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First Boat! Ranger RT198P vs. Ranger glass

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Help!

My dad and I are finally going to be buying our first boat together.  He has some medical issues and we're basically at the "if we don't do this now, we're never going to do this" stage, which is the worst thing in the world to think about but I"m trying to avoid that reality and just realize we're finally getting a boat together!  Been fishing our entire lives, but just always from the banks or when members of his church would offer to take us out, so to say we're thrilled to death is an understatement. 

 

Here's our gameplan:  We're going to get with our local band and credit union and figure out what we need to do today so come January we can get the financing we want and know ahead of time what we're looking at.  Our plan is to get approved for 30,000 dollars, and we'll hopefully have between 5-10K to put down as the downpayment and finance somewhere between 20-25k on the boat.

I live in Atlanta and there's literally a Cabelas and Bass Pro 20 minutes from my house in opposite directions, so sticking to these two brands makes the most sense to me.  I am however very torn between the two.  From what I can find, it seems these two boats are around the same neighborhood price. I think they are both listed around the mid 20's.  My fear with buying the Ranger is that with the recent buyout I can only assume 5 years from now the ranger aluminums won't be around as the tracker aluminum is BPS's strongest seller.  So if I DO get the Ranger, how hard is it going to be in 5 years to get work on it done, where if I get a Tracker I can take it to BPS for the foreseeable future anytime I have any issues with it at all.

I don't remember exactly when, but come end of January/Feb there's this huge boat expo here and you can usually work out really good deals, along with BPS and Cabelas putting their stuff on sale to compete as well, so our plan is to have that 30k and come that expo walk out with the new boat.  I'm just really torn between the two.  We will be fishing 3 people often (my dad, myself and my fiance) so anything smaller than these is not really a comfortable option.

I've never seen a Ranger in person, but have seen and sat in the trackers a ton of times. I really like the trackers for the most part, but I'm not a huge fan of the dash. The Ranger dash system seems way more modern and sensical for the equipment I'd want to put on it.  However, I'm a HUGE fan of the Tracker center rod organizer, but maybe this Ranger has the same layout, I just haven't been able to see it to know.

In March BPS has some sort of deal where you can upgrade your boat and get 2 hours of free labor, I'm planning on using that time to upgrade the trolling motor and install the Fishfinders/GPS I want.  My question is, if I DO get a Ranger, does BPS still work on those boats, or would that be Tracker incentives only?

 

Anyway...  long first post and a ton of questions. So any help would of course be appreciated.  I've done as much back reading as possible on here and seems everyone would say get the Ranger, the buyout just scares me a bit.  And I also know that any concerns mentioned on here for the Tracker, BPS (according to the person I spoke with this weekend) every single thing mentioned has the limited lifetime warranty, which to me, would negate any of those concerns and I can't imagine them offering to cover those issues lifetime if they were having tons of problems.

 

Again, thanks for the help! Go dawgs!

 

(all of this is assuming of course that new models won't be out come early next year and these will still be the two most appetizing options)

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Why are you looking at those models?  Is it price?  Do you want the aluminum because it's cheaper or for where you're going to be fishing?  Next, why not look at a used boat.......might get a model a few years older for A LOT less money or even find a fiberglass boat way under the price you're looking for.  

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Don't really need/want the fiberglass.  Waters we fish on down here are very calm, and do have a lot of submerged stuff in the water so I need a boat that can take a hit.  Also don't want to deal with the upkeep and extra cost of the fiberglass down the road.  Id rather buy new because I don't have to worry about how it was taken care of, previous owner, things going out of warranty quicker, ect... Im the same way with cars, I buy new just to have the peace of mind.  I also looked at used models but nothing is available that's new enough to have the recessed trolling pedal, which is a deal breaker for me.   

 

All that said, I could be an idiot with this mentality and convinced otherwise, but I really enjoy the peace of mind of buying new and not have to worry about anything that comes with buying used.

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I didn't even know Ranger made a model in the RT series called a 198.  I thought it was just the RT 178 and the RT 188.  Looks like they are indeed introducing a RT 198 which can handle a 150 hp outboard.

