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Stratos 186xt

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Anyone had a sneak peek at the Stratos 186xt? It's supposed to be a big brother to the 176xt that there was so much talk about this year. It's rated for 115 HP, but I wonder what other improvements have been made.

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I just received this press release via email. I like the sounds of this boat. May have to look into replacing my 20-year-old Charger with one of these. I am curious how much the upgrade to 115 HP will cost, though.

I'm hoping to have someone from Stratos come on the podcast and talk more about this model.

Stay tuned


STRATOS 186XT

Bigger than any other 18-foot boat in its class for under $17,000

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (Aug. 21, 2007) When the Stratos 176XT hit the market in late summer 2006, it exploded onto the fishing scene by giving anglers everywhere a less expensive, more stable and longer-lasting alternative to aluminum boats. Now, the XT line has been expanded with the 2008 Stratos 186XT, giving anglers even more space and power for under $17,000.

New for 2008, the Stratos 186XT is an 18-foot, 9-inch boat that feels and fishes like a 20-footer. The additional 15 inches of space is added to the front deck of the boat, giving it the same fishing space of most 20-foot bass boats, plus the added convenience of features like recessed trolling motor foot pedals and a 7-foot, 6-inch center rod locker. Completely rigged with 90-horsepower outboard, 40-pound Minn Kota trolling motor, Humminbird electronics and Road Armor Equipped® trailer, this is the most accessible and roomiest 18-foot boat in its class, meaning anglers don't have to sacrifice big money for big fishing space.

The added length of the 186XT also gives it a wider beam, making it rated for a maximum 115 horsepower more than enough power to get anglers to their favorite holes in a hurry.

The 186XT's combination of features, value and fishability has been a long time coming for serious bass anglers and local tournament competitors who want a new rig without breaking the bank. Available with a wide range of factory rigged outboards, new features on this boat include the added convenience of a lid assist on the center rod locker, a boarding ladder, Road Armor Equipped® trailer constructed of 4-inch trailer framing and Humminbird PiranhaMax 215 electronics standard at the console.

All the features that serious anglers have come to expect in a fishing boat are present on the Stratos 186XT: spacious rear deck, aerated livewell, on-board charger, power tilt and trim, running rod rack, tackle storage boxes and custom-matched upholstery on the three-across, fold-down bench seat are all standard, as well as a fit and finish that most anglers expect to pay well over $20,000 for.

Color packages for the Stratos XT line in 2008 include red gel coat, blue gel coat, Black Onyx polyflake and Gunmetal polyflake, each with a white deck cap.

STRATOS 186XT

Overall Length: 18'9"

Beam: 89 inches

Maximum Horsepower: 115

Fuel Capacity: 23 gallons

Total Person, Motor, Gear: 652 lbs.

Length on Trailer with Swing-Away Tongue Open: 20'1"

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???

Using the standard formula for determining Max hp for boats under 20'

L (in feet) * W (in feet) * 2 - 90

This boat comes up to 187. Which would equate into a real world 175hp motor.  This things got to be a slug even with the 115.

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I agree with cart7. This thing will definatly be a slug w/ a max of 115.  My Nitro 640LX w/ a 90hp Yamaha outran a 17ft Ranger w/ a 115 by a long shot recently. Stratos boats are just as heavy as rangers and since this boat is a 18' 9" my Nitro won't break a sweat passing this thing.  Stratos really has to make some changes in there max outboard possibilities before anyone should think of buying one.  Most 18 footers have a max of 175 to 200. A 115 is pathetic. Its exactly what i thought of the Stratos176XT. A heavy boat under powered even at the max rating.

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You're arguments about the undersized motor make sense.

But I guess top speed isn't the most important consideration to me.

I don't fish on lakes or rivers that require running several hours to find viable fishing spots.

And even in my current "slug" (1988 Charger 185 with 175 Johnston), I can't say that the difference between 45 mph and 65 mph has been much of a deciding factor in my tournament success or lack thereof.

Sure, if I were fishing big-money, big-water tournaments, with hundreds of other anglers in the same event, I'd agree that top-end would be an important factor. But even when I win the tournaments I enter, the prize money barely covers my travel,hotel, and fuel expenses.

