The Nitro Z21 is the manufacturer’s most advanced bass boat yet. At 21’2” (6.45 m), she is the biggest model in the Z Series fleet and was designed with input from Nitro’s Elite tournament anglers. The hull is a totally new design that utilizes the Rapid Planing System and has a lower profile than other boats in the Z series. The sleeker look minimizes weight and reduces wind resistance and that results in more speed from the same horsepower.From an angling standpoint, the forward casting deck has 45 sq. ft. (4.18 sq. m) of open area and there’s space for an optional 12” fishfinder on the bow panel and at the helm. For guys who fish in all weather conditions, the deck has advanced drainage. The heavy-duty cooler has improved insulation and Nitro installs it in the bow step to keep the decks clear. At the helm, there are new shock-absorbing seats, digital bow and console controls and a cell-phone holder under the dash.When it comes to storage, the Z21 has space for dozens of fishing rods and a plethora of gear with lockers designed for Plano 3700 Series tackle trays and convenience-oriented features, such as the magnetic lure holders underside of one storage hatch. For security, the lids have stainless-steel locks and latches.Finally, she comes on a tandem-axle trailer that can be equipped with nicer rims than some tow vehicles and at a package weight of 4,050 lbs. (1,837 kg), the Z21 can be towed by mid-sized trucks or SUVs.
Rapid Planing System.
The Z21’s running surface is stepped at the transom and has a flat pad to improve holeshot and keep the stern from dropping under acceleration. The manufacturer says this design also lets the boat run at competitive speeds with less power and it prevents water from backwashing over the stern when the boat comes off plane quickly.
Bow Casting Area.
The forward casting deck is 45 sq. ft. (4.18 sq. m) and it’s padded underneath the carpet so anglers can stand on it for hours.
Clever Storage Details.
The underside of one locker hatch is magnetic so anglers can simply click their metal lures to it for quick access. The port fishing rod organizer holds 10 rods plus more below.
The insulated cooler has a snap-in sandwich tray so lunch will stay cool and dry instead of getting soaked when the ice melts.
Bass Pro Shops, the dealer network for Nitro, sponsors the Stewart-Haas Racing team at NASCAR. Nitro engineers worked with designers from the auto racing team to design shock-absorbing seats for the Z21.
The tandem-axle trailer is color-matched to the boat and is powder coated, not painted. It has fiberglass fenders, submersible LED lights and angled backup lights for those early morning pre-tournament launches. It also has a swing-away tongue for garage storage.
Five Motor Choices.
Buyers can choose from a total of five Mercury outboard motors, either the 2-stroke 225-, 250- or 300-hp OptiMax Pro XS with a Torque Master lower unit or a 250-hp or 300-hp Verado Pro FourStroke outboard.
National Pricing Plan.
Nitro and its parent company, Tracker, use a National Price program. Retail price starts at $44,995 with the 225-hp Mercury OptiMax Pro XS motor and trailer.
There’s an easy way to give fishermen more space to fish -- build a bigger boat -- so that’s what Nitro did. The fishing area forward of the consoles looks as big as some larger bass boats and there seems to be storage everywhere. A Minn Kota Maxxum 24-volt trolling motor with 80 lbs. of thrust and a 42” shaft comes standard. There’s even space in the bow for a 12” fishfinder screen.
Lots of Lockers.
One of the most amazing attributes of a bass boat is its ability to carry so much gear at such a high speed. And all the gear needs to be stored somewhere. Port and starboard rod lockers can accommodate 8’ rods. In the center are two smaller lockers aft with a huge compartment forward. All the locker hatches open on gas struts. Beneath the step, the insulated cooler has the aforementioned sandwich tray so lunch won’t get soggy.
The center seat is removable so that there is easy passage to the bow or stern casting areas during a tournament. Ahead of the co-pilot is a glove box in the angled footrest. There’s a cup holder forward, and, just as important given how fast this boat runs, a grab handle in below the port gunwale.
