Trolling Motors Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra
- Battery Life
- Noise Level
The Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra is one of the most advanced saltwater trolling motors on the market—it’s designed for the serious angler, someone who wants to use powerful features like Spot-Lock, AutoPilot, and more.
Best of all, it’s got a feature that allows you to automatically stow and deploy your motor—and it works really well.
That’s not to say the Riptide Ulterra is perfect—not every angler needs automatic stow and deploy, and not everyone will take full advantage of the networking and GPS capabilities it offers.
This motor isn’t for everyone—but for the anglers it is designed for, it’s one of the best trolling motors on the market.
- Automatic Stow and Deploy
- Spot-Lock and Jogging
- Incredible networking through i-Pilot Link
- Easy to control (once you learn how)
- Feature dense
- A bit tricky to install
- The number of features can be a bit daunting
- Not the quietest motor on the market
|Thrust||80 lbs / 112 lbs|
|Voltage||24V / 36V|
|Control Type||Foot pedal/i-Pilot wireless remote/app|
|Shaft Length||54" / 60" / 72"|
|Propeller Type||Weedless Wedge 2|
|Maximum Amp Draw||52A / 56A|
|Warranty||2-years - lifetime for shaft|
|Fish Finder Connectivity||Yes (through i-Pilot Link and One-Boat Network)|
The Riptide Ulterra is not an easy trolling motor to install—it’s bow-mounted, it doesn’t come with a mounting bracket, and there are a number of electronics that you’ll need to pair with the motor.
Fortunately, Minn Kota has released a video guide to installing the Minn Kota Ulterra—and it works just as well for the Riptide Ulterra. The resource is incredibly handy and will give you a better guide to installation than we could possibly offer by text.
We do, however, have a few tips that are always good to keep in mind:
- Use anti-seize to stop screws and bolts from galling.
- Use marine-grade sealant—we know that holes in the bow aren’t likely to get a lot of water in them, but we always play it as safe as possible.
- Look for any magnetic interference when installing the heading sensor, and test that the sensor can communicate with the motor if they’re far away—especially in longer boats!
Those tips, along with the video guide provided above and the installation guide provided with the motor, should help you get it installed.
This is a particularly tricky install, so we recommend asking for help or going to a marine shop if you’ve never done a bow mount installation before. We also recommend using the MKA-32 Quick Release bracket—it’s designed by Minn Kota to fit the Riptide Ulterra, so using it should eliminate some headaches for you.
All in all, the installation for this motor was absolutely manageable—we’ve done this kind of thing before—but we could see a couple of potential hiccups for anglers without experience. Lots of parts to remove and put back on and some odd assembly instructions—this is definitely a two-person job.
Using the Trolling Motor
The Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra trolling motor has a ton of powerful features on it (that’s a good thing)—having a ton of features makes learning to control it a bit tricky (that’s less of a good thing).
We’re going to review a few different elements of using the trolling motor: We’ll talk about stowing and deploying the motor, controlling the motor using a foot pedal, and controlling the motor using the i-Pilot system.
Stowing and deploying the Riptide Ulterra trolling motor
Here’s something you don’t often see in our trolling motor reviews—stowing and deploying the Riptide Ulterra may be the best, easiest thing about using it.
Minn Kota created an Auto Stow and Deploy system for the Riptide Ulterra. With the press of a button, the motor is deployed—and with the press of another button, it’s stowed again. We’ve had no problems with the feature—it works as advertised and saves you the pain of having to manually stow and deploy your motor.
This feature is super handy—the Riptide Ulterra isn’t exactly light, and we’ve had problems with other Minn Kota stow and deploy and lift assist features. We were excited but skeptical when we first heard about Auto Stow and Deploy—now we’re just excited.
That’s not the only thing Minn Kota has automated—you can also trim the motor up or down with the press of a button.
These features are available on the foot pedal and on the i-Pilot remote, as well as on app controls; this is the Ulterra’s “Killer App”, so to speak.
Operating the Riptide Ulterra trolling motor
Learning exactly how to operate the Riptide Ulterra is a bit of a doozy. Let’s start with the foot pedal:
The Riptide Ulterra foot pedal
In its most basic form, the foot pedal offers heel-toe controls, which we absolutely love. There are, however, a bunch of bells and whistles that might lead new users to be confused. You have to turn on “Ulterra mode” to control the Auto Stow and Deploy and trimming functions. When you take that mode off, you can steer heel-toe or with left and right buttons toward the heel of the pedal.
What we love about this pedal is that it’s been designed to convey a lot of information. The AutoPilot button, Constant button, and Mode button all have big, bold lettering to tell you what they do. The Momentary On button is conveniently located on the left side of the toe. The Spot-Lock button has a big anchor on it. Bright indicator panels tell you exactly what’s going on.
