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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 1:28 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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The first (production) folding boat was introduced in 1907, by Klepper. Their materials haven't changed very much-- just the hulls from rubber to hypalon, I think. But I'm surprised you don't know that.

In any case, Kleppers do what they do very, very well (and Long Hauls might do it even better...), but they have some great weaknesses, as well. They are far too heavy, and they are slow.

I think both Chuck and I really do wish you the best. I, and I think Chuck also, would LOVE to see better offerings on the market.

If you have been reading this forum, you will understand that there have been a few times when people came and started talking about a great new boat-- but hadn't built one yet. Several of us have evinced the opinion that, until you've got a boat for us to paddle, your words are so much hot air. If you want to talk about ideas, I think several of us would love to do that. For that matter, you might do well to read the thread we just had with Long Haul, concerning what folding-boat-buyers really want. At the same time, the only real path to success for a folding boat manufacturer is to blaze new paths in terms of marketing and/or customer base. Pakboats, for instance, is now selling through the LL Bean catalog-- now THAT is an inspiration. But they already had a boat to sell... and a good one, at that. He's been in production for about 15 years.

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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.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 1:34 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm
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I see from their website that they are now selling boats. There's a lot more information up there. It seems I misunderstood some of what Chris was saying - it's not the cross-section you can adjust. Instead you can put sideways arc in the boat to counteract crosswinds, so that if looked at from above the boat has a slight banana shape. It's intriguing!

It sells for $5575 - making it (I think) the most expensive single folder on the market.

Some things I like about the boat:
  • nice flat aft deck for rolling (though I don't know the height of it).
  • Nice white hull.
  • Beam is 22.5", not a barge and not too tippy. I'd say it's about the sweet spot for the first boat.
  • The seat looks very comfortable.
  • The thigh braces are a good idea.
  • No sponsons - one step less in assembly, one less thing to go wrong.
Some things I don't like:
  • No forward hatch. The zipper on the aft deck is surely handy, but there isn't one for the foredeck.
Overall I like the looks of the boat, and if I was in the market I'd be looking at these very carefully.

I like the idea of rocker and lateral adjustment, but the fact that it must be done inside the cockpit limits its appeal for me. When I think of the situations where I might have used these on the water, mostly those are the situations where I would be least likely to want to pop the spraydeck.

I'm sure SeaKayaker will review one shortly, but I'd love one of our folding experts to give it the once-over.

Nohoval


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 Post subject: Chris O
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 6:49 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Honestly, nothing about the boat "bugs" me. It does not excite me into a frenzy. I would be happy to try one if it was convenient. The Trak advertising is screaming " Look at me!" My response " So what?, I really do not see anything new and different." I think that has been the general response on this board. They seem to be generating a more enthusiastic response on paddling net.

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Mariner Express ( Miruku Maru ) ( In Storage)
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 8:17 pm 
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The only thing that I think really bugged any of us was the over the top marketing campaign- , full of dubious claims like the only boat with adjustible rocker (untrue) and the only boat that would be uilt to order (also untrue) and so on. It may well be a fantastic boat, but by soiling the waters ahead of time they've just made it more difficult to convince a group who've seen a lot of folder companies come and go.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 11:08 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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and from the couple of responses I saw on Pnet, they may be right on. Although I am not impressed with their advertisement, Trak is making a rather bold and ballsy move. They are not trying to appeal to the traditional bagboat crowd.

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Feathercraft Kahuna ( Angela )
Mariner Express ( Miruku Maru ) ( In Storage)
Innova Helios 380
Northwest Sportee (SuperBoat)
Innova Safari
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Feathercraft Java
Nautiraid 14
Innova Sunny
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2007 10:12 am 
Just saw one of these things in person yesterday.
Not that I know much about them but it looks well made.
It is approx 48 lb comes in a single bag that has wheels on it.