I'm a weekend angler with an average-joe income. I can't spend upwards of $30K just to go as fast or faster than you.

What I see here is an affordable, reputable, reliable, and highly fishable boat designed for angler just like me...

IMHO

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I had hoped the 186XT would feature side rod lockers rather than a center.  I guess the 285XL is still my best bet.

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....define slug...I would expect slow hole shot, but after all I think it should be expected with a boat in this range...

I would bet the boat will do 40-45 plus or minus a few.

I have never seen that formula before.

what does the math formula shoot for...

What is the benchmark?

as it stands it is 2 x 2 without a result...what "value" is the result of formula meant to express?

Is that formula what is generally considered "comfortable performance" ( at which time comfortable perfromance needs a definition)

Is that to reach a certian MPH???

A certian "to plane in X seconds"???

When you really look at it...

less than $17,000 means $16,995...

plus dealer prep and other garbage...( $1000 +/-)

plus upgrading to the 115 from the 90...($1500 +/-)

plus upgrading the presently way underpowered trolling motor ( 40lbs motor...what are they thinking???) ( $600 for basic, self installed without wiring upgrade)

plus adding a front graph...( $150-????)

plus ditching the piranhamax 215 graph---whose pixels are so bad it is hardly readable...( $150-???)

plus a cover...($500 +/-)

not including if you want a jack plate...24volt trolling motor...

you are pushing $21,000 +/- out the door.

for not too much more you could buy the 285xl...or other brand...with all these things on board already and have more motor options.

at least that is my opinion.

but for the guy who does not want or care about those particular options ( of which there are many)... I guess it will be a good deal. It will prove a good boat for the weekend angler or the guy looking for an affordable fiberglass upgrade from his aluminum.

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They are going the Tracker route with these.  A 40 lb. TM on the front of that thing would be a hoot.

They're shooting for the crowd that either can't afford or refuse to spend $20K+ on a boat.  But like you say, once you throw in what you either need or want, it isn't that good of a deal.  A 2007 285XL MSRP's for $22995.

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....define slug...I would expect slow hole shot, but after all I think it should be expected with a boat in this range...

I would bet the boat will do 40-45 plus or minus a few.

I have never seen that formula before.

what does the math formula shoot for...

What is the benchmark?

as it stands it is 2 x 2 without a result...what "value" is the result of formula meant to express?

Is that formula what is generally considered "comfortable performance" ( at which time comfortable perfromance needs a definition)

Is that to reach a certian MPH???

A certian "to plane in X seconds"???

The formula is what the industry uses to determine max horsepower for a boat hull. IIRC, the actual formula was derived from the USCG.

Anytime you under power a boat by the amount you'd be with that one you'd never reach maximum potential for the hull.  That 115 would be running nearly full throttle just to keep that thing up on plane if the boat was fully loaded.  A 115 running full throttle eats gas just as much as a 175 running 2/3.  Since both boats would run the same speed,  you're not optimizing the full potential of the boat and motor combination.  

Why not rate the hull for what it's true value is and let the customer decide if they want to underhorse power?

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Why not rate the hull for what it's true value is and let the customer decide if they want to underhorse power?

perhaps THAT IS the hulls potential/ true value...

I asked this question once before...wondering if they do some other things to make the boat cheaper...

less a layer of lamination?...

less structure of/on the transom?...

lighter weight stringers?...

less flotation?...

perhaps there is something physically different about the boat that limits the horsepower that it can handle safely.

I know we all feel like there is alot of mark up in boats...but I wonder if this is like Electrical equipment. When you pay less...you get less! You would think Hubbell is flippin crazy for what they charge for devices and equipment...but there really is ALOT of difference between Hubbell and something like Pass and Seymour. Just looking you cannot tell...but they are definately different

I feel like that there is likely SOMETHING besides just the cheaper electronics...cheaper trolling motor...and less deck compartments that make these boats cheaper.

I would love to see someone take one of these and a "middle of the road" boat from the same manufactuer and see what the difference are.

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Why not rate the hull for what it's true value is and let the customer decide if they want to underhorse power?

perhaps THAT IS the hulls potential/ true value...