The downsides to the pedal? It’s not wireless, and there’s a lot going on. We understand why there’s a lot going on (there are a lot of features), but it might take you a while to get the hang of it.
The Riptide Ulterra i-Pilot remote
When we’re using features like Cruise Control, AutoPilot, and Spot-Lock, we prefer to navigate using the i-Pilot remote. There’s a display to give you info on battery life, your heading, and more; it also lets you create tracks to follow, use the High Speed Bypass function and more.
Obviously, the remote is a lot harder to use when you’re actively fishing; it’s much harder to catch fish with one hand on a remote control.
The one thing the remote and the foot pedal have in common is that they take some getting used to—that’s pretty much inevitable when you’re dealing with a motor with this many features.
Final thoughts on using the Riptide Ulterra
Once you get past the initial learning curve, using the Ulterra is a breeze. We use basically all the features on this motor, from the Spot-Lock to the High Speed Bypass, and you’ll get accustomed to all of the buttons soon enough. Don’t let the daunting controls stop you from getting this motor.
We also wanted to mention that i-Pilot Link enables you to connect your Ulterra to your phone via the app and to your Humminbird fish finders. As a company called Fish Finder Tech, we really appreciate the level of connectivity that the i-Pilot Link offers— but it’s not for everyone, and if you’re not hooking your motor up to a fish finder, you should opt for the standalone i-Pilot model.
Comparable Trolling Motors
- Minn Kota Ulterra: The Minn Kota Ulterra has the same features as the Riptide Ulterra, with two notable exceptions: It has a built-in transducer, and it’s designed for freshwater. Think of it as the freshwater version of the Riptide Ulterra—buy the model that matches where you’re going to fish!
- Minn Kota Riptide Terrova: The Minn Kota Riptide Terrova is a lot like the Riptide Ulterra—it’s designed for saltwater, it has Spot-Lock and Jogging features, and it’s i-Pilot Link compatible. The major difference? This model doesn’t have Auto Stow and Deploy—one of our favorite features on the Riptide Ulterra.
What Sets the Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra Apart From Comparable Motors
- Auto Stow and Deploy: The Riptide Ulterra is the only saltwater bow mount trolling motor on the planet with automatic stow and deploy. This is one of those features that we imagine most anglers won’t know what they did without in a few years, and we expect (and hope) that this technology will spread.
- Loaded with features: With Spot-Lock and Jogging, the ability to create routes, AutoPilot, and more, the Riptide Ulterra has more features than most trolling motors on the market—it’s comparable to motors like the Lowrance Ghost or the Garmin Force.
- Corrosion Protection: The Riptide Ulterra is designed with corrosion protection in mind—the lower unit is coated in aluminum and a powder coat paint in order to add extra protection against saltwater.
- Digital Maximizer: This is standard on pretty much all of Minn Kota’s high-end motors, but it’s still worth mentioning—the engine is designed to help preserve battery life, even at the highest speeds. Along with the battery meter in the i-Pilot remote, it makes it that much easier to spend as long as possible out on the water.
The Riptide Ulterra is Minn Kota’s best saltwater motor. Do you need it?
The answer lies in how much you value Auto Stow and Deploy. Those of you who don’t need automatic stow and deploy might find the Riptide Terrova perfect for your needs.
For our money, the Auto Stow and Deploy feature is worth it—it’s even better than we imagined, and we truly hope bow-mount trolling motors will all be equipped with similar technology in the future.
All in all, we love the Riptide Ulterra—it’s louder than some motors at comparable price points (like the Ghost), but aside from that, there’s a lot to love about this motor—and not a lot to dislike. One of the best buys of 2023.
Want to learn more before buying a trolling motor? Check out our detailed trolling motor buyer’s guide covering critical considerations like thrust, mounting, shaft length, control features and warranty. Use it as a resource to identify your must-have features, then see how the Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra stacks up in this in-depth review.
What wireless connectivity options does the Riptide Ulterra offer?
Through the i-Pilot Link and the One-Boat Network App, you can connect the Riptide Ulterra to both your smartphone and your Humminbird fish finders. This is one of our favorite things about the Riptide Ulterra.
Does the Riptide Ulterra come with standard batteries, or do I need to buy those separately?
You’ll need to purchase marine deep-cycle batteries separately. We recommend 12V batteries with decent amp hours—100Ah or more is usually best if you’re out on the water for as long as we are.
How large of a boat can the Riptide Ulterra propel effectively?
The 80 lb thrust model can propel a boat of around 4000 lbs and around 25 feet in length. The 112 lb thrust model can propel boats of 4500 lbs or more, including boats over 25 feet in length. You can learn more about which motor to pair with which boat, including shaft sizes, using Minn Kota’s size guide.