Jump to content
DaveInTahoe

Fi25 vs Ri257 - rough water ride and infrequent waterski?

Recommended Posts

DaveInTahoe    0
Posted (edited)

We're shopping a boat purchase for next year. We mostly wakesurf, and we run on Lake Tahoe, so the Ri257 has been the top of my list since I surfed a friend's boat in Seattle a few years ago. We love the boat, not only because of the great wave, but also because of how smoothly it cuts through chop. Lake Tahoe is a big lake, and often rough, and I've never been in a sports boat that rides as calmly as an Ri257 through rough water. Our sports use will mostly be surfing, but we plan to use it for plenty of cruising as well. 

Then Centurion goes and releases the Fi25 to make everything complicated. I don't care much about the bow space, but I do like that it has a ski-pylon, and can throw a small enough wake to waterski (for a surf boat), especially as our young kids will be waterskiing before they surf. 

Does the Fi25 ride in rough water similarly well to the Ri257? How close is the stock wave to the 257, with ~800lbs less displacement weight) 

Is there a suitable non-tower tow-point on the Ri257 for tubes and recreational waterski? Like a rear cleat or handle? (I forgot to look when we demoed one earlier this week -- we were only surfing) 

Can the 257 make a not-horrible casual ski wake? or is that a feat left to the Fi25?

---

On another note, is there any easy way to quickly toggle between low and high music volume on Centurion boats? I borrowed a friend's 2015 FS44 Enzo, and as I was driving and teaching, I felt like I spent more mental energy managing the music volume than anything else in the boat -- because to always keep the music playing at a reasonable volume, I had to keep dealing with those irritatingly slow clarion remote panel buttons to move the volume between 20 at idle and ~45 underway. The mute/pause button stopped the music entirely, which is not fun. The 2019 Ri257 owner we chartered didn't seem to know any way to do it. In an era where most of the high-end boats I've looked at do auto-muting at low-rpm, this is a real glaring oversight by Centurion IMO.

I know this is Centurion land, but does anyone have experience with the new 2019 Supra SE 550? I've read favorable comparisons of the wave relative to Ri257/Fi25, and it has more of the tech features I like, such as the rear-camera, auto gopro start/stop, and while I have not confirmed rpm-sensitive volume muting, I'll bet it has that too. I wouldn't give up alot to get this stuff, but I might give up 10% of wave/ride quality. 

Also, our Centurion dealer really prefers the Direct Injection 450 over the Supercharged 550, as they are less finicky, take regular gas, don't need such strict maintenance intervals. We're running at altitude (6000 feet), we typically load the boat up with at least 1100lbs of passengers, and when we cruise the lake, it can be a 15-25 mile ride to lunch.. so I was leaning towards the 550 both for more power and for more top-end. Does someone here with a 550 have any info about reliability one way or the other?

Thanks in advance!

Edited by DaveInTahoe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DaveInTahoe    0

Regarding the speed-sensitive volume... I found one Centurion user reporting good results with the aftermarket Boost Box.

WSI 1103 - Boost Box Controller for Clarion Marine Stereos.  Now compatible with all Clarion 
marine stereos
.  Connects to the wired remote control interface for all Clarion stereos.  Includes Y adapters for both 
older 6-pin models and newer 8-pin models and supports all your existing remote controls. 

http://watersportinnovations.com/buynow.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
h20king    795

You will get the same wake from the fi25 as you get from the 257. Same hull just different tops. It comes down to what one you like best as far as styling goes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BoardCo    109
11 hours ago, DaveInTahoe said:

We're shopping a boat purchase for next year. We mostly wakesurf, and we run on Lake Tahoe, so the Ri257 has been the top of my list since I surfed a friend's boat in Seattle a few years ago. We love the boat, not only because of the great wave, but also because of how smoothly it cuts through chop. Lake Tahoe is a big lake, and often rough, and I've never been in a sports boat that rides as calmly as an Ri257 through rough water. Our sports use will mostly be surfing, but we plan to use it for plenty of cruising as well. 