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I think the 198 is a new model.   It's still a ranger (or alumacraft or whomever makrs the hull, backed by ranger).  I would have no concerns over the bps take over.

 

Personally in the price range you want, I would look at a Phoenix 618.

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2 hours ago, webertime said:

I think the 198 is a new model.   It's still a ranger (or alumacraft or whomever makrs the hull, backed by ranger).  I would have no concerns over the bps take over.

 

Personally in the price range you want, I would look at a Phoenix 618.

He doesn't want a glass boat.

 

I would go for the ranger everytime here. that tin looks really, really nice.However, the RT188 is more than enough boat for the both of you if to save a few thousand dollars.

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9 hours ago, ipianomantanner said:

But then I look in the area and see something like this for that price range and have no clue what to get. 

 

https://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/bod/5682826264.html

Well go for what you like.  I only suggested used as I bought mine (from a dealer) and ended up with a great bottom line, lots of extra's added for the cost of a new 175TX but went fiberglass with a 225 Merc, the electronic's I wanted as well as a shallow water anchor for under 18K.  But I did lots of looking before and I would ask if you're buying new to test drive each model as so you know how they ride out on the water before you purchase it.  I wouldn't worry about quality of the Ranger either.  

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I prefer the ranger boats. They sit flat in the water and so get blown around a bit less than the tracker hulls, and I expect they are more stable at rest. Unless you really want the speed the 198 can offer with the pad hull and the 150, the RT188 is a tremendous fishing boat. It doesn't have the pad hull, so will float on a damp towel, which is probably more important to you if you have a lot of timber. The boat still does the best part of 50mph, so unless you've got long runs to do it would probably suit you better.

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Found an xpress dealer in the area. Man, those boats are sharp. However, not a fan of the layout or storage at all. Couldn't even fit my 7'2 rods or bigger in the rod storage areas.  Boat was sharp and very well made, but was not a fan of the deck layout or storage.

 

Also saw a 2017 ranger 188C (camo edition) in person and was a big fan. Def preferred it over the xpress boats I saw today.  However, there was a Ranged fiberglass in the showroom as well and man, they have my attention.

 

Ended the day at Bass Pro and I'll say this... Really could tell the lower quality of the Tracker builds.  They just felt cheap and poorly thrown together, which I hate, because I honestly love the Tracked layout over any of the other boats. From the deck layout to the rod organizers they're by far my preferred boat... But I just can't spend that kind of money on them after realizing how subpar they are. 

I think at this point I'm between Nitro and Ranger fiberglass (or maybe the Ranger 188.) I honestly have no idea though. 

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Go with your gut feeling no matter what. It wont steer you wrong. Being "new" to boat ownership can be a daunting venture, and I know how you feel. I bought my first boat brand new 20 years ago and still have it. I looked around for 2 years, hemmed and hawed at used, fiberglass, etc.,... but ended up with my gut of a brand new tin deepv hull and am grateful I did, my gut was right as its exactly what i needed for my situation. 

After 20 years of boating I would now consider buying used as I have some experience to fall back on, and know whats needed and what to look for. But 20 years ago I wasnt sure, and went for the warrentied and sure thing of a new rig. Dont be strayed by others recommendations, They arent in your situation. Im not saying they have no validity,..by all means they do, and their experience may even greatly outweigh mine. But , again this is your situation, the boat will be yours, and the cash is yours to spend. 

Personally?,.If I were you? I'd pick the rig "you" want, and buy new, utilizing all the deals available to get the best deal. By all means shop around til then, check out the electronics/ trolling motors available and find the rig that fits you best, but be sure you dont get ripped off.   There's always the chance a new rig may have issues from the factory, but thats what warrenties are for.,.. Used? not so much

 I do know that most new rigs are setup with moderate power, be it big motor or trolling motor. Especially tracker is known for this. If possible for you to do,..upgrade your motors. You will be glad you did down the road. Reason being? I didnt when I bought my tracker, and just dropped alot of money to do so this year. My boat was nice before by all means, but now it rocks. People that have fished from it before, are now amazed at the difference.

