Minn Kota Riptide Review
by Huston Heatherly
If anyone has ever taken a piece of equipment out for extended outings in saltwater settings that are not designed for saltwater use, you know the damage that can be done to the piece of equipment. Even with proper washing of the equipment, there are certain design aspects and types of materials that should be found on trolling motors to be used in the salt.
Minn Kota has in production several trolling motors designed for heavy saltwater use in its Riptide series of trolling motors and is the topic of this brief review and informative article.
Because there are several different lines of trolling motors in the Riptide series, we are not going to get really in depth in the reviews of each line. We will give brief reviews of all of the models, but for this review, we want to focus more on the design features that go into making these various trolling motors so well adapted for saltwater use.
We here at Fishing Tech are one of the many users of these motors that have come to admire how these Riptide trolling motors can withstand the abuses that saltwater use can put on a piece of equipment. We hope this short review will give you some insights into what stands out to us and leads us to such high reviews of the product.
In this section, we want to take a look at what features of the Riptide line of trolling motors makes them appealing for anglers who venture out into saltwater settings. There are three main points of emphasis that we want to take a look at and these three points all make up Minn Kota’s saltwater advantage.
One of the major problems that can occur is the corrosion of inner working parts in your trolling motor. Even with washing of the motor after use, these small crannies can hold corrosive saltwater and debris, and it breeds corrosion of wiring and other mechanical parts that make the motor run. For a trolling motor to be highly resistant to saltwater, this inner circuitry needs maximum protection.
Minn Kota accomplishes this with several steps. First, all of the circuit boards are encapsulated in a high-grade marine urethane. This coating is highly resistant to absorbing water as well as other chemicals and provides a highly hydrophobic barrier between it and corrosive saltwater and other debris. Secondly, Minn Kota has all of its electrical connections sealed and protected with heat shrink tubing. This step prevents circuits from shorting out after a short amount of time on the water.
Both of these steps seem small, but they go a long way in protecting areas of the trolling motor most of us are not ever going to see and play a huge role in keeping the trolling motor running as it does right out of the box after many fishing trips.
Outer Corrosion Protection
Just like the inner workings of your trolling motor, the outer components also need to have some form of corrosion resistance. One way to ward off corrosion is through the use of corrosion resistant metals and metal alloys. Another step that is taken is through the use of chemical treatments and coatings to the alloys to further increase their resistance to corrosion.
Minn Kota puts its hardware through a multi-step treatment process before shipping it out. This includes a seven-step wash of its premium corrosion resistant alloy that is used on all metal parts of the trolling motor. It is then followed by an anodizing or dichromate plating that further adds resistance to corrosion. It is then layered with a zinc powder primer and 5-mil polyester paint. This layering gives the riptide trolling motors incredible corrosion resistance through layers of protection.
And the shaft for these trolling motors is Minn Kota’s composite shaft. This composite layer in of itself is highly resistant to corrosion. You now have a trolling motor that has been designed to protect its inner circuitry and outer hardware through a multi-step process.
While having material that is salt resistant as well as encapsulated electronics is critical to a trolling motor having any longevity when used in saltwater settings, other steps can be taken by the manufacturer to ward off galvanic corrosion as well. The biggest step is through the use of a sacrificial anode. These small metal anodes are usually made of zinc or some other metal that is highly susceptible to galvanic corrosion. These anodes are a more active metal than the alloys used on other parts of the trolling motor and have a much higher attraction for the corrosive nature of saltwater and take the brunt of the damage.
All of the trolling motors in the Riptide series come with a sacrificial zinc anode installed in the trolling motor. In fact, when looking at any trolling motor that is marketed as a saltwater trolling motor you should always be on the look out for the use of a sacrificial anode.
Check this article out if you want to dive a little deeper into the use of sacrificial anodes. https://www.boatingmag.com/how-to/choosing-right-sacrificial-anode
Minn Kota has several different lines of the freshwater trolling motors that have been outfitted with certain features to make them more resistant to saltwater corrosion and puts them in the Riptide line. We should note to be careful when looking at other online reviews as it seems a lot are lumping all of these models under the single title of Riptide trolling motors. While in fact, the different models that are all under the Riptide line can differ from each other pretty dramatically in size, features, and budget.
And as we stated before, we are not going to get into much depth on these trolling motors. We do have more in-depth articles written on the various models such as the Edge and Terrova, but not specifically for the saltwater versions of those models. We mainly want to make it clear that there is more than a single Riptide trolling motor.
This is the single transom mount trolling motor that Minn Kota has in their Riptide category and comes with all of the properties listed in Minn Kota’s saltwater advantage. This transom mount offers quite a few speed options ranging between 45 and 112lbs of thrust, so it is going to be suitable for a range of boat sizes. It has two options for the hand tiller, depending on the model, one hand tiller is telescopic while the other option is both telescopic and the angle can be adjusted coming from the upper unit.
