The Ranger Z-Comanche Revolution



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The Ranger Z-Comanche

Pre-Z New at Ranger 2004

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The Ranger Z-Comanche Series

“The revolution has begun and bass fishing will never be the same.”


“With more best-in-class features than any other tournament rig, the all-new Z-Comanche series has taken acceleration, handling, interior space, fishabililty, and all-out performance to even higher levels. The ultra-wide 95” beam of the Z21 eclipses all other rigs in its class while also highlighting a technologically advanced design. Custom built, SRS Soft Ride Seating®, solid state digital switching (no fuses), a full array of multi-function gauges and instrumentation, an exclusive Dri-Latch TM compartment locking system, a 3-bank on-board charger, Pro-Stow® tackle organizer, and an all-new hull design are engineered to raise the total performance bar even higher.


Enjoy a whole new level of leadership with faster, shallower hole shots, strong top end delivery, extremely responsive handling and a smooth, dry ride.


Equally impressive custom trailer features include a center swing jack stand, ultra bright L.E.D. lights, COOL Hub® oil bath hubs, heat-dissipating aluminum brake calipers, and our exclusive ‘tough-as-nails‘ Road Armor Equipped TM trailer finish.


The all-new Z21 Comanche. Intimidation never looked so good.”

  – Ranger Boats Staff





The Ranger Boats

Z-Comanche Series


18 Months in the making, the Revolutionary new Z-Comanche Series boat from Ranger – the Z20, Z21 and Z22 are the state of the art in tournament bass boats. A complete new design where the only thing from bow to stern that didn’t change from past models is the drain plug. If you’re truly interested or even just curious please read on.

Sleek, Sporty with that ‘Muscle Car’ look the Ranger Z21 is my new favorite bass boat. I realize this is coming across a little ‘exuberantly’ but maybe you just need to drive the boat yourself and see what I mean. The quote at the beginning of this page is from Ranger. It’s what you might expect from a company putting out a new product, but as someone once said, “It ain’t bragging if you can back it up” and the Z21 backs it up!

I was fortunate to have little competition during test drives this December thanks to temps in the 40s and an all-day rain on Bull Shoals. I wisely brought along my rain suit, so I jumped in and got my feet wet. Well, actually my face and hair, but it was worth it.

The Z21 is a gorgeous machine in the flesh (or in the fiberglass more accurately).

Okay, you want to hear specifics though – why should the Z-Comanche be your next bass boat? How about the new streamlined dash? Ranger made many changes in the dash area. First is the addition of more room. More legroom and more knee room. The dash is over two inches higher. The new sharp-looking steering wheel is also one inch smaller in diameter.

There’s also Ranger’s keyless ignition and controls on the completely sealed and now solid-state digital switching keypad. No more fuses. All the circuits are resettable right from the cockpit. Really adds to the high tech look of the aluminum-augmented dash.

Racy is the right term for the dash contours, aluminum trim and custom-branded multi-function gauges. These gauges give you all the information you need in a more visible arrangement, with the most important front-and-center – a combination tachometer and water pressure gauge. There’s Garmin-sized pre-cut hole left of the steering wheel also.

This still leaves room for additional gauges and electronics if needed. Additionally, as you see in the photo above, Ranger included a reinforced ledge for another larger graph/gps is you desire. Convenient footrests underneath on both sides still leave room for a Hot Foot if you like them (I do).

Attractive new leather-like material augments the seating area. The seats are plush, wrapping your body in comfort while preserving the sporty look of the Z-Series. Note the new Z-handle to the side of the passenger seat. They’ve also added a new sturdy grip handle on the side of the seat where it’s easier and handier to grab ahold of.

Another new innovation is a glove box even if you don’t have dual consoles (note the webbing in front of the passenger seat). It’s standard. If you decide to put in the 2nd console later, this part has to be removed first before installing the console.

The new Z-Series middle seat is improved. It has a much taller seatback for comfort if you have a 3rd passenger. It still folds down fairly flat. The back has a non-slip tread for when you need to step up onto the back deck.

You can see in this skeleton photo the passenger seat has the SRS seat springs installed already. SRS seats are standard in all Z-Comanche boats. You’ll truly appreciate those Soft-Ride-Seats the next time you’re blasting across Lake St. Clair or Erie on a ‘breezy’ day (or any weekend on Clair).

This Z front deck shows several Z standards. The recessed trolling motor pedal tray is becoming more popular. With the Z-Comanche boats, the tray is always installed so if an owner doesn’t want it now, but changes their mind later, it can be opened up. The tray is more adjustable now too for positioning front to back. New tapered rod tubes now allow full-length rods even in middle tubes in the middle rod compartment.  A real nice feature – standard on the Z-Comanche – the front casting deck is padded underneath the carpet. That will really help the legs and joints over a long day of fishing.