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20 minutes ago, Keith "Hamma" Hatch said:

Go with your gut feeling no matter what. It wont steer you wrong. Being "new" to boat ownership can be a daunting venture, and I know how you feel. I bought my first boat brand new 20 years ago and still have it. I looked around for 2 years, hemmed and hawed at used, fiberglass, etc.,... but ended up with my gut of a brand new tin deepv hull and am grateful I did, my gut was right as its exactly what i needed for my situation. 

After 20 years of boating I would now consider buying used as I have some experience to fall back on, and know whats needed and what to look for. But 20 years ago I wasnt sure, and went for the warrentied and sure thing of a new rig. Dont be strayed by others recommendations, They arent in your situation. Im not saying they have no validity,..by all means they do, and their experience may even greatly outweigh mine. But , again this is your situation, the boat will be yours, and the cash is yours to spend. 

Personally?,.If I were you? I'd pick the rig "you" want, and buy new, utilizing all the deals available to get the best deal. By all means shop around til then, check out the electronics/ trolling motors available and find the rig that fits you best, but be sure you dont get ripped off.   There's always the chance a new rig may have issues from the factory, but thats what warrenties are for.,.. Used? not so much

 I do know that most new rigs are setup with moderate power, be it big motor or trolling motor. Especially tracker is known for this. If possible for you to do,..upgrade your motors. You will be glad you did down the road. Reason being? I didnt when I bought my tracker, and just dropped alot of money to do so this year. My boat was nice before by all means, but now it rocks. People that have fished from it before, are now amazed at the difference.

I certainly appreciate all your input and help. It seemed the Ranger aluminums I could find had stronger motors from the get go for the same price. The 188C I found was the same price as tracker (24,400) and came with the 24v trolling motor and 150 engine. So if I get aluminim I think I'm leaning toward the Ranged. Seemed to have as good of build quality as the xpress and the organization and storage was significantly better. 

 

Im no longer opposed to fiberglass though, that's for sure. I still think my budget will be no more than around 30 grand so I think I'd either have to go used or the base low end Nitro, which I can only assume most people on here would suggest not getting. 

 

I really appreciate everyone's help/guidance! 

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First off, To get a decent finance rate, you will more than likely need to put 20% down. Secondly, a boat is not a car. You need to worry more about the engine mechanic than someone to work on the boat itself. Most boats are relatively simple in design and if you are the least bit handy, you should be able to tackle most things yourself. Next, the 195 Tracker has had a rash of cracked transoms. The problem has been addressed by Tracker by reinforcing the bracing, but I can't help but believe it's a design flaw.

All that being said, most aluminum bassboats run similar hulls and will have similar handling characteristics. Buy the one you feel will offer you the best as far as layout and storage and fit. Walk around the boats and look in the storage lockers. Sit at the helm. How does it feel? Is there enough leg room? Can you see all your gauges easily? Are your pumps and batteries easily accessible or do you need to tear the boat apart to get to them?

Tracker tends to under equip their boats to keep the price point low. You would be better off ordering a Tracker than getting one off the showroom floor. It may or may not be the same with the Ranger.

Figure out what you need, figure out what you want, figure out what you like, figure out what you can afford and find a happy median

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I just went thru the same thing you are. I ended up getting the tracker 195 and couldn't be happier. When I looked at the Rangers the 198 had not be released yet so I was comparing to the 188. My thoughts are, the ranger will definitely sit flatter while fishing. The tracker sits a little nose high at rest , but even with my buddy in the rear it is still very stable and not bad at all to fish from. Rangers will hold shallow water anchors better in my opinion  where the tracker being nose high naturally could just increase with 2 of them mounted( i will find out soon).  I really liked the storage  of the 195 and the ride is great even when there is some chop. The ranger i saw did not impress me with the finish off it. I installed all my finders, LEDs, merc moniter and trolling motor( that can save you alot). I have not had any issues with the transom like some have had, but it has happened and is something to think about.

Either boat will perform, it's kinda like if you like apples or oranges. Only you can make that call.