This unit features two options for speed control, again depending on the model. One is the digital variable option while the other is a set 5fwd/3rev speed control. All models also feature an excellent transom mount with multiple locking positions and Minn Kota’s composite shaft.
Where to Buy
The Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra is the top of the line model from Minn Kota. It features all of Minn Kota’s saltwater advantage properties that we discussed in the previous section.
There are not a lot of model options for the Ulterra. There is an 80 and112lb thrust model, so these are big trolling motors. Shaft lengths range from 54 to 72 inches in length.
The Ulterra has all of Minn Kota’s top of the line features. Some of these include automatic stow and deploy as well as the power trim which gives you automatic depth adjustment of the unit once it is deployed. You get an integrated battery meter and also have the option for the i-Pilot or i-Pilot link for both the 80 and 112lb thrust models. Check out the anchor function in action in the video below.
Where to Buy
The Minn Kota Riptide Terrova is another top of the line bow mount option from Minn Kota. It has quite a few model options with peak thrusts options at 55, 80, and 112lb. Like the Ulterra, the Terrova models come with either i-Pilot or i-Pilot link giving you GPS control of the trolling motor.
It also features all of the Minn Kota Saltwater advantage characteristics and it also has several features that make stowing and deploying this larger trolling motor much easier.
You also have the digital variable speed control for all of the model options, and it also features a wonderful foot pedal for excellent control over the motor direction and speed.
Where to Buy
The Minn Kota Riptide Powerdrive is another bow mount trolling motor in the Riptide series that comes with a lot of awesome features, including the i-Pilot and co-pilot wireless remote. There are only two thrust options for the Powerdrive which include a 55 and 70lb peak thrust option. Each of these thrust options has a model with the i-Pilot while the other model of the same thrust options comes with the co-pilot remote.
This is an extremely durable trolling motor that can take on a big workload. And like all of the other Riptide models, the Powerdrive also comes with the Minn Kota Saltwater advantage.
And like most Minn Kota motors, the Riptide comes with the hardcore composite shaft which a lot of anglers are looking for. With the 70lb model being a bit larger, the deploy-assist lever on the Powerdrive comes in handy. We also want to note that all of these models all use digital variable speed control that is easily navigated with the foot pedal.
Where to Buy
The Minn Kota Riptide Fortrex, as the name implies, is a bulldog of a trolling motor that can handle larger fishing vessels. This is a bow mount trolling motor, but it uses a hand tiller rather than a foot pedal for motor control. The hand tiller is ergonomic and can both t only has two model options, an 80lb peak thrust (52 or 62” shaft length) and a 112lb (62” shaft length) model.
These trolling motors do not come with the i-Pilot system, but they still have a lot of useful features, especially when it comes to extra durability. The Fortrex utilizes a nitrogen gas spring that greatly reduces the amount of manpower needed to stow and deploy such as large trolling motor. It also uses a counter-tension stabilizer that is awesome when working rougher waters and keeps the motor completely stable.
And of course, you also get Minn Kota’s composite shaft that is covered with a lifetime warranty and has been designed to give the motor Minn Kota’s saltwater advantage.
Where to Buy
The Minn Kota Riptide Maxxum is one of the best value for your money trolling motors offered by Minn Kota. You don't get a lot of the extra features as you do with previous listed trolling motors, but you still get the reliability of a Minn Kota motor. You also still get all of the Minn Kota saltwater advantage perks with these trolling motors.
There are foot and hand control models of the Maxxum available, and the peak thrust options range from 55 to 80lbs. Where we think the Maxxum stands out is in its base. The Maxxum mount is incredibly sturdy, and it features a 360-degree bow guard. Both together give you a lot of protection for your boat and the trolling motor when using in water with a lot of underwater structures.
Where to Buy
Pros and Cons
- Several models available to match your boat and water
- Top of the line body corrosion resistance
- Internal electronics fully encapsulated
- All riptides still carry all the freshwater features
- All feature sacrificial zinc anode
- Nothing significant from the Saltwater Advantage Standpoint
The Bottom Line
Not every trolling motor is created equal when it comes to being able to withstand repeated use in saltwater settings. Even with exterior washing after use, it takes more to provide long-term reliability when working in saltwater. The Saltwater Advantage from Minn Kota gives you the extra design, construction, and finishing that you need for your saltwater trolling motor.
We hope that this article has outlined some important features that you should be on the lookout for when searching for a saltwater trolling motor as well as give you an idea of the choices you have with the Minn Kota Riptide line.