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Mercury Optimax 250XL Utombordare

Mercury Optimax 250XS on our dive rib The boat is powered by a Mercury Optimax 250xs outboard engine. This is possible the best outboard engine on the market to day.

Below there are some further information about the engine and why we chose to use it.

The OptiMax 250XS has redefined the term "performance outboard". Though the world's fastest low emissions two-stroke outboard has set world straightaway speed records on a Bullet bass boat at over 105 mph, it is better known for its durability and fuel economy than it's flat out speed.

Mercury Optimax 250XS on our dive rib In recent independent tests, the 250XS outperformed the Yamaha 300 HPDI low-emissions outboard in acceleration, top speed and fuel economy. The 250XS has proven itself on the demanding Southern Kingfish Association (SKA) tour, numerous bass tournaments and in a variety of government and commercial applications.

Mercury Optimax 250XS on our dive rib Performance sport boaters and bass boaters will be pleased with the adaptation of a new fuel calibration which enables all 2006 OptiMax 250XS models to run on 87-octane fuel! All 2006 models feature a green flag graphic and text placed at the rear of the cowls to call out the 87 octane fuel compatibility.

Optimax means speed

Four back-to-back years of flawless performance (and top honors) at the BASS Masters Classic®. Countless tournament wins. Endless racing victories. No wonder it’s the power of choice for more of the world’s top professional anglers. And the power you can count on for top performance.

Built to dominate, performance to the max

But there's more to the story than just speed. Thanks to its unique 2-stage direct fuel injection process, OptiMax® can deliver an amazing 45 percent better fuel economy than traditional 2-Strokes. And all with approximately 82 percent lower emissions, so you get quiet, smoke-free operation. Which is why OptiMax continues to be the power more pros demand.

OptiMax also provides reliable turn-key starts, misfire-free running, instant throttle response - for more control and maneuverability - and low idle speed - for easier shifting, trolling and docking.

The article below has more information regarding engine selection and field testing on 2 stroke and 4 stroke engines.

Mercury Optimax 250XS on our dive rib

Put Up or Shut Up

By John Tiger, Jr.
Bass and Walleye Boats.
June 30th 2006.

It’s a two-stroke vs. four-stroke showdown among Mercury, Suzuki and Yamaha

Steve Quinlan and John Tiger met with the very accommodating folks from Ranger Boats on Arkansas’ Bull Shoals Lake in mid-spring, and conducted a shootout between 250-horsepower offerings from all of the major players (sans Evinrude, who was invited but declined) on identical Ranger 620VS multispecies boats. They had at their disposal for the weekend four four-strokes (a Suzuki DF250, Yamaha F250, and Mercury 250 Verado) stacking the deck against a lone two-stroke DFI (Mercury 250XS). With four outboards comparing very closely in terms of weight, horsepower output, top-end rpm limits and torque, they expected the outcome to be pretty close. With the exception of the top speed and acceleration of the Mercury 250XS, it was.

They chose Ranger’s 620VS as a test platform for several reasons. Since the Suzuki DF250 is not available in a 20-inch-shaft length version -- and they very much wanted to compare this engine against the other 250 offerings -- they had to select a hull with a minimum 25-inch-transom height. That excluded all of the bass boats, and moved us over to a walleye/multispecies design. Unfortunately, it also meant having to exclude Yamaha’s 250 HPDI, which beginning in 2006 is no longer available in a 25-inch-shaft version.

They also wanted to see how the torque and hull-lifting abilities of these big engines would fare when fitted to a heavier hull more suited for bigger waters and bigger payloads. Finally, they knew and understand that the speeds they reached will certainly not be considered "sexy and exciting" by those who want to see just how fast these behemoths can push a lightweight boat. But, the Rangers provided a very stable platform, and stable means repeatable, which is of paramount importance in testing.

While John personally would have loved nothing more than to test on a bevy of flyweights designed to reach 90-mph speeds, they elected to go for stability and repeatability instead. It worked; thier test was easier to conduct, the people at Ranger were a delight to work with, all of the hulls were as close to identical as possible, and they obtained very "real-world" results. Thier weather at Bull Shoals was not perfect —they dodged clouds, rainstorms and by thier last day, were blessed with 80-degree temperatures and bright sunshine — but they were able to complete all of the tests in roughly identical water, temperature and wind conditions. In all, it was a very fair comparison—exactly what everyone was looking for.

Game on!

