Honda's redesigned, compact 40- and 50-horsepower outboards were rolled out just as I pumped $4 gas into my fuel tank. Perfect timing. The new fuel-injected motors shed old carburetors and feature Honda's proven Boosted Low Speed Torque (BLAST) system that kicks the acceleration up when you put the hammer down. Then, when the boat goes on plane, BLAST backs off, saving gas. Honda shaved weight from its 40/50s, making the 50 we tested the lightest motor in its horsepower class. Honda says the BF50 is up to 20 percent more fuel efficient. We calculated an impressive 9 miles per gallon at 25 mph in our test. That is efficient.
The 17-foot Triumph 170 CC is a sleek bay fisher, and when the 170 eased from the no-wake area, I pushed the throttle forward. What surprised me, though, was the way its heavy-duty gear case eased the boat up on plane as I waited for the rpm's to settle on 4,000. We hadn't pushed the throttle forward to engage BLAST, but the rig snuck up on plane anyway. Not in 5 seconds, of course (the number was deep in double digits), but that the 1,400-pound rig with two men in it could climb up on plane, made a strong statement for the new engines. The effects of BLAST were more easily noticeable on lighter boats like the Polarcraft V165 SC, which hit planning speed in 6 seconds. Honda's new BF50 will really shine there and also when pontoon-boat owners discover its acceleration and fuel economy. But for any boater wanting light four-stroke power, the Honda BF50 is the target to shoot for.
• Four vertical rod-storage racks in the console keep tackle handy.
• Twin bow lockers give ample storage.
• Batteries for starter and trolling motor are centered in the console.
• Two trolling rod holders in the gunwales handle trolling needs.
At A Glance...
Easy to maintain and a tough customer on the water, the 170 CC gave surprising performance on this small motor.
Length Overall: 16'10"
Dry Weight(w/o engine): 1,100 lb.
Fuel Capacity: 21 gal.
Maximum HP: 75
MSRP As Tested (w/ Honda BF50): $19,580
Test Engines: Honda BF50
Test Props: 11.1"x14" Solas Aluminum
Test Load: People (450 lb.), Fuel (10 gal.)
Top Speed: 32.7 mph @ 5,750 rpm
Minimum Planing Speed: 19.7 mph @ 4,000 rpm