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REVIEW: Bar Crusher 490C and 490WR – boatsales.com.au

Good things come in small packages as these two baby Bar Crushers attest. David Lockwood reports…

With their keen $37-38K price tags, the two new 490 Bar Crushers bring the brand within reach of more people. The 490C is a tough all-round cuddy cabin in the popular Bar Crusher ‘mould’. Essentially, it’s a scaled-down version of the bigger Bar Crushers we have come to love. The 490WR is called a walk-around, but it’s really a centre console. This variant is definitely for keen anglers, perhaps divers and even those seeking a workboat. Cuddy or console, that’s your choice and we arrived at ours after a head-to-head test beyond Sydney Harbour.

OVERVIEW

The reason these Baby Bar Crushers came about is pure and simple

In the original news release on these twin Bar Crusher 490s, the Melbourne manufacturer said it wanted to “provide anglers with a smaller boat that had all the engineering of the larger Bar Crusher models but at a very reasonable price”. Right between the posts. Goal kicked.

But there’s more to these boats than just size and price. In fact, in some ways they are the two factors of least consequence. For the 490 in cuddy cabin and centre console guise somehow achieve much more than their dimensions and accessible ticket suggest. On the water, these boats grow on you and become giant killers.

Admittedly, when we first set eyes on the 490C at the 2015 Melbourne International Boat Show, we thought, wow, that’s a cute little Crusher. Among today’s de rigueur six-metre-plus rigs, the 490C looks small on its single-axle trailer. You could have easily walked past in the field of bigger rigs.

Playing undercover spy, we leant against the gunwales to get some market feedback. As one would-be buyer in-the-know proffered, all the 490C needed was a hardtop in keeping with its sister ships. We both chuckled at his suggestion, but these boats are a lot more serious than they might at first appear.

Approaching our test pick-up point, the 490s had a well-balanced profile and a good amount of forward and stern freeboard, despite the shared hull’s sharp entry, raked profile and the 100kg-plus four-stroke 60hp Suzuki outboards on their tails.

Once we set foot aboard, stowed the gear, and took control of the helm, these boats suddenly grew on us. They seem much bigger than the modest rigs in the showroom. Next minute, we were heading offshore in 20 knots of wind. It was then that these little Bar Crushers took on a life all of their own…

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