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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:22 pm 
faltbootemeister

Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:37 am
Posts: 149
Location: Vancouver BC
A lot of urban kayaking doesn't really call for high performance though. I guess it really does depend on the city. The Citibot does look like a great little kayak though, and definitely a good price. I saw the backpack it comes in and it does look very manageable. But I just don't think I could deal with the assembly and disassembly every time I go out. I know myself, I can't even wrap a Christmas present. I just see myself stepping on a pole and bending it, or getting to the put in and realizing I've left some critical piece at home.

I do see a Klepper in my future though, for a more capable expedition boat.

I don't know if inflatables can really be considered kayaks, but I like em. I've paddled Stearns, Advanced Elements and Innovas, which I prefer. Can't compare them to folders but I've paddled a number of 16 and 17 foot sea kayaks. To me, the portability, ease of set up, ease of use and additional safety factors outweigh the performance gains of a hardshell. For an urban, public transportable boat I think an inflatable is a good option.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:24 pm 
Quote:
A lot of urban kayaking doesn't really call for high performance though. I guess it really does depend on the city. The Citibot does look like a great little kayak though, and definitely a good price. I saw the backpack it comes in and it does look very manageable. But I just don't think I could deal with the assembly and disassembly every time I go out. I know myself, I can't even wrap a Christmas present. I just see myself stepping on a pole and bending it, or getting to the put in and realizing I've left some critical piece at home.

I do see a Klepper in my future though, for a more capable expedition boat.

It's difficult to bend those aluminum tubes by stepping on it, but doable - especially long pieces of Folbot sub-assemblies. FC frames have shorter individual tubes. But the 2nd option - getting to the put in thousands miles from home and realizing that I've forgotten something - is my worst nightmare. Lately, I've switched to hardshell for day paddling (installed a sling over my car in the condo parkade), so folder from now on will serve only remote vacation routes and those long-weekends when I take a ferry.

Small boats like this Citibot or Aleut can not be compared in assembling and package handling to something like Kahuna or Klepper. - even with Kahuna it usually takes me 2 legs down to the car to load the boat only - I don't enjoy 50 lbs on my shoulders. Used to, long time ago, but not anymore. (So, I don't know why you think of Klepper for long trips - it is a heavy and bulky boat to travel with). OTH, what you assemble is what you paddle. Yes, for urban folks it is often about being out there, escaping concrete jungles, but not just that. Performance isn't just about racing - we are all slow in these folders, but some are slower than others. There are often distance and time restrictions in day paddle. You're trying to get to some local park from your put-in, have a rest and return back before sunset, and find that can hardly make it in a slow boat. Also, it is more fun (to me, anyway) when you have a good contact with the boat, and your paddling is more efficient, and can even imitate something like good technique :-), or learn gradually. But this comes at a price - longer and more tedious assembling.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:04 am 
faltbootemeister

Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:37 am
Posts: 149
Location: Vancouver BC
Alm wrote:
It's difficult to bend those aluminum tubes by stepping on it, but doable


I'm sure I could manage it :)

Quote:
Performance isn't just about racing - we are all slow in these folders, but some are slower than others. There are often distance and time restrictions in day paddle. You're trying to get to some local park from your put-in, have a rest and return back before sunset, and find that can hardly make it in a slow boat.


I know exactly what you mean. Speed is a big consideration. It does limit the kind of trips I plan. That's one of the reasons I'm interested in a Klepper, speed and capacity for longer trips. Definitely not as a backpacking boat! And it's a lot more work to paddle an inflatable (but on the other hand I've lost 30lbs since starting to kayak regularly so maybe that's a plus!).

For me it's still, like you say, more about just being out there. I thought when I started a couple of years ago I'd have moved on to a hardshell by now but I'm not there yet. For the vast majority of paddling I do, the inflatable works just fine.

btw I put up a quick first impressions review of the Helios 1 on my blog with some photos

http://paddlesheep.blogspot.com/


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:29 am 
Klepper AE1 is not awfully fast, compared to other boats. Faster than inflatable or Citibot, sure. (AE2, naturally, won't be faster than AE1). And if you are heavy, its payload and available cargo room (not always the same thing) won't be astonishing either. Perhaps, enough for 2 weeks. Some people can squeeze 2 weeks out of boats like Cooper and Kahuna, so this all depends. Mostly, what I don't like about AE1/AE1SL/MK1/Kodiak etc etc is that they are two-bags boats. Pain to travel.

PS: I think I saw your Helios on its return from maiden voyage Sept 1 about noon (I was in white fiberglass). At the cove before Belcarra Park main area (first stop after Barnet Park). I was going North and landed briefly to put the fleece vest into the hatch (didn't carry any drybag in cockpit).


