View Full Version : 22zx v 26zx?

11-19-2011, 09:09 PM
My wife are looking to buy our first Donzi! Been looking, researching,reading,lurking the site and others for years! Finally saved our pennies to actually go out and shop. However, being new to the Donzi brand, we just arent sure what size will be better for us and our family of 3 (4yo lil girl also). Can anyone give me a list of pros and cons, knowing the price for a 26 will be approx $10k more than a 22zx.

We are looking for something under $30k, 1999-2002. We live on Lake Michigan, and boat on some of the inland lakes and bays along the Michigan shoreline.

Thank you!

Feel free to give us any tips on the ZX's ! We want to learn all we can!

11-20-2011, 12:42 AM
26 is a whole nutter ballgame compared to a 22. Many factors to consider like tow vehicle, etc. What was your last boat? If you are not accustomed to a 26' boat I would DEFINATELY recommend a smaller one to get used to...or keep. Bigger is NOT always better. I have been boating all my life and my 22C is perfect for me and I have owned much larger. If you think you are going to enjoy a larger cabin...think again as they RARELY get used.

11-20-2011, 10:37 AM
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Live on big lake, family boat with a small child, bigger the better IMO.
There was a 25zx for sale in Kansas for less than 20K
On craigs list.

11-20-2011, 03:30 PM
Not to worried about tow vehicle, Chevy truck..need i say more!! haha

Last boat was a 26ft Donzi Medallion cruiser with the big cabin, that we hardly used. SO Im not interested in the extra room as we wont sleep on it much.

What about power? Fuel? Handling? Ive heard the 22 can spin....yet i heard the 26 will also.
Does step hull make a difference? Im not planning on going full bore everywhere i go. Lake Michigan can be rough at times.

Thanks for the info and relplies!

OH..and the 26zx at Shogren, has an offer on it already! They go fast there!

11-20-2011, 03:37 PM
Yes, the stepped hull makes a big difference in how you drive. I had to un- learn 25 years of driving. But, once you experience it you may never go back.
I have a 27 ZR. Her maiden voyage was on Lake Michigan outside of Chicago in 3' swells and she ate them up at 50 mph. I spent this past summer on Lake Superior and I personally feel safer in the 27 than I did in my 24 or 21 prior boats.

The Hedgehog
11-20-2011, 09:12 PM
I have owned boats all my life too. Everything from a 11 foot whaler to a 60 footer. I have owned a 26zx. At one point in time, there was a big price differential between the two. That is no longer the case. Go big. You will get used to the extra size and actually like it.

My old xz is the boat Fixx mentioned. You will NOT find a 22zx rigged like that. period. It is a great all around family boat. SPIN OUT? No biggy, just keep it trimmed out on the turns and it will be just fine.

The Hedgehog
11-20-2011, 09:15 PM
[ QUOTE=$originalposter]{$pagetext}[/QUOTE]

I used my cabin all the time. So did Tex. Mostly for storage, wives getting put of the rain, coolers etc. The big deal is that you can walk in and out. If I had to get down on my knees each time, I would not have used it near as much.

Dr. David Fleming
11-20-2011, 11:42 PM
Well what the guys say is about right. I have had the 22ZX and put about 400 hours on it. Here are a few observations. It tows well and is easy to launch - one person. It costs about $100 to fill its 50 gallon tank. Its crusing range is substancial and its speed with standard power is impressive - 310 hp will run about 62gps - 415hp will run 75gps and can go towards 80gps with minor modifications. This is with standard Mercruiser power. Life on a stock engine is around 400 hours with major rebuild required after that. High performance engines require expert setup and tuning and often don't live past 100 hours when well kept. Have never spun my 22ZX - did get it quite airborn this summer launching off if a cruiser wake while racing in Lake St. Clair - must have gotten good 10 foot out of water. Smooth level landing at speed. The boat is fast - in rough water and was designed for ocean driving. Will handle any freighter wake on the Detroit river with ease. Will run surprisingly rough water at 45-50gps. Top speed running is better in the calm. Multiple engines required to run the bigger boats require double the investment in engines and maintance. Running on the big lakes in rough weather is slightly faster in the larger boat - I can't see the speed difference as that practical - I mean really! In a smaller lake say 50sq miles the 22zx will just overwhelm the lake - how many times can you cross 15 miles of water at speed and get a thrill out of it. 22zx needs some big water to run on - Lake Huron to Lake Erie is hour and half ride - can't drive it that fast in a car.