Then Centurion goes and releases the Fi25 to make everything complicated. I don't care much about the bow space, but I do like that it has a ski-pylon, and can throw a small enough wake to waterski (for a surf boat), especially as our young kids will be waterskiing before they surf. 

Does the Fi25 ride in rough water similarly well to the Ri257? How close is the stock wave to the 257, with ~800lbs less displacement weight) 

Is there a suitable non-tower tow-point on the Ri257 for tubes and recreational waterski? Like a rear cleat or handle? (I forgot to look when we demoed one earlier this week -- we were only surfing) 

Can the 257 make a not-horrible casual ski wake? or is that a feat left to the Fi25?

---

On another note, is there any easy way to quickly toggle between low and high music volume on Centurion boats? I borrowed a friend's 2015 FS44 Enzo, and as I was driving and teaching, I felt like I spent more mental energy managing the music volume than anything else in the boat -- because to always keep the music playing at a reasonable volume, I had to keep dealing with those irritatingly slow clarion remote panel buttons to move the volume between 20 at idle and ~45 underway. The mute/pause button stopped the music entirely, which is not fun. The 2019 Ri257 owner we chartered didn't seem to know any way to do it. In an era where most of the high-end boats I've looked at do auto-muting at low-rpm, this is a real glaring oversight by Centurion IMO.

I know this is Centurion land, but does anyone have experience with the new 2019 Supra SE 550? I've read favorable comparisons of the wave relative to Ri257/Fi25, and it has more of the tech features I like, such as the rear-camera, auto gopro start/stop, and while I have not confirmed rpm-sensitive volume muting, I'll bet it has that too. I wouldn't give up alot to get this stuff, but I might give up 10% of wave/ride quality. 

Also, our Centurion dealer really prefers the Direct Injection 450 over the Supercharged 550, as they are less finicky, take regular gas, don't need such strict maintenance intervals. We're running at altitude (6000 feet), we typically load the boat up with at least 1100lbs of passengers, and when we cruise the lake, it can be a 15-25 mile ride to lunch.. so I was leaning towards the 550 both for more power and for more top-end. Does someone here with a 550 have any info about reliability one way or the other?

Thanks in advance!

A few things here:

The Fi25 and Ri257 ride almost identically in rough water - you will be VERY happy with either one.

The Ri257 has a tow point above the swim platform that is ideal for tubes. You can ski from this point but from my experience, the tower is a better spot.

As far as this goes, it is one of the common misconceptions I run into when talking to people about skiing. People consider it near blasphemy to talk about water skiing from the tower, but for 90% of people who ski it is actually a better tow point than a pylon. It allows recreational skiers to get up easier and reduces overall drag once they are up. The benefit of having a lower tow point really only matters if you are pulling HARD through the wake and honestly if you are pulling hard enough to justify going to a pylon you aren't going to want to ski behind a Fi25 / Ri257 anyway. To give you some background I am a tournament skier, I own a Carbon Pro boat (along with a Ri257) and spend time in a buoy course regularly. When I ski behind a Fi25 or Ri257 I am barely impacted by skiing from the tower. This point causes me some frustration because for most people skiing from the tower is not just ok, but it is actually BETTER than skiing from a pylon, but when I suggest it I get weird looks like I don't know what I'm doing haha. Jack (one of our guys here) gets the same reactions and he can run into 34 off in a course (which if you aren't familiar is REALLY good). 

The Ri257 ski wake isn't quite as good as the Fi25, but they are close. Out of the box the Ri257 puts out a slightly better surf wave while the Fi25 has a slightly better ski wake. They have the same running surface and the only reason for the difference is the Ri257 is slightly heavier. That said, most people wouldn't be able to tell a difference between them as far as ski wake goes.

As far as stereo control goes, you can have an automatic volume adjustment installed but you can save a lot of cost and actually get better functionality by installing an app on your phone called Volumatic. It is AWESOME and a lot better than the volume controls that are set to RPM in my opinion, plus it only sets you back about $10.