Last edited by Alm on Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:37 am 
faltbootemeister

Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:37 am
Posts: 149
Location: Vancouver BC
Faster than the Innova Sunny I'm sure, so faster than what I'm used to :D I can easily get a week's supplies into the Sunny and based on what I've heard, a Klepper should do better. I'm anxious to try one. Not so anxious to pack and assemble it though!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:23 am 
Alm wrote:
Must be first time in their history that packed weight is same as advertised. If it weighs like inflatable and packs like inflatable, and paddles not like one, this is a breakthrough, no kidding.

well, i weighed the boat by itself and packed away in the back pack on my bathroom scale, so those weights aren't the height of accurate scientific measurement, but they're probably pretty close. 24 pounds for the boat by itself, 30 pounds on my back with paddle and PFD packed away.





Alm wrote:
I hope it paddles well. Any boat is fun. Problems usually begin when you "grow out" of the boat, and realize that it's not fast enough, or light enough, or strong enough, or whatever. Then it sits in your closet until you sell it at loss.

i have no ability to "grow out" of my citibot because anything heavier or more cumbersome is simply out of the question as i live in a tiny studio condo and i have no car and do all of my transport by transit, bike, and walking. if at some point the citibot isn't fast enough, light enough, strong enough, or whatever, i'll probably just give up the sport altogether. my only realistic choices for kayak ownership were a citibot, a pakboat, or an inflatable. of those 3 choices i think the citibot was the best way to go, even if it was the most expensive.

besides, 90% of the reason i got a folding kayak in the first place was so that i'd have something to tool around in on the chicago river. i am not an adventurer or a tourer, i'm a city boy and i rarely ever leave the confines of chicagoland. speed, ruggedness, cargo capacity, sea-worthiness, etc. were never considerations for me because this boat is never gonna see wilderness conditions.





Alm wrote:
I could pack all day-paddling gear into my Kahuna backpack (on remote trips it holds even more, to make use of 2 allowed checked luggage bags). But I wouldn't enjoy it on my shoulders. Bunch of aluminum pieces and large cockpit rim of pre-2006 FC (same large as Citibot's) make for cumbersome package. FC backpack alone weighs 5 lbs (and it can't be much lighter if you want it to survive conveyor belts and other abuse). Besides, there is often a rudder, seasock, sprayskirt, and also I don't like using a 4-piece Euro paddle, and haven't found any affordable and reliable 4-piece GP. But with Citibot you don't need a GP or rudder...

i suppose we just have different ideas of what a cumbersome package is. on monday morning i hiked 2.5 miles down to a put-in on the south branch of the chicago river with my 30 pound citibot backpack with no issues or problems at all.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 1:41 pm 
Can you post pictures from your next outing? I'd love to see Chicago for that perspective.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 2:48 pm 
^ unfortunately, i don't take my camera with me when i paddle. i've found that water and electronics do not make good friends.

i can assure you though that paddling through the skyscraper canyons of downtown chicago sure makes for a fantastic and unique paddling experience, even if it is about as far from nature as one can get on the water. however, some nature still survives through all of the pollution and "channelization" and flow reversal that the chicago river has had to endure over the centuries. on my paddle monday morning, i saw a blue heron, fleets of ducks and geese, seagulls, a beaver, and many a large fish leaping out of the water. the chicago river is so unnatural, what with all of the skyscrapers, steel/concrete revetment walls, bascule bridges, and floating debris/garbage/pollution that it hardly seems like a place that life could thrive, and yet the waterway is teeming with animals. it gives me hope for the planet at large that as much as mankind has tried its damnedest to completely screw over the chicago river, life still goes on.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:57 pm 
Site Admin
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 9:02 pm
Posts: 1035
Location: Astoria, OR
Steely, sounds like that Citibot is a good match for your needs. Go for it!

_________________
Dave Kruger
Astoria, OR
--
Folbot Kodiak, Cooper, and Edisto; three hardshells; Mothership: Surf Scoter the Bartender; dinghy Little Blue Duck.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 11:12 am 
paddlesheep wrote:
btw I put up a quick first impressions review of the Helios 1 on my blog with some photos
http://paddlesheep.blogspot.com/


Great photos - how I wish I could paddle over there, that is kayak-heaven.

One comment though: on your voyages you met this Triton Ladoga folder - the Russian boat you initially admired in your Blog but later added that you heard it is "supposed to be bad [changed the wording here] and not suitable for saltwater".

