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 Post subject: New Ladoga-1
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 1:49 pm 

As new and happy Ladoga-1 owner (yes Alex, I did it ;-)), I must agree with Seakayaker review.
I was pretty sceptical on boats performance and on Russian quality. I must say that the boat is in good condition, seams are straight and good, materials used for hull are OK and robust, plastic parts are very durable (were my main concern), it is not leaking air, keel pipe and some joint parts are anodised, bag is simple but good, aluminum frame has lightweight thin walled tubes and it has new changed construction.
If there were no Cyrillic letters on the boat you couldn't tell it is Russian made boat.
You could found many useful info in boats assembly manual ( - assembly info with nice pictures and info on boats intended usage.
It is no kayak for ocean (read Ladoga's original assembly manual).
But for calm water it is _almost_ perfect: missing good foot brace, poor deck rigging and of course assembly. This is real issue and it is missing from SK review - I wonder why :-)
It is really pain to assemble the boat. Actually assembly is very straightforward and simple but you really need a lot of power for stretching the skin in the first assembly.

As I said I have the same new Ladoga-1 that was reviewed in SK:
- new comfy sling seat with good backrest (yes it is very nice and works perfect for paddlers under 80kg)
- design change in structure with only keel pipe exposed to external damage - protected by wide robust plastic stripe. There are no other stripes at the hulls bottom. All other pipes are protected behind two air packets/tubes that, when inflated form hull shape like that on hard shell kayak's shape (ingenious solution)
- reduced weight is obviously related to above changes (of the centre weight is actually no big issue for boats transportation)
- very good grab handles (it is minor change but done perfectly)
- changed rudder (improved but still not good - you actually don't need the rudder in calm rivers and protected small lakes)

It is by no means half product, but if you are going to use it beyond its original capabilities, then you _should_ consider purchasing other boat (Feathercraft or some hard shell) or do some DIY improvements such as:
- spray skirt water tightness and connection to deck (moderate difficulty)
- seal deck seams (easy)
- change coper buttons with inox ones (easy)
- anodising all aluminum tubes (easy)
- improve rudder system with "Klepper" pedals and foot braces (moderate)
- add bungee cords for quicker assembly (easy)
- change the tension "system" if it stays to hard (moderate)
- add stripes for inside skin protection along longerons (moderate)
Ladoga-1 is good (foldable) kayak for calm and near coast water paddling with good/worthy DIY potentials.
I must say that I am more than satisfied with boats performance. Unlike some other famous foldables it behaves and feels like real kayak, but you have to be slim and lightweight paddler. Even my brother likes it and he doesn't like foldables at all (he used to compete in K1 class so it is obvious) - and he is a reference for me.

In my response I was as objective as possible ;-)


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 1:55 pm 
chrstjrn, u say the biggest problem with the Ladoga 1 is the pricing. What would you say is an acceptable price for the Ladoga 1?

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 5:05 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:47 pm
Posts: 1709
Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)
I think Zoran's response is much more balanced.

Yevgeniy: the SK review is a good one. I re-read it, last night, and I think you understood it just fine when you read it. I think Alex was having a bad Monday . :wink: Alex's criticisms should not be ignored, but he condemned a nice boat, which wasn't fair. The Cooper is more suited to the ocean (I'm going by other people's accounts) and it's pricing is the same as the Ladoga 1-- that makes for stiff competition. The Puffin Swift is a nice boat that is much easier to carry (13 KG) and does many of the same things as the L1 and the Cooper, for only $850.

I have not re-checked my back-issues, but I don't think SK has reviewed either the Swift or the Cooper. I think it was very smart of you to have the Ladoga 1 reviewed.

Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: '84 Hobie 16; early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2005 11:56 pm 
Well $850 is a rather impossible to match price for an imported boat in the USA, simply because of transportation , and russian costums costs. Although the actual Ladoga 1 reviewed will porbably be for sale around the end of August, beggining of September (once we get it back from Seattle) for around that price, maybe a bit higher through our website.

P.S. I doubt the Ladoga 1 will be our biggest seller, our hope is on the Neva 3, and Vuoksa 3, as there are no other 3-seaters on the folding kayak market.

 Post subject: Re: New Ladoga-1
PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2005 5:02 pm 
To Zoran:
>But for calm water it is _almost_ perfect: missing good foot brace,

I woudn't say "almost perfect" when footrest (did you mean a footrest?) is missing or doesn't stay put. This greatly affects the comfort and effectiveness, and eventually increases your fatique.

