Mission of the Tracker Pro Team 175 TF
This boat is designed to be a bass and multi-species boat that is fully-equipped to go fishing right out of the box. Further, it is built to be the most rugged, durable boat in class -- no matter what the price -- with the added advantage of having a remarkably smooth ride.
To Weld or Not to Weld…
Building a strong boat starts with the construction phase. Here we have an aluminum boat built tough with all-welded seams. Now we all know the fans of riveted boats like to pick on welded boats. Their argument is that a welded seam is simply a place where a bond can crack. But, if that were the case, then every tanker on the high seas might want to consider riveting. So, let’s look at how Tracker addresses its welding process.
It would be easy, and probably cheaper, to put a guy on the assembly line and have him welding seams all day long. But people have bad days, and the consistency level fluctuates, especially when doing the same thing over and over and…Robots, on the other hand, never have an “off” day. They never show up for work late. And their work is consistent from one day to the next, ad infinitum. And robots are the way Tracker chooses to handle the task of welding the critical areas of the hull -- the transom and the bow cap. But it goes much deeper than that.
If you Can’t Take the Heat…
Welding creates heat and that heat needs to be managed with precision. If a weld isn’t hot enough, it could crack over time... too much heat and the component itself is weakened. All the jigs that hold the parts together are actually heat sinks that draw heat away from the part as it's being welded. That, along with the precise amount of application to the process, ensures that a part is not compromised due to being too hot, or too cold.
Warranty Where Their Claim Is
So as to the argument that a welded part is an invitation to cracking, the construction team at Tracker believe otherwise, and they not only have a long and successful history to back up that mindset, they stand behind it with a transferable warranty. That pretty much puts the cracking red herring to bed.
But there’s more to the strength and integrity of Tracker boats than precision welding. The hulls and decks are constructed as separate units, not unlike their fiberglass counterparts.
The hull itself is formed by bending the aluminum in a brake. This also adds strength. The concept can be illustrated by picking up a piece of paper. Naturally, the paper will bend in the middle, but put a fold in the paper and pick it up again and it will stay rigid. The same logic applies as Tracker forms the hull. The keel, lifting strakes, and reverse chine are all formed right into the hull in a similar fashion.
Once the one-piece hull has been welded into shape, the full-length stringer systems are robotically welded into place, followed by the transom. Tracker’s transoms are all aluminum, not aluminum skinned pressure treated wood as we have seen elsewhere. They’re fabricated from strong box-beam construction and then welded onto the hull with knee braces for additional strength. Any additional components that get added, such as compartments, bulkheads, decking… are all structural because they are not just placed in, or even screwed in. They are welded to the main structure of the boat.
The rear deck has an aluminum base and the cockpit sole and foredeck are laid down with ¾” 7-ply pressure treated that has a limited lifetime warranty. Carpeting is 16-ounce cut pile with a solid rubber backing keeping everything watertight.
Two-part expandable foam is injected into void areas that further serves to solidify the entire structure and bond everything together as one solid unit. The foam, as well as the rubber backing on the carpeting, also has the added side bonus of noise reduction. Fish are easily spooked when something is dropped onto a metal deck. That problem is mitigated here.Remember, all boats powered by a 2-hp engine or greater must float level when swamped to meet USCG regulations. The 175 TF is no exception.
Designed for Comfort
Comfort is a high priority with Tracker. As such, it has come up with the Revolution Mod-V hull. It consists of a variable dead rise hull starting at 20-degrees at the bow and flattening out to 10-degrees at the stern. The relatively sharp bow cuts through waves while the flattening out of the sections in the stern provides stability, particularly when walking about the casting decks. The flattish bottom also means quicker planing times. The reverse chines provide additional stability on the drift as well as help the 175 TF carve through turns. The combination is so successful that Tracker offers a "Smooth-ride Guarantee". If the boat does not perform as a customer expects it can be returned for full credit for a new boat of equal or greater value.
The offset transom also plays an important role in the boat's performance. There is a raised area at the bottom of the transom that creates a clean water area aft of the running surface. With the propeller in cleaner, less disturbed water the prop is more efficient. That translates to better performance with less horsepower... a direct savings to the owner in operating costs.
The Tracker Pro Team 175 TF is billed as a multi-species platform. This differs from a definitive bass boat in several ways. Her deeper V-hull and higher make her more comfortable and drier in bigger water that bass boats are not usually subject to.
Tracker puts dual pedestal bases at the foredeck to allow two people to fish side-by-side. If things start to get choppy, both seats can be moved to the cockpit, lowering the center of gravity and making for a more comfortable fishing position. And there is one pedestal mount in the stern. A center pedestal base in the cockpit also allows for three across seating. The standard trolling motor is mounted in the center of the bow providing better controllability.
With two livewells there's no having to go to opposite ends of the boat just to store the catch. The buckets in each livewell also keep live bait within reach. But for those who choose to fish with lures instead of minnows, the bait buckets are easily removed and a larger livewell is instantly created. Obviously, two livewells mean each angler's catch can be kept separate.The boat comes standard with two Interstate batteries, one for cranking and one for the trolling motor.
Minn-Kota Trolling Motor
The folks at Tracker have looked at all trolling motors available and have selected as standard equipment the Minn-Kota Edge because of its durability. It has 45-lbs. of thrust and is center-mounted. The unit has a tough, marine-grade anodized aluminum spine and an impact-resistant head on the foot control. The prop is the Weedless Wedge 2 model.
The Tracker Pro Team 175 TF is offered as a complete boat, motor and trailer package. Tracker builds its own trailers in-house in order to keep a handle on quality and also eliminate a third party vender's mark-up. The metal used to fabricate the trailers comes from the mill already galvanized. Baked-on powder-coating finish is added at the factory after the frame has been welded together. The trailers are fabricated from all-welded tubular frames creating a unitized structure with an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio. Heavy-duty upright load guides are built in for easy centering and loading. Standard features include a swing-away tongue, a heavy-duty winch with nylon strap, tie-down straps, carpet bunks and fender boards, submersible lights and even an outboard motor support.
The price of the Pro Team 175 TF with the trailer and a Mercury 4-stroke 60-hp outboard is $15,595.
The Bottom Line…
Because of its high unity volume, robotics, and level work flow all year long, Tracker is able to pass the lower cost onto the buyer without sacrificing in the build quality to do so.
The following items are part of the Tracker Warranty --
Because the price is so low for the 175 TF, it is natural for some people to wonder what has been left out, what corners have been cut, and what is the catch? As our report above points out, not only is the boat built as well or better than any on the market in its size range, it is also loaded with all of the equipment needed to go fishing. Third party equipment are all premium products. The answer to that question is that Tracker is able to sell the 175 TF at such a reasonable price because of high volume, standardized manufacturing processes, economical third party vendor sourcing of equipment and lower factory and dealer margins. Most of this is predicated on the high volume. For example, high volume encourages vendors to sharpen their pencils and allows Tracker's factory to maintain a constant level of production of the 175 every day. Basically it is a strategy that Henry Ford figured out 100 years ago, and it works just as well today.
Standard and Optional Features
|Limited Lifetime Yes http://www.trackerboats.com/quality/|