Oar towers - Mountain Buzz

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Old 02-08-2011   #1
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 427
Oar towers

Commonly referred to as oar stands and sometimes oar mounts. I saw the extended thread where Zorba created new ones from scratch, which was amazing by the way. I also saw some from Mania which look like they were made from some bendable alum. pipe. From what I understand there are three types...

(1) fixed (which I won't go into because they don't apply to me)
(2) u-bolts, much like the NRS style (I have and mostly like)
(3) speedrail/setscrew (have not used but I like the height/adjustment possibilities)

I have also seen three basic styles of heads on top of the speedrail towers

(1) DRE - which look good but I have heard about the funny angle
(2) Clavey/AAA - seem to be very good and popular
(3) Rowframe - I think I know how these work but am wary of being at the mercy of only one setscrew for complete oarlock removal-dislodgement

I would like to hear people's opinions on each and possibly get a tally of who uses what. Some pros and cons would be welcome as well.


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Old 02-08-2011   #2
tmaggert's Avatar
Wheat Ridge, 80033
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 100
Hopefully Zorba gets in this thread. He made these custom oar towers for me:

He was talking about making cheaper ones by substituting aluminum pipe for the vertical portion instead of machining out of billet aluminum.

We devised these for two main reasons:
  1. Vertical members are detachable so if necessary rafts can stack
  2. Offset from the pipe so we can put decking on top and maintain complete adjustment
    **We also talked of using bleacher panels for the decking that are easily detachable to use as camp tables. This offset would allow the use of plain bleacher panels and not having to notch them.

Similar to Zorba's regular towers these are extremely adjustable, just take out the snap pins and adjust. Before the Zorba towers I had the speedrail/DRE method. I really liked them but aren't as easy to adjust.
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Old 02-08-2011   #3
Stiff N' Wett's Avatar
Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 457
I use the 8" NRS and really wish they were taller and more adjustable.
Pool and a pond... Pond be good for you.
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Old 02-08-2011   #4
Whoapiglet's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 296
Here's what I came up with for my Mini Max this winter. Since the Mini could only use a 48" frame, I used a Rowframe tee oar mount with a AAA 1 1/2" oar tower and got and extra 8" per side for width. The oarlocks are 63" wide on a 48" frame (can use 8 1/2 ft oars). I have since added an extra set screw on the rail side of the tee.

The off set tee commonly used with this oar tower can't be tipped out because the bottom of the tee would sit a few inches below the frame. this is basically a stronger version of the old NRS tower design made for 1 1/2 pipe.
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Old 04-28-2011   #5
whitefish, Montana
Paddling Since: 15
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 6
did you notice if the additional oar tower heighth affected the length of the oar (WGE towers) that you needed to use for your boat? i have the aire 143R and the 8inch oar tower by nrs with a nine foot oar, but this is a new set up, this year, and i have not had a chance to get on the water. i'm wondering if i go to the same tower that you chose (WGE), if i will need to also increase the length of my oar. thoughts?
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Old 04-28-2011   #6
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,598
Yes, taller oar tower will mean you will probably want a longer oar. I use DRE towers and like them a lot. I had AAA and the angle did not work with my oar/frame geometry. I think that is really rig specific, we have a wide double rail frame. I used to have NRS but upgraded to the taller DRE ones because I now sit on the cooler making both of the NRS towers too short.

While the speedrail towers tilt, I don't like to because their attachment is a setscrew into the pipe. I don't like to mess with that too much, actually when I tilt them I loosen the entire side rail at the LoPros in the corner of the frame instead. NRS towers are ideal for tilting.

Speedrail (DRE/AAA) towers are nice because they are basically a piece of pipe that you can adjust the height on the fly, and also get any length you want.
Living in Montana, boating in Idaho
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Old 04-28-2011   #7
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 56
I am a big fan of PRO Outfitters frames and oar stands. The oar stands are speedrail fittings, and they make the towers in whatever length you like from 8-12 inches: Pro. These are used by many Grand Canyon companies, and I have used them all over the world on tough whitewater rivers.

You can remove the oar towers easily for transport or stacking boats, and they are a bomber setup. Like lhowemt says, although you can move the speedrail stands around, it is a much better idea to not do that and instead remove the towers when you need to stack boats.

I just got some 8" oar towers from them and wish I had gone a bit longer. I sit on my cooler (no seat, just the cooler) to row.
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Old 04-28-2011   #8
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vancouver, Washington
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Smaller tubes and sit on a cooler = need higher towers. Problem comes when you need to get your oar out of the water it often hits your knees
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Old 04-28-2011   #9
don't bogart that
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Frosted Flakes N of Baytuckey, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 185
Carry extra u-bolts and a wrench that fits for the NRS, have had the 1/4 inch bolt snap. Carry a allen wrench to readjust the towers on anything with set screws. Have used big rocks to help the towers back into place after a flip, not approved method
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