Infinity ZX-1: Performance Test

The Infinity ZX-1 presents a solid option; with an interesting twist;for serious slalom skiers.

13th December 2001.
By Staff

The Infinity ZX-1 ran 48 mph, which is plenty fast for a tow boat. (All photos by Tom Newby)

The Infinity ZX-1 ran 48 mph, which is plenty fast for a tow boat. (All photos by Tom Newby)

With the sonic boom in wakeboarding, most ski-boat builders now offer wakeboard-specific boats or, at the very least, hybrid models. Infinity Ski Boats is no exception, but for its first entry in our Performance Trials, the manufacturer opted to send a traditional inboard ski boat.

That made perfect sense. The company’s founders are slalom skiers. The 22’5″-long, 7’7″-wide model sure looked the part, with its closed deck, teak swim platform, and a center-mounted motor box. It pulled like a demon while laying down soft, flat wakes.

The twist? The ZX-1 is a V-drive. So much for appearances.

Base price for the ZX-1 with a PCM 310-hp EFI 5.7-liter motor is $29,995, a bargain for a dedicated towboat. A few options raised the as-tested price to $32,366.

Skiing

Our ski and wakeboard testers, as well as our test drivers, agreed: The ZX-1 turned and tracked precisely, and delivered a monster pull. Both drivers also had high praise for the boat’s mirror, which could be clamped onto whatever section of the windshield that each preferred. They were divided on the bucket seat. One found it confining, the other found it comfortable.

So potent was the boat’s pull, in fact, that our unsuspecting boarder got yanked out of his bindings on the first start. Our skier came out of deep-water starts, one after the next, without getting his hair wet. That always pleases our skier, but what pleased him more was the boat’s perfectly flat wakes at speeds from 32 to 36 mph. Those wakes remained soft and flat, regardless of rope length. About the only criticism he could muster concerned the boat’s roostertail, which was a bit distracting at 22 feet off the tow line.

“But for a 75-foot rope length, which is mainly the length we use to test, it’s just perfect at all speeds,” he added.

In fairness to the ZX-1, it is not billed as a wakeboard boat. For that aerial pursuit, the company offers the Infinity Air model. That said, our wakes for ‘boarding were a little more tame and mild than those of most other dedicated ski boats. Still, our skier had nothing but praise for the boat’s tracking and—once his arms returned to their sockets—takeoff power.

Boarding and debarking was made easy by boat’s teak swim platform, a step-over notch in the transom gunwale and the lack of a rear bench to step over. (A drop-in bench is optional.) As expected, the rear-facing observer’s seat was hinged at the back and lifted to reveal carpeted stowage space for skis and boards. What our test team didn’t expect was a forward-facing seat, the back of which was integrated with the motor box, behind the pylon. Our test skier and boarder liked it because it kept them out of the wind. Our observer liked it because it meant she didn’t have to sit next to a wet skier on the way back to the dock.

Performance

The ZX-1 sported a shallow-V, five-degree bottom with spray rails. The hull had no strakes, but it did have what our inspector described as small “runners” roughly 8 inches from the chines and three skegs for enhanced tracking.

The boat’s “ZX Drive” V-drive system consisted of a Hurth unit with a 1.29:1 reduction and an OJ 13″ x 16″ four-blade nibral propeller. According to the manufacturer, the key to the ZX Drive system is that the prop and rudder are located farther forward on the hull, which enhances handling.

A 310-horsepower small-block motor powered the boat.

A 310-horsepower small-block motor powered the boat.

Our lead test driver gave the boat strong scores in slalom turns at 20, 30 and 40 mph, as well as circle turns at cruising and full speeds. He did find the ride to be rough through chop and wakes, and noticed a bit of tug in the steering during sudden deceleration.

Top speed for the ZX-1 was 48.3 mph at 5,300 rpm, which placed it among the fastest ski boats we tested during our 2001 Performance Trials.

