For anglers who run large bass boats a Minn Kota Ulterra is one of the greatest wireless bow mount saltwater trolling motors. The Riptide Ulterra comes in two thrust options either 80 lbs or 112 lbs.
- 80 lbs thrust motor works with boats up to 4000 pounds.
- 112 lbs thrust motor is good for boats up to 5,500 pounds.
For hands-free steering, you get either i-Pilot GPS or upgraded i-Pilot Link. Both are compatible with popular electronics. Although, to control steering via a Humminbird fish finder you need i-Pilot Link.
In this review I have the 60″ shaft 112 lbs thrust model with i-Pilot Link installed on a 21-foot Ranger. For batteries, it’s a 36 volt system so it lasts much longer than smaller 24v or 12v systems. Beyond the motor it includes a lanyard, heading sensor (for blue-tooth), prop and the mounting hardware.
The white and black exterior is modern and clean. Its a bit heavier than the MotorGuide Xi5 but I attribute that to the extra equipment for stow/deploy. Install is easy for a seasoned boater, although if you are a new boater ask a local shop to do it for you. It’s more complicated than other Minn Kota models due to the amount of features Minn Kota packs into it.
For corrosion resistance the motor unit is grit-blasted aluminum that’s gets powder coated. While the shaft is a tough composite with a 2 blade prop at the bottom. This prop is the great weedless wedge, which obliterates underwater vegetation.
Stow/Deploy & Power Trim Features
Inside is the innovative “Auto Stow/Deploy and Power Trim” systems to make for an effortless day on the boat. These are automation systems to power lift the motor. The power lift system uses top-notch materials like a Kevlar belt and brass gearing.
Press a button on the i-Pilot remote, foot control or Humminbird fish finder to deploy the motor. It will lift and pivot into the water ready for your next direction, so no more lugging the motor off/on the boat. Keep in mind though, this system is problematic if you don’t give it clean power, more on this later.
To change the depth of the shaft a boater uses the power trim mode. Pressing a button on the i-Pilot remote you can lift or lower the height. With the Link upgrade and Humminbird it will also auto adjust for depth contours. I tried it out near the shore line and the system is flawless.
i-Pilot GPS System Features
Redesigned after 2017 the Ulterra comes with two GPS systems to control steering. The i-Pilot is standard and provides the following controls in the palm of your hand:
- Spot-Lock with Jog. Minn Kota’s anchor mode, that keeps you in place. If the boat shifts more than 5 feet the motor kicks in to bring the boat back into place. Jog mode lets you move your spot five feet forward, backwards, left or right on press of a button.
- iTrack Record/Playback Route. Lets you trace a route, save it, and follow again. It stores up to 16 iTracks, each up to 2 miles long.
- Autopilot With CoPilot. Set a way point and the system will maintain the heading for you preventing drifting off course. CoPliot adds handheld control of speed, steering, prop on/off and a high-speed bypass.
- Cruise Control. Maintains boat speed on the remote screen to entice fish with an ideal lure presentation. Plus make adjustments in 0.1 mile-per-hour increments.
Since I upgraded to Link, it allows the Ulterra and my Humminbird to communicate with each other. Plus offer circle mode, offset mode for iTrack, and more.
Any Problems With the Riptide Ulterra Trolling Motor?
The big issue that comes up is with the “stow/deploy” system. With most micro-computers, failures happen and this one is no different. It’s affected by dust, so be extra careful if you trailer your boat on dirt roads. Also, it must have “clean power” to operate, which means correct wire size and clean terminals. Do yourself a favor and upgrade the battery connections and keep up with maintenance. Or expect headaches out on the water.
If you own a larger bass boat, center console or a flats boat over 20 feet in length, get this trolling motor. Especially if you fish alone and want the convenience of auto stow and deploy. Technology rich bow mount saltwater trolling motors make angling a breeze, but this one has caveats.