Boat Test: 2018 Berkshire Pontoons STS 23 RFX

Boat Tested2018 Berkshire Pontoons STS 23 RFX
Price As TestedNot Available
Category Pontoon Boat
Manufacturer Berkshire Pontoons
Length24ft 2in / 7.37 m
Beam8ft 6in / 2.59 m
Max HP350
Drive TypeOutboard
Fuel Capacity27
By Jon Blaicher
Forest River Marine’s Berkshire pontoon boats are available in four distinct series: CTS, STS, Ultra and Sport. The popular STS series sits roughly in the middle of the pack. There are 32 floor plans in the STS series alone, ranging from 19 to 27 feet and each can be optioned to suit most needs. The 23-foot RFX is a traditional four lounge model with two bucket chairs in the middle. Our test boat was equipped with several options, including the very cool “black out” trim package. Everything above the floor from the rails to the snap screws were painted or anodized black.

The interior of this Berkshire was quite impressive. Material quality and attention to detail was immediately evident. The vinyl upholstery was soft and luxurious to the touch. Our boat had the deluxe options package with the high-back captain’s chairs, woodgrain steering wheel and the grey weathered faux teak vinyl floor, printed diagonally for an appealing visual effect.

Under the deck you will find pressurized tubes with 52-inch nose cones. Lifting strakes are placed on the inside of the outer tubes for quicker planning and ride comfort.

The 2.75 Sport package on this boat adds the three-quarter centre sport tube, full under-deck performance skin, SeaStar hydraulic steering and allows for up to 200 horsepower, which we had by way of a Mercury Verado 200 Pro. The added torque from the Pro’s bigger inline six makes for more immediate acceleration and very quick 20 to 40 mph bursts. Combined with the digital throttle and shift (DTS), I never got tired of mashing the throttle.

I was surprised by the ride quality of this boat. Handling was neutral and smooth, without any judder and the lack of outer lifting strakes allowed for mild banking to the inside. It was a comfortable ride even at 25-plus miles per hour in 18- to 24-inch waves. There was no pounding or flexing, regardless of the direction of travel--impressive for a 23-foot ‘toon boat indeed.

TEST BOAT ENGINEMercury Verado 200 Pro, 2.6 L, inline six-cylinder, supercharged with charge air cooling and electronic boost pressure control and sequential multi-port EFI

DETAILSLength: 24 ft 2 in / 7.37 mBeam: 8 ft 6 in / 2.59 mWeight: 2,550 lb / 1,156.7 kgFuel Capacity: 27 gal / 102 L
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