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Lowe Roughneck 1756VT
Last Update: 6/26/06
Date:
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Product:
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Reviewer:
Overall score:
10/29/05
Boat
Lowe
1756VT Tunnel Hull
$3,167 base
$21,500 as tested
Eric Z.
5.1
Manufacturer's Description:
"R1756VT All-Welded V Bow 6 V Bottom - Important features include: receiver gunnel, reinforced bow deck with storage, split stern seating and aluminum floor liner. Optional rear deck insert with pedestal seat base."

Specifications:
Length17'
Beam77"
Bottom Width56"
Pers. Cap635 (5)
Hull Gauge.100
Horsepower Capacity80 Remote / 50 Tiller


Standard Options:

None, this is the bare bones version. Other models come with consoles, fuel tanks, seating, etc. This hull was chosen because it would provide a "clean slate" on which to build a custom jet sled.

Options Purchased/Upgrades:
Tunnel Hull
Rear Riser / Splash Guard
24v River Anchor
24v 70lb Minkota Vector Transom Mount
Lowrance X-47 Depth Finder
Navigation Lights
Standup Center Console
Windscreen and Grab Rail
Bilge Pump
Deep Cycles and Cranking Batteries and boxes
2 Bank 10Amp Battery Charger
2 6gal Gas Tanks
2 Flip down seats
90HP E-TEC Outboard Jetted
Galvanized Roller Trailer w/ Spare and Dolly

Complete Pricing Breakdown

Comments On Individual Options

First Impression:
Sticker Shock! Honestly being new to the jet sled side of the house I never really thought you could spend $20G on a "Jon Boat" !! I guess in all fairness over half of that amount is sitting on the transom. Talking to several friends the Lowe Roughneck came highly recommended as a good hull at somewhat of an affordable price. There are cheaper hulls as well as much more expensive ones on the market but the roughneck seems to fit the moderately priced, well constructed niche.

I opted for the Evinrude 90HP E-TEC DSL 2 stroke after reading reviews about it as well as talking to friends that have it. According to the literature it's lighter than a 4 stroke, burns less gas, is cleaner, and has the power of a 2 stroke. It is a grand and change more than the standard direct inject 2 stroke, we'll see if it's worth the extra money. I did have a chance to test drive a comparable rig prior to purchasing this boat and was impressed with the E-TEC. I thought they had the wrong motor on... When it started up there was no poof of smoke, no oil slick and was quieter than most 4 strokes. On the water it'll set up back in your seat!

I was impressed by the folks at Camp & Cruise (Marne, MI outside of Grand Rapids). Being new to the jet sled market I had a ton of questions which they answered well. Everything about this boat was scrutinized over and over, all decisions were second and third guessed, and the Camp & Cruise staff was patient. They are one of the only dealers that have experience putting together jet packages short of custom builders like Tracy's in Newaygo, MI.

Ratings: (out of 10)
Rating scheduled to be done Spring 06'

CriteriaRating # 
Performance:6
Price:5
Construction/Quality:5
Design, Interior:5
Design, Hull/Exterior:5
Features:6
Support:5
TOTAL SCORE:5.3

Performance:
So far this package performs better than we had hoped for but look for continual updates as we get more people to try it out and offer their comments.

Price:
Lowe is about middle of the road pricing. There are several higher end boats comparable to this one like Sea-Arc and Alumaweld as well as a couple lower priced ones.

Construction/Quality:
We've had no problems.

Design, Interior:
There's not much to say about the interior design of a striped out boat! Lowe offers a number of layouts from complete rigs with consoles to the bare hull. If you want total control over what goes where, opt for the bare hull. The only drawback is the lack of storage space. The front compartment houses two batteries and the charger which fills it up, the rear holds another battery and the twin fuel tanks which leaves about enough room for a boat bag. You could opt for box style seats which would give you a little more storage but it would take up floor space which is already at a premium in this smaller hull. About the best option is to pack light!

Design, Hull/Exterior:
There are several options once again to choose from, from size to bow configuration there's a model that will suit just about anyone. I opted for the 6deg hull in the 1756, I had wanted the 1760 which is a bit wider but couldn't get the 6deg bow. Along with the modified bow I opted for the tunnel hull. I think it's a comfort thing knowing the motor sits above the hull. One added bonus thanks to the mod bow and the tunnel is it's pretty hard to slide out of a turn, even if ya step on it. It will, but the performance is close to a prop making it easier to handle for a novice (me).