The Supra SE550 has some great features and is a really nice boat. There are some nice features on Supra but for me there are at least 2 BIG things you will miss out on vs. a Centurion. The most important factor that can't be overcome with modifications is the rough water ride. If you are using the boat on Tahoe the water can get ugly fast and having a boat that won't beat you up or scare you going through 5-foot waves is a must in my book. The next one is the surf wave on the Centurion is a lot better out of the box. You can get the Supra to throw out a great wave, but if you do much research you will find that pretty much everyone is running 1,000 lbs. of lead to get it to surf on the level of a stock Fi25/Ri257. If you cruise around a lot that is a problem since you can't get rid of it. The other downside that is just speculation from me is that the ski wake on the Supra wouldn't be as good. Supra boats have a very stiff wakeboard wake and from my experience, that translates to a stiff ski wake. I haven't skied behind one, but I have heard the ski wake is actually worse than a Centurion just because of the wake shape. The best thing to do if you are looking at one is taking them both for a drive, the difference will become clear very quickly. 

Lastly, the H6 engine will work fine for you but you probably wouldn't be disappointed with the 550 (for 2020 it will be the new LSX engine). If you cruise around a bit the added power and reduced RPM on at cruising speed is really nice. As far as reliability goes, its a bit early to tell on the LSX but thus far they have had no problems at all and should be more reliable than the XR7 (550 Supercharger) was. The main benefit is similar power but the engine is naturally aspirated so longevity and reliability should be better. It's a new engine for the boat world but it has been bulletproof in cars for a while so we anticipate really good things.

If there is anything we can do to help you out on the boat decision process at all let me know.

Thanks!

  • Like 1
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
InfinitySurf    277

On the volume adjustments, I have a free app on my Samsung Android called "speed of sound", I just activate it when I turn on my music since I play from my phone anyway. I set it to automatically drop the volume below 8mph. Works great. Probably similar to the app that BoardCo recommended but I heard that app only works with Iphone tho that may be a myth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Timr71    11
4 hours ago, BoardCo said:

A few things here:

[Snip] To give you some background I am a tournament skier, I own a Carbon Pro boat (along with a Ri257) and spend time in a buoy course regularly. [/Snip]

Color me jealous of your Carbon Pro ownership. Never had a chance to ski behind one, but hear it's the $hit!  Pics please?  

BTW, nice post answer all of the questions with details.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BoardCo    109
2 hours ago, Timr71 said:

Color me jealous of your Carbon Pro ownership. Never had a chance to ski behind one, but hear it's the $hit!  Pics please?  

BTW, nice post answer all of the questions with details.  

Image may contain: sky, car, outdoor, nature and water

Thank you. Everything you have heard is true... The Carbon Pro is slalom skiing ninja magic.

It is awful at EVERYTHING but skiing, but this thing turns and burns buoys better than any boat ever built. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mikeyr114    0

Thanks for the heads up on those volume control apps. I was just expressing my frustration that my new wetsounds source unit didnt have any options for that. I just downloaded to try. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DaveInTahoe    0
Posted (edited)

@BoardCo Thanks so much for the super detailed answers!

I have yet to find a nearby Fi25 I can even see on a trailer, so this information is super helpful. 

I do prefer the open walkway on the Fi25 over that tripping hazard box in the Ri257, but overall I love love love the Ri's high bow, high freeboard, and awesome stock wave, and since 90% of what we'll be doing is surfing, I'm leaning back in that direction.

I suspect your 100% spot on about the new 2019 Supra SE. The wake9 videos have 1000lbs of lead. 

-----

Where can I read more about this new LSX engine? Do you know if it's also direct injected like the 450? Is this based on the the GM / Chevy LS family? (looks like the GM LS is GDI). 

Having a reliable naturally aspirated 550 Direct Injection option would be amazing and make this engine decision easy. The only caveat being finding someone in Tahoe who can service the new engine. MelloMarine (my nearby centurion dealer) mentioned they are soon getting some Tahoe techs trained in Centurion service. 

Every G23 I know of up here on tahoe runs the 550 XR7, but I have not heard great things. I was out on a friend's G23 a week ago, and while it ran great and pulled like a monster, the engine error dialog kept popping up from clogged O2 sensors, and he said he's going to send in the ECM and PCM is just going to disable those O2 sensors because they are supposedly "redundant". That did not sound good. I doubt anyone re-tunes the superchargers for altitude (if that's even practical on PCM), so maybe they run rich and clog the sensors. Then it probably uses even more gas. 