I asked this question once before...wondering if they do some other things to make the boat cheaper...

less a layer of lamination?...

less structure of/on the transom?...

lighter weight stringers?...

less flotation?...

perhaps there is something physically different about the boat that limits the horsepower that it can handle safely.

I know we all feel like there is alot of mark up in boats...but I wonder if this is like Electrical equipment. When you pay less...you get less! You would think Hubbell is flippin crazy for what they charge for devices and equipment...but there really is ALOT of difference between Hubbell and something like Pass and Seymour. Just looking you cannot tell...but they are definately different

I feel like that there is likely SOMETHING besides just the cheaper electronics...cheaper trolling motor...and less deck compartments that make these boats cheaper.

I would love to see someone take one of these and a "middle of the road" boat from the same manufactuer and see what the difference are.

Not likely, the 176 hull weight is listed at 1200lbs, that's no light weight by any means.

What you're talking about is what Allison does with something like their XB-2002.  That's a 20 footer rated for 200.  Super tuned that boat will run over 100mph,  With just a 150 it'll run 70 easily.  That's a case where a boat has been designed and constructed with ultra light composites along with a hull design with maximum lift that allows you to run a motor drastically less than the max rated hp on the plate and still get very acceptable performance.

Here's where I have the problem with this.  These boats are specifically targeted to entry level owners.  Most any newb bass boat shopper will hit the bass boat advice columns.  Virtually everyone of them advises to rig a boat with the max hp motor as possible, including the bass boat information on this website.

Now this informed future boat owner goes out and starts looking for a 17.5 or 18.5.  They've got a limited budget and they're not comfortable shelling out $20k to begin with.  They find most 17.5's need at least a 115 - 150hp for maximum hp.  The prices reflect that.  The same if it's a 18.5, usually 175 - 200hp.

Then they see the Stratos 176 or 186. They see the reduced max hp.  They think to themselves that Stratos must be doing something different to get performance out of a 17.5 or 18.5 with a significantly smaller motor.

They're not.

Honestly, Nitro does the same thing on their non-900 series boats.

Besides that deception, what happens when said newb boat owners buys the boat and a year down the road he becomes frustrated with the performance?  If he has the cash he opt out to up scale the hp on the boat but he can't.  The hp limitation has locked him into a motor that's insufficient for the boat.  He can stick the larger OB on their but his insurance company isn't going to be happy and if they're not happy, the bank he has the loan with won't be happy either.

Now the guy is stuck in an under-performing boat and his only option is to live with it or sell it, probably for a loss.

I don't still don't think these boats do anyone any favors.  Just rate the d**n things the way you're supposed to and if a customer wants to vastly under power their rig that's their choice.  

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You're arguments about the undersized motor make sense.

But I guess top speed isn't the most important consideration to me.

I don't fish on lakes or rivers that require running several hours to find viable fishing spots.

And even in my current "slug" (1988 Charger 185 with 175 Johnston), I can't say that the difference between 45 mph and 65 mph has been much of a deciding factor in my tournament success or lack thereof.

Sure, if I were fishing big-money, big-water tournaments, with hundreds of other anglers in the same event, I'd agree that top-end would be an important factor. But even when I win the tournaments I enter, the prize money barely covers my travel,hotel, and fuel expenses.

I'm a weekend angler with an average-joe income. I can't spend upwards of $30K just to go as fast or faster than you.

What I see here is an affordable, reputable, reliable, and highly fishable boat designed for angler just like me...

IMHO

Actually, my comments have nothing to do with buying a boat for maximum speed. Although putting the maximum hp motor on a boat will not only maximize performance but certainly help with resale value down the road.

My issue is breaking the standard rules of HP measurements to rate the boat and then creating the illusion, at least for those that don't know any better, that somehow Stratos has come up with a 17 1/2 or an 18 1/2 foot boat that can run with the same performance as everybody elses with far less hp.

It's not true.  

Frankly, by the time you replace that undersized trolling motor, upgrade most everything that will need upgrading, you can probably buy quite a few boats from different builders, under power them just like the Stratos and wind up paying the same amount of money.

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Cart 7...I see your point.

