Which model to buy

dennyrae

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I am shopping for our first boat and have narrowed it down to Bennington, because of their superior
warantee and quality looks. I like lthe Bowrider series because the helm is elevated and we are novice
boaters, will be nice to be able to see as much as possible over peoples heads, etc. Visited the dealer
today and it was overwhelming with all the options. We liked a 24 foot model and love the arch that
goes down with push of button. Husband wants 300 hp , which salesman said was alot and I agree.
But hes paying, so theres that. My question is what do you think of the Bowrider series and opinion on
HP? Thank lyou in advance for any help.
 

AZHEAT

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There is a wealth of knowledge on this site and no shortage of folks willing to help. You picked the best Tritoon brand, so that’s a good start. It really is a challenge to determine what model/options would suit you best as a first boat. If you could give more insight into how you plan to use the boat (type/size of body of water you will be boating on, distance you will typically cover in a normal day of boating, what activities you would like to be able to use the boat for such as pulling tubes/skiers, fishing?, will you be trailering the boat any distance with a serious truck or keeping it in a slip/marina/storage facility, warm weather use only?, budget, etc.) I’m sure you will get input that will steer you in the right direction. Best of luck!
 

dennyrae

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Thank you so much for your reply and helpful hints. We are recently retired, going to be using on a large lake, that I understand gets very
choppy on weekend due to volume of boaters.hence, we are getting a bigger boat. 25 foot. 25RFBA. that is the model . There are only 9 of us
if we are al together. three are grandchildren who would like to tube and probabley in the future learn to ski. no fishing. No trailering. building
a boathouse and plan to use lift. Never owned a boat before so should be interesting. I know I don' t want to go really fast but want to be able
to pull kids even if we are loaded with adults. I have no idea about distance to travel in a day. we will go visiting the people we know who live on
the water and go to restaurants and sandbar.
Of major concern now is the bowrider sunken bow , do you think there is any chance it could be swamped with a wave if the lake is busy?
Ty everyone
 

DejaWiz

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Good question about the Bowrider becoming swamped...it's something I've wondered about. Since I'm intrigued by the L series variant. I would speculate that Bennington has addressed this by putting an automatic bilge somewhere up there, but I am unsure, so that's a question that needs answering by a dealer.

Keep in mind that the Bowrider models are much heavier than their standard pontoon brethren, so they would be better equipped with as much motor on them as can be afforded.

If you decide on a standard pontoon style, you can opt for the elevated helm on almost every floorplan, which will grant the captain increased visibility over passengers to the fore.
 

SLXGUY

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Our old boat was a 2005 22 ft. and we just ordered a newer 24 foot with a Yamaha 250 SHO. We looked at a bowrider before ordering our current boat. I think the profile of the boat you are considering is very sleek and beautiful. That being said, I have two things that caused me to decide against the bowrider. First, it clearly will draw everyone up front and I prefer to have a more "balanced" boat both port to starboard and front to aft. Second, I thought the leg/foot area just seemed a little tighter than the more traditional pontoons Bennington makes. Third, I had a step in a 22 foot Cobalt some years ago just didn't like having to always be aware of the step.

Regardless of what you choose, based on what you said, I would suggest the biggest engine the boat is rated for because the performance will be excellent (one regular complaint of first-time boaters is "I wish I had purchased a bigger engine"). You can always get an elevated helm.

Whatever choice you make, welcome to the world of boating.....you will have many, many years of enjoyment of whatever Bennington you decide on.
 

BigKahuna

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Bennington's R series bowrider is a cool concept with an innovative design. But.......I had a bowrider for years and although we loved that boat the reason why we decided to get a pontoon boat was to open things up and loved the roominess and comfort it provided our growing family. Where will you be boating?!?
 

dennyrae

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ty for your input. We will be on a very busy (on weekends) lake in Alabama,Lake Martin.
I am a little concerned re tlhe Bowrider, ie; lin high wake, would waves be able to break over the top? of the bow?
We have NO knowledge of boating, this is our first boat. first lake place. excited but want to get the right boat
as we tend to keep things a long time. I guess from what you are saying, we should get the 300 HP engine. even if
I personally doubt i will ever need that much power.
 

dennyrae

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Good question about the Bowrider becoming swamped...it's something I've wondered about. Since I'm intrigued by the L series variant. I would speculate that Bennington has addressed this by putting an automatic bilge somewhere up there, but I am unsure, so that's a question that needs answering by a dealer.