Totally different topic.. Do you know if I can mount a clamp-style board rack on the new dropzone tower? (see my other post)

----

As for towing tubes... I've towed tubes using rear-tow-points before, and it wasn't a great experience because of how low those rear tow points are. It tends to pull the tubes down into the water on takeoff, and the rope gets caught and dragged in bigger wakes and waves. That stuff creates fun and challenge for 13 year olds, but for a leisure tube with one 250lb adult and two 6 year old kids it's no bueno. A ski-pylon generally works out much better. I know the Ri is a pretty tall boat, but is it tall enough to make that rear tow point high enough to be immune to these problems (unballasted)?

For the chill stuff we do with the little kids we could probably tow tubes from the tower. Come to think of it, a friend sometimes pulls tubes from the tower of a Nautique GS and it's not horrible, and it has a ski pylon. 

As for skiing, I don't mind skiing on a tower. I've done it before. Originally I had assumed I couldn't ski behind any of these surf boats, because the smallest wake on a friend's 25LSV is so big I don't think I could even cut through it.

In fact, it was the not-horrible ski-wake on your boardco Fi23 ski/board/surf video, that made me wonder if I should be considering the Fi25 over the Ri257. My local dealer tells me both 25 footers have a pretty non-ideal ski wake and that the smaller Fis are better. Your input on Fi25 vs Ri257 ski wake seems to agree. 

Right now we ski the kids behind a friend's 2018 Nautique GS, or one of a dozen 1990s OG Ski Nautiques that hardly gets any action. If and when I want to throw tails I can get behind one of those very easily. (I'm not very good, I just love the challenge and the cardio workout) 

--

Regarding the tech stuff. I'm aware of smartphone apps which can manage volume for *my* phone, but my crew has lots of tussling over who gets to be the DJ of the day, and they are not all techie enough to be installing that kind of stuff, so I want something that "just works" for everyone. 

A friend of mine just ordered a Boost Box to try out on his Centurion. If that doesn't end up working very well, we are both software engineers, so I'll probably just create my own solution by plugging an android device into the Clarion's canbus control interface and writing some custom software. This would also give me a device to control auto-start-stop on GoPro cameras, like is available on Nautique's tech package. I like the nicer tech on other boats, but I can fix and workaround the tech, can't workaround the wave.

 

Edited by DaveInTahoe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BoardCo    109
6 hours ago, DaveInTahoe said:

@BoardCo Thanks so much for the super detailed answers!

I have yet to find a nearby Fi25 I can even see on a trailer, so this information is super helpful. 

I do prefer the open walkway on the Fi25 over that tripping hazard box in the Ri257, but overall I love love love the Ri's high bow, high freeboard, and awesome stock wave, and since 90% of what we'll be doing is surfing, I'm leaning back in that direction.

I suspect your 100% spot on about the new 2019 Supra SE. The wake9 videos have 1000lbs of lead. 

-----

Where can I read more about this new LSX engine? Do you know if it's also direct injected like the 450? Is this based on the the GM / Chevy LS family? (looks like the GM LS is GDI). 

Having a reliable naturally aspirated 550 Direct Injection option would be amazing and make this engine decision easy. The only caveat being finding someone in Tahoe who can service the new engine. MelloMarine (my nearby centurion dealer) mentioned they are soon getting some Tahoe techs trained in Centurion service. 

Every G23 I know of up here on tahoe runs the 550 XR7, but I have not heard great things. I was out on a friend's G23 a week ago, and while it ran great and pulled like a monster, the engine error dialog kept popping up from clogged O2 sensors, and he said he's going to send in the ECM and PCM is just going to disable those O2 sensors because they are supposedly "redundant". That did not sound good. I doubt anyone re-tunes the superchargers for altitude (if that's even practical on PCM), so maybe they run rich and clog the sensors. Then it probably uses even more gas. 