Worksmanship

Infinity used a variety of materials in building the ZX-1. They included gelcoat, vinylester and polyester resins, 1 1/2-ounce mat and 24-ounce woven roving. The boat’s liner, which incorporated five bulkheads, the stringer system, hull and deck were bonded together with Plexus? adhesive.

The helm featured an adjustable bucket seat, a vinyl-wrapped steering wheel, a Morse shifter/throttle, and Kysor Medallion gauges.

The helm featured an adjustable bucket seat, a vinyl-wrapped steering wheel, a Morse shifter/throttle, and Kysor Medallion gauges.

In keeping with the tournament-style ski-boat tradition, the ZX-1 had minimal hardware. The only piece of deck hardware was a navigation light. There were no cleats on either side of the Water Bonnet windshield, nor were there any aft on the gunwales. Drivers will likely use the center-mounted pylon, mounted to the boat’s stringer system, to tie off at the docks. That, too, is tradition.

Our lead inspector offered praise for the installation of the motor, which was accessible with the center-mounted box open. The engine was mounted securely to plates glassed into the stringer system. Wiring in the engine compartment earned better than average scores, but our inspector graded the boat down for its unsupported under-dash wiring.

Interior

Clean and simple, the boat had padded gunwales with shallow trays. It did not have an in-sole ski locker.

A jump seat was integrated into the motor box.

A jump seat was integrated into the motor box.

It did, however, have a helm station with an adjustable bucket seat, a steering wheel, a Morse shifter/throttle, and Kysor Medallion gauges. All engine function readouts were included in a single 5-inch gauge.

The dash sported just one adjustable speedometer—the Perfect Pass readout was in the right-hand spot a second speedo would occupy if the boat had not come with the worthwhile speed-control system.

Overall

If hard-core slalom skiing is what you live for, the Infinity ZX-1 could be your boat. It doesn’t offer a lot of frills, but the ZX-1 delivers what counts—flawless wakes and wicked punch—at an attractive price.

Test Results

Hull and Propulsion Information

Deadrise at transom 5 degrees
Centerline 22’5″
Beam 7’11″
Hull weight 2,550 pounds
Engine Pleasurecraft Marine EFI 5.7-liter
Cylinder type V-8
Cubic-inch displacement/horsepower 350/310
Lower-unit gear ratio 1.29:1
Propeller OJ nibral 13″ x 16″

Pricing

 
Base retail $29,995
Price as tested $32,366

Standard Equipment

Three-color gelcoat, competition tow bar, ZX V-drive, walk-through safety windshield, glove box, tilt steering, fire extinguisher, interior lights, mufflers, ski mirror, full carpeting, lifting eyes, four-blade prop, nonskid deck area, ice box, Kysor electric dash, running lights, center and rear drain plug, automatic bilge pump, removable ski platform, engine cover jump seat.

Options on Test Boat

Upgrade to Perfect Pass speed control ($2,214), marine- grade battery ($98), raw-water strainer ($59).

Acceleration

5 seconds 30 mph
10 seconds 41 mph
15 seconds 46 mph
20 seconds NA

Midrange Acceleration

20-40 mph 3.9 seconds
30-50 mph NA
30-60 mph NA

Rpm vs. Mph

1000 8 mph
1500 11 mph
2000 18 mph
2500 26 mph
3000 32 mph
3500 39 mph
4500 43 mph
5000 47 mph

Top Speed

Speedometer 47 mph at 5300 rpm
Radar 48.3 mph at 5300 rpm
Nordskog Performance Products GPS 46.6 mph at 5300 rpm

Planing

Time to plane 2 seconds
Minimum planing speed 14 mph

Fuel Economy

At 25 mph 4.9 mpg
At 35 mph 3.6 mpg
At 45 mph 2.9 mpg
At 55 mph NA
At WOT 2.1 mpg
Fuel capacity 30 gallons

Manufacturer

Infinity Ski Boats
Dept PB
P.O. Box 549
DeLeon Springs, FL 32130
(904) 985-2500
www.infinityskiboats.com.


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