>poor deck rigging and of course assembly. This is real issue and it is missing from SK review - I wonder why

"Dangerously poor deck rigging", I would say. And difficult to improve. You can't shove a paddle under it ot do a paddle-float rescue or to store a paddle (or spare paddle). You can't shove anything under it, actually - because the deck below isn't tight and doesn't provide much support.

Assembling issue is missing, because they either didn't assemble it, - but were given it for a short ride, or their reviews were edited, or they were given strict guidelines what to evaluate, and what questionaries to fill. Good lawyer never asks a question that he doesn't know an answer to, and the "right" answer with that. I don't doubt their selected statements, but have no ways to know what else did they notice. May be they didn't notice anything else. In any event, I prefer reading reviews written from the beginning to the end by one, but knowledgeable person, - particularly in foldable kayaks. When reviewer comments on the flex of a folder (yeah, big revelation with folders :-), and L1 has very little flex actually), or that frame takes a lot of cargo room (of course, Dr Watson, this is a FOLDER, it has a frame), - such person is probably not much familiar with folders. And folders should be evaluated based not only on the hullform/performance, - unfortunately.

>It is really pain to assemble the boat. Actually assembly is very straightforward and simple but you really need a lot of power for stretching the skin in the first assembly.

Not only a lot of power, and not only in the first assembly. Fixing the keelsen with tiny screw is tricky too. Joining ends of the cockpit tubes in the bow and in the stern is also a difficult task (and they look like the same in the new L1). And it's not really straight-forward, - many separate and similar-looking tubes are confusing, even after you colour-code them (I really tried to make this boat usable in all the aspects, but this happened to be too difficult, and wouldn't make it a sea kayak anyway). May be, new L1 is really *much* better than the previous one (whicn was really bad, speaking of the quality), - but I don't expect it to be *much* better. Not from this kind of company. They have been selling first batch of L1-s for years, ignoring all the details that I've described (and mostly, as I understand, described correctly). Have you seen this rudder lifting line "cleat"? Look at some normal $4 clam-cleat at West Marine website, - this is how it should be made. And they still manufacture this mockery. Such an approach speaks badly of the company. No attention to details.

- changed rudder (improved but still not good

Again have some doubts. Rudder stern bracket/moulding (in the previous L1) was made just illiterately, from engineering point of view - rubber moulding with copper sleeves that were falling out. And rudder yoke was made of very soft metal and had plastic ends, - very unreliable. And I see these plastic ends again on the new L1 photo - again they are not thinking, or not testing, or don't care about quality. Being the only folders manufacturer in the former USSR (few other much smaller companies are no competion), where low standards of life make good brands unaffordable, - such approach is understandable. Pricing of L1 in Russia ($500?) is about the limit of what people can afford there, I think.

>It is by no means half product,

Really? So, what is your list of DIY works bellow - a "customizing" ;-) ?

>DIY improvements such as:

(I will comment on some of these, - not to argue with you, just to make it clear)

>- spray skirt water tightness and connection to deck (moderate difficulty)

Speaking of the *sprayskirt* - the problem is related to semi-rigid rim - iit has a wrong profile, needs cutting, filing etc - to make skirt easy put on and off.
Speaking of the larger *spraydeck* (attached to the hull on Velcro) - probably nothing can be improved there. Placement of this Velcro is wrong - in a horizontal plane, which makes for less reliable connection of the spraydeck to the hull.
Nylon sprayskirt, included with the boat, is terrible, btw - I had to use an after-market nylon skirt.

>- change coper buttons with inox ones (easy)

Some of the pushbuttons were really tiny (in the first L1). I am not sure than normal stainless buttons of that size exist, and if so, that they would be reliable at that size.

>- anodising all aluminum tubes (easy)

It cost me $45 (CDN) to anodize 3 aluminum tubes for DIY sail-rig at the anodizing shop. Anodizing 20 or 30 tubes wouldn't cost much more, - may be $120. Doing this in apartment is unrealistic.

>- improve rudder system with "Klepper" pedals and foot braces (moderate)

For another $100 or 120? Fixing a lateral pedal base to the mono-keelsen tube? Hve no idea how would I do this. (Or why I should waste my time on doing this, after paying for a complete boat).

>- add bungee cords for quicker assembly (easy)

Do you count your time, btw? When I look how this is made on Feathercraft, - it needs riveting inner sleeves or some other stoppers to fix the ends of the cords in the tubes.