I do not own one myself but these boats do get increasingly popular in Germany and they are quite suitable for saltwater (for a folder), there had been problems with the early models but since a couple of years the ones you get (at least in Germany) are the "Advanced" Versions that have corrosion resistant tubes (anodized aluminum) and yes, assembling is a bit tricky at first, but this has been improved and is mostly a question of the right "technique" (in fact our girls seem to have less trouble assembling this than most men - has perhaps something to do with finesse vs. brute force? :roll: ). The result is definitely one nice, very stiff and exceptionally fast folding kayak at a *very* reasonable price.

I am not associated with Triton in any way (I am hooked on Feathercraft Kayaks :wink: ) but just wanted to mention that this is a great boat and it is giving a noticeable boost at least to our local folding community (competition has some benefits 8) ).

Cheers,
Alex


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 3:39 pm 
kahunafan wrote:
I do not own one myself but these boats [Ladoga1] do get increasingly popular in Germany and they are quite suitable for saltwater (for a folder), there had been problems with the early models but since a couple of years the ones you get (at least in Germany) are the "Advanced" Versions that have corrosion resistant tubes (anodized aluminum) and yes, assembling is a bit tricky at first, but this has been improved.

Assembling is still very difficult, according to people that tried it in the last few months. The guy said, verbatim- "Once you've assembled it, you don't want to do this again, ever".

The reasons not to use Triton Ladoga 1 in seawater (based on my 2002 experience with the 1st model, - and neither frame nor general layout of deck/spraydeck have changed since then) are as follows:

1) Build-up of salt, grit and corrosion in telescopic tubes. They are very tight, require a lot of efforts and manual dexterity to expand (Feathercrafts are easy toys in comparison), and the slightest dash of grit, salt or corrosion makes assembling and dissembling painful, literally. Anodizing doesn't help, as anodized layer is merely a thin coating, like a paint, and quickly wears off in these crucial areas.

2) Horrible rudder, every single part of it: stern bracket (it's made of rubber, believe it or not), yoke - thin rod looking like a copper rod of old toilet tank lever (made soft on purpose, as plumbers have to bend/adjust it), controls (rope loops, replaced with a kind of foot yoke on later models - I did this on the 1st model, but this is a poor solution), rudder-lifting cleat - everything. I don't know how many of these flaws have been fixed in the 2nd model, but from scarce sources can perceive that not many.
Unless salt water is some exotic salt lake, salt water is another term for "sea kayaking". You wouldn't want to be at sea without a reliable rudder.

3) Spraydeck (not sprayskirt). It is long, similar to those of Packboat Puffin or Folbot Edisto (but not attached as reliably as on Edisto), covering/opening nearly half of the boat, attaches on horizontal Velcro pieces. It is loose. There is no way to make it tight, particularly because of missing stern deckbar. (Forgive me, people, I have already forgotten some details, like a horrible nightmare, - if it's not missing, then it is somewhere very low, so stern spraydeck is loose). Since it's loose, water is pooling there, heavy waves will make it cave in and rip off, and bungee cords are a joke (dangerous joke, not a smart one) - they can't hold anything, because the deck is loose between the ribs.

4) Non-stainless hardware - screws, nuts, grommets. This is relatively easy to fix - screws are metric, some pain to find an equivalent in North America, Home Depot doesn't carry that small size, and close size in Imperial system requires widening the hexagon holes for sunk nuts in plastic fixtures.

5) Poor shape and material of plastic rim for sprayskirt (which is built into the long spraydeck, similarly to Longhaul Expedition sprayskirt or again to Packboat Puffin). The rim is too flexible, the "lip" is too narrow and round in cross-section - it is difficult to put the skirt on, and it doesn't hold on well.

The list is not complete. There are other problems with this boat making it a poor choice for sea kayaking (at the same time, difficult assembling and dissembling makes it hardly suitable for day paddling), - but I think this is enough already.

For somebody needing a boat like Citibot and in conditions like those above (day trips, buses, everyday assembling) it would've been a waste of time to even consider Triton L-1.

I don't know who might benefit from L-1 at all. Perhaps somebody with very limited resources and ready to spend a lot of time on modifying and improving, and still be prepared for final result way below standards of Folbot or Feathercraft. Back in 2002 L1 was selling for $US 450 in Russia and about $US 1000 in Europe. Now that it sells for $US 900 in Russia and over $US 2000 in Europe, it looks even less attractive (should be close to $US 2000 in the USA, but nobody lately sells them here commercially).
In USA/Canada you can get Cooper for $1,700 (1,900 with accessories), or Fujita 480 for $3150, or Kahuna from $3400. Even for somebody with Russian connections ($900 + shipping + unrealistic warranty or post-warranty service) in the USA or Canada L-1 doesn't make much sense.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:31 pm 
faltbootemeister

Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:37 am
Posts: 149
Location: Vancouver BC
kahunafan wrote:
Great photos - how I wish I could paddle over there, that is kayak-heaven.


