- The Eagle BRX is an indisputably fast, agile and exciting boat, with plenty of sheltered seating, furniture versatility and storage built in.
- With its moderate 20-degree deadrise, its modest weight of just 860kg and the top-rated 200hp engine on the transom, the Eagle BRX is a boat that commands the skipper’s attention.
- Whether on the straight or in the turn, the pickup is truly fierce …
Silver Eagle BRX
Alex Smith investigates the powerful, all-aluminium ‘X’ variant of Silver’s Eagle bowrider.
Since the company’s foundation in 1991, Silver have built a reputation on the basis of a very simple formula. They build compact sports boats from 16 to 21 feet with aluminium hulls and seam-free reinforced plastic interiors. These two base components are isolated from one another by means of cellular rubber, and the hull sides contain box structures filled with non-absorbing polyurethane foam, which helps improve buoyancy and deaden the resonance that so often plagues cheap or poorly conceived aluminium hulls.
While in the past, Silver have had no serious presence in the UK, their boats are now being imported by River Shack Boats in Christchurch, Dorset – and given the brand’s following in other parts of the world, that’s likely to be exciting news for those at the market’s entry point. As things stand, Silver’s fleet comprises five basic hulls: the Fox (a 16-footer), the Wolf (a 17-footer), the Hawk (an 18-footer), the Shark (a 20-footer) and the flagship Eagle (a 21-footer). The smallest two of these are available in side console and day cruiser layouts, the Hawk and Eagle are available in centre console configurations, and all five models are available as bowriders.
However, there’s also now a new ‘X’ model variant, which takes the BR fleet as its basis and swaps the plastic internals for a more versatile all-aluminium fit-out.
Only the largest boats (the Shark and the Eagle) are currently available with the BRX treatment, but on the face of it, that makes good sense. After all, the idea behind the BRX is to pull together those thorniest of bedfellows – outright performance and easy everyday liveability. It’s supposed to offer the speed-loving boater enough pace and aggression to keep him smiling, while also guaranteeing durability, user-friendliness and versatility. So what better place to start than with full aluminium construction, a relatively large hull and an open dayboat layout?
Superb New Internals
The Eagle BRX replaces Silver’s traditional plastic internals with aluminium linings, deck surfaces, seats and storage boxes – and for those of us who enjoy commercial-style ruggedness in the world of the hard-working family leisure boat, that’s a very gratifying sight. But of greater immediate interest is the cockpit arrangement. It is long, deep and uncluttered, with sufficient space for no fewer than three rows of seats. That’s virtually unprecedented on a boat of this scale, and it means you get four individual sports seats in two rows, ahead of the aft bench, all basking in the protection of the wrap-around screen. It’s a wonderful asset for a boating family, because ordinarily, while two people nestle in comfort at the helm, everyone else has to huddle together for warmth at the perennially exposed aft end. The extra seating is not a standard feature, of course, but the fact that this 21ft bowrider has a cockpit capable of accommodating it all is a major bonus.
The convertible stern is also very neatly conceived. In place of the traditional aft bench seat box, you get a fixed central section with hinged seat bases on either side and lift-out backrests. All of it is constructed from aluminium, and it means you can maximise cockpit space for fishing or open up transom walkways on both sides, without any fuss. And because the test boat has four individual seats further ahead, it doesn’t even critically compromise the cockpit accommodation.
More to the point, it’s not just cleverly conceived, it’s also beautifully executed. The modern, angular, low-profile cushions, with their carbon-fibre effect upholstery, are a beautiful match for the tough, industrial potency of the aluminium construction. And there’s an uncompromising quality of build in the operation of the fixtures and fittings that makes the Eagle BRX feel much higher-end than most comparable aluminium boats from this part of the world.
Now of course, the fibreglass aficionado could still suggest that the finish here and there is quite rudimentary – not least in features like the catches for the storage spaces, where rather than screwing an upper housing into place, the builders have simply cut a hole in the aluminium lid. It would be an appalling thing to do on a fibreglass boat, but such is the tough, practical, no-nonsense functionality of aluminium, it kind of works.
Despite the peculiar absence of elevated bow rails, the space ahead of the screen, like the rest of the boat, is spacious, tough and eminently usable for those who like to turn their hand to fishing. The provision of low-slung peripheral grab rails built from 30mm aluminium piping means this still feels like a very secure family boat, and happily it’s also a very practical one as regards the logistical demands of a day out. There’s proper storage for small items everywhere you look, and the co-pilot’s glovebox is among the most cavernous I’ve ever seen.