>- change the tension "system" if it stays too hard (moderate)

Cutting the ends of 5 long frame members? May be...

>- add stripes for inside skin protection along longerons (moderate)

Glueing to vinyl? These strips should be long, and vinyl glues are mostly contact, - if you miss, you have to clean and repeat again.

If all this work and costs (above) doesn't make it a semi-product - I don't know... May be, my understanding of semi-product is different.

>Ladoga-1 is good (foldable) kayak for calm and near coast water paddling with good/worthy DIY potentials.

Barely *foldable*, Zoran, barely :-) ... Dissembling it may happen to be same different task, as assembling, - with ends stuck in the skin or seized long members. I don't even know what they have done - if anything - with NON-STAINLESS hardware on some hinges of the previous L1. I replaced all the hardware, but couldn't find such small metric screws and nuts in Canada, and had to heat and widen the "nests" for those nuts in plastic fittings.

Not a semi-product, you say? OK, let it be "flat-water and freshwater boat for occasional assembling, which needs a bit of DIY work with some costs involved".

As to the optimal price - I don't know. Not many people in North America would be willing to put up with that much work and extra costs, difficult assembling and limited area uf use, no matter for how low price. They *might* buy it, lured by seemingly low price ($1600) and nice handling features, - but most of them will be disappointed, I think. Some - more, and some - less. To me it wasn't worth $900 (this was what I paid including shipping - and, probably, Zoran's costs were not much higher, considering his proximity to Russia). It just didn't work for me. It didn't work for sea water, it didn't work for daytrips (due to difficult assembling), and it cost me extra $100 in lost spare paddle, plus - don't know how much - time and money wasted in attempts to make it better. Not to mention multiple repairs (OK, let's assume that new model has much better fittings, and there will be no more broken fittings or hinges fallen to pieces at the most unappropriate moment). Prospective customers should be aware of all this, and think twice - because this boat is not made up to the standards that we've got used to.

Yes, Chris, - I condemned a "nice boat" (almost). It is "almost" nice, or, more accurately - it is nice-looking and could perform nicely within it's real range of use IF everything would go as it should. But with this company, guys, you can't expect that it would. What if you break some plastic fitting? (OK, now they are made of better plastic - but what IF)? Those rivets are not the type that you'll find at Home Depot or AutoZone. You won't find them at any of those "dream destinations" that this boat is allegedly good for (according to reviewers that didn't take it to any such destinations). Replacing them is more difficult then those regular ones, and plastic fittings are riveted with 2 or 3 of them - each. Tubes and hardware items are metric (OK, may be in new L1 20mm tube is not 20mm, but 3/4" - but I doubt)...

You guys, don't know, what you're talking about :-) - this boat can be quite a pain to use and maintain. Since 2002 or 2003 very few people in the North America bought it (at least, among regular guests of kayaking forums), - despite all the efforts of dealers (one of dealers even assured me that L1 is easier to assemble than Folbot single). But I can imagine some customers than nobody heard of, beyond any statistics, - spontaneous buyers (and occasional paddlers), that got this boat at some boating show in North America or while on the trip to Russia (in the latter case, tempted by the bottom-rock price), or through their contacts in Russia. Previous L1 was a bad one; now there is a new version of L1 - so why don't we wait and see? I recall, when Folbot Cooper has made its presence at the Folbot Forum (mind you, not by the company representatives), before anybody had a chance to test it extensively - it sounded like it was some incredibly cheap susbtitute for Feathercraft K1 or Kahuna or Khatsalano. After a while, and after the factory has rectified *some* of the problems, (to their credit, this company is very fast at this), the responses become more balanced, and people realised the old truism - when somethng is too good to be true - it usually is. Cooper is still a good boat, though not really a substitute to K1, Kahuna, Whisper or Khatsalano, - with some limitaions and drawbacks, - listing them will take less than in L1 - because overall quality is well controlled and, what is the most important, - predictable. Betting nearly the same money on L1 as on Cooper (or moderately used Kahuna) doesn't seem sensible to me at that moment.

PS (added later): I have just noticed that Zoran's list of DIY works relates to using L1 beyond its range of use (mostly); some works might be needed even within its range of use. Didn't mean to sound offensive or biased in any way. So, - I think I wrote this a few weeks earlier - this could be an inexpensive choice for fresh-water flat-water light- or medium-weight paddlers (small cockpit size) with some DIY works, and if they don't have to assemble it every time for a short trip.
Beyond this range it will need much more DIY works, and some works will be difficult, expensive or impossible to do - so it will become then not just a semi-product, but the one very unyielding to improvements.

