BOAT TEST: SAVAGE 195 BOWRIDER


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This new Savage bowrider can take on the imports and win

BOAT TEST: SAVAGE 195 BOWRIDER
SAVAGE 195 BOWRIDER

 

TAKE A BOW

While boat tests should always be as objective as you can make them, I'm darned if I can hide a measure of parochial pride in the way Savage's latest 195 Bowrider looks imported competitors squarely in the eye. There's no disputing that some of the 5.5m to 6m bowriders coming here from the US are great boats that set lofty standards in performance, fitout, and finish. And the 5.8m Savage 195 Bowrider can now sit proudly alongside them.

Savage have always built both aluminium and fibreglass boats, but the company's recent history was a bit rocky and to be polite, standards had certainly slipped from when Savage boats were built by a family dynasty and were some of our local boating industry's finest.

However, today Savage boats are part of Queensland-based Telwater, which includes Stacer, Quintrex and Yellowfin in its stable. Telwater go to some lengths to keep their brand identities autonomous as a matter of policy, although in saying that there's no escaping cross pollination in things like manufacturing expertise and sheer buying power, plus, the advantages of a stable and skilled workforce.

Obviously, the effects of this on the 195 Bowrider are all good.

 

 

LEAN INTO IT

You could sum up our time on the water in this boat in a word - fun! Please note the crazy lean angles the hull adopts in some of our photos. That's because it's an inherently surefooted and entirely predictable hull that just begs to be cranked into hard turns and blasted away afterward with big handfuls of throttle.

A tilt-adjustable steering wheel and a helm seat slide are standard fitment allowing you to set up the all important helm ergonomics to suit yourself. Both the helm and observer seats are heavily upholstered buckets. The helm seat features a flip-over bolster section in the cushion to raise the driver's eye level when docking or negotiating shallows.

Notably, the passenger seating is well served with grab bars, and they're needed. I'm not implying passengers will be hanging on for grim life, so much as there's a bar handy to brace with when needed. In fact, in the passenger seat, you never feel insecure, because you can brace comfortably.

 

 

PERFORMANCE & HANDLING

Power-hydraulic steering is another standard fitment and it contributes significantly to that impression of sheer fun. Within the bounds of sanity, and maybe even a bit beyond, the 195 Bowrider just goes where you point it.

Comparing sporty boats with sports cars is barely relevant, yet in this particular case it's actually quite valid. The "feel" is definitely like a sports car in the way the boat points and in the security you feel at the wheel. This impression is further enhanced by the complete set of instruments on the dashboard and the way the windscreen rakes back over your head to keep the slipstream out of your eyes. Although, to avoid the windblown look, please wear a tightly fitted cap. Hell's bells, isn't this how bowriders should be? Yes it is!

Towing wake toys, social cruising, just tearing about enjoying being on the water for the sake of it; they're all on the job description and this boat just laps it up.

Actually, we lapped it up on the (fairly) sheltered reaches of southern Moreton Bay. This fibreglass hull simply didn't notice that southern Queensland's usual sea breezes had generated a brisk chop. We had to go looking for some sheltered water for the photo shoot and that was purely because our camera boat couldn't keep up.

That afternoon sea breeze was gusting strongly by the time we got around to opening the throttle wide to see what she could do. So-much-so that we recorded nearly a 2-knot difference between an into-the-wind run at 31.4kts and 4900rpm, and a downwind run at 33.1kts and 5100rpm.

 

 

POWERPLANT

A 135hp MerCruiser 3lt in-line four-cylinder drives the 195 Bowrider through an Alpha One leg. For this test the sterndrive was swinging a 17in-pitch Black Max aluminium propeller, which allowed the motor to reach the rev limiter every now and then.

The match between power and hull certainly felt "right" with this prop, but having said that, the motor was swinging the prop so effortlessly I thought it might be worth trying a higher-pitch. This should drop the revs some and increase top speed a little. Although we were only lightly loaded and with a couple more adult bodies onboard, maybe the 17in prop would be spot on.

Eventually we sat still long enough to check out the interior in detail. Storage is important in any boat, even when you're not trying to cram as much fishing gear onboard as the TrailerBoat crew usually do, and we found plenty in this vessel. There are bins under the bow lounge, in a lengthy ski locker underfloor between the helm and observer seats, in a good-sized glovebox, beneath the stern lounge and even inside the engine compartment beside the motor.

Quality upholstery is one of the first things to take your eye when you board. I should also point out, too, that a neat, black bimini top supplied as standard isn't on the boat in our pictorial spread. Neither is the bow tonneau, or travel cover, which also comes standard. As do the stereo system with MP3 jack and water resistant speakers. The stereo itself is mounted inside the glovebox away from spray and thieving eyes.

Yet another notable feature of the standard equipment list is an aluminium trailer. There's no avoiding dunking the trailer every time you launch and retrieve a boat like this and there's a lot of sense in an aluminium trailer under the circumstances.

I should also point out that the mooring cleats seen on our test boat will be replaced with pop-up ones in production models (this boat was the first off a new line.) The carpeting clips in and is easily removed for a spring clean. All of which is very much like the standard inventory you get with imports… or is that just parochialism popping its head up again?

 

 

THE RAP

If you're looking at buying a 5.5m to 6m bowrider, some of the imports are such great boats you'd be silly not to take a long, hard look at them. But not as silly as you'd be if you did give the Savage 195 Bowrider its due. It deserves at least as long and as hard a look as any import!

 

 

 

WHAT WE LIKED


Aussie-built boat that stands toe-to-toe with imported competitors in every respect

 

 

NOT SO MUCH

Nothing to report

 

 

 

 

 

Specifications: Savage 195 Bowrider

 

 

 

HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: TBA

Options fitted: None

 

 

GENERAL

Type: Bowrider

Material: GRP composites

Length: 5.86m

Beam: 2.25m

Weight: 790kg (hull);
1328kg (BMT)

Floatation: Basic

Warranty: Three years

 

 

CAPACITIES

Fuel: 85lt

People: Seven

Rec. HP: 135hp

Rec. max. engine weight: 315kg

 

 

ENGINE

Make/model: MerCruiser 3lt TKS

Type: Inline carburettor four-cylinder

Rated HP: 135hp

Displacement: 3lt

Weight: 288kg w/ Alpha One leg

Gearbox ratio: 2.0:1

Propeller: Mercury Black Max
17in aluminium

 

 

SUPPLIED BY

Telwater,

53 Waterway Drive,

Coomera, Qld, 4209

Phone: (07) 5585 9898

Web: www.savageboats.com.au

Find Savage boats for sale.

 


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