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Old 08-26-2009   #1
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 151
NRS vs DRE frames

has anyone rowed them both?? i see lots of NRS frames on the water on multi-days, and notice that Down River Equipment frames are considerably more expensive. Are the worth the extra cost?? Why or why not??

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Old 08-26-2009   #2
Pugetopolis, Washington
Paddling Since: 96
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Old 08-27-2009   #3
thornton, Colorado
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Old 08-27-2009   #4
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Winter Park, Colorado
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Old 08-27-2009   #5
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 111
I'm kinda of interested in more of a thought out response than a simple yes. Why are they so much better?
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Old 08-27-2009   #6
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SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,380
My friend has DRE diamond plate frame. Some things that DRE has that NRS doesn't:

1. Double rail (NRS is single rail)
2. Diamond Plate
3. Bigger screws
4. Custom size
5. Custom towers
6. Custom flip chair
7. Custom foot stand

You really paying extra price to DRE for custom work. They don't have anything standard. I've heard good and bad things about DRE. I heard at Westwater putin the rumors that DRE uses not as strong aluminum as NRS does. The guy who told me that gave me bunch of fancy fact words which I can't recall now, but basically he said aluminum on DRE is flimsier than NRS. Don't hold me to that though, since I can't back it up with facts, just what I heard.

I don't own either yet, but I spent quite a bit of time with Zach from DRE on the phone designing a frame for my boat. I am test driving an NRS custom frame this weekend, I can give more feedback then.
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Old 08-27-2009   #7
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Fort Collins, Colorado
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 30
Had both but could only love one, didn't care for the other, my DRE is in the shed, my NRS is floating down a river with someone that loves it more than I could or wanted to.

Strength issues, I am not sure I am that concerned. 2 flips in the grand, 1600# fully rigged boat, frame and rigging were rock solid, not even a scratch. That being said, the aluminum doesn't fare well on trips back home in a hastily packed trailer, my seat took a grindin' that I don't at all care for.
The frame? Best investment on my boat to date!
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Old 08-27-2009   #8
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,406
Ron at River Boat Works in Salida makes a fantastic frame. So does DRE. They are basically the same thing, beefier than the NRS with bent corners, less joints, and a better design. When discussing frames with Ron once he told me that he's been up against the canyon wall twice in his life, once in a Down River frame, and once in an NRS. The NRS was mangled, the DRE was fine. Nuff said.
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Old 08-27-2009   #9
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883

I like the NRS stuff for its flexibility. I use my frames on different tubes, and for vastly different kinds of trips -- everything from cruising the Mississippi River to doing the Grand Canyon.

With NRS, it's easy for me to move the crossbars, add crossbars and other fixtures, and generally fine-tune the frame for a variety of uses.

Having said that, the DRE frames look good, seem quite durable, and certainly work well for many folks. It's just that the more modular NRS approach seems to give you easier variability than DRE.


Rich Phillips
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Old 08-27-2009   #10
Granby, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2
I own both frames for my cat and the DRE is hands down more functional for me. I had them double rail it and it is absolutely worth the extra money. I can rig my gear cleanly and everything is easy to access- especially on multi-day trips.

The fittings DRE uses for cross bars make it very quick and easy to make adjustments to bay size as opposed to the LoPros NRS uses. Also, the rotating footbar is sweet. I retroed my NRS frame footbar like DRE's but then just ended up buying a whole new frame from DRE. I haven't looked back since.

They are both high quality frames. It just came down to function and efficiency for me.

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