Broken Jefe thinking something more Fluid - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 07-13-2009   #1
 
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Broken Jefe thinking something more Fluid

I broke my Grande on the Big S yesterday and that makes five Jefes in a little under 3 yrs. I don't get the most days on the river and I don't boat the hardest or mankiest gnar brine stout so at this point I am looking at options. Don't get me wrong, I love the Jefe and probably will stick with it. I have however been looking at possibly a Fluid Solo. I talked to Dan and he told me about the way they keep their boats rigid and looked at a few. I liked the idea behind the rigidity and it looked pretty bomber. I also paddled one through the class 2 and Nitrogen Narcosis of BS but that didn't really feel out the boat for me.

Any opinions on the Fluid Solo?

Thanks

Oh and I my first creek boat was a jefe so I no nothing but. Would it be a big shange going to a Solo?

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Old 07-13-2009   #2
Roy
 
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I've got a large Solo and I'm really digging it: Very maneuverable (turny), good hole puncher, great secondary stability, quick and smooth resurfacing and it's got that auto-boof feature! Downsides are that it's turny enough that if you're off-line on your way into a hole you just may turn back into it, it's not a real fast boat, and it's way heavy (although coming from a Jefe-Grande, maybe not so much on the heavy.) As far as plastic durability goes, I've only had it since early May this year, but so far, so good.

Dimensions-wise, the Large Solo is closer to a Jefe than a Grande. I'm 5'10"/185# and it seems to fit me well. It shares the Jefe's huge rocker, and has a similar volume distribution, but more chine (2 soft ones per side) and a crowned deck--bow and stern. If you prefer a totally round displacement hull, you'll prefer the Jefe, but I like the chines for maneuverability.

Outfitting is somewhat spartan by today's standards (no Liquid Logic diaper included), but reasonably comfortable and effective. I did put my Jackson Sweet Cheeks from my old Rocker in and like that.

Now for my one real bitch about the boat--the seat suspension is under-designed. You'll notice that the backband ratchets are on the floor, connected to the seat, rather than inside the cockpit connected to the hull the way most boats are. What this means is that when you're pressing on the backband, you're straining the connection of the seat to the hull, rather than the connection of the ratchets to the hull, as in most boats. That's all fine, but I don't think they beefed up the seat connection adequately to account for this increased load. There's a plastic piece connected to the hull that has a slot in it for adjusting the seat forward and back. That's what breaks at the slot. Mine cracked and the plate that sandwiches across the slot pulled thru, which required some minor surgery on my part. I got it back together and clamped it down--so far so good--but anticipate further problems with this in the future, which will probably require the replacement of the suspension piece with the slot.

Overall, I really like the boat, primarily for the way it paddles, but would like to see some beefing up of the seat suspension.
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Old 07-13-2009   #3
Roy
 
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A note on customer service: After typing up this review, I remembered that Dan Glauser had chimed in to an earlier thread saying that he is the new Western Rep for Fluid, and I figured I should let him know about my seat suspension failure. Here's his reply (received within an hour of my PM):

Quote:
Hi Roy,

Yes indeed you did remember correctly, I am the western US Fluid rep.

We've had a handful of these pieces break this year. It's mostly been larger folks in the large boats.

We have reinforced pieces that we are sending out to replace any that break and the new outfitting for 2010 will fix the issue completely.

I'll have Gavin, the North American sales rep send you a set of two new pieces for your large Solo. Please reply to all with your address.

Cheers,

Daniel
Western US Fluid Representative
Can't ask for more than that!

(altho in my defense, I'm really not *that* large! LOL)
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Old 07-13-2009   #4
 
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Who sells Fluid on the Front Range?
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Old 07-13-2009   #5
 
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Alpenglow in Golden has them. Did see the SOLOs at CKS this weekend too.
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Old 07-13-2009   #6
 
Denver, Colorado
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Yo Pops,

Sounds like you got a case of the broken creekboat blues. I'm mighty familiar with that tune as well. My take is that all the different manufacturers boats break fairly equally. Jace's gaping hole in his fluid at OBJ shows fluid isn't immune. Seems like prijon is the only boat manufacturer that actually does have bomber plastic. Too bad they don't make a decent creekboat.

My current thoughts are
1) get a decent boat with the best warranty
2) get handy with the plastic welder
3) say your nightly prayer that prijon wakes up and makes an awesome creekboat
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Old 07-13-2009   #7
 
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try to find a salto and demo. saw a super nasty piton and the boat was pig nosed. dent popped completely out no visual problems. if i didn't boat the jefe, salto would be my second choice. hands down. lots of room in the trunk for gear to. looked like a fair desent design. just as innovative not specially boofable like the jefe but good boat..
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Old 07-13-2009   #8
 
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Roy,
I have heard great things about Fluids Custy service and it is nice to know. I have also heard about the new outfitting so I might wait until 2010. Good to hear you review.

Ian,
Bought the welder today and just got back from grabbing two of my other broken shells to start frankensteining my boats.
I would gladly pay 1600 bucks for a Prijon Jefe
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Old 07-13-2009   #9
 
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Howdie folks,

Thought I'd chime in here and say hi. I'm the western US rep for Fluid.

Along the front range both Alpenglow and CKS sell Fluid boats. For some reason Alpenglow is not stocking Solos right now so I suggest giving CKS a call to see if they have any boats in stock. I know they have been selling Solos pretty quickly so I do suggest calling ahead.

Yes, it is possible to break a Solo. And a few folks have this year. Didn't hear about the break on OB and would love to get more info on that. If the owner of the boat gets in touch with us we might be able to help him/her out. Overall we've had very few boats break this year. I spent a year representing one of the companies that makes blow molded boats, helped manage the team and helped out with warranties. Every boat I delivered to a team member in Colorado broke on the seams. When the seams were good the boats were nearly indestructable. Every company, every manufacturing process has their issues.

I like to show folks the inside of the Solo. The outfitting makes long, wide connection points with the hull. I feel supporting the hull well with the outfitting is a differentiaor and makes the boats a bit more durable than the next guy's. Not indistructable though.

As I mentioned in my email above we have the seat wedges break in some of the boats. It hasn't been a huge issue but is common enough that we're doing something about it. We replace all the pieces with a reinforced version. All of the 2009 boats we have in stock have this reinforced piece. The new pieces seem to hold up well, I've only heard of one breaking. Again, every boat company has their occasional issues.

Instead of offering my opion on the differences between the Jefe and the Solo, why don't you try one out. I have a demo boat that you can take out. No matter what others say I find spend a little time and see if something works. We feel happy customers build business.

Feel free to drop me a line if you want to arrange a demo. I'm located in Castle Rock just outside of Denver. Will probably run Black Rock after work on Wednesday if you'd like to join.

Cheers,
Daniel
Western US Fluid Representative
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Old 07-13-2009   #10
 
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Kevin- which welder did you buy? I finally pig-nosed my Nomad after five seasons, and there's enough of a crease that it justifies a weld.

I am buying a new boat, though, and I need to check out the Solo large & and few other of the bigguns. I'll keep the patched Nomad around for destructo-Source runs.

Dan- I'll have to take you up on a demo sometime, but last night was my last session til well after my new kiddo is born. I'm officially on baby watch. Maybe I can get a loaner for Solo in August for a Bailey or Big T run.
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