You can see one of the rails that run the length of compartments comprising part of the new

exclusive Dri-Latch locking system. No more key holes any lids now. The heat resistant coated rails have a popup pushbutton latch running along the edge of each compartment.

Each latch pops the lid up. You close the lid again by snapping it back into place. The improved locks and metal tube edge makes compartments dramatically more secure. This all combines with a 30% higher fiberglass and rubber ridge around each compartment to provide truly dry storage.

Another completely sealed switch module provides many motor and electronic controls in the nose. A Garmin-sized mount hole is built-in. See your dealer for alternatives if you desire. You can also see on the right cap edge, a popup rope cleat that makes docking simple, yet drops down out of the way when you’re fishing.

This Test Tank shot shows the sporty rear end of the Z21. The 6 metal accent strips are solidly set, but are meant to highlight the sporty look, not for towing. Use the rear boat eyes. The 3 rear compartments are truly functional though. The large center compartment and 2 smaller side compartments allow more space for batteries, oil, a spare prop (if you desire–I recommend one) and a standard 3-bank charger. The compartments are partially separated so that you only have to unlock the one side compartment that holds the charger to recharge your batteries. The rest of the back end storage stays locked and safe. A real plus while improving serviceability.

Being a three-time veteran of ‘unplanned boat-diving’ I can certainly appreciate the addition of a ladder to a bass boat. Ranger has long offered a ladder option on their boats, but as with so many other Z-Comanche innovations, the R&D crew came up with a new ‘Z-ladder’ that is sportier and streamlined while still offering the full safety you expect from such a device. Two clips above the top step hold the bottom step out of the way when you flip it up. Additional grips are added to the cap instead of running the ladder up over the cap. This keeps the sportier Z-ladder interfering with that great Ranger cover.

You get a safety tool that is attractive, efficient and functional.

Already have your checkbook out? Or do you need more convincing? I’m sure some are just like me and need a test-drive of their own to help decide. For now, here’s what I found on my own test-drives of the various Ranger Z-Comanche boats. Driving is part of the pleasure of owning a high-performance fishing machine like this, is it not?


As I reported, air temp was in the 40s with a ‘refreshing’ light rain on the recent December day on Bull Shoals Lake when I had the opportunity to drive several Z-Comanches with various outboards. Being a Great Lakes basser, I gravitated to the Z21 the most, but they had Z20 (I drove one) and Z22 Series available. Of the outboards available this day, the Yamaha HPDI seemed the fastest (and my personal favorite if you haven’t already guessed), so although I drove other brands and makes including some of the 4-strokes and other new outboard options, I put the Z21-Yamaha combo through the most paces.


No GPS, so I don’t have accurate speeds. I did get my ears pinned back on the long straight trim-it-out-as-far-as-it-wants run down the lake. (Gotta love those million high speed needles of rain!) It felt comparable to the 521 in speed, but further tests with GPS will be needed later to know for sure. It feels faster when you are running in a cold rain with a stiff breeze in your face. I’m guessing mid-60s to low-70s depending on your load. The Z21 was quick and flat out of the hole, and accelerated impressively for a big boat. I just realized I didn’t test it much for slow-planing behavior… but hey, I was testing a new high-speed bass boat. Who wants to go slow?!?


What really stood out was the way the Z21 hull


slid over the water, but still held them tighter than super-glue. You never know about a new hull, and things can go bad at the speeds we run, but I got braver as I got more of a feel for the Z hull. I pushed it harder, trimmed out more through tighter turns and the hull never even felt like it was going to slip on me. It bit and held! I have to think the combination of the new hull shape and the ultra-wide 95” beam had a lot to do with that.


I had a pretty good chop going down the middle of the lake, so I spent some time running backwards, forwards and sideways to the waves. Even going against the grain at high speed sideways and back over the waves, there wasn’t much loose bounce at all to the ride. Almost no side-to-side rocking either, which makes me jumpy in some bass boat brands I’ve rode in – the way they roll to the side sharply off some waves. I also noticed that boat spray came out from the hull low and behind me, so no splash in the face, which is nice.


I agree with Ranger Boats President Randy Hopper when he says, “The Z-Comanche series represents a whole new level of leadership. Developed through extensive computer modeling and field performance tests, this series is engineered to raise the total performance bar even higher while delivering the most technologically advanced rig on the water.”



There you have it – the exciting and completely new Ranger Z-Comanche Series line of bass boats. If you have any questions about this information, please contact me. I’ll answer what I can and get the answer from the experts if I don’t know it. Thanks for checking out the Ranger Z-Comanche.


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