11-21-2011, 08:08 AM
I strongly suggest getting in and around both a 22 and 26. They aren't in the same category so one will win over the other for you. My guess is the 26 will win. The 26 has room for the kids to walk around a bit, climb into the cabin, etc. which buys a lot of time on the water. Mine are 4 and 2 years old and they love my 28 ZXO.

I haven't heard of any 26's, 27's, or 28's spinning. Not saying they haven't, just never heard of it. They are all basically the same hull, the 26 being the shortened one.

11-26-2011, 04:23 PM
So Dr. Flemming....is the Donzi in the pics for sale???!! Very nice looking boat!

I appreciate all the info, hopefully I can find a 22 or 26 here in Michigan to at least check out and compare. They are pretty rare on the West side here.

11-26-2011, 04:28 PM
So Dr. Flemming....is the Donzi in the pics for sale???!! &nbsp;Very nice looking boat!<br><br><br>I appreciate all the info, hopefully I can find a 22 or 26 here in Michigan to at least check out and compare. They are pretty rare on the West side here.

The Hedgehog
11-26-2011, 04:30 PM
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Very well turned out 22 there Dr D! It has all the right goodies!

11-27-2011, 10:26 AM
Like anything in life, go big the first time or you are going to be wanting more down the road. As far as towing, I live in the mountains of western NC and tow a 25zx with a gas 2500 and the trailer has no brakes. No problems here, I'd say you will be fine in the flat lands of Michigan with either boat. (however mine is a dodge, not a chevy :pimp:)

I use my cabin every weekend, so The larger cabin was definitely a plus for me.

The 22 will be much faster though...there is a guy on my lake with mildly modded 502 22zx that claims 80 running solo and low fuel.

In my opinion the 25/26s are too short for the true cigarette boat look....the 22 is obviously worse.

Last Tango
11-30-2011, 09:48 PM
A couple kids will have no problem finding plenty of room to play in the cabin of a 22ZX. However, wives will find it OK only when it is raining hard or too cold to sit outside. And YOU may only ever get to view your cuddy from the outside if you are a big person. But the cuddy makes an awesome storage place for everything you will every need or want when boating. I'm coming up on 6 years with my 22ZX and I have never spent any time in the cuddy except to reach into it for stuff.
I have never owned a 26ZX but I bet I could go below much more easily through the cabin door of a 26ZX than the sliding hatch on my 22ZX. The hatch slides from right to left, but not all the way open. Usually about 2-3" short of the full opening.

22ZX is a smaller, lighter, and potentially more economical boat to run and to tow than a 26ZX. However, your location may be better suited by the 26ZX. Mine has the 52 gallon tank so filling up is closer to $200 than the $100 stated by the good Dr.

I have over 200 hours in my 22ZX and have never spun it out. And I am no scaredy-cat behind the throttle. My boat has the stepped hull and a bone stock 350 Mag MPi, and a Bravo 1 drive. I can go a little over 60 when conditions are good. Be sure that the boat you choose also has at least a Bravo 1 outdrive. Many early 22ZX's had Alpha drives.

I owned a 16 Classic, an 18 Classic, a 28 cabin cruiser, and a Z3250 Daytona prior to the 22ZX. I should have named it Momma Bear, because, for me, this one is juuuust right.

Last Tango
11-30-2011, 10:07 PM
One additional thought on the space inside the cuddy cabins.

Although the cuddy in my 22ZX has a V-berth and a port-a-potty, neither have ever been used for their intended purpose. The floor is filled to the top by canvas bags filled with all the heavy stuff I carry, and fully covers the cushions for a few feet on either side of the hatch. There is still plenty of room for a lot more, including the playful kids.

