NRS Bighorn frames. Opinions? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 08-31-2010   #1
Portland, Oregon
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 13
NRS Bighorn frames. Opinions?

Just bought my first boat and I need to get a frame (and everything else for that matter). The Bighorn frames seem like a flexible option. I'd love to hear some opinions from anyone that owns one. Stability? does it set up well with cooler and drybox? Durability?

I've heard opinions that only welded frames really hold up well over the long run.

BTW, I have a 14' Trib.

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Old 08-31-2010   #2
Aspen, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 3
I have a compact outfitter, so not a bighorn but similar. Yea a welded frame will hold up better but the adjust-ability of NRS frames can be great. You can really customize each bay/footrests. You can take everything apart for storage/transport. I'm a big fan of mine. That's my 2 cents.
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Old 08-31-2010   #3
tmaggert's Avatar
Wheat Ridge, 80033
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 100
Go with stuff from (Zorba the Geek). He makes some amazing stuff. I purchased some 2x rail fittings and was able to assemble the entire frame for ~$610 plus towers and seat bracket. I had him build me some custom towers that cost quite a bit more than the NRS ones.

If you are looking for amazing quality at a great price then look at his gear. Plus if you want anything special he can and will do it for you.

Attached are pictures of my set up. These have Zorba's personal towers that he loaned me for a trip because we hadn't finalized the design yet. (Great customer service)
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Old 08-31-2010   #4
Salem, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1973
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 5
I currently own both a types of frames. The NRS Bighorn is a great frame and if stored undercover out of the elements it will last forever. The cooler will work great in a big horn but not the drybox. For that reason I recently purchased a Recretec welded aluminum frame with two dry boxes that lock into the frame and act as seats. You will find that a welded frame is considerably more expensive but worth the money if you plan on keeping it forever. My Bighorn after 15 years now looks almost brand new and is a good way to go if you're trying to get set up but not break the bank.
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Old 09-01-2010   #5
Portland, Oregon
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 13
Why doesn't the drybox work well in the Bighorn? Looks like it fits fine in the Bighorn 2. I love the welded Recretec frames. Maybre someday I will upgrade. I'm trying to keep costs to a minimum but still get quality.
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Old 09-01-2010   #6
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,723
NRS works fine for me on my Aire 143

some five years

recretech 'semi"-dry box with welded on ears works fine. I say semi as it does leak..

I adjust mine back and forth from day runs to overnights and the ability to adjust and take apart feature works great

no regrets and would buy it again if I needed a new frame

store my outside and no issues there either
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Old 09-01-2010   #7
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 56
I have an nrs frame on my 14' and it works fine. However, I would suggest getting a custom frame welded or break down from in Salida, CO. That's the route I'm taking for my new boat.
Big Da
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Old 09-01-2010   #8
kclowe's Avatar
Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 453
I've got a bighorn (basically) that I've modified quite a bit. We change it a lot so I really like the adjustability. We actually just buy the tubing and use NRS connectors now, so I don't know if it still counts as a bighorn. I did have a problem with the footbar that came with the bighorn. I now use a "u" type that fits onto the straight crossbar. I currently have two dryboxes, and Engel cooler, and a DRE flip seat. Works like a champ, but we did spend a LOT of time experimenting with different setups. Not really sure why there would be a problem with a drybox other than the footbar that comes with them. If you are handy, you might want to piece one together yourself. You'll like it better in the end.
Also, I hated the low back seat. Upgrade to a highback or mesh flip seat and you will thank yourself later.

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Old 09-01-2010   #9
Nosebleed, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 166
I've had my bighorn 2 since 97. It's on it's second E-14 and has held up well. Had it on the Grand last month with 2 125 qt coolers and a dry box. Four ammo cans on the cockpit floor.

I've always liked the flexibility and weight. Very nice to break down for flying and the train on the upper Animas. Also got the drop bars and rail extensions for it and use it on my 16 ft cat. My only complaint is the NRS oar towers move if they take a hard hit. See Mania's posts for what looks to be a much better tower.
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Old 09-01-2010   #10
Kayenta, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 95
Good To Go

Grant Green,

Have a NRS Bighorn II and use it on my 14 ft Otter. It fits perfectly and is exactly what we needed for our uses. I set it up with a 123 Engel cooler in front, a dry-box behind the high-back rower's seat and we also popped for the marine grade plywood side-rails which are awesome and make life much easier.

I did take the foot brace bar out after only two trips (an overnight and a daily) but other than that we love it. The customizable option is ideal for different set-ups and the material feels bomber to last a long time.

I would also recomend snagging yourself a drop bag to go under the rowing seat bar and the rear bar as it adds additional sotrage in an easy place O(great for tables, chairs, even a fire-pan if it is small enough).

I beleive we have the 82x66 frame and it lays right on the chafe strips with jsut a little hang-over on the rear. The style of brackets they use is nice to adjust on the fly...Also I would recomend the taller oar towers then what it comes standard with, but that is just me. My girlfriend and I both learned with taller towers and it just felt better for us when we got our own rig.

Best of luck and have fun on the water.

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