driving the 23 LSV. You'll find the 23 LSV cabin to be a lot larger than the 22 MXZ's cabin because the area given up to the pickle fork bow pushes the windshield back. The cabin will be about 2' longer in the 23 LSV.

Another thing to keep in mind is the 21 MLX is a narrower beam boat, so it will give up something in the surf wave to the larger boats, even though pics I've seen online look pretty good.

For the same $ at purchase, the 23 LSV will do better at resale down the road. But keeping your wife happy is worth a lot too.

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5 minutes ago, NWBU said:

Are you in an area where the water is still solid or can you get out and demo, even if you don't get in the water? You're looking at 3 boats with a $50K price range difference between them so my sense is that budget isn't your top concern here.

I'm with @hethj7and really like the 23 LSV and traditional bow. Having driven a 24 MXZ and 23 LSV back to back quite a bit for surfers, I get tired of looking over the larger pickle fork bow all the time and much prefer driving the 23 LSV. You'll find the 23 LSV cabin to be a lot larger than the 22 MXZ's cabin because the area given up to the pickle fork bow pushes the windshield back. The cabin will be about 2' longer in the 23 LSV.

Another thing to keep in mind is the 21 MLX is a narrower beam boat, so it will give up something in the surf wave to the larger boats, even though pics I've seen online look pretty good.

For the same $ at purchase, the 23 LSV will do better at resale down the road. But keeping your wife happy is worth a lot too.

I'm up in Alberta, Canada. So everything is frozen here for a few more months! So i'm trying to build boats on the Malibu website and the only thing I can seem to do is colors... Is there not a section where I can go through all the options and learn what everything is. I would like to get a lot of this research done before I go to the boat show on the weekend.

Thanks again.

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If it were me it would either be new mxz or lsv and of the budget is the deciding factor I’d go used lsv. There’s a beautiful 14 23lsv on Kijiji in red dear and a t23 at wizard. 

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I am moving from a 2012 A22 to a 2018 T22.  I thought we would spend a lot of time up front but it never really worked out that way. I don't think I ever even rode in the front the 4 years we had the boat.  Since they got rid of the center seat back I don't see it really getting used on our boat except by the kids and they don't  are if it's a little cramped. 

Pickle for does seem to ride lower or maybe it just looks that way.  It was never a problem and I do like the look. 

The main reasons we are going to the T22 is the cabin feels a little bigger than the A22.  The 2018 T22 has a new Hull design and the wave is better. We only surf so I can't comment on the wakeboard wave. 

 

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13 minutes ago, Hermi88 said:

I'm up in Alberta, Canada. So everything is frozen here for a few more months! So i'm trying to build boats on the Malibu website and the only thing I can seem to do is colors... Is there not a section where I can go through all the options and learn what everything is. I would like to get a lot of this research done before I go to the boat show on the weekend.

Thanks again.

No, there's no section on their site where you can select, get info on and build with the options you're interested in. That would be a really nice feature to have though.

There's a link at the bottom of the main Malibu Boats page to request a catalog, which has a link to this digital copy that has some info on options at the back (http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/380662a3#/380662a3/1). 

I spent quite a bit of time looking at dealer sites to see what they're building for colors and options. You can also google and browse the 2017 and 2018 new boat delivery/build threads on here, and then just start asking questions if you can't find something specific in those threads.

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Based on the three you asked about, I would rank them 22mxz, A22, mlx21. If you want to consider traditional bow than 22 vlx or 23 lsv could be throw in as well. I love the walk through on the mxz line and the bow storage. I don’t like giving up space behind the windshield for more bow space though. I ordered a 23 lsv after looking hard at axis a24 and t23. 

Compared to your supreme, you will love the ease of hitting fill all and pushing surf left or surf right. Decide where you like the power wedge and you’re good to go. 

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5 hours ago, tjklein said:

My experience is the pickle fork rides a little lower in the front, so easier to dip the nose especially when fully loaded than a traditional bow.   

This used to be accurate, but it's different with the 2017 and up models.  My 17 22mxz is about the same as my 2014 23LSV when it comes to dipping the front.  Truth be told I've never had it happen on the new boat, but I'm somewhat careful too.

Agree with hethj7.  22MXZ and 23LSV are about the same $$$.  That being said I'm not going back to a regular bow boat ever.  (Malibu or otherwise)  We really like the extra space up there even though both my wife and I like the looks on a traditional bow a little better.

Lol, my observation of riding low was after being in a 2017 22MXZ vs my 2016 LSV.  To each his own - it could have just been in my head.  

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3 hours ago, Pnwrider said:

Based on the three you asked about, I would rank them 22mxz, A22, mlx21. If you want to consider traditional bow than 22 vlx or 23 lsv could be throw in as well. I love the walk through on the mxz line and the bow storage. 

I am jealous of the locker on the MXZ that holds an anchor up front.  I HATE dragging my anchor through the boat.  

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Thanks all, I have the local dealer getting me some info on the options and pricing so I don't have to do all my deciding at the boat show.

 

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We just finished our 3rd season in our LSV.  I know everyone's uses are different, but it is rare for someone to want to ride in the bow (unless we are just cruising around, and even then people prefer to be in the cabin).  In our case, the pickle fork boats would be a lot of wasted space.

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