Totally different topic.. Do you know if I can mount a clamp-style board rack on the new dropzone tower? (see my other post)

----

As for towing tubes... I've towed tubes using rear-tow-points before, and it wasn't a great experience because of how low those rear tow points are. It tends to pull the tubes down into the water on takeoff, and the rope gets caught and dragged in bigger wakes and waves. That stuff creates fun and challenge for 13 year olds, but for a leisure tube with one 250lb adult and two 6 year old kids it's no bueno. A ski-pylon generally works out much better. I know the Ri is a pretty tall boat, but is it tall enough to make that rear tow point high enough to be immune to these problems (unballasted)?

For the chill stuff we do with the little kids we could probably tow tubes from the tower. Come to think of it, a friend sometimes pulls tubes from the tower of a Nautique GS and it's not horrible, and it has a ski pylon. 

As for skiing, I don't mind skiing on a tower. I've done it before. Originally I had assumed I couldn't ski behind any of these surf boats, because the smallest wake on a friend's 25LSV is so big I don't think I could even cut through it.

In fact, it was the not-horrible ski-wake on your boardco Fi23 ski/board/surf video, that made me wonder if I should be considering the Fi25 over the Ri257. My local dealer tells me both 25 footers have a pretty non-ideal ski wake and that the smaller Fis are better. Your input on Fi25 vs Ri257 ski wake seems to agree. 

Right now we ski the kids behind a friend's 2018 Nautique GS, or one of a dozen 1990s OG Ski Nautiques that hardly gets any action. If and when I want to throw tails I can get behind one of those very easily. (I'm not very good, I just love the challenge and the cardio workout) 

--

Regarding the tech stuff. I'm aware of smartphone apps which can manage volume for *my* phone, but my crew has lots of tussling over who gets to be the DJ of the day, and they are not all techie enough to be installing that kind of stuff, so I want something that "just works" for everyone. 

A friend of mine just ordered a Boost Box to try out on his Centurion. If that doesn't end up working very well, we are both software engineers, so I'll probably just create my own solution by plugging an android device into the Clarion's canbus control interface and writing some custom software. This would also give me a device to control auto-start-stop on GoPro cameras, like is available on Nautique's tech package. I like the nicer tech on other boats, but I can fix and workaround the tech, can't workaround the wave.

 

The center cooler walkover on the Ri series never bugged me at all, though I know some people don't like it. The thing is if you have the bow cushion in the boat (which I do 99.9% of the time) it just means you step up about 1 foot earlier than if you don't have the cooler. It's funny because it is one of the primary things I like better on the Ri.

The LSX engine is the exact same as the Chevrolet LSX Engine. It is not direct injected (at least to my knowledge) but is natually aspirated. It has 7.4L of displacement but is in a small block profile.

As far as what you need - the H6 in either the Fi25 or Ri257 will have similar power to a G23 with a 550. The Nautique dealer here sells all G boats with a 550 motor and our Ri257 with a H6 performs just as well as theirs do.

The tow point on a Ri257 is somewhat higher up than most boats, but the rope will be in the water a bit when pulling a tube. You can get a float for the rope that will help a lot. When pulling little kids we put it on the tower but if you are pulling adults definitely DO NOT pull from the tower. That said, normally adults are at higher speed and they can be pulled from the lower tow point without a problem.

There is no way to do clamp racks on the Dropzone tower that I am aware of, but I can tell you straight up that you want the Bombshell racks. I ran clamp racks for a couple years and after having Bombshell racks for about 5 minutes I decided I never wanted clamping ones again. They are more reliable, hold boards better, fit more boards, etc. Plus the biggest benefit is they integrate in with the Sewlong XXL bimini which is probably the most important option you could put on these boats other than Ramfill.

The Fi25 has a slightly worse ski wake than the Fi23 but it is pretty close. To give you an idea of what you are looking at here is a link to a video we shot of the ski wake on a Ri257:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DaveInTahoe    0
1 hour ago, BoardCo said:

The LSX engine is the exact same as the Chevrolet LSX Engine. It is not direct injected (at least to my knowledge) but is natually aspirated. It has 7.4L of displacement but is in a small block profile.

