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New (used) malibu purchase

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Hey guys. New member here. Been enjoying reading the forum and learning something different each day. Long story short I bought my first boat last year (06 bayliner bowrider) and love every second on the water. It's just not big enough to carry friends. I have never wakeboarded, ski'd, etc. I would love to purchase a malibu to eventually learn and do these things, but honestly just love the way they look and the wrap around seating is very enticing. 

My questions are....how are malibus on the water just as far as cruising goes? Our lake isn't rough compared to many I'm sure but occasionally it can get pretty choppy with a crowd. Also, can someone explain or point me in the right direction as far as lsv vs. vlx goes? I'm sure there's threads on here about that but I'm having trouble with the search feature being too broad. With my budget I'm looking in the 2005-2010 range more than likely (40-45k, 50 if perfect boat for us). So if anyone is selling near NC, let me know lol.

Thanks in advance for any help!

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Posted (edited)

23 LSV



21 VLX


I have had both and currently have an 11 VLX(Avoid due to MTC) but otherwise love the boat.

For wakeboarding the VLX is pretty awesome but when you surf I found the 23 LSV to be better.  It really depends on what you want to use it for.  I went with the smaller VLX because where we use the boat it is small lake and I wanted to be nimble.  If I had my choice I would choose the 23 LSV but it will most likely cost you more.  If coming from a Bayliner to a Malibu you will be blown away with the craftsmanship and overall quality of the Malibu.  It will also hold its value but right now prices are a little crazy.  I do not expect that to change for a while with supply shortages.  I say if you find a good boat that has been well cared for and descent hours 600 or less then I would jump on it.  Some well cared boats will be just as good with higher hours but if you find one that is not in good shape I would skip it for a higher hour boat that has all records and is clean.  Hope that helps.  Use only inboards for your search and Facebook Malibu and Axis for sale group.  Boattrader and Craigslist are others(watch for fake ads).  I would not discount going for an Axis boat either.  It will be a big improvement and yes your budget is realistic for the current covid prices.  You will have some options depending.  Since you are in NC I would avoid salt water boats if your plan is to use in freshwater.  Maybe look in the TN area and go as far as TX as there are usually lots of Malibu for sale there.  Just my 2 cents.

Edited by JLT3
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Wow thanks so much for all the helpful info! I will definitely read both of those articles. What do you mean MTC? Is that the screen issue or something different? My boat now is only 18.5 feet so I'm not sure how a 23 foot boat would feel to be honest. It would definitely be easier to haul and store a 21 footer too. Does it ride ok in rougher waves? 

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We went from an 18' IO to 2004 23lsv 6 years ago.  It's been awesome.  No plans to upgrade anytime soon, especially in this market.  

Generally bigger heavier boats ride better but  Inboards w/ flat bottoms ride rough.  Our 23 rides better than our IO because it's so much bigger even though it has an "inferior" hull shape for rough water.  Newer surf boats w/ deeper v hulls ride much better than my 2004.  If it's really rough you have to slow down to 10-15mph or so and plow w/ your bow high.  The low bow is awesome for wakeboarding and vision but you can take rollers over the bow, especially with ballast.  To me, wake boats are smooth water boats.  If we get caught In rough conditions I can get thru it, If you expect to fly thru the chop w/ the cabin cruisers you'll be disappointed.   If you like inviting friends I'd try and find a 23'.  There are only 3  in my family and I wouldn't go any smaller after owning the 23.  We frequently have friends along and it's easy to fill.  If you need to fit it in your existing garage and only a 21' will work then so be it.  23' is the most popular size for a reason.  I'd even consider a 24 or 25' next.  That being said when you're searching for used boats I prioritize maintenance and condition over make and model and the VLX and LSV are both great boats.  If you find one that has been taken care of you'll be fine.  

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11 hours ago, Gavin17 said:

If you like inviting friends I'd try and find a 23'.  There are only 3  in my family and I wouldn't go any smaller after owning the 23.  We frequently have friends along and it's easy to fill. 

This.  You never said exactly how many, but for sure a little extra room is huge when you have a crowd...plus, nobody ever said "I wish I had less storage space."  The smaller boats are very popular because they fit into a garage, but if you can swing it, go with a larger model if storage and towing aren't an issue.

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You guys are awesome. So much helpful information. I'm seeing some 2004 23 lsv's in really good shape for around $45. I'm sure that's about 10K or so higher than normal but like yall are saying, no telling when this market will come back to reality anytime soon. I've also found a 2007 23 lsv that looks like it's in pretty good shape for 52K. The 2004 has 600ish hours and the 2007 has 300. What do you guys think? I'm not really in a rush but also don't want price creeping up again next year. 

We always have at least one other couple with us and there's 4-6 other people who would come often if we asked but we just don't have room with our current boat. I just don't know where I would store it lol but I am eventually going to get a shed anyways. Thanks again guys!

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For 3 years newer and half the hours, I think the price difference is worth it to get the '07!  I think you'll be pleased with the newer hull.

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