Selecting a Bow Mount Trolling Motor
There are a lot of different options when it comes to selecting a bow mount motor.
Because of this, we’ve split our bow mount selection guide into two articles, each discussing wireless and
non-wireless controlled models.
If you’re looking for a great bow mount motor and don’t need wireless control,
this is the article for you!
However, if you’re itching to get a motor with GPS technology and/or remote
wireless control, you’ll want to see our article on Wireless Bow Mount
We’ve broken down the non-wireless motors into two sections - standard and
heavy-duty - in order to provide a better comparison.
In the standard section, we examine and compare the Minn Kota Edge, Maxxum and
MotorGuide Freshwater motors.
The Minn Kota Fortrex and MotorGuide Tour motors are discussed in the heavy-duty
Standard Bow Mount Motors
The Minn Kota Edge series is a well built, albeit barebones bow mount trolling motor. It is likely one of the most
affordable bow motor you’ll be able to find, and includes thrust options of 45, 55 and 70 lbs.
Hand and foot controlled models are both available, but the foot controlled model
is generally much more popular.
The motor has a fixed speed motor with 5 settings.
Similar to all Minn Kota motors, Edge has a beefy composite shaft that is
guaranteed never to break and a standard two year warranty.
The MotorGuide Freshwater series is similar to the Edge motors, but
has a few more options and amenities.
Thrust options are nearly identical to Edge, with the addition of a 40 lbs thrust
version, and both lines have fixed-speed-only motors.
The Freshwater edition includes a lit directional indicator, which lets you know
in any light conditions which way the motor is pointed, as well as a weedless prop for venturing into the
While the MotorGuide Freshwater has a two year warranty similar to Edge, the shaft is built from stainless steel - a
quality material, but not the composite guaranteed-for-life shaft found on Minn Kota models.
Minn Kota Maxxum is a
significant step up from both Edge and the Freshwater series from MotorGuide.
With available thrust options or 80 and 101 lbs, it is able to move the largest of
The Maxxum line also includes models with variable speed motors, offering more
precise boat control and improved battery life over standard fixed speed motors.
Maxxum also includes a weedless wedge prop on all models.
The Bowguard 360 is a unique feature from Minn Kota where the shaft and propeller
are connected to a large spring within the mount.
When the shaft is hit, Bowguard allows it to move and break away, and then
automatically return to it’s original position. The feature can be thought of as a shock absorber for the motor and
shaft. This unique feature protects the motor, shaft and mount from damage.
Standard Motor Final
So which standard motor is best for you? We examine the pros and cons, as well as
identify who each motor is best suited for below:
IDEAL FIT: Edge is perfect for
the fishermen who needs a basic, well-built bow motor at the best available price.
IDEAL FIT: A fisherman who fishes
frequently at dusk/dawn and is willing to pay a little more for the lit directional indicator and the included
weedless prop. Otherwise, Edge offers a better value.
IDEAL FIT: Fishermen who want a
variable speed motor with a few bells and whistles, and don’t mind paying a little bit more for it.
Heavy Duty Trolling Motors
Fortrex motors from Minn Kota are extremely well built and plain impressive to
The motor is built around a very visible and unique aluminum mono-arm, which
provides a rock solid foundation for the motor and shaft.
Another very impressive feature is the nitrogen gas-charged Lift-Assist assembly,
similar to what helps open the tailgates of cars. Lift-Assist effectively cuts the effort of stowing in half,
welcome assistance with a motor as beefy as Minn Kota Fortrex.
Fortrex also includes the same Bowguard 360 found on Maxxum, a variable speed
motor, a weedless prop and 80 and 101 lbs thrust options.
The MotorGuide Tour series’ most unique feature is its complete metal build.
Nearly all components - including the foot pedal and motor housing - are built
from metal and designed to last.
Another unique feature is Tour’s “soft start”, which slowly ramps power up for
smooth and fluid acceleration.
While the motor lacks the composite shaft found on Fortrex, the 105 lbs thust
model includes a three year warranty, while all Fortrex models only have a two year warranty.
The Tour series is better priced than Fortrex at similar 82 and 105 lbs thrust
levels, has a variable speed motor and includes a weedless prop.
Heavy-Duty Motor Final Verdict
IDEAL FIT: The fishermen who
wants an incredibly well built motor with a full feature set designed to make life easier.
MotorGuide Tour Series
IDEAL FIT: The fishermen who
wants a very well built trolling motor without lots of extras at a competitive price.