Berkshire 23 RFX STS 3.0

October 2016 Boat Test Monday PDB Staff

This article originally appeared in our 2016 Shootout issue. If you are interested in seeing this in print along with 28 other boat reviews, click HERE to purchase the back issue. 

Three Things

This is a great-performing, amenity-packed pontoon with a sporty interior to top it all off. 

Breakdown

Color-coordination is important and that’s why we love the flow of this interior that integrates sporty red, dark grey and white colors with the vinyl seating and other areas throughout the boat. The massive ski/tow bar is also powder-coated white to match and because Evinrude offers a wide variety of colored panels, even the outboard ties in with the color scheme.

At the helm is a large dash console that is centered around a digital multi-function gauge, but includes other gauges too, plus well-labeled toggle switches. Also part of this dash console are the Kicker stereo controls, USB/Auxiliary port, master power switch and a 12-volt outlet. For the record, the sporty console also flows well with the interior colors with a brushed grey aluminum look.

For the captain is a tall, bucket helm seat with a flip-up bolster and directly across is an identical chair for the first mate. Having dual helm chairs opens up the overall layout and of course only adds to the sporty look that the engineers at Berkshire are going for. There are two chaise lounges in the stern and two more in the bow and with the removable bench filler seat you can convert either end into a full U-shaped seating area. With a passenger rating of up to 13 people, there are plenty of comfortable seats for everyone to come aboard.

Outside the rear gate is a four-step stainless steel boarding ladder that is mounted to a good-sized swim deck and the area also includes the ski/tow bar mentioned earlier. The flooring throughout the boat is a grey teak-looking vinyl that not only looks great, but helps with the clean up.  

One other key feature worth noting is the color-matched wakeboard tower or arch that is integrated into the stainless Bimini top frame design. It basically takes something functional like a traditional Bimini and gives it a sportier look and feel. 

Inspection

Below deck are three 25-inch diameter pontoons with lifting strakes on both sides of the full-length center pontoon and on the insides of the outside tubes. The pontoons are constructed with .090 gauge aluminum and supported with cross members that are on 16-inch centers.

Inside the boat from the bow gate to the rear filler bench seat there is over 18 feet of total deck space. The rail height varies from 25 inches tall in the bow to over 30 inches throughout the majority of the boat. Overall we consider this to be a very safe and family-friendly layout.   

Handling

It’s part of the Super Sport series for a reason and when powered with an Evinrude E-TEC 200hp outboard you have a recipe for a fun day on the water. She banks beautifully in the sharp turns, but what we like most about the performance is the impressive zero-to-20-mile-per-hour time of just four seconds. She’s easy to steer and fun to drive; what more could you ask for?  

Final Thoughts

It’s one thing to look sporty and an entirely different thing to back it up, but this Berkshire clearly does. The interior especially hints at a little full-throttle attitude with unique features and an aggressive color scheme. But once you get behind the wheel you’ll quickly realize there’s even more to this boat than what you first see. The more you look the more you’re going to like.      

2016 Boat Specifications

Number of Occupants            13                   

Maximum Speed                     42.5 mph                    

Wild Ponies                             200 hp

No. of Gates                           3

0-20 MPH                               4.05 seconds  

Ladder Measurement             4’ deep 

Why we love this boat…Extra-mile effort went into the overall design to ensure everything flows well with nothing an afterthought on this model.  

Just being picky…We love the helm console that includes electronic hookups that you’ll need to power your music and phone, but the dash lacks a convenient place for your device while plugged in.   

NOTABLE STANDARDS

Color accents in logo/furniture/welt piping, Clarion flush mount w/ mP3 and iPod and Bluetooth compatibility, recessed docking lights, mahogany woodgrain kidney table, tilt steering, Tear Drop seating, USB charging port, aluminum corner plates, off-set mahogany dash. 

OPTIONS ON TEST BOAT

3.0 Performance Pkg., Super Sport Trim Pkg., Lighting Pkg., full teak vinyl floor upgrade, GPS speed display, amp/subwoofer/kicker speakers, XTP tubular aluminum bimini, 24-inch removable bench, high back port side chair. 

VITAL STATS

LOA                  23’ 7”             

Beam                 8’ 6”

Hull Design       Three Pontoons

Dry Weight       2600 lbs.

Fuel Capacity    38 gallons 

TEST DRIVE

Engine                                                             Evinrude E-TEC HQ 200

Cylinder Type                                                 V6

Cubic-inch Displacement/Horsepower           210ci/200hp

Lower Unit Gear Ratio                                   1.85:1

Propeller                                                          15 3/4  X 15 Rebel

 

RPM     vs.    SPEED     vs.    DB-A

525                  2.4                     81

1000                4.4                     79

1500                6.6                     86

2000                8.8                     89

2500                11.4                   94

3000                19.0                   89

3500                23.4                   100

4000                27.6                   98

4500                32.7                   101

5000                36.9                  102

5500                41.1                  105

5660                42.5                  107

Middlebury, Indiana 

574-825-8696

www.berkshirepontoon.com

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