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Xpress Boats X21 Review

About a year ago, I had the opportunity to test drive an Xpress X21. I have been on hundreds of test drives in hundreds of boats but had never been in a pad style, high performance bass boat-style aluminum rated for a 250 horsepower before. 

It intrigued me that one could even be built and provide a ride even close to others of equal size made of other materials. To say I was pleasantly surprised would be a huge understatement. 

A little Xpress history

For over 50 years Xpress has built boats for every kind of fishing and hunting but recently stepped it up with the X18, X19 and X21 Hyperlift bass models. There is no one harder on boats than duck hunters and bass anglers and after 45 years of owning an aluminum boat, I had to check out the differences in the latest models. 

Tight tolerances built to spec using computer assisted design, feature richness that includes options like top-of-the-line Minn Kota and Humminbird gear and their long standing relationship with Yamaha Outboards is only part of it. Craftsmanship that is passed down from family member to family member and pride in their products is what Xpress stands for. I saw that firsthand when I picked up my X21 and went on a plant tour. 

My research

For the record, I am a research nut and analytical to a fault. If I see something I like, I never buy it when I first see it. I dig into catalogs first, then the internet and then look at owners’ remarks. My wife hates it, but I’m the polar opposite of an impulse buyer. It has to fit me and it has to work for me—I am spending the money so it has to be right. 

Xpress Boats is in a very unique position. No one in today’s boat marketplace has the ride, the hull design or the ability to hang big engines on them like an Xpress. That positions them in a different place. There are two things that bass anglers look for in their boats: Speed and comfort. Being able to built a quiet, firm ride in aluminum takes expertise. 


The fluff

Xpress is the original all-welded aluminum boat manufacturer and began taking aluminum parts and welding them together over 50 years ago. They have created a unibody hull construction void of rivets and screws that last and function like their fiberglass counterparts except they are lighter and pull down the road on their tandem trailers much easier.

The first, only and longest-running high performance aluminum company says experience and technical wherewithal to me. Xpress revolutionized high performance with their hyperlift hull design, additionally pioneering longitudinal rib construction and quietness by initiating the process of injected foam into the hull to create a more solid and firm platform feel.


My X21 tests

The test conditions could not have been better; twenty mile per hour winds out of the southwest and the river at New Johnsonville on the upper end of Kentucky Lake set up for it to be a cross wind, south to north current and direction—some of the toughest conditions for slap and rocking of a bass boat. 

You can never get on top of the waves and the ability to find pad can be difficult since the boat never sits flat. Here is the article on the test that day

After break in of the engine I let this dog hunt and am blown away with the stability, the lift and the speed of the X21. My X21 doesn’t take the back seat to any boat on the water. Compartments are spacious, dry and functional, the trailer is quiet and stable and every gas stop is a boat show. When parked in the ManCave at Wired2Fish every visitor has to go through a tour and the first thing that gets mentioned is the roominess and the Xtreme coat on the gunnels. That rough coat protection keeps slipping out of the equation and there are never any unsightly scratches on it either. 

I have told everyone that has seen it that I have no hesitation putting it on any body of water I would take a fiberglass boat in the same category from a size perspective. “Test Ride” should be my middle name and everyone who has been in it cannot believe just how well it performs, how quiet it is and just how quick it gets on a plane.


The Bottom line

The Xpress X21 Xclusive is a first class, well built, pad-style high performance bass boat made of high grade 5052 aluminum alloy that won’t break the bank yet will give the buyer value, fishability and comfort. I recommend if you are in the market for a new boat—do your due diligence and take a test drive in an Xpress. I think I have next Wednesday open. 

I recommend that you build a spreadsheet that includes options, price and ride and compare it all. If you are a first time boat buyer, high school angler, college angler or a seasoned pro I believe you will be just as impressed as I am with mine. Get in one and put the hammer down.

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