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Old 04-05-2011   #11
slamkal's Avatar
vancouver, Washington
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Seems like recretec asked for that kind of response. I guess a cost / feature / quality review is in order. We need to get some of you hard core catarafters to get some loaner frames for review

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Old 04-05-2011   #12
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San Juans, Colorado
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Originally Posted by slamkal View Post
Seems like recretec asked for that kind of response. I guess a cost / feature / quality review is in order. We need to get some of you hard core catarafters to get some loaner frames for review
Sign me up, it has to be better than the NRS contraption i made.

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Old 04-05-2011   #13
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vancouver, Washington
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I'm always quick to offer up someone elses money
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Old 04-05-2011   #14
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Boulder, Colorado
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I used to have a recretec cat frame - although i used it on my raft. It was two modules - a rowing module with an adjustable foot-bar and a tractor seat - and a gear module that had a skid guard seat that could be removed to make an extra space for a drybox or cooler. Both modules had skidguard floors and double rails. It was a breakdown frame. I rowed it down the Middle Fork and the Grand Canyon. It functioned great - it has some wear from being someone else's frame - most noticeably the cross bar under the floor on the rowers module was bent from a rock strike - but still worked fine and was structurally sound.

As far as functionality it performed great. I didn't understand how well it worked until I sold it and built my own frame. My frame breaks down smaller (all my rafting gear fits inside the topper on my Tacoma) and has a more modular design (center module with attachable front cooler bay and rear drybox bay). But i miss the Recretec frame. The solid floors made rigging and getting into/out of the boat much easier. The double rails also helped rigging and moving around the boat. The adjustable footbar was the perfect depth to hold 2 rocket boxes with a space for my foot in between. Having the cooler and drybox in front of me made rigging a layer or two of bills bags over the drybox work well while also providing a backrest for the folks sitting on the cooler. Of course I need to counterweight this with a gear pile in back.

I have rowed a MAdcatr frame w/o gear on a pair of Sotar tubes and I really appreciated the design of it - the foot bar and the breakdown oar towers really stood out. I have also rowed a NRS cat mildly loaded on Hyside tubes and found it functional but lacking the elegance of the Madcatr or the pure functionality of the Recretec. If I was going to buy a new frame frankly I don't know who I'd buy from - but I definitely would consider Recretec along with Madcatr, and my local shops - AAA and DRE.
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Old 04-05-2011   #15
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at my house, Montana
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Rafterman, if you are looking for day trips, I expect you aren't going to have a floor. If that's the case, scout bars are essential. Not only for scouting, but having something to grab and do a press up with, when you are in the water trying to drag your ass back in your boat. Err, at least that's what they are nice for, and also a better platform base in the back for gear (or other swimmers to drag their ass up into your boat).
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Old 04-05-2011   #16
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billings, Montana
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Other than the goofy footloops, I thought the Tunnel cat frame looked pretty nice. Not exactly competitive in price, although I understand first hand the labor involved in making an aluminum welded frame. Custom frames are not price point items for a reason. Would venture to bet the wait list isn't 5 months either.
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Old 04-05-2011   #17
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 427
dgosn - I would like to see pictures of your NRS frame, especially if you did something unique. Mania did some cool stuff with NRS parts and I copied his design. Mine is just drop rails and crossbars with a footbar spanning the drop rails in the front.

As far as what I want in a cat frame, whether it be from madcatr, pre, recretec, or a local fabricator:

adjustable oar towers (folding not as important as sliding)
adjustable seat bracket
good clearance
scout bars (full length are heavier but sound better for rigging)
aluminum/lightweight (powder-coating/color not that important)
somewhat inexpensive - maybe less than 1000$ (as opposed to cheap: )

And yes, I used to think about cataraft floors but now realize, that's what round boats are for...
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Old 04-05-2011   #18
Meridian, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 113
I'm probably not qualified to comment since I don't own a cat, but no one has mentioned Cambridge Welding. Cy makes a pretty good raft frame and I've seen his cat frames. They are more standard but I would venture a bet that he would build to your spec.

He makes trips to Boise on a regular basis. In fact he just finished up a mod on my raft frame so that my new yeti cooler would fit. He charged me a fair price and let's just say that dealing directly with him as opposed to a local rafting dealer saved me around 20% of what the dealer wanted to charge me. 20% just for them to make a call to Cy and NOTHING else. That or try PRE. They're local too.