To Yevgeniy:
>our hope is on the Neva 3, and Vuoksa 3, as there are no other 3-seaters on the folding kayak market.

With all my respect, sir, but you are "customizing" the facts again. There is Klepper Expedition XXL. It is not quite clear, whether 4 seats of the XXL are for 2 adults + 2 kids, or for 4 adults, but in any event it should be able to accomodate at least 3 adults. Manufacturer specs say that XXL has 3 seats - and this company doesn't have a habit of over-rating their products.


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 2:02 pm 
I am not "customizing" facts, although I admit I did not know of the Klepper Expedition XXL. When we first started selling these boats I am almost positive it wasnt on the market. Still though the XXL is in a very different market, performance wise I am not going to argue its better or worse then our boats, because I simply do not know if its better or worse. Price wise though at $4458 it is in a very different price range then our boats (at $1850 for the Neva 3, and $1950 for the Vuoksa 3). Regarding over-rating the products I take all the information regarding the boat from manufacturer marketing materials, specs, and our own experience. From my experience with the Neva 3 for example it performs well in the specified evironment. We are going to take the Neva 3, to the west coast and test it on some lakes in Glacier National Park, as well as the Ladoga 1, and also hopefully test the Ladoga on the coast of Olympic National Park.

P.S. Alm, if you could write the comments you mentioned to us in an email to us I will be glad to forward them to the manufacturer to hopefully improve next years product.

P.P.S. It is people like you , and forums like this that help us to make sure that the info we put out to the general public is misleading, and I appreciate every comment by everyone here regarding our boats. The fact is that for example I wouldnt have know about the XXL for a while if it wasnt for this.

Last edited by Yevgeniy on Fri Jul 15, 2005 12:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 2:11 pm 
Regarding quality control, if any of the parts in the boat happen to break due to the fault of the manufacturer, we will be happy to get new ones sent out. Regarding availability of spare parts we now import them and sell them on demand through our website.

While the quality control at Triton might not be up to the standards of Klepper, the boats are safe to use, and we do our best to make sure our costumers are satisfied.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 2:48 pm 
Yevgeniy - Klepper XXL has been on the market for more than a year. I don't know when your dealership started selling Tritons first, - in any event there was enough time to familiarize yourself with the market before making such a bold statement.

You may relay the content of my articles there to Triton manufacturer, - if this will help, - which I doubt. There were many returns and complaints on the first L1 (even though people were not buying it in such big numbers as other boats or other brands, in Russia or elsewere), and the response of the factory was zero - for about 3 years. There are still many "imperfections" (to put it mildly), that factory is aware of, and unlikely this will be rectified any time soon.

I'm not familiar with any other boat of this brand, but on the photos (as I recall from a while ago) it looks like 2-seater version of L1 has pretty much similar structure, and I am absolutely sure that other boats will have quite a bit of "imperfections", be it a non-adjustable seat, or poor footrest, or poor spraydeck/sprayskirt system, or unreliable hinges, or missing grab-handles, paddle holders or other deck rigging, or anything else. This my conclusion is based on the available data (including both my experience with 1-seater, and photos and descriptions of other Triton boats).

Like I said, I consider them usable only within some specific range of use (not always the same as specified by the factory, I agree with you), and with some DIY work, and/or for a price significantly lower than Folbots, Feathercrafts etc. Most users that I 've heard of, live in Europe and bought it through Russian dealers or retailers in Russia, - which will be of little use to your business.

And, - for God's sake - I didn't want your info to be misleading; I'd rather prefer it *not* to be :-) (must've been a typo).

 Post subject: Ladoga parts
PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2005 10:21 am 
In months of trying, I have been unable to locate any source of spare parts for the Ladoga-1, specifically plastic frame couplings. Yevgeniy says they are available through his website, but I find no mention of them there, nor have I received any reply to my inquiries. To me, this speaks poorly of the support for this product.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 1:39 pm 
Bwb, I can recall onlyone company with a complete list of all possible parts on the website - Longhaul. But they are both dealer and manufacturer at the same time, so it was easy to copy and post the list of inventory. With imported boat, I would expect less information and more delays in responding, especially with less common brands.