I see a number of different Chevy engines labeled LSX.  The LSX454 has 7.4L of displacement, but the spec sheet says 627hp/568lb-ft. Is that the engine? Looks solid.

32 minutes ago, BoardCo said:

...I can tell you straight up that you want the Bombshell racks.

I'm very dubious. My #1 priority for racks is being able to easily get boards in and out without swiveling the racks into the boat. 

Is is even possible to operate that bombshell grab plunger without swiveling the rack into the boat? I don't see how it would be. It certainly doesn't seem easy.

We have a "7am club" that gets in about 30-35 days in the summer season. It's 4 regular riders, plus another 4-6 floating guests. So 8-10 highly varied riders (250lb men, 130lb women, kids, etc) doing 2-3 sets each in our 90 minutes of morning calm water (and time away from kids). We load up on the dock, drive 300 feet offshore, and start surfing, chatting, and drinking coffee.

Usually we're on a friend's 25LSV. A foil and a fat board are in the bimini, with another 3 boards in the clamp racks. The water is 55-65 degrees most of the summer, so a rider session is pretty short if they end up in the water too much. I'm usually the dedicated instructor, so when I'm not riding, I'm wrangling the equipment, and I have to swap a board about every ~15 minutes.

Because we typically have lots of riders, and only 1.5-2hrs of surf time in the morning, we need things to be smooth. With the clamp racks, I stand on the side rail and pop in and out boards in seconds without swiveling the rack or asking anyone in the boat to shift or move.

"holding boards better" and being "more reliable" is something that doesn't seem relevant to my usage. We don't ride fast or far or rough with boards in the rack. I normally only use the rear clamp and no board has done more than just shift a tiny bit in hundreds of hours.

I've used racks that need to be swiveled, like the Nautique style cord racks, and I hate them. I don't know what is worse, trying to get leverage on the cord to get the boards in and out while the rack is outboard, screwing around with those swivel pins trying to get the rack to turn, or getting people out of the way so there is room in the boat to do it. No thanks.

I'm a 100% die-hard clamp rack fan. I'd try the bombshell racks if they were free, but I'd rather spend the money they cost having a metal-machinst or 3d metal-printer make me custom brackets for a clamp rack. :)

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DaveInTahoe    0
Posted (edited)

On the tower racks - I talked to Gerry @ Centurion West, and he asked Roswell, and the word is that the Roswell Triton (which is basically a vertical version of the Bombshell) will fit the mounting bracket on the Dropzone tower.

They look like this:

image.png.9242ee65ae627f5fcd7dbb0addcdaaa1.png

These meet my criteria of easy in/out without swiveling the rack into the boat. Though I'm not sure I like the vertical boards, as vertical boards will impede driver visibility much more, which is never a good thing.

I found a writeup of these Triton racks, benefits, drawbacks, and a discussion and photos of the visibility issue.

image.png.770321070c9f196ddeec7a85931efa8f.png

I still prefer the regular clamp racks, or the newer PTM Edge "wide mouth" clamp racks. Probably I'll have to see how much of an issue this is, and if it is, just have some custom metal made to attach the PTM racks.

 

 

 

Edited by DaveInTahoe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DaveInTahoe    0

I got a response from PTM Edge, and it looks like their wide-mouth CBR 200 clamp racks will fit the dropzone tower with their 4-bolt adapter. 

IMG_2958_sm.jpg.d5bfc8e0863a0e7059d17b60535e2ec7.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Getssum    10

Dave, If you're ever in the SF Bay area, you're more than welcome to take a look at my Fi25!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Duneit    0

Getssum and Dave in Tahoe. What dealers did/are you purchasing from? I'm looking to buy this winter and am planning to be doing most of my boating in Tahoe like Dave.  

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Duneit    0
On 8/29/2019 at 1:47 AM, Duneit said:

Getssum and Dave in Tahoe. What dealers did/are you purchasing from? I'm looking to buy this winter and am planning to be doing most of my boating in Tahoe like Dave.  

Thanks!

Bump

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.