Just a thought but I have started going back to the "buy local" camp IF the product is good.
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Old 04-05-2011   #19
Albany, Oregon
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 47
Thank you for clarifying that we are an industry follower instead of a leader. Even though MANY have copied our designs and we are one of, if not the oldest, whitewater frame manufacturer in the world starting in Monroe, Oregon by Ron Matson in 1972 under the first name Whitewater Product before he moved to Springfield,Or and changed the name to Cascade Manufacturing/Cascade Frames and then finally after his death the name settled at RecreTec.
For many years people have copied and followed our frames and copied our designs. We have always been an industry leader and innovative in many different product areas.
I truly am sorry that whoever your dealer or salesperson was when you purchased your budget frame did not fully inform you of all the options that we have always offered. I also am sorry that I do not have the time to build a better website than I already have since we are so busy building quality frames with MANY options and custom features and continuing to make people happy. Im also sorry you feel MY tunnel cat is poor quality even though its engineered design by me was put through rigorous testing not only on rivers but through finite linear stress analysis by two mechanical engineers on a program designed for the space industry.
I would also say that I have not seen all of the frames you mentioned but have seen Madcatyr and he builds a fine frame. My hat is off to him and his craftsmanship. I would however put my craftsmanship and welding up with his head to head and say we BOTH do a fantastic job and far better than any others Ive seen!
All in all its just like Toyota and Nissan. They offer from Sentra to Infinities and Corollas to Lexus.
If you buy a Sentra, your not going to like it as much as any model of Infinity but they both came from the same manufacturer. All I was trying to point out was that even though you get what you pay for...the quality was still good, safe and useable. It was not junk nor cheap, it was inexpensive.
I did not mean to upset you or "call you out", but you made it sound like we build junk and I think it should be ok. to defend our good name. You see I have five kids that depend on my business and their Dad to succeed and I will defend what I believe in to the end.
Thank you.
RecreTec Mfg. Inc.
"World Leader in Whitewater Products"
Originally Posted by jmcdannel View Post
well, recretec, since you called me out on my less-than-comprehensive comment, allow me to clarify.

it was "cheap" in price. I paid under $450 for a heavy steel frame with a poor design that neither performed well as a gear hauler nor as a performance frame. I bought the frame on a budget.

it wasn't cheap in quality in the regard that the welds and materials were above or at average.

However, I think the design, especially when weighed against the comparable cost of a PRE frame, was where the frame's value dramatically dropped. So - maybe "cheap" isn't the best descriptor. "Inferior," "useless," "heavy," or "scary," might be other descriptors one may choose.

I question your claim that you offer "more options than ANY other." I was able to get anything I wanted from PRE and other custom builders - options I've never seen on a recretec frame. If you have those options, you've failed to advertise them.

So, let me clarify - recretec designs are industry followers, not leaders. And they aren't even good at that (see the half-assed tunnel frame). Their prices can be competitive, but their value cannot. The tunnel frame is no where near the quality in workmanshhip or design you can get from madcatr, PRE or some of the other custom builder out there.

I have run the Middle Fork Salmon under 2' about 7-9 times - I'd have to check my log. I've been on many trips from mid-september to late october. I don't consider that trip to be particularly tough on frames. I've had my recretec and a custom PRE-based aluminum frame down there. Other than the added difficulty of transporting the recretec frame due to weight and lack of folding oar towers, the on-river performance differences were weight, and difficulty of securing gear to a frame without the very convenient full-length scout bars on my current frame(s). Clearance on either frame never played a role on that river. But i've snagged my recretec bars on other river obstacles. I've had close calls with my PRE that could have ended in disaster if I had been dragging that recretec frame.

I sold my recretec with a used set of AIRE Ocelot tubes. I basically priced the boat as used tubes, because I could not in good conscience, charge anybody for that frame.

FWIW - I have no first hand experience with aluminum recretec products.
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Old 04-05-2011   #20
Albany, Oregon
Join Date: Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by slamkal View Post
Do you have a catalog you can send out with pictures, dimensions, weight, etc?
I do not have a catalogue completed yet. We are working on it as diligently as possible yet it is just something that has to wait till off season to be worked on much. Feel free to call and ask questions though.

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