Learn more about why boaters are choosing MerCruiser’s popular Bravo Series sterndrives and the Alpha One outdrive for power boat drive systems

As one of the leading manufacturers of sterndrives, MerCruiser brands by Mercury Marine offer very popular choices for inboard outboard power boats. With over 20 MerCruiser sterndrive systems to choose from, the Bravo Series and Alpha One outdrives clearly stand out as the top choices for boaters. The power of a sterndrive vs inboard engine on a boat can not be matched when it comes to MerCruiser outdrives.



Alpha One Outdrive Most Popular Sterndrive for Power Boats

Cited by Mercury Marine as “the most popular sterndrive in the world”, the Alpha One outdrive system is used for single or twin engine applications.

The Alpha One has earned a reputation as a value-priced outdrive propulsion system that delivers reliable speed. These factors combined make it a popular choice for budget conscious boaters that desire performance.

Some of the outstanding features that make MerCruiser’s Alpha One a popular choice include:

  • Hydrodynamic lower unit that produces minimal drag while cutting through the water
  • Tri-Paint System (Irridite, EDP & Powder Paint) that creates a tough, durable corrosion resistant barrier
  • Through-Prop exhaust that maximizes power and reduces noise levels for quiet operation
  • Power Trim XD® system that automatically returns the drive to the water to maintain full control of boat in rough water
  • Drive lube monitor alarm for low drive lube warnings
  • Easy inspection engine mounting to fill lube without pulling a boat from the water
  • Flexibility to use 3, 4 or 5 blade propellers in aluminum or stainless steel
  • The MerCruiser Alpha One has a 300 HP (221 kW) maximum power capacity with a 15” diameter propeller.

MerCruiser Bravo 1, Bravo 2 and Bravo 3 Outdrives

The MerCrusier Bravo Series sterndrives – Bravo 1, Bravo 2 and Bravo 3 – are upgrades from the Alpha One and feature the latest innovations in boat outdrive performance.

Bravo 1: With a focus on high speed performance, the Bravo 1 sterndrive is used for single, twin or triple engine applications and can produce speed up over 100 mph for gas engines up to 600 HP. In addition to triple-digit speeds, the exclusive performance torpedo design and dual water pickups allow the Bravo 1 to handle high and low speeds well.

Bravo 2: The Bravo 2 sterndrive is designed for twin engine applications and can power a boat up to 55 mph for gas engines up to 450 HP. With a wide gear case, the Bravo 2 is able to accommodate a propeller up to 20” in diameter that propels a boat on plane faster and improves fuel economy.

Bravo 3: MerCruiser’s Bravo 3 outdrive feature counter-rotating dual propellers that improve propulsion efficiency, speed, acceleration and handling on a boat. The two props are mounted in front of one another and turn in opposite directions eliminating wasted energy from the propeller wash. The Bravo 3 is available in a single or twin engine application and is capable of speeds up to 65 mph for gas engines up to 525 HP.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Bravo and Alpha One Outdrives

The MerCruiser Bravo 3 stands out as one of the most innovative sterndrive designs for Mercury Marine, but that recognition does not come without controversy. Bravo 3 outdrive corrosion problems have been an issue for many boaters, despite use of multiple zinc anodes and other preventative measures. The Bravo 3 also faces strong competition with the Volvo DPR DuoProp sterndrives.

The Alpha One sterndrive, although still popular, may be seen as more standard with newer boat propulsion system innovations. The biggest advantage of running a boat with a popular sterndrive is the availability of parts and trained technicians. MerCruiser parts are widely available online and in boat repair shops.

Sources:
Sorensen’s Guide to Powerboats, Eric W. Sorensen and Mercury Marine

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Diane Seltzer

Founder & Editor at My Boat Life
Diane is the founder of MyBoatLife.com as well as the boating lifestyle site for kids BoaterKids.com. She is also active in the boating industry, serving as the marketing director for a marine sunshade product, SureShade, and founder of Marine Marketing Tools, a collaborative site for sharing marine marketing best practices. Diane is also the author of the children's book The Amazing Adventures of Boat Girl.

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