There is some advantage to the old days...before the "package deal" boats...when there was a few hulls to choose from and you outfitted it as you saw fit. Tracker claims they revolutionized the industry with their packaged boat deals...and to some extent they did, but in other ways they burned us.

There is however a market for these boats. Whether that market has been created by issuing a supply of boats...or if the boats were supplied to satisfy the an existing market...who knows...probably a little of both. Not every boat buyer has the same needs and wants. There are just as many folks buying boats who could not care one didly about performance; and in fact would not even recognize the difference in performance, as there are those who watchdog performance.

There is some definate value to maximizing HP and performance...for the guy who cares. I do not think that these companies are making a mistake or trying to pull a fast one by building these boats. I feel they are fullfilling a market demand and are offering a product that otherwise would not be available to a certian segment of the boat buying public.

Now...some of those folks will indeed one day think to themselves..."Crap I should have bought the..." and want to upgrade. Some of these folks would never have even bought a boat in the first place if not for these entry level boats and in this situation the companies have created a customer where there was not one presently...

...and there is nothing wrong with that! That is capitalism! That is just darn good business!

If these folks take a loss on their boats because they came into with to small a downpayment, too long of a financing term with too steep of an interest curve, or too few upgrades to make the boat desirable...well you cannot really blame the companies for that. That is just foolish consumerism. 80% of America takes a loss on their cars and think nothing of it. Should boats be different? (A friend of mine would harrang you till you cried for financing a car at all...he says ALL CARS SHOULD ALWAYS BE BOUGHT CASH...is he right? yep, probably...but then he has the money to do that...dropping $50,000 on a new truck, cash, is not even a thinker for him...but he has no right to criticize others for not having that option) Personally I think people need to be smarter when buying both...but it wont happen and it is not the responsibility of manufacturers to ensure people make wise choices. We live in a "want it got to have it" society...and I cannot fault corporations for taking advantage of it.

Hell...I do. Everytime somebody wants some crazy expensive light fixture from Italy that is no different than one made here in America...other than it was made in Italy...I get a big smile. Bigger price tag, bigger mark up! The people who shop without any common sense are the folks who pay my bills.

There is as well the other portion of the boat buying public who will buy these boats and be happy as a lark with it from the get go...

...and again...they may have never bought a boat at all if this entry level choice was not available and again the companies have created a customer where there was not one before...just good business top to bottom. This kind of supply and demand comsumerism is what this country was built on!

I think the guy who plans to make SERIOUS use of his boat better darn well do the research to make sure he is making not only a good performance decision, but a sound financial one as well...but it is not the companies fault if he does not do that and foolishly chooses an entry level boat and then hates it.

That is his fault...the companies supplied him with a choice and he made the wrong one.

On the flip side the weekend angler or bounce about boater may not have EVER HAD A CHOICE if not for these entry level boats. There is nothing wrong with someone buying this boat because it is all they can afford or all they want to pay. They may in fact buy it and love it and without this choice never had the choice at all.

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I own a 176 XT and it is rated for a 75hp but mine is powered by a 50.  It is not sluggish and the difference in top speed between the 50 and the 75 is only about 5mph.  The hull design is the reason for the lower power rating on these boats.  If you have seen one then you will notice that they are not the typical modified V or tri hull designs seen on most boats.  Statos actually designed the boat around the motor instead of designing a boat and then choosing a motor for it and when they did so they chose to use a skiff design on the hull.  The boat would probably skip like a rock across the water with too much power because of this but if top end speed is not your main objective I highly recommend the 176 and I'm sure the 186 will perform just as well.  For the first time in my life, I can fish 2-3 days on one tank of gas and the boat maneuvers well and planes out quickly.  I had some of the same concerns about being underrated on power but it has been anything but a problem.  I LOVE MINE!

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Last year I was thinking about purchasing another boat, but I decided to keep my old boat and spend my money on siding for my home this year.  Now I'm back in the market and I wanted to discuss the 186 XT as well as any other boats in this size range that are considered to be good values.  I'm not looking for a smoking hot boat on the hole shot or in top speed, but I'm not looking for a total dog either.  I have the funds to purchase a boat in the 20 - 30k range but if I find a boat that will do what I want for less, I'm all for it.  