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Have you ever fished from a glass boat? Before you rule them out I'd try fishing from them. I fished out of a friends 175 tx and it was tipsy compared to my equally sized Stratos 273. It's all about preference but there are so many choices, so make a wise choice.

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On 8/20/2016 at 8:32 AM, ipianomantanner said:

I certainly appreciate all your input and help. It seemed the Ranger aluminums I could find had stronger motors from the get go for the same price. The 188C I found was the same price as tracker (24,400) and came with the 24v trolling motor and 150 engine. So if I get aluminim I think I'm leaning toward the Ranged. Seemed to have as good of build quality as the xpress and the organization and storage was significantly better. 

I did not think you could get a 150 on a 188.

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On 8/20/2016 at 8:32 AM, ipianomantanner said:

I certainly appreciate all your input and help. It seemed the Ranger aluminums I could find had stronger motors from the get go for the same price. The 188C I found was the same price as tracker (24,400) and came with the 24v trolling motor and 150 engine. So if I get aluminim I think I'm leaning toward the Ranged. Seemed to have as good of build quality as the xpress and the organization and storage was significantly better. 

 

 

The Ranger rT188 has a MAX hp of 115HP. so you won't be getting a 150 on that.

The new RT198 will support a 150 though.

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So, as of today we're going with the Ranger RT 198.  Its got the storage/organization we're wanting, has TONs of room for three people to fish comfortably (it will 90% of the time by myself, dad and my fiancé, so the room is a huge selling point), my dad doesn't get around to great so he loves the step ups that are in place.  Seems to be able to get plenty of speed considering I won't be a heavy tournament guy or anything like that.  And no matter how many times I looked at a Tracker or Xpress over the last week my eye and heart just kept going back to the Ranger.   We plan on saving as much down payment money as we can between now and January and walking away with one at the Atlanta Boat Show in January, assuming all goes to plan.  (ill of course be keeping my eyes open for a used one to hit the market but thats obviously highly unlikely between now and January for such a new model.)

 

You guys have been awesome, so I'm hoping you might be able to help me with this as well.  Based on the boat specs listed at the 28k price point on Ranger, is there any absolute upgrades you would get right off the bat? Or can I take the boat as is on the water without needing any upgrades from the start?  Thanks ya'll!

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The Ranger Console is better too because it is separated from the gunnel which allows you to slide the rods back and gives the rod tips a place to lay and this frees up a lot of front deck space.  I really like the new RT198 from the news release photos.  :-)

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You get a longer port side rod box with the Z.  Otherwise, it's a fiberglass boat, and you had an argument against that.

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22 hours ago, ipianomantanner said:

Am I foolish for not considering the 2017 Ranger Z185 considering they seem to be around the same price point?  Like I stated, room/organization are two huge selling points for our situation.  

IMO yes. I don't want to offend anyone but glass boats to me are far superior when its comes to stability. Again I can only use Tracker boats as an example. Fish/ride from both or similar platforms then make a choice.

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4 hours ago, Indianabasser said:

IMO yes. I don't want to offend anyone but glass boats to me are far superior when its comes to stability. Again I can only use Tracker boats as an example. Fish/ride from both or similar platforms then make a choice.

Having or / using only one example of anything when making a judgement on it can restrict the accuracy of an assessment, especially when there are additional options to consider.

For instance, the Newest Pvo V offered by Lund. :)

When compared to the newest Tracker 19 ft, these two vessels  share a common hull material.  However, the similarities end right there.  A quick look at the specs of both indicate the differences in Beam Width, Stern Width, Chine Width, Amidship Depth, Bow Depth, Transom Height, Cockpit Depth, Standard Boat Weight and rated HP.  The implementation & design of all these factors play a vital role in a vessels stability. 

This model Lund's entire design is built & revolves around stability.   There is a considerable price difference as well.

http://www.trackerboats.com/boat/specs.cfm?boat=3925

http://www.lundboats.com/boat-models/1875-pro-v-bass/#specs

Tracker.jpg  Lund bow shot.jpg

A-Jay

 

 

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Can say the same about an Xpress Hyperlift hull.  It's NOTHING like a Tracker hull.

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