Keep in mind that the Bowrider models are much heavier than their standard pontoon brethren, so they would be better equipped with as much motor on them as can be afforded.

If you decide on a standard pontoon style, you can opt for the elevated helm on almost every floorplan, which will grant the captain increased visibility over passengers to the fore.
 

dennyrae

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TY for your input. Where would said bilge pump be located? I was envisioning a wave coming over into the bow and
wetting down occupants. This might just be my imagination. Its hard to find reviews of actual owners, i dont think
this model with the sunken living room (what we are calling it) has been out very long. maybe two years? As to the elevated
helm, I want to look into that. We are short people and the elevated perch for the driver was soooooooo fabulous! I tlhink ilts
higher than 4 inches. This is a hard process, albeit fun (don't even get me started on color combinations)lol Do you mind me asking
what you would purchase if you had a 110,000 budget , 9 people to consider, new to boating . colors too! I like the ivory , alathough
somone on this site said it was hard , not soft upholstery. TY everyone.
 

Carlson80

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ty for your input. We will be on a very busy (on weekends) lake in Alabama,Lake Martin.
I am a little concerned re tlhe Bowrider, ie; lin high wake, would waves be able to break over the top? of the bow?
We have NO knowledge of boating, this is our first boat. first lake place. excited but want to get the right boat
as we tend to keep things a long time. I guess from what you are saying, we should get the 300 HP engine. even if
I personally doubt i will ever need that much power.
#1 rule when buying a boat. Get the most HP you can afford. A 300 on a bow rider pontoon will be like 200-250 on a normal tritoon. #2 rule when buying a boat is set a budget or you will over spend on any boat especially if you have the means to do that lol.
 

dennyrae

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Our old boat was a 2005 22 ft. and we just ordered a newer 24 foot with a Yamaha 250 SHO. We looked at a bowrider before ordering our current boat. I think the profile of the boat you are considering is very sleek and beautiful. That being said, I have two things that caused me to decide against the bowrider. First, it clearly will draw everyone up front and I prefer to have a more "balanced" boat both port to starboard and front to aft. Second, I thought the leg/foot area just seemed a little tighter than the more traditional pontoons Bennington makes. Third, I had a step in a 22 foot Cobalt some years ago just didn't like having to always be aware of the step.

Regardless of what you choose, based on what you said, I would suggest the biggest engine the boat is rated for because the performance will be excellent (one regular complaint of first-time boaters is "I wish I had purchased a bigger engine"). You can always get an elevated helm.

Whatever choice you make, welcome to the world of boating.....you will have many, many years of enjoyment of whatever Bennington you decide on.
Thank lyou for responding. I respect your points. What did you purchase instead of the Bowrider?
 

dennyrae

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#1 rule when buying a boat. Get the most HP you can afford. A 300 on a bow rider pontoon will be like 200-250 on a normal tritoon. #2 rule when buying a boat is set a budget or you will over spend on any boat especially if you have the means to do that lol.
300 it is! ty. I did not know bowrider was heavy. that will be a plus on this busy lake.
I am aware I sound dumb, but i am researching and this is a great site to learn!!
 

BigKahuna

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Being first time boaters ........It would be a good idea for you guys to take a Boater safety course. Learn the rules of the road so to speak. See if the dealer can take you on a test drive. (Doesn't necessarily need to be the bowrider model) Take the controls and see how you like it, see how it feels, handles, accelerates, turns. There's alot to learn.......
 

dennyrae

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Being first time boaters ........It would be a good idea for you guys to take a Boater safety course. Learn the rules of the road so to speak. See if the dealer can take you on a test drive. (Doesn't necessarily need to be the bowrider model) Take the controls and see how you like it, see how it feels, handles, accelerates, turns. There's alot to learn.......
we are definitely going to do this!
 

Vikingstaff

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TY for your input. Where would said bilge pump be located? I was envisioning a wave coming over into the bow and
wetting down occupants. This might just be my imagination. Its hard to find reviews of actual owners, i dont think
this model with the sunken living room (what we are calling it) has been out very long. maybe two years? As to the elevated
helm, I want to look into that. We are short people and the elevated perch for the driver was soooooooo fabulous! I tlhink ilts
higher than 4 inches. This is a hard process, albeit fun (don't even get me started on color combinations)lol Do you mind me asking
what you would purchase if you had a 110,000 budget , 9 people to consider, new to boating . colors too! I like the ivory , alathough
somone on this site said it was hard , not soft upholstery. TY everyone.