Does anyone know much about the 186 XT, other than the information given on the press release?  Can anyone else confirm what powerman970 stated about the skiff design of the hull?  I found some testing information on the 176 XT:  http://www.boattest.com/boats/1228/test_results.aspx.  It isn't fast by any means but it would suffice to get you where you want to go and the fuel economy is decent.  It isn't the size I want but I was thinking it might give some insight into the 186 XT.  I would definitely upgrade the graph at the console, add a fish finder on the bow, and upgrade the trolling motor on this boat.  I'm fine with 40 mph and 4 second hole shots as I don't compete in tournaments.  

Cart7, what is your take on the design of this hull?

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The Stratos 186XT is a wet rough ride in a chop, the XL is a better buy  ;)

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Last year I was thinking about purchasing another boat, but I decided to keep my old boat and spend my money on siding for my home this year.  Now I'm back in the market and I wanted to discuss the 186 XT as well as any other boats in this size range that are considered to be good values.  I'm not looking for a smoking hot boat on the hole shot or in top speed, but I'm not looking for a total dog either.  I have the funds to purchase a boat in the 20 - 30k range but if I find a boat that will do what I want for less, I'm all for it.  

Does anyone know much about the 186 XT, other than the information given on the press release?  Can anyone else confirm what powerman970 stated about the skiff design of the hull?  I found some testing information on the 176 XT:  http://www.boattest.com/boats/1228/test_results.aspx.  It isn't fast by any means but it would suffice to get you where you want to go and the fuel economy is decent.  It isn't the size I want but I was thinking it might give some insight into the 186 XT.  I would definitely upgrade the graph at the console, add a fish finder on the bow, and upgrade the trolling motor on this boat.  I'm fine with 40 mph and 4 second hole shots as I don't compete in tournaments.  

Cart7, what is your take on the design of this hull?

Just watching that video on your link to the 176 it's a slug.  It's also got a less aggressive V, that explains the lack of roll in the hull when he moved to the outside edge of the boat even with that narrower beam.  Less aggressive V's mean a rough water ride.  Couple that with sluggish speeds that boat exhibits in that video and you're in for a pounding in rough water.  

As long as you don't fish big waters and if you do, make sure you get off before things get rough those boats are fine.  The realistic HP rating on those boats should be twice the upper end. Really, the hull weight on that 176 is 1200lbs, no lightweight.  If you watch that 176 video with the 70hp the hull is barely half out of the water at top end.  Tremendous drag means slower speeds and a bouncer in bigger chop.  If that's not an issue than the boat seems like a pretty good deal but, if you want at least a little performance I'm afraid that thing will fall flat on it's face.  It's a nice, simple boat for someone not the least bit interested in any type of real performance but wants a solid fishing platform.

If you're like me though, occasionally I like to run my boat and have some fun with it.  You'll have to scale back your definition of fun as far as the running aspects of that rig.  

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I did notice that the hull was only half out of the water.  As mentioned by a couple of people in this thread, I am also looking at the Stratos 285XL, as well as Triton, Skeeter, and Nitro boats which have dealers in my area.  I haven't ruled out a good used boat either, but I definitely need to replace my 15 and a half foot with its 70 horse Johnson.  Talk about a rough ride on big lakes . . . .  I take it out on Truman and Smithville Lakes here in Missouri and it can be downright scary when the winds reach 25 - 35 mph.  

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I would also suggest a Missouri built Charger boat.  Unfortunately the closest dealer I see to the KC area is in Pittsburg Missouri.

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On a note about the stratos i outran a 176 with the 70 yamaha on it with my xpress sv17 with a 50 yammie,might be the extra 500 lbs of fiberglass holding it back verses my aluminum hull. :o ;D ;)

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On a note about the stratos i outran a 176 with the 70 yamaha on it with my xpress sv17 with a 50 yammie,might be the extra 500 lbs of fiberglass holding it back verses my aluminum hull. :o ;D ;)

Did he know you were racing?  

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Olebiker,yea ,i could read his lips cussing about spending 5000+ more and being passed by a mean looking tin boat!!! ;):o:D ::)

Tin boats rule, Dude!  I'll buy another one when this one dies.

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