Check out the website http://www.rethinkkayak.com/

I think the dealer said approx $5500 $CA
Image

Hugh


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 10:55 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm
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Location: Ireland
They have a video up on YouTube showing a sub-10 minute assembly. Looks impressive. Certainly the ratcheting slider tubes look a lot easier than Feathercraft's levers and pop buttons.

Some construction details become apparent in the video:
  • There are only thee tubes for the cockpit section
  • All the crossribs are attached to the bow and stern sections before inserting into the skin. That eliminates maybe the trickiest single operation in Feathercraft assembly
  • The crossribs look very lightly constructed. Too lightly? Dunno
Overall I'd say this looks like a nice boat, even if it isn't exactly revolutionary. It's certainly the quickest assembling "performance" boat. Some real innovation which is good to see, and they seem to be making an effort to reach beyond the traditional folding market. Boy, I'd love to test paddle one!

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Nohoval

2003 - Feathercraft Kahuna
2004 - Klepper Alu-lite (guest boat)
2005 - Feathercraft Khatsalano


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 2:12 pm 
Sorry, but I have one main criticism and that's in regard to price.

As a couple people here observed, Trak looks a lot like FC, so nothing revolutionary there. Their claim for sub assembly under 10 minutes is impressive. I've never built a FC or even seen one built, but I seem to recall FCs take a bit longer than that.

Trak's ability to change its rocker under way is interesting, but it also sounds like something else that could go wrong, -and paddling an accidental banana boat for too far sounds intimidating. It could be preconceived by potential buyers as a gimmick.

Building the boats in China (according to what I've read here) should reduce the market price, so I only have to wonder what the price would be if it were constructed in North America or Western Europe. As one can see with Klepper, it's possible to construct similar boats for less as both LH and Wayland have demonstrated. Klepper is currently losing its market share to both LH and Wayland on this account. Klepper has a huge amount of brand loyalty that has been established over the past 100 years, but that can't go too much further. The point is, is this boat so revolutionary that it's going to be able to entice people over from their current boats whether already pricey folders or less expensive Polyboote without any established record?

I think it's going to take lower prices if Trak is going to entice any earnest tyre kickers.

-KvK


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2007 7:03 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm
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Yeah the price is pretty steep. If I was in the market for a new folder (and I'm not), I'd be looking carefully at the Trak. But at that price I'd need something more - at 16 feet, this isn't an expedition boat. The price would have to come down A LOT for me to consider this boat.

As for "accidentl banana boat" - well everyone says this about folders. I assume (or hope?) that the parts are designed so that failure would result in the part freezing rather than collapsing.

That assembly looks really easy, even allowing for the usual manufacturer tricks of stretched skins and super-practised demonstrators. In fact it looks so easy that it would be practical to use the boat as a true day-folder, assembling and disassembling by the water. That alone makes this a welcome entry to the market in my opinion.

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Nohoval

2003 - Feathercraft Kahuna
2004 - Klepper Alu-lite (guest boat)
2005 - Feathercraft Khatsalano


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PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2007 12:52 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)
Kapitän von Klepper wrote:
I've never built a FC or even seen one built, but I seem to recall FCs take a bit longer than that.

Weren't you around Tsunami von Chuck's boats?

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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.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 12:57 am 
chrstjrn wrote:
Weren't you around Tsunami von Chuck's boats?

Image

Yeah, but he keeps it in his garage fully assembled. What I mean is I've never seen what goes into assembling or disassembling one of these. :(

-Andreas


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 4:15 am 
lord high faltbotmeister
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Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 4:55 am
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Location: Dumfries, SW Scotland
I'd be interested to know if the "golf bag" carry bag can be stowed inside the kayak. I suspect not, which means that you'll always need to take the boat to the water by car, or else launch from somewhere with waterside storage where you could leave the bag.

That fast assembly is impressive (I wonder how easy it is to get the frame centred in the skin). But although I'm interested, the price puts it right out of my league.