Thier procedure was the same as in past /BWB/ tests. First, the factory reps are allowed time to set up and fine-tune the rigs to their liking. Ranger Boats’ test crew, however, did a lot of the work beforehand for the engine reps, and consequently a lot of the setups ended up the same after the engine men completed their testing. When John and Steve arrived, they performed dry-land inspections on all of the boats, engines, setups and props, and took careful notes on each. They then removed each engine and recorded the weights with thier digital load-cell scale setup, noting that thier figures of course contain oil and fuel in the engine, propeller installed, steering cylinder and hoses, and cowling. Hence, thier figures reflect heavier weights than the factory brochures show, as the engine guys quote "dry weight".

They then filled the 51-gallon fuel tank in each hull, and weighed the boats and trailers at a local scale. The empty trailers were weighed last, so that they could subtract those weights from the hull weights and arrive at a "hull only" figure (sans trailer, outboard and propeller but including fuel, rigging and accessories). In this case, the Verado-powered boat was the heaviest, so it was tested “as is. ” The Yamaha boat was the lightest by 100 pounds, so they handicapped it with a 100-pound bag of lead shot. They fitted the 250XS boat with 17 pounds of shot, and the Suzuki boat with 65 pounds. They don’t handicap for outboard weights — only differences in hull weights.

After they recorded the weights, hull notes, engine notes, setup and propellers, they headed for the lake.

Speed and punch: Two-stroke bragging rights

No sense dancing around it, in terms of speed and acceleration, Mercury’s 250XS is clearly the champion of the 250-horsepower crowd -- and by a very significant margin. They hit a best average top speed of 64. 5 mph spinning a 24-inch-pitch lab-worked Bravo I four-blade wheel right at the limiter (5850 rpm). They actually bumped the limiter a few times, trimming high into the wind while trying to take out that last mph. The next closest speed was achieved by the Verado, at 63 mph even (turning a 23-inch lab-finished Tempest Plus propeller) at 6140 rpm. The Yamaha finished third with a solid 60-mph clocking, turning a stock 23-inch-pitch Yamaha VX-Max three-blade prop at 6000 rpm. In the top speed wars, the Suzuki came up fourth out of the four, pushing the Ranger to 58. 6 mph at 6100 rpm turning a stock Suzuki 16x24. 5-inch three-blade prop.

You must note, however, that Suzukis traditionally like to be run high. After some preliminary prop testing, Senior Product Development Engineer David Greenwood raised the engine to the very top set of holes (3/4-inch higher than any of the other three engines) and said he was disappointed he couldn’t raise it any higher. He noted after his test runs that the engine never really felt like it had broken loose at that height.

Acceleration results put the two-stroke XS at the top of the pile, too. Merc’s raspy "race production" engine pushed the stout Ranger to 30 mph from a dead stop in 6. 2 seconds, a full four-tenths of a second quicker than the second place finisher (again the Verado, at 6. 6 seconds). The Suzuki came in a very close third this time, with a 6. 7-second clocking, and the Yamaha pulled up fourth with a distant 7. 7-second average.

Midrange punch (measured in seconds from a 30-mph cruise to 50-mph) told a slightly different story. Here’s where the XS really put the smackdown on the others; it romped from 30 to 50 in 6 seconds flat, where the next closest competitor (Verado) could only muster an 8. 1-second clocking. The Yamaha’s midrange torque topped the Suzuki’s, as it finished a full second (8. 3 vs. 9. 3) ahead to finish third. To those doubting Thomases, they used no fewer than four (!) methods of speed measurement: two handheld Garmin GPS 12 units, a boat-mounted Lowrance GPS (which was a delight to use, by the way) and a calibrated Stalker Pro k-band handheld radar speed gun. For rpm readings, they used thier own digital FloScan tach for all of the engines.

Fuel economy: Surprise!

No surprise to them at /BWB/ but probably a disappointment to tree-huggers everywhere, the two-stroke Mercury 250XS etched out a win in the fuel-economy challenge, too. With an average of 3. 5 mpg across the entire rpm range, it bested the Suzuki by one-tenth of a gallon. The Yamaha came in a close third at 3. 2 mpg, and the absolutely thirsty Verado finished a distant fourth with a 2. 8 mpg average.

With today’s fuel prices, this is a critical part of the test. They ran these numbers several times to be sure, and came up with the same results each time. They also checked our results against Yamaha’s and Mercury’s factory digital fuel-flow meters.

While the 250XS took top honors for overall average fuel economy, the Suzuki 250 actually achieved the highest mpg recording at cruise speeds. With a 4. 3 mpg recording at 24. 7 mph and 3000 rpm, it bested Merc’s XS by a tenth of a mpg at the same rpm.

What about the noise?