If the ONLY reason you are considering the bowrider is due to the helm/pilots ability to see over occupants, then I would suggest considering a normal R series with a tritoon ESP hull and a 300HP motor. You can get the raised helm on the R-series, and then combine that with an after market “bolster-buddy” (see link below) if necessary. That will sit a short driver up higher over the front sitting passengers. You also eliminate concerns with water spraying on occupants or accumulating in front foot area as has been listed above as concerns

In considering a normal R series you gain a little more boat options for the same amount of money, perhaps a slightly better performing boat with the same size motor, a flat floor so no worries with steps/tripping in rough water or with potential kiddos/grandkiddos walking around, a wider more open front seating area, and passengers will be more likely to sit in a spread out and more balanced manner which is nice for handling, avoiding water over the bow, etc.. Finally, and I am unsure on this (forgot even though I’ve looked at them at my dealers showroom floor), does the bow rider NOT have a front gate? If not, that alone would be a deal breaker for me, but I might be thinking of something else.

Don’t get me wrong, the bowrider looks to be an awesome layout, but it is only a year old, and not many have it. Hard to get reviews and details on it let alone comparative insights.

Bolster Buddy
 

lakelifeMN

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You have gotten lots of good advice already. Here's my $.02 :) I agree with everyone to go with the 300. The cheapest time to get the horsepower is when you purchase your boat. I might suggest going to Youtube and looking up Bennington Bowrider. They have lots of good walk-through videos and some on the water videos also. I found Youtube very helpful during my buying process.

When I ordered my boat a month ago they did have a bowrider there I looked at so I may be able to help a couple things. The front does not open. That was my first question. They should make it so the back of the seat comes out and the small gate opens but he said it is a true bowrider with no gate on the front. I also asked about water in the front floor. He said there are drain holes in the front that channel water down the center tube to a bilge pump to pump the water out. I would still be interested how fast it would drain but I do not know. I was struck with how narrow the area was for you feet. It's like a dining room booth. With the table in place not much room to get around. With the table out might not be too bad but just depends on what you want to use your boat for.

My dealer said with the big center toon it displaces more water than even the ESP so it would float higher and be more buoyant. They said turning may not be as good as the ESP but it was a similar ride. I've never been on the water on one so I can't verify... just pass on what they told me. I would think either would be good on a busy/wavy lake. Some of the people with ESP can attest to what it would take to have a wave come over the bow but with a good sized motor in back and the overall length I feel it would take quite a bit.

My suggestion is to go with what ever best suits your needs. If you are going to be going from point A to point B and everyone is sitting the narrower front area might not matter. If everyone is going to be roaming around the boat and having a adult beverage from time to time the smaller area and steps might not be the best idea. Like a regular bowrider if you want to get to the front of the boat while on the water it requires climbing over the seats. They are very sharp looking boats with the lower rails and the arch would really set it off. If you go with a standard floorplan everyone suggests the raised helm so that would be a good choice. I went back and forth with this one but ended up ordering it on my boat.

If you could I would suggest trying to line up a ride on one and then compare it to the 25 ESP. This might help to answer some of your questions. You will be very happy with an R no matter what floorplan you decide to go with. Good luck with your search.
 
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Cobey

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I live on Martin. It can get busy on the weekends, but any Bennington 24 feet and up handles it well.

We have a 250, but we also have a nautique for the tubing, etc. A 250 would probably work, but a 300 would be what I would want.

Cobey
 

Vikingstaff

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I still think the traditional R series flat floor layout is much more practical for a pontoon. That said, LOVED the video above. No denying what a slick looking boat those bow riders are. I also like some of the subtleties of them (cut out side rail handles, step up handles, & port gate storage compartment). Nice touches for sure! Although the layout may not be for everyone, for those it is for, they sure will have an amazing boat.

And although I already find myself sometimes on the outside of conversations while underway when at a normal helm as is, and this would surely compound that situation, I love the commanding view as the boat captain on the bowrider.

I swung into our boat dealer earlier today to take a look at some potential holiday snowmobile gear. While there I took a second look at 1 of their 2 very sharp looking swingback bow riders in their showroom. They are nice, but then again, any R series is sharp.
 
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