View Full Version : Pros and cons of the various $1000 towers
Does anyone have, or know anyone with, a Big Air Pylon H20 tower?
I saw an add in Waterski mag this month for their tower. It looks pretty good (style) and only costs $895. I've been considering a Monster tower for some time, but can't get over how they look. The Big Air tower has sort of that 'swoop' look to it.
Please qualify your answers. I know I'll get the typical.."don't buy anything but a zero flex" type replies, but keep in mind that I have an older boat and don't want to spend 25% of the total value of my boat on a tower and racks. I want to add a basic tower to my 93' prostar to make wake boarding a little better and to add storrage...get the boards and skis up off the floor.
So the topic of this thread is"pros and cons of towers in the $1000 price range". Please give your experience and recommendations relating to the "economy" towers. :wavey:
07-30-2004, 08:07 PM
Jake, cool looking Tower. Looks like itís a fair price accessories are cheaper too. I havenít seen any of them on this site. Maybe someone on one of the wakeboard sights has that or knows about that tower??
07-30-2004, 10:14 PM
This is the 1st I have heard of this tower. Looks nice on the MasterCraft in the picture section. I wonder how stable it is. Sounds like a good deal for a sweet looking tower. But if you get that wing you may get made fun of... :noface:
I kind of like the wing. You could put big chrome stacks up the sides of the tower and the boat would look like a Peterbuilt!
Kidding...that wing is kind of silly looking.
Here's a link to a thread on a wakeboarding site. It seems to be slanted pretty heavily in favor of the Monster Tower.
I went through the same process several months ago with my '94 ProStar, and purchasing a tower has been a wonderful thing for my boat and the way we use it. Space is at a premium in the ProStar boats, and a tower can really help in creating more space.
I have spoken with a variety of tower manufacturers and folks who have purchased towers from these manaufacturers. I have yet to find anyone who has not been happy with their decision to purchase a tower or in the quality and performance of their tower. From what I have been able to find out, most of the towers are made the same way and from the same materials, so I would not be too concerned with what "kind" of tower you are purchasing, so long as it is from a reputable company.
For me, it all came down to the stye of the tower on my boat. At the time I purchased my tower, MC did not make a tower for the older PS series boats. I looked into having a Zero Flex tower customized to fit my boat, but to be honest, the fit and finish of the Zero Flex towers pretty much sucks, IMO. Looks like the H.S. shop class was learning how to weld...
Here is a link to the tower that I chose, kinda pricey, but I am extrememly happy with it: www.samsonsports.com
08-02-2004, 04:04 PM
Jake, I purchased and installed a Monster Tower on my 93 PS205 about 10 months ago. I have been very happy with the tower. I needed a tower that folded easily, and the Monster Tower is very quick to colapse and put up. The instructions that come with the tower are very good and the customer support is great.
08-05-2004, 11:27 PM
It was a 93 PS 190. The tower worked just fine. I now have a 99 PS 190 with a ZeroFlex tower (1st generation tower..i.e. not really foldable). The main differences I have noticed is that the Big Air Pylon tower tended to rattle as I drove around. You could actually see the tower swaying around as you drove (a little bit). In terms of wakeboarding, I don't really notice that much of a difference. But I am a pretty lousy wakeboarder.
My advice is to buy the Big Air Tower or something in a similar price range that fits your boat, holds your equipment, and fits your style. You will save money and you won't notice enough of a difference to warrant the extra 1-2k on a 10 year old boat. I happened across my ZeroFlex on flipsell.com. I was able to buy and ship it for $1100 and I installed it myself. If I hadn't found that, I would have gone with one of the $1000 towers too.
08-06-2004, 11:02 AM
Just another Monster Tower plug, I have one on my old boat and I had no complaints at all. $999 delivered to my door last year. It took 4 hours total to install: took the boat out at 1, was boarding again at 5 the same day. It doesn't move and it is strong enough to support 2 boarders at the same time. The only complaint I have seen about it is the 3" diameter. Here's a pic of my I/O with Monster Tower:
08-06-2004, 11:20 AM
I too have a 99 PS 190 and I've been thinking about putting a ZeroFlex on her. I think I'm willing to try the DIY route and save some money, but I understand that the '99's didn't have any backing support for the towers. How easy was it for you to put your tower on and how did you go about getting the structural support.
waterskiermd: do you have any pics of your 93 with the big air tower? It'd be cool if you did cause my Prostar is a 93' as well. Also, can you expand on the "rattles" and "swaying". I noticed big air changed the design of their tower recently to a continuous bend design rather than the angled bends. Does anyone know if they did any structural changes as well? I've been emailing them, but as you would expect they only have the best things to say about their product. I would too if I were them.
I like the way the big air looks quite a bit more than the monster, but it's been hard to come by folks with personal experience with it. Loads of people have the monster, so feedback and reviews have been numerous.