Years ago, we used to record sound output as a regular part of these tests, and our sister publication, /Trailer Boats/, still does. Since the four-strokes in this test were so quiet, we broke out our digital decibel meter and went to work, checking decibel readings at idle, 3500-rpm cruise, and full throttle. They took readings at the transom and at the helm at both idle and 3500-rpm cruise speeds, and at the helm while running wide-open.

The Verado was the clear winner here. It is so quiet, it is literally impossible to tell if it’s running or not idling (especially if the wind is blowing or waves are slapping the hull). Though it’s a cliché by now, we actually had to check the "pee indicator" (overboard water indicator) to see if it was running at the dock and out on the lake. At idle, the Verado registered 64 dBa on our meter at the transom, and an even more silent 56 dBa at the helm. It was significantly quieter than any of the other engines, even by the "naked ear". The power steering whine present in earlier Verados is gone, as promised by the Mercury engineers. It is just an amazingly quiet engine. When it’s hammered, the Verado gives off a very high-pitched, high-rpm whine that sounds almost like a jet engine. That’s partly due to the supercharger, and partly due to the Verado’s advanced crank-train design.

The Suzuki is almost as quiet, but it’s just not silent like the Verado. It has a very nice sound, however, and even when it’s leaned on, it doesn’t sound like it’s laboring. The Yamaha has the most "trucklike" (automotive) sound of the group. It is audible at idle, and when the throttle is dropped, sounds like a big-displacement diesel engine pulling.

As expected, the 250XS is the loudest of the group by far. It has the traditional two-stroke howl, even when only turning 5800 rpm at full bore. That’s exacerbated by the open exhaust outlets at the top of the gearcase, but even at idle when those are buried beneath the waterline, it’s loud.

Subjective judgements: Running quality

It must be noted that the fit and finish on all four engines was just fantastic; though it’s expected of the Yamaha, the others met Yamaha’s standards easily. Even the 250XS was superb, and this is an engine that we had faulted for being a little rough around the edges in years past. I’m guessing that the Verado assembly guys rubbed off on the Racing crew a little.

Final observations

Clearly, four-strokes have a long way to go yet in the top speed, acceleration and even the fuel-economy wars before they can catch a well-tuned DFI two-stroke like Mercury’s 250XS. It’s a shame we didn’t have Evinrude’s 250 E-Tec in the mix to compare — they were very conspicuous in their absence. In addition, Yamaha has since last season discontinued the 25-inch Saltwater Series version of their vaunted VMax 250 HPDI, so we sorely missed their two-stroke participation in this test. Perhaps in the future we’ll do another two-stroke/four-stroke 250 shootout — on a bass boat — among 20-inch-shaft engines.

We neither added nor deducted points for pricing, yet the results were a bit surprising. Based on 2006 model year MSRPs, the Verado was actually the least expensive of the bunch at $19,140, followed by the OptiMax XS at $19,688, the Yamaha F250 at $19,900 and the Suzuki DF250 at $20,182. We dinged the OptiMax XS for warranty, however, as it carries a two-year warranty while the other three engines all carry three-year warranties.

The clear winner in this test, for those who primarily care about speed, acceleration and fuel economy, is the Mercury 250XS. The Verado would have finished a close second if not for its last-place fuel finish, but we still rate it a solid — but distant — second place nonetheless. The Suzuki was not far behind, finishing neck-and-neck with the 250XS in terms of fuel economy, and right there with the Verado for second in holeshot. The Yamaha turned in a good performance in midrange punch and fuel economy. In reality, any one of these outboards would fit the bill for hulls like the Ranger 620VS. Top speed is only a few mph off the pace of the Merc two-stroker, and fuel economy is excellent with either engine.

If fishing, reliability, fuel economy and ease of operation were my primary concerns, They would be happy with any of these outboards. It’s when top speed, punch, and having the "big dog" are important (and they must ask, to what red-blooded Man are these not priorities?) that the two-stroke Mercury 250XS becomes the standout. In thier book, that makes it the winner of this test, and the engine they would choose if they were shopping for a 250hp outboard.

Dive Academy Gran Canaria's view

Since we have had the Mercury Optimas 250xs fitted to our rip we have notice a dramatic drop in fuel used and the speed at which we can arrive at the dive sites has been dramatically reduced!! It is good news for everyone!!

Unlike with other dive centre, on our boat you will not be tossed about on a large unstable boat and will not be chugging around all day to make a 5 minute trip. We want you to spend more time in the water and less time in the boat!!

This makes diving fun!!

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Bubblemaker fun in our pool.