Features:
Lowe doesn't offer a ton of features in these boats that you don't need. The basics are all there from tunnels to tree grabbers (for the duck guys), giving you the ability to pick and choose to suit your needs. Keep in mind your not limited to just Lowe accessories, their consoles didn't suit my needs to I ended up with one from Sea-Ark. You could totally outfit a boat with just Lowe accessories and be very happy.

Support:
Luckily I haven't had to try it out yet!

Plus / Minus:
TunnelOption Pricing
Mod BowStorage
Performance


Conclusions:
So far it seems like a pretty good midrange boat. I haven't found anything that would make me want to go to a different manufacturer. Several jet sled owning friends have had the chance to give it a spin and all have been impressed so far. It comes out of the hole like a rocket, even with 3 people in it, handles very well, and is set up to fish effectively.

For More Info:
We had our rig custom designed with a ton of help from the staff at Camp & Cruise. Step by step they helped us with hull choice, motor selection, and a ton of options as well as layout, what would work with what, and what wouldn't. Also, to help us make our decision with motor and hull they rigged up a boat just for us to test drive... now that's customer service!

Lowe Boats - Roughneck Series

Quest invites manufacturers to submit comments on this review. Comments will not change the review in any way, but will be added along side the information presented.


Additional Staff Comments:

Long Term Test:

10/06 - Delivery Date
A couple small issues that will be resolved by a return visit to Camp & Cruise. Steering cable's a bit tight and they want to drop the jet down about 3/4" to reduce/cancel any cavitation. With the modified 6deg hull it can cause cavitation problems. They can be remedied by the following; the addition of deep water fins, dropping the motor down, and adding a spray guard which helps channel the water from the tunnel more efficiently.

11/06 - Return Visit
We knew more than likely the tight steering cable would have to be replaced, also they wanted to drop the motor a bit. I didn't have any cavitation problems the one and only day I got to run the river, but during the water test on the lake in tight turns it showed up with a vengeance. Both were fixed and I've got no more issues with tight steering or cavitation. Everything else in the boat is working properly.

11/21 - Design/Build Issues
Now that I've had the chance to use the boat for about a month there are a couple build/design issues that have come up. The first two are design related and can be fixed in a couple hours, but it would be easier for Lowe to do a couple small design changes and offer a factory fix instead of the end user doing it themselves. The first is a problem with the 2 front "hatches". Neither are sealed or water tight, the bow cutout should have a panel or something to prevent both someone from stepping in it inadvertently as well as keeping water/snow out. I'll simply have my local welder fix up an aluminum "Hatch Cover" that can be easily placed and removed. Look for pictures on that soon. In addition the front deck compartment, which has a hatch, isn't sealed at all allowing water to get in. Might not seem like a big deal but the batteries are directly below. With any luck a simple piece of automobile glass weather stripping should keep at least some of the water out.

With these two sources of water entry it also showed me one additional item of concern. Seems like the hull ribs aren't ported enough to allow the passage of water from the front of the boat to the rear where the bilge pump is. Water constantly collects between the ribs to a depth of a couple inches and is only removed by tipping the boat back at a considerable angle which can't even be found at steep launch ramps. Raising the tongue jack all the way up doesn't even give it the lift it requires. About the only method of removing the water is with a wet/dry vac. The last item which is directly related to these water issues is the placement of the bilge pump. I didn't think anything of the placement when I picked up the boat. It's in the stern, centerline, just like every other boat I've owned. The problem with that is with the tunnel hull that specific placement is about 3" higher than the rest of the stern due to the rise in the tunnel. The pump should be placed in the lowest point of the hull, which unfortunately isn't accessible. For water to rise to the level of the bilge in its current position it would require about 3-4" in the hull...That's a LOT of water. Not really sure what the fix for that issue is going to be.

05/06 - 6 Month Checkup
Well, it's been over 6 months that we've had the sled out on the water. The E-Tec is still running strong, the hull's still in one piece without any major dents, dings or scrapes so the big things are working as advertised. Everything else still works well and we've found only 2 additional issues. One, the need for oars, and two, the button on top of the Binnacle remote controls (throttle/shift for the E-tec) will freeze up.

While it seems funny to talk about the need for oars on a jet sled in practicality their essential. Small moves while fishing is best done with oars. We decided against oars on the initial build for spacial concerns, but it looks like we're going to add them before fall.

The second issue is with the motor controls. Binnacle top mounts are what we picked for the stand up driving we do, little did we consider the amount of water and ice that builds up on our console when trailering. This small problem will be cured by covering at least the console when trailering.


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