Another option would be to machine these parts on CNC, using HDPE. At some small shops specialized in custom-made machinery, prototypes etc , - or any shop with CNC machine. I did this with Balogh sail rig parts, tired of long waiting. It cost me about $100 for 4 identical parts (I needed only 2), plus the cost of material, which was Delrin in my particular case (even though I suspect that Balogh used black HDPE, and not Delrin). Programming the CNC takes the longest, and number of parts is less important. I would add some material at the back of those "hooks" at the keelsen, if you're planning on using this boat. Otherwise, I would rather sell after fixing it ;-) ... There will always be somebody on e-bay, looking for something unusual, rarely available, etc.


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 8:19 pm 
BWB, im sorry for the poor response, the email to the manufacturer we sent regarding your parts was never answered and I assume it got lost, I will make a make a phone call tommorow to the manufacturer, and hopefully be able to send you a response by 5PM tommorow.

Am I correct in assuming your boat has the white plastic, and if possible you would prefer the black plastic?

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 8:24 pm 
Alm, you are correct in my error (although in my defense we started importin g just over a year ago, so it wasnt on the market yet).

Regarding the imperfections, while the seat is truly horribble ( a problem that can be fixed with something like a lazy creek canoe or kayak seat), and the footrest has problems, I find the spraydeck/sprayskirt works perfectly fine in blocking out water. In fact on a recent trip on a lake on a Neva 3 without the skirts only with the deck, the boat took in very little water, such that the camera bag in the front did not get wet at all. The new hinges work fine and are reliable.

Again as I said before I do not personally know of the Ladoga 1's performance or any other Triton's performance in the open ocean, I do know that the Neva 3, and I assume other simila Triton boats, is fast, maneuvrable and a wonderfull boat on middle sized lakes. I also know that it behaved very well on the Hudson River in downtown manhattan. Finally the Neva 3 is actually rather strong boat, as we carried it on the roof of the car from Brooklyn to the Adirondacks (because assembling any boat at 1AM is unrealistic).

Basically personally without hesitation I would recommend it (It being the Neva, Vuoksa and Ilmen(the Ladoga would also do well here)) is a boat for rivers and lakes.

For oceans, , I cannot say I have personally tried it, but based on experience with similar boats and the manufacturer data, I would say that the Ladoga should be fine in calmer weather.

Finally for whitewater I believe the Svir and Loach are perfect for it again based on manufcaturer provided info, and experience with similar (previous generation russian boats) but not the exact boats.

 Post subject: ladoga 1
PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 3:29 pm 
Thanks, Alm, for very comprehensive <ladoga 1> resume posted on Juli 13. I just wonder how you can keep such a correct style. I used before Taimen, Katran and Svir, assembly of those boats never lead to any politiness!

>BWB, im sorry for the poor response, the email to the manufacturer we sent regarding your parts was never answered and I assume it got lost, I will make a make a phone call tommorow to the manufacturer, and hopefully be able to send you a response by 5PM tommorow.<
If you try follow the prices, follow also services (Folbot)!

I recall before posts in another forum like:
1. Somebody asks for good and cheap inflatable.
2. He is adviced to buy a Schuka.
3. He buy, and live happy with all relatives and pets next 99 years.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 3:57 pm 
Werner, may I ask what the last part regarding the Shuka means?

 Post subject: Re: ladoga 1
PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2005 4:11 pm 
werners wrote:
Thanks, Alm, for very comprehensive <ladoga 1> resume posted on Juli 13. I just wonder how you can keep such a correct style. I used before Taimen, Katran and Svir, assembly of those boats never lead to any politiness!

Well, it was mostly Zoran's review, his comments marked with ">" and interspersed with my grumbling. It's been more than 2 years now, so my wounds and scratches have already healed :-) , and black hands (after not anodized aluminum) have been washed. It wasn't just assembly than had forced me to sell this boat eventually, but all kinds of "surprises". At almost every assembling or dissembling I found some damaged part - cracked, bent, or corroded.

Skin is probably the only reliable part in this boat - I can say this with some reservations. Keel and gunwale protection strips began to come off at some spots after one season. They are very thick and stiff, and glueing them back wasn't easy. After 4 or 5 months the skin was still taking shape, and at some moment the openings for ribs in the cockpit sleeves no longer coincided with location of ribs - so I had to cut and accurately sew these openings again, making them about 1" longer. Grommets on spraydeck looked like brass, but it was some poor-quality steel barely covered with thin layer of brass-looking paint, and they completely corroded in the first season (I am on sea, may be it would have lasted longer in fresh water - but not for long, of course).

Last edited by Alm on Sat Aug 06, 2005 11:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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