2019 Berkshire 23 RFX Arch STS 3.0

Berkshire's 23RFX Arch STS 3.0 is fleet of foot and amply equipped.

Berkshire is no rookie in the performance pontoon market, and this new 23RFX Arch STS 3.0 showcases the company’s ability to build a ’toon that’s fleet of foot and amply equipped. Our tester, fitted with a new Mercury 250 FourStroke, topped out just shy of 50 mph at just over 6,000 rpm twisting a 16-pitch Mercury Enertia stainless-steel wheel through 1.75 gearing. We hit 30 mph from a dead idle in just 5.4 seconds and full bow-down planing in just 2.8 seconds. It’s a rocket of a pontoon boat, sure to be a hit for watersports and big loads.

2019 Berkshire 23 RFX Arch STS 3.0
LOA: 24'5" | Beam: 8'6" | Draft (hull): 1'2" | Dry Weight: 2,450 lb. | Seat/Weight Capacity: 13/1,870 lb. | Fuel Capacity: 37 gal.Bill Doster
2019 Berkshire 23 RFX Arch STS 3.0
The low-slung driver’s console is well-equipped.Bill Doster

Even with the big 250 on the transom, the Berskhire can be operated in miserly fashion, if you desire, netting 4.3 miles per gallon at 15 mph and 2,500 rpm. Even at 5,000 rpm, mileage was still nearly 3 mpg. The handling, enhanced by wide-lifting strakes on all three pontoons, was flat and fast. We experienced no bobbling or pitching even when crossing waves or turning in a tight circle.

The decking on this 23RFX is all composite; there’s no wood in the boat. The center tube is full-length and integrates the transom. The optional in-floor storage is a huge, well-dimensioned 19-by-79-inch locker that’s nicely appointed. The bright lagoon-blue accents on the perimeter enclosure, upholstery and arch remind us of Richard Petty’s NASCAR rides — it’s eye-catching and well-coordinated with the black onyx charcoal and silver carbon vinyl upholstery covering the lounges.

2019 Berkshire 23 RFX Arch STS 3.0
In the bow, cushy curved loungers dominate the floorplan.Bill Doster

In the bow, cushy curved loungers dominate the floorplan. Amidships, the low-slung driver’s console is well-equipped (the easy-to-use Simrad digital info center should be standard on all boats). The captain’s chairs are super-adjustable and supportive even in the roughest wake crossings. The storage underneath all seating is clean and unobstructed, with no snaggy edges to catch unsuspecting hands. The stern seating duplicates the bow section — plush and deep padding combined with body-friendly vinyl. From the stern, it’s clear this Berkshire 23RFX Arch STS 3.0 is equipped for watersports, with the bright blue towing arch and rear-facing JL Audio can speakers that crank out a great soundtrack for fun.

2019 Berkshire 23 RFX Arch STS 3.0
The captain’s chairs are super-adjustable and supportive.Bill Doster
2019 Berkshire 23 RFX Arch STS 3.0
Stern seating features plush and deep padding combined with body-friendly vinyl.Bill Doster

High Points

  • Fully electric arch lowers quickly and easily.
  • Blue exterior under-rail LED lighting makes for a glowing package.
  • 3.0 Performance Package with 25-inch-diameter tubes and 4-inch lift strakes helps reach near-50 mph top speed.

Price: $101,953

2019 Berkshire 23 RFX Arch STS 3.0
Berkshire 23 RFX Arch STS 3.0 Certified Test ResultsBoating Magazine

How We Tested
Engine: Mercury 250 FourStroke
Drive/Prop: Outboard/Mercury Enertia 14.7" x 16" 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.75:1
Fuel Load: 20 gal.
Crew Weight: 400 lb.

Forest River Marine - Middlebury, Indiana; 574-206-8288; berkshirepontoon.com