Here's another one to add to the discussion. Skyjack's got a pseudo "swoop" tower for $1100
Anyone have any experence with the Skyjac Whiplash tower? $1099 seems like a good price.
08-07-2004, 04:48 AM
I haven't been able to find the pictures of the old boat. The tower was an older design and I am assuming the newer towers have less rattle to them. The four attachment points were secure, but there was an odd joint near the attachment points that allowed some movement in the tower. The top of tower would sway from left to right as you were under way. Also all the pins and wires would rattle against the tower. It was bothersome at first, but we got used to it. I think some of it was do to the fact that you have to custom fit the tower to the boat, and it was probably done somewhat incorrectly. I bought the boat with the tower on it. Also, there are adjustable crossbars that when correctly positioned, would keep things more stable, but they often shifted upwards and this decreased the tension in the tower allowing it to move more. I still see those horizontal crossbars on the new towers advertised on their websites. Anyhow, all these problems are relatively minor and if I were looking for a tower on a 10 year old boat again, I would likely purchase this tower, solely because it is one of the cheapest out there that does the job.
08-07-2004, 05:01 AM
I would definitely recommend installing the tower on your own. It will save you loads of money, but you still will have to make adjustments to your cover (which I still haven't done). I park my boat on a hoist under the house and there is a support beam over the boat, so I was able to hang the tower (only weighs 40-50 lbs) from the support beam. This was really helpful because it took a while to determine where to mount the footpads and which way to mount them. Once that was done, the rest was pretty easy. If you have 4 people to hold the tower while you work, you could likely accomplish the same thing. I masking taped everything to protect the gelcoat. I used a template to mark the holes. I drilled the holes, then I countersunk them all. Then I put the mounts on with plates behind them. The rear plates sat flat on both the outside and inside, so they were not a problem. The front plates did not sit so flat. I used washers to fill in areas that were uneven on the inside. I realize that this is not ideal, but it distributes the weight over a larger area and was the only thing I could think of. I only had to do this for one screw on each plate, so I wasn't too worried. So far, I haven't had any problems with the tower and I am glad I installed it myself. I guess if something had gone wrong (or does go wrong) I would be upset but there is no guarantee that the dealer wouldn't do the same thing.
If you decide to DIY and you want more specific instructions and pictures, let me know. Because you won't get any help from the dealership or the factory...trust me I tried.
08-09-2004, 11:41 AM
Thanks for the info. Sounds like it went pretty smooth.
Just so I'm clear.... there was not any back supports like there are on the later models? True? And this didn't create any problems since you put plates on behind the mounts? Did you fabricate the plates or did they come with it? I haven't seen the back support plates on the new ones, and I'm just trying to understand why the dealer makes such a big deal about them if it's as easy as you make it sound.
08-09-2004, 04:59 PM
I have a 2001 Prostar 195 with a Monster Tower installed. Check out my gallery. I had it installed by a dealer only because this is our first boat and I was apprehensive about drilling...yikes!
08-09-2004, 05:07 PM
MC OEM "backing plates" are just that thick black plastic molded into the deck where the tower holes go. It creates a "sandwich panel" in that location. Structurally, the problem with simply using "loose" aluminum backing plates is that they will not help distribute shear loads or even compression loads, just tension loads. When the plates are molded in (even if they are just that plastic) they help tremendously to distribute the other two kinds of loads. If the aftermarket plates were seriously bonded in, it would help considerably.
Having said all that, I don't know if it really matters.
08-10-2004, 12:06 PM
My two cents is that if your boat is 98 or newer, get the zero-flex. I put a Monster Tower on my 86 Skier (in 87 MC came out with the ProStar name) this spring and it has worked well. It does every thing they claim. I placed ľ inch x 3.5 x 8 inch long aluminum backer plates on all four mounting locations. At these locations the deck was just about paper-thin. I would not trust it with the stock plates on my boat. They say that the newer MCís have a lot thicker decks. The tower is quite with or without a boarder on and the racks are great, at a great price. Plus, it did not affect anything at 34 mph for dear old dad! Money well spent in my book.
08-10-2004, 01:04 PM
The tower came with relatively thin backing plates, but there were enough to put two on each bracket. So from outside in, there was:
1. tower mount
2. black rubber gasket
4. backing plates
All were included with the tower. I haven't had any problems yet and I have had 2 200lb guys on top of the tower and haven't noticed and problems/movement with a 200 lb wakeboarder leaning and landing hard. Hopefully nothing will go wrong with the tower because I kind of like the way the boat looks as is.
By the way, if you are going to purchase a zeroflex new from a dealer, you may want to consider getting the mini tower installed. It is foldable and looks nicer. My dealer said he could grind down the foot pads so they would fit my hull. Not sure if that is the correct thing to do or not, but that is what he offered me.