Rinker RX1 — A Rinker with Attitude: Performance Test

Rinker RX1: Watersport warriors are armed for battle.

8th December 2003.
By James Corns

The RX1 held firm throughout a series of S-turns and figure eights, no matter what the speed.

The RX1 held firm throughout a series of S-turns and figure eights, no matter what the speed.

Like a knight with sword and armor, the Rinker RX1 is suited up and ready to go into battle. Armed with a sturdy tower and a snazzy graphics package, the RX1 can make even novice skiers and wakeboarders look like seasoned watersport warriors.

If the RX1 looks slightly familiar, it should. It’s actually a tricked-out version of Rinker’s 212 Captiva Bowrider. This inspired transformation offers you the excellent handling and stability of the 212′s bowrider hull — but it also includes a skiing and wakeboarding package that gives the boat new purpose.

We tested the RX1 on Southern California’s Lake Puddingstone. We were one of only two boats on the water that morning, so the flat waters stayed that way throughout most of our ride. We had two adults and half a tank of fuel on board.

Our first impression of the RX1 was a good one. In fact, it was better than we had expected.

We’ve never had a negative experience with any Rinker boat, but still, we didn’t know what to expect going into the ride. Here was this standard bowrider that had seemingly been dressed for battle — but we wondered if it would really know how to “fight.” It did.

Most impressive was the solid feel and handling of the boat. There was virtually no sliding in turns, and at no point did the boat feel like it might try to get away from us.

Our test boat had a single 5.0L MerCruiser MPI stern drive behind it. The 260 hp engine took us to plane in 3.8 seconds, where we hovered at 24.8 mph (at 3,000 rpm). Then, we moved up to a cruising speed of 35.5 mph at 3,750 rpm.

Lake Puddingstone is a bit small for doing speed runs, because just as you’re getting up to speed, you’re at the other side of the lake; however, the RX1 was still able to hit a top speed of 51.4 mph. Our test boat had a Mercury High Five stainless steel prop with a 21-inch pitch.

The RX1 held firm throughout a series of S-turns and figure eights, no matter what the speed. The 20-degree deadrise undoubtedly deserves some of the credit. Comparatively, the steering was a bit less taut at slow speeds, but it was still more than acceptable.

The ride was very dry, and despite the flat water, we were able to kick up enough wake to see that the boat was more than capable of handling rougher waters. Visibility was excellent, even with the wakeboard tower. The boat had bolster seating, but we didn’t need it.

Let the Battle Begin

The boat’s lines are sleek, like you’d expect, but the complementary lines of the custom folding tower give the overall design even more movement.

Rinker has done an excellent job on the boat’s graphics package. Some manufacturers’ designs come off as cheesy-looking, but that is definitely not the case with the RX1. We saw both the yellow and the red versions, and both were very attractive. (Black and blue two-tone hulls are also available.)

Fit and finish is generally good. All stowage compartments are nicely lined and feature drain holes in the deck that allow water to escape. Our one nitpicky comment would be regarding the faux burled wood that is used as an accent on the helm and passenger consoles. It had a warped appearance that made it look cheap and flimsy, even if it’s not.

Like any true ski/wakeboard boat, the RX1 gives the sound system its due. In addition to four cockpit speakers, you’ll also find two more speakers hanging from the tower, snuggled in between the set of wakeboard storage racks. A six-disc CD changer feeds the RX1′s audio power amplifier, so you’ll never be at a loss for tunes. A transom stereo remote control is standard.

The boat’s layout is somewhat simple, with two forward mini-settees to port and starboard, a walk-through windshield, twin bucket seats at the port and starboard consoles, and an L-shaped settee that wraps around the port side and transom (and hides a 25-quart Igloo cooler). A giant sunpad takes up the rest of the RX1′s hindquarters.

The rear swim step is accessible from starboard via the walk-through transom. A swim platform extension is available as an option, but it’s probably not necessary — unless you have a rear end the size of Texas.

Although the Rinker RX1 gives you the comfortable, easy ride of a bowrider, it still delivers the pulling power and dazzling graphics of a hardcore ski/wakeboard boat. The combination makes the RX1 perfect for families who are dipping their toes in the ski/wakeboard pond for the first time.

Rinker RX1 Specifications

Length 20’10
Beam 8’6″
Draft (drive down 3′
Dry weight 3,120 pounds
Fuel capacity 42 gallons
Maximum power 300 hp
Price $29,995

Engine

Model MerCruiser 5.0L MPI Alpha I stern drive
Propshaft horsepower 260
Cylinders 8
Displacement 305 c.i.d.
Bore x stroke 3.74″ x 3.48″
Gear ratio 1.62:1
Compression ratio 9.4:1
Maximum engine speed 4,600-5,000 rpm
Weight 938 pounds

Performance

Top speed 51.4 mph at 5,200 rpm
Cruising speed 32.5 mph at 3,750 rpm
Miles per gallon at 32.5-mph cruising speed 3.93
Gallons per hour at 32.5-mph cruising speed 8.27
Range at 32.5-mph cruising speed 165 miles

Standard Features

Custom folding tower w/board racks, two coaxial tower speakers, four coaxial cockpit speakers, audio power amplifier, six-disc CD changer, transom stereo remote control, large watersports mirror, custom RX graphics and gelcoat, High Five stainless steel propeller, fiberglass stringer system, Bimini top, one-piece fiberglass cockpit liner w/snap-in carpet, integrated swim platform with recessed boarding ladder, 12v outlet, automatic bilge pump, 25-quart Igloo cooler.

Options

PerfectPass speed control ($800), swim platform extension ($1,095).

For More Information

Rinker Boat Co.
300 W. Chicago St.
Syracuse, IN 46567
(574) 457-5731
www.rinkerboats.com


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