Mary

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 8:08 am 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Location: Anchorage Alaska
Kapitän von Klepper wrote:
chrstjrn wrote:
Weren't you around Tsunami von Chuck's boats?


Yeah, but he keeps it in his garage fully assembled. What I mean is I've never seen what goes into assembling or disassembling one of these. :(

-Andreas


I take it down every couple of months. Assembly is an hour long process.

_________________
Feathercraft Kahuna ( Angela )
Mariner Express ( Miruku Maru ) ( In Storage)
Innova Helios 380
Northwest Sportee (SuperBoat)
Innova Safari
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Feathercraft Java
Nautiraid 14
Innova Sunny
Feathercraft K-Light


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 12:55 pm 
Hey folks

I'm new to the forum but my wife and I have been paddling for the past 6-7 years, mostly in the Rockies, west coast, and Greece - averaging 40-50 days/year. We currently have hardshells (seawards) but are interested in picking up a foldable for traveling and also to access some remote lakes that require one to pack in.

I had a chance to paddle the Trak for about 20 minutes this weekend (one advantage of living in the same city as their factory). Anyway, I thought the boat was absolutely superb all the way around. Sitting on dry land you'd swear that it's a hard shell. The quality of the construction and materials was first-rate. The variable rocker (and pitch) feature worked extremely well, and is no gimick. It was one of the most interesting sensations I've felt in a kayak to be able to adjust the rocker on demand while paddling. Just let the air out of the pistons very slowly or else it can be a bit surprising when underway.

Overall, the boat handled like a much sportier, longer kayak, imo. It accellerated quickly, and tracked very well when "flat" even in a quartering wind. The final stability was huge and the edging response was very good - again, it varies with rocker. I'm 6'4" and 200lbs and the boat felt plenty roomy, not too tight, or too spacious - just right. No leg cramp problems. Also, the ride was very dry - no leaking around the cockpit. I also witnessed them assemble it and it truly took about 10 mins, give or take. My wife also paddled the boat and shared my observations. She's a foot shorter and 80 lbs less than me and the boat suited her as well.

Durability-wise, there was a kayak guide helping with the demo who has been using the boat on the west coast of vancouver island for several months. They told him to "try and destroy it" and he has been trying his best to oblige by running it into rocks, up onto shore, over barnacles, etc. By his reports, there has been hardly any wear and tear on the hull material or structure. Apparently, the US Air Force uses the same hull material to make fuel bladders for their latest fighter jets, which is kindof interesting.

The "golf bag" it totes around in is a pretty substantial piece of luggage. For airline use, I'd say it would be fine - it certainly seemed ruggedly built. For more 'expedition' use, personally, I'd re-pack the boat in my own internal frame backpack which would carry much better. The boat is light - 47lbs, I think, so weight and handling is not a problem for the average person.

My only minor complaint was the lack of thigh braces on the cockpit combing, but they have already designed this product as an accessory and plan to offer it soon. I believe they are also working on a rudder, which will satisfy a certain sector of the market, although it isn't really needed.

The sticker shock seems high initially, but given the amount of R&D, product development, quality of materials/construction and the fact that it's made (currently) in north america, the price is not unexpected. The price point for a comparable carbon boat isn't that far off, and it wouldn't be foldable. The Trak is a premium boat that delivers as advertized - no question, imho.

Would I buy one? If I had the cash I wouldn't think twice. As it is, we're thinking about it for next year when we plan (hope) to do a few months of traveling.

cheers!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 1:08 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm
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Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:49 pm
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Location: Ireland
Thanks for the report! A couple of questions:

1. Did you try to roll it?

2. Is the back deck high? Could you do a layback?

3. How do the expanders work? You mention air and pistons - is that a figure of speech?

I'm starting to consider the possibility of selling the Kahuna and getting one of these.

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Nohoval

2003 - Feathercraft Kahuna
2004 - Klepper Alu-lite (guest boat)
2005 - Feathercraft Khatsalano


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