The 26ZX is much larger, and has a bit more headroom. However, I would be forced to store all my stuff somewhere else than on the cabin sole and side cushions because of the implied use of the space by actual full-sized adults. All my stuff would eventually find itself filling the floor just from the bumpy ride. The enticing seat inside would still have to be emptied in order to be usable, and all that stuff piled around on the cushions and the V-berth where it could become a missle hazzard for anyone below while underway.

The thought that I believe my cuddy is too small for most potential guests while underway is enough to allow me to put anything I want in there - a choice never available in either of my Classics.

And on the topic of engine life, my bone stock factory original engine rolled over dead at just over 200 hours. In that time, the computer showed I had less than 15 total minutes at WOT. Just a data point for you when deciding what to do about power choices.

12-01-2011, 02:02 PM
Uh..as far as I know nobody should be in a cabin while underway due to Co2 poisoning. The fumes stay low and get trapped in cabins. Any cabin should have a sensor/alarm even if at rest. Not sure about the legality either as none is designated seating for underway use....like sitting on the bow. I would double check before doing so. Last person I had in my cabin underway damn near broke his face when I hit an unexpected wake while he was trying to retrieve his wallet below.

12-01-2011, 02:52 PM
all you really have to do is crack a hatch to force air through front to back, or in my case pop the front door or top open.

CO is pretty much average when it comes to weight so it won't naturally sink low, it's the station wagon effect that draws it into cabins while underway with just the rear cabin door open.

My 28 has a CO detector in the cabin as I would think all NMMA built boats would have.

Dr. David Fleming
12-02-2011, 01:29 AM

You must be one huge guy cause I am 6'5" and 275 lbs and have spent more than one lazy summer afternoon after swimming sleeping in the cuddy. Missus enjoys it too. Course I keep the gear down to a throwable cushion, 4 life jackets, 4 pillows, one stainlss steel anchor sometimes left ashore. ONe picnic basket, with bottle of wine, two thermos with soup, and two subs, fresh, other niceities. Do carry extra fluids for engine, three sea anchors stowed for drifting bow into the waves, couple of towels to dry off after the swim, small shaving kit and mirror if overnight. Nix on the porta let her use the folgers or go overboard. Yah.

Would think Donz used the 350 small block chevy when they couldn't get the 454mpi engine. Both make same horsepower but lets face it the 454 is a huge rugged engine making a lowly 310hp while the small block 350 has to work hard to get the same power. Not surprised the small block failed at 200 hours. Would build it well $ when redoing it. Should be lighter weight even though both seem to run 60mph range.

I do think the ZX line represents fantastic 1990's thinking even if the ZR is better thought out. They never made many ZR and none in the small 22 foot size and now appears they never will. Great for those who want a pocket battleship. THe 22ZX should stand across the decades as one classic offshore boat in miniture for fast rough water running in a time people could afford such beautiful toys. All Donzi as Don would have wished.

I think you got a great looking boat one of only 4000 made, congrats. Michigan has cheaper gas and without alcohol, bet you wished you lived in an auto manufacturing state.

The Hedgehog
12-02-2011, 10:37 AM
And all this time I thought it was the drinks that were causing people to sleep in the front on my ZX!

It seems to happen in the front on Zmans boat too. Maybe he should get his detector checked too!

12-02-2011, 02:08 PM
Bobby good to see they put detectors in them now. With your setup, I could not see how fumes would get trapped anyway. Not sure if it was my Baja or Scarab that had that warning on it, neither had the side lounges, just V-birth from door to nose so not really comfortable to cruise in there anyway.

12-05-2011, 09:23 PM
I picked up a used 1998 22Zx in 2009. Last boat was 47', which we seldom used, as it was too much work. Picked up a mobile home in a marina/resort as a weekend getaway, boat is a 30 second walk away. Love the Donzi, it's just the two of us, but has plenty of space. Mainly use it for day trips and as a restaurant runner. Spends its down time in a covered slip on a Hydro hoist, always ready to go. On the Sacramento Delta, everywhere we stop, turns into a conversation with the onlookers.
Purchased it from the original owner who repowered it in 2002 with a 496HO and promply put 120 hours on it over the next 7 years. Boat, trailer and interior looks brand new.
If you are trailering, I'd go with the 22.....