Thanks very much, and yeah, I think we are very lucky to have what we have here. It's one of the reasons I moved here. And thanks both of you guys for your thoughts on the Lagoda. Strangely, I'm now reconsidering one! I actually do have a good Russian connection (my wife). My interest in a folder is as a boat that I would assemble, and then leave assembled for days, or weeks at a time. So speed of assembly isn't the biggest factor (but it's a factor!).

I paddle mostly salt water but not exposed ocean. My concern is mainly corrosion of the metal parts, rather than ability to handle big water. I like the cockpit design, it looked easy to load and unload, another important consideration when I'm going solo. I like to unload the boat quickly and then carry it off the rocks. I saw one for sale on New York craigslist for $450 recently and was tempted to call up a friend and have her pick it up for me, but then I bought the Helios 1 instead.

And Alex, yes, that was me you saw! You had a greenland paddle and were heading into the beach. I'll wave if I see you again! :D


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:00 am 
paddlesheep wrote:
I actually do have a good Russian connection (my wife). My interest in a folder is as a boat that I would assemble, and then leave assembled for days, or weeks at a time. So speed of assembly isn't the biggest factor (but it's a factor!).

I paddle mostly salt water but not exposed ocean. My concern is mainly corrosion of the metal parts, rather than ability to handle big water. I like the cockpit design, it looked easy to load and unload, another important consideration when I'm going solo. I like to unload the boat quickly and then carry it off the rocks. I saw one for sale on New York craigslist for $450 recently and was tempted to call up a friend and have her pick it up for me

Don't...
I could tell you more if you like. Totally understand $450 temptation (this was what had enticed the buyer of my L-1 after a year). Very seldom you can find a full-size folder at that price, and there is a reason why - such thing doesn't exist. You can get a project at that price, something to tinker with, but not a 17-ft folder worth paddling. Unfortunately for project crowd , L-1 doesn't render itself for much improvement. Boats designed by Tom Yost would be a better choice for those mechanically inclined - with more rewarding results.

Yes, long open cockpit of L-1 makes loading/unloading easy. But this boat is not for serious multiday trips (no matter on what water), so you won't have to load a lot of stuff there, and weekend gear can be unloaded from any folder in 5 minutes. Also, consider that it is long and heavy at 57 lbs, weighs same or more than FC K1. You can't carry it over rocks and other non-cart-able terrain without risk of injuries, and on cart-able terrain you can easily roll any single folder with a weekend gear, even heavy ones like Klepper and Longhaul.

May be it didn't come out clear in my previous post, but corrosion-prone parts are NOT the biggest problem of L-1. Hardware can be replaced, and aluminum is quite corrosion-resistant with or without anodizing. It's just that this boat is not a good folder - problem to fold-unfold, and multiple problems in use (in addition to already mentioned, - poor seat, footrest, wrong position of center of mass etc etc).

Sorry for stealing the thread, L-1 is clearly an offtopic here - just couldn't resist.

PS: let your wife do some research. There must be few Russian folding kayak forums. If she can ask right questions and understand the answers (not just the language, but the subject knowledge), you'll get more detailed picture. Just keep in mind that they have nothing to compare with - nobody owns Kleppers, Folbots or FC in those parts. So references to "good" or "bad", "easy" or "difficult" require a bit of imagination to put it in familiar context. So the picture won't be correct anyway, and you will be more anxious to buy and satisfy your curiosity, and then you will know.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:49 am 
@Alm:
If this is of more interest to paddlesheep or others we can continue in a thread in the corresponding "Russian boats" part of the forum, so I do not want to reply in length here. Only that many (not all) of the things you mentioned have been fixed in the "Advanced" version and the "new" Ladoga converted many a paddler here that had the same issues with the "old" model (including ver positive tests in major national kayak magazines where the L-1 Advanced won over e.g. the Cooper and Fujita PE 500 but not the FC Whisper, if you understand German see http://www.out-trade.de/download/KM_Test_Faltboote.pdf - one can always argue over those tests, but at least ist shows that this is no bad boat by far...).
Be aware that, as far as I know, you will/can still get the "old" model in Russia, so a newly build L-1 initially bought there might be very likely the non-advanced version (take that into account when you look at Russian sites/discussions). And prices over here in Germany are quite different as well (L-1 ~$2000, Cooper ~$2400, Kahuna ~$4500 [Ouch! :-(] ).

Alex


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:58 am 
OK, L-1 moved to Russians viewtopic.php?f=12&t=2380#p15229 .


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