Nitro includes a Lowrance Elite-7 CHIRP fishfinder with GPS as standard equipment. The dash is equipped with a combined speedometer/fuel gauge, a tachometer with a built-in trim indicator and water pressure and oil-level meters. The hydraulic helm has a tilt wheel and the windscreen is removable. To the right of the wheel, a soft-touch panel has all the accessory switches in close reach. Beneath the dash, Nitro installed a cell-phone holder that will grip most smartphones and keep them out of the element.
Immediately aft of the seating area in the center of the aft deck are two insulated 19-gallon (72 L) Guardian livewells with digital timers and aerators in each unit. They also feature timed recirculation, oxygenators and pump-out capability. Two large outboard lockers can accept tackle trays and beneath aft center hatches are removable tubs that provide great access to the batteries and pumps. New on the Z21, a battery switch allows the owner to completely shut off power to keep accessories from running down the batteries during storage. The switch also features an emergency start position to allow jump starting from the trolling batteries in the event of a dead cranking battery. In the aft port corner, a folding swim ladder clips in place.
Performance and Handling
We tested the Nitro Z21 with a 250-hp Mercury 250 L OptiMax Pro XS with a Torque Master gearcase and the boat hit a top speed at 6000 rpm of 71.1 mph (114.4 kph). Best cruise was found to be at 4000 rpm and 39.9 mph. That reduced the fuel burn to 9.0 gph and increased the range to 219 statute miles, while still keeping a 10% fuel reserve. The Rapid Planing System lived up to its billing with the boat leaping on plane in 3.1 seconds and running to 20 mph in 6 seconds and to 30 mph in 8.6 seconds.
Bow rise was minimal
and the boat busted through chop with ease. Nitro worked on improving maneuverability with the Z21’s new bottom and the boat worked through turns nimbly and predictably. The Hot Foot throttle and turn-signal style trim switch on the steering column put the driver in commanding control, allowing him to keep both hands on the wheel at all times.
Power Options and Price
As mentioned above, the boat comes standard with a 2-stroke 225-hp Mercury 225 L OptiMax Pro XS outboard with a Torque Master gearcase and a stainless steel propeller for $44,995. If the boat has a 2-stroke outboard, Nitro installs the remote oil reservoir and includes a fill in the deck. Following are the base prices with optional power:
Nitro builds the Z21 with a foam-filled fiberglass stringer and transverse support system, and also a fiberglass-encapsulated transom. The hull and deck are bonded chemically and fastened with stainless steel hardware, and the joint is capped with a heavy duty rubrail with a rubber insert.
Options to Consider
The Nitro Z21 is a serious fishing boat at an attractive price for what buyers get. The boat comes standard with features including a tandem-axle trailer, fishfinder/GPS and a trolling motor with foot control. Some competitive boats would charge extra for some of this standard equipment.The large foredeck casting area will appeal to hardcore anglers as will the storage. This boat seems to have a locker for everything. Nitro has also improved the insulation for the coolers and livewells and paid attention to the little details, such as a cell phone holder with charger and racks for pliers and other tools.All and all, we think Nitro has done a good job of making this bass boat be just as functional as how cool she looks.The choice of five available outboard motors should satisfy a broad range of needs for speed and as mentioned above, the boat/trailer combination weighs about 4,050 lbs. (1,837 kg), which makes the package attractive for towing.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Nitro Z21 (2016-) is 71.1 mph (114.4 kph), burning 22.80 gallons per hour (gph) or 86.3 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Nitro Z21 (2016-) is 39.9 mph (64.2 kph), and the boat gets 4.43 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.88 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 219 miles (352.45 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 250-hp Mercury OptiMax Pro XS.
- Time to plane for the Nitro Z21 (2016-) is 3.5 sec. seconds.
- Time from 0 to 30 of the Nitro Z21 (2016-) is 8.6 sec. seconds.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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