This story was originally published in issue #510 of Trade-a-Boat magazine.
HAINES SIGNATURE 580BRX BOAT REVIEW
In 2014 The Haines Group released their revamped 580BR (sports bow-rider) – with a stylish new top deck, better standard inclusions, as well as a retro-styled 2-tone gelcoat and matching interior upholstery. The latest power-packed Suzuki 4-stroke sweetened the deal to the tune of 175hp. The design catered to skiing, wakeboarding and tubing at the dam, cruising the broad-water with family and friends, or even the odd bit of light offshore fishing on calm days. The multi-purpose 580BR proved to be one of the finer locally manufactured bow-riders in its class.
Four years down the track and the Haines Group have done it again with the new Signature 580BRX, bringing us a better boat than ever before. Just like the one before it, the BRX comes with a total top-deck re-design – outscoring its predecessor hands down.
WHAT'S ON OFFER
At a glance, the electric blue/titanium grey 2-tone gelcoat upgrade is a departure from the sporty, vibrant colours found on latest bow-riders and wake-boats. Internally, the upholstery was colour coordinated with lighter shades of the same combo – and it looks just as slick. The blue and grey aesthetic presents a more refined, upmarket and timeless look.
A closer inspection of the internal layout reveals some significant changes to the former 580BR, a favourite being the new wrap-around U-shaped seating configuration within the cockpit. The previous model's 8-person capacity was spread between the bow, helm and stern bench seating. It worked well, however, the new wrap-around seating enables you to better seat a mix of 8 adults and kids within the confines of the cockpit. It’s more sociable, it's spacious, provides better viewing of riders behind the boat, and has loads more storage.
The newly-configured and hand-crafted dash is also worthy of a mention. The shaded electronics panel is wider than before and can accommodate a Simrad GO9XSE chart plotter/sounder or similar – great for navigating the waterways and even better for those dedicated to chasing a few fish. The flat panel to the left of the adjustable steering is dedicated to a JL Audio sound system with Bluetooth (as standard), with an option to add an amplifier and extra speakers to really pump the tunes – as was the case in our test boat. The lower right panel is then dedicated to ignition switches and digital diagnostics gauges.
The passenger-side dash has changed to suit the rear facing seating configuration, includes an icebox/glove box and a large storage compartment below the seating. Up in the bow, upholstered seating is now complemented with recessed speaker and drink holder mouldings. The standard non-skid decking that is easy to keep clean, but for those chasing a softer touch to the foot there is the option of clip-in carpet or Ultralon flooring.
It’s a layout that's very much suited to family boating, relaxed cruising and of course a bit of high tempo skiing and boarding. Like any boat, the 580BRX has plethora of optional extras to trick it out and to suit your style of boating.
CHASING TAIL (AKA. FISHING)
What about fishability? Well, if it floats you can fish off it. Though the 580BRX is not a dedicated fishing weapon, you could easily add a few options to suit a day out wetting a line.
Two rod holders are included as standard but a few more wouldn’t go astray if you’re going to fish on a regular basis. There’s an optional bait prep board and pole to suit the ski-pole mount (must be ordered with ski-pole). The Bimini with full-clears and bow tonneau cover would also be a good option to protect from the elements, suiting fishing and general boating alike.
An avid lure angler may wish to add a cast deck infill to the bow – even a carpeted plywood DIY job would work a treat. An electric motor on quick release bracket would make the 580BRX as versatile as they come.
This time around the 580 was primarily tested for its intended purpose, rather than performance. We had the whole nine yards on-board including: up to 6 adults, full esky, hatches loaded with skis, wake boards and even an air-chair. A classic demo of high-speed barefoot skiing, slalom skiing, wake boarding and some wicked air-chair tricks sealed the deal that the 580BRX is capable of doing all.
PERFROMANCE ON THE WATER
The Signature 580BR hull needed no changes, so remains the same on the BRX. We put the former through its paces on Moreton Bay with a mix of high-speeds on smooth water, some pretty nasty bay chop and we even some pretty good acrobatics through the swell on the south passage bar (Stradbroke Island).
These hulls produce a well-balanced soft, dry and stable ride in most average conditions and can also perform well in the rough if you’re prepared to work the throttle. Fitted with the latest Suzuki 200AP (maximum horsepower) is ideal if you’re consistently loading to capacity.
The low-down torque is gutsy, but smooth at the same time on the 4-cylinder 200AP. Just like all Suzuki's, they are nice and quiet on the water at low and mid-range revs, while humming a pleasant tone at high revs. Comparing the new 200hp to the original 175TG we tested was also quite interesting, as the 200AP is around 15–25 per cent lighter on fuel throughout the rev-ranges.
When knocking down the hammer, revs and speeds were similar on both motors, however, the 200AP was tested in harsher conditions and I believe you could get a few more knots through the rev-ranges. The only significant difference between the motors is the kilowatts – 129KW on the 175TG versus 147KW on the 200AP. The top of the range 200AP also boasts a fly-by-wire digital control system which significantly smoothes the control and drive experiences. For those on a tighter budget, you could save a fair bit of coin by running the models without digital controls or step down to the minimum recommended power rating of 140hp, although I would suggest a 150hp at a minimum.
Like all Signature models, the 580BRX doesn’t lack in quality finishing and sturdy construction. When it comes to family bow-riders the options available are predominantly imports with inboard or stern drive motors, and most primarily designed around wake-boarding. Don’t get me wrong, there are some awesome boats out there, however, in my opinion the 580BRX’s outboard motor configuration changes the dynamics considerably in comparison to the inboard models. The 580BRX is multi-purpose, requires less maintenance, and runs on the smell of a fuel rag in comparison to the big inboards.
Priced from $72,022 with a 140hp Suzuki they are competitively priced considering the standard inclusions, overall quality and local warranties. A heavy-handed ticking of options boxes to get all the bells and whistles of our test boat will set you back an extra 20 grand or so.
Once again, the Haines Group have signed off on another well-presented and improved Signature bow-rider, perfectly timed for summer boating on the dams with family and friends, in the bays exploring the islands or fishing with the kids, sunset cruising, or even heading offshore on the good days.
Haines Signature 580BRX: PRICED FROM $72,022
OPTIONS FITTED: Gelcoat upgrades (signature pattern, full deck & full under hull), Simrad GO9XSE, seating upgrade, ski pole, additional JL amp and speakers, Suzuki DF200APX and a few more.
PRICE AS TESTED $90,776
TYPE Sports Bowrider
REC HP. 140–200
MAKE/MODEL Suzuki 200AP
TYPE Suzuki Precision Control, in-line 4-cylinder
GEAR RATIO 2.50:1
PROPELLER Suzuki stainless steel 3×16×21.5R
The Haines Group Pty LTD
The Haines Group
Performance with Suzuki 200AP
|Rpm||Speed (kts)||Fuel Burn (L/h)|