Big Star Lake
02-17-2013, 09:07 PM
I just purchased a new 2011 X15 with a ZFT3 tower. The Bimini from Mastercraft is an additional $1000. My concern is the amount of coverage from the sun as my previous Sea Ray had a large OEM bimini that was great. Does the OEM Mastercraft Bimini provide adequate coverage? I have seen the Z5 cargo bimini and they look to provide more coverage but have not seen the costs yet. Any guidance?
02-18-2013, 12:16 AM
The z5 is like a few thousand isn't it? I'd just go with the factory one. It does just fine for me.
02-18-2013, 01:14 AM
I have an 08 X-15 with I believe the same tower and living in Phoenix get to fully test the bimini's coverage capability. If it didn't have adequate coverage, I think I would have already caused the death of several people here over the past few summers.
The MC stock bimini coverage is adequate, but not great. I wish it extended maybe 1 foot further forward in front of the driver and maybe a foot and a half further back as the stock bimini uses the tower as the rear brace. It is pretty easy to get up and down and stores tightly around the tower, so during the winter or if I go early in the morning when a bimini is useless or undesirable, it stays out of the way and doesn't interfere with anything. Even when it is 115F here I have never had people fighting for spots in the shade, so that tells me the coverage must be ok. I'm sure I would be more sensitive about coverage and shade if we more often had more than one or two small kids on board.
I've seen a few people who had custom made biminis that looked a little larger than the stock MC. I haven't been on their boats to check them out, but they obviously exist. If you did go for a custom bimini to get one larger than the MC version, be careful and pay a ton of attention to function - stuff like ease of operation, how it interacts with the wakeboard rope, and even if it changes how the tower folds up.
I've not been on a boat with a Z5 other than in a showroom. They look like they'd be great, but I've also heard they are a few thousand bucks. I'd love one, but my MC bimini does enough of what I need it to do. I used to want one more for the storage capacity than the coverage, but that itch has left me and I rarely have more wakeboard than I can fit on my racks and the ski locker.
The MC biminis are really common, so you should have no problems seeing one up close. Z5s are a little more rare. If you can, try to get on boats with either of these and see for yourself before you purchase.
Hope this helps a little.
02-18-2013, 10:58 AM
You could always have towerbiminis.com (Barrio Upholstery) build you one. They may even be able to use the OE MC mounts on the tower.
FWIW they do excellent work. Had one built for my PS 190 and the quality was every bit as good as the OE MC ones.
I paid about $750 IIRC for one with a fancy 2 tone canvas several years ago. Guseeing you could get a custom one from them for about the price of a MC one, $1000 +/-.