In fact, in terms of foibles, only two really spring to mind: firstly, when you lean back at the centre of the aft bench, the A-frame makes contact with your shoulders; and secondly, the big, flat, brushed aluminium dash dazzles like a mirror when the sun’s at the wrong angle. That’s obviously not ideal, but if you’re in the market for a proper ‘tinny’, there remains a gratifying quality to the blunt, wipe-down commercial stoicism of an all-aluminium model that a crowd-pleasing alu-plastic hybrid simply can’t match.
Max. Power Mayhem
With its moderate 20-degree deadrise, its modest weight of just 860kg and the top-rated 200hp engine on the transom, the Eagle BRX is a boat that commands the skipper’s attention. Whether on the straight or in the turn, the pickup is truly fierce, without even a hint of bogging down or delay in rev rise. The grip is also acute, enabling you to throw this boat around with as much vigour and abandon as you dare.
Such is the comfort, protection and ergonomic maturity of the helm position that it’s also quite easy to enjoy these characteristics. There’s an aluminium footplate to help jam yourself into the seat, a long, steep screen to keep you warm and dry, and a lovely throttle that leads your right hand very naturally to the dash-mounted tabs switch. However, with big power on tap and a centre of gravity that feels quite a long way aft, this is also a very easy boat to get out of shape. Running at pace, with a little encouragement from a beam sea or a stray wake, the Eagle can become quite a handful. The lateral stability can quickly be replaced by a rocking side-to-side bounce that begins to develop into a slight pivot that sees your nose point first one way and then the other. At the helm, as the chine walk begins to kick in, it can feel sufficiently like the onset of a ‘no-going-back’ moment to compel you to ease right off the throttle, settle her down, regain your composure and start again.
Now plainly, the test boat’s engine, in this case a top-rated Honda BF200, plays a major part in the nature of the driving experience. With its 3.5L V6 block and its prodigious 270kg weight, it’s a big piece of equipment for such a light-footed hull, so if it were down to me, I would save the best part of 60kg and £4,000 by opting for the BF150 instead. Yes, the more modest 2.4L unit would lack the insistent vigour of throttle response that defines the test boat’s performance, but I’m willing to bet it would also make the BRX a much more complete leisure boat – not just easing back on the mid-turn ferocity of minor throttle adjustments but also changing the weight distribution sufficiently to enable the forward quarters of the hull more time and opportunity to settle and stabilise proceedings.
The Eagle BRX is an indisputably fast, agile and exciting boat, with plenty of sheltered seating, furniture versatility and storage built in. It’s also robustly constructed and great-looking, but in the form of this test boat, with the maximum 200hp outboard on the transom, it feels a bit too much. It’s just not composed and reassuring enough to enable you to relax at the helm – and with such mighty grunt and modest weight, the warning signs develop too fast to give the average boater the margin he might ideally like. However, there’s such tremendous merit here in the design, build and internal arrangement that it’s worth persevering – because I’m willing to bet that if you specced it with the more affordable and lightweight BF150, this hard-core machine would become an altogether more convincing family package and a much more lucid and relevant flag-bearer, both for aluminium boatbuilding and the modern Silver fleet.
- Big cockpit capacity
- Convertible back end
- Tough, modern functionality
- Plenty of grip
- A-frame impedes your back
- Dash is highly reflective
- Test boat is twitchy and overpowered
RPM Speed (kn) Fuel flow (L/h) Range (nm @ 90%)
600 2.6 1.9 172.4
1000 4.2 3.6 147.0
1500 5.6 6.0 117.6
2000 7.0 10.8 81.7
2500 11.5 13.6 106.5
3000 20.4 16.0 160.7
3500 25.0 20.4 154.4
4000 28.7 26.4 137.0
4500 34.4 33.1 130.9
5000 39.4 46.0 107.9
5500 43.6 60.0 91.6
5900 46.2 71.2 81.8
- LOA: 6.4m
- Beam: 2.25m
- Weight: 860kg
- Fuel capacity: 140 litres
- People capacity: 8
- Power: 115–200 hp
- Test engine: Honda BF200
As tested: From £52,155