Zen vs. Burn III - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 03-13-2014   #1
 
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Silverton, Oregon
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Zen vs. Burn III

Iím looking for a fun, fast river runner with edges, and Iíve narrowed my search down to the Zen 65 and the Burn III (or possibly a Diesel 70).

Iím 6,í 135#, and consider myself to be an intermediate (Class III) boater. After getting into WW with a Pyranha Fusion, I did most of my learning in a Hero, then bought a used Villain S midway through last summer, and a new Karma S at the very end of the season Ė havenít paddled it yet, but I got a good deal on it. I still have all the boats except the Fusion, and since my wife and I arenít too far off in weight, we share a lot of our boats.

Anyway, what this means is that I have plenty of options in the quiver for larger volume displacement/semi-displacement hull boats. What Iím looking for is something that is more responsive/edgy. About a year ago I bought a used Diesel 80 really cheap with the intention of using it as a loaner boat for friends/family. I ended up doing some outfitting so I could paddle it, and was shocked at how much I liked it. It felt really responsive despite being ďoversizedĒ for me, and it got me thinking about buying a boat like it that actually fits me. That feeling of carving as if on rails was great.

So Iím down to a shootout between the Zen and the new 3rd Generation Burn (or possibly the Diesel 70). Iíve done quite a bit of reading about the Zen and Burn III, and Iíve compared the stats on both boats, which arenít really that different Ė the Burn is a little shorter and heavier, and just slightly wider. I know the Burn is considered a high-end river runner that can creek, whereas the Zen is a more dedicated river runner. The Burn has more rocker in the nose than the Zen, and the Zen is likely a quicker ride. However, the Burn III is being described as more river runner, and less creeker, in comparison to the previous Burns. (They have apparently mellowed the edge behind the seat.) It is also supposed to be faster, and have the knees moved in vs. previous models.

My main concern about the Burn is that it might be too much boat for me. My main concern about the Zen is that it has such a low/flat nose that it likes to submerge more than I might be used to Ė though maybe that is something I should work on getting comfortable with. I know the Burn III is brand new, so it may be difficult to get feedback on that specific model, but any Burn vs. Zen thoughts would be appreciated!

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Old 03-13-2014   #2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gdtrfb8 View Post
Iím looking for a fun, fast river runner with edges, and Iíve narrowed my search down to the Zen 65 and the Burn III (or possibly a Diesel 70).

Iím 6,í 135#

Anyway, what this means is that I have plenty of options in the quiver for larger volume displacement/semi-displacement hull boats. What Iím looking for is something that is more responsive/edgy.
with that said, the Zen is a great choice, and I am sure it will be your wifes favorite boat.

The zen has a lower deck hight and lower volume, making it easy for woman and childrenz. Since you are tall and thin you will like the way it moves around as well.

It should be a good addition, the burn is too much like the rest of the boats you mention.

the zen stands appart from your other boats
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Old 03-13-2014   #3
 
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with that said, the Zen is a great choice

It should be a good addition, the burn is too much like the rest of the boats you mention.

the zen stands appart from your other boats
Thanks Bob. Overlap/repetition is definitely something I'm trying to avoid, so your comments are helpful.
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Old 03-13-2014   #4
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The Burn isnt too much boat for anyone. If you like to carve into eddy's, you will like it.
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Old 03-13-2014   #5
 
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I picked up a Burn III (medium) last November and went to town on the outfitting... I love it! Very responsive, very stable, very comfortable. I wouldn't say it's too much boat for anyone even a beginner. I'm 5-10ish and 145#. I haven't run anything gnarly in it yet but feel confident that it will perform exceptionally.
All in all, it fits my style of paddling so it works great for me.

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Old 03-13-2014   #6
 
Sumas, Chilliwack, BC
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The Zen is a great boat, if I didn't get a Karma last year I would have one now...
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Old 03-15-2014   #7
 
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Originally Posted by Dman987 View Post
The Zen is a great boat, if I didn't get a Karma last year I would have one now...
It's funny that you say that Dman, because I was just starting to wonder if my Karma S (which again, I haven't paddled yet), might be edgy enough to suit me. It doesn't have any real edges to speak of, which is obviously not a great sign, but the hull is quite flat, and the boat is rather narrow. And here's part of Clay's response to a customer inquiry that gets to my point: "...Karma series, which is designed with speed and aggressive handling in mind."

Also, because I'm in the top half of the weight range (range is 80-155; I'm 135), I should sit a little deeper, and get a more responsive ride. I just doubt that it's going to give me the truly "riding on rails" type feeling I'm looking for, but we'll see soon enough - spring is close, even in MN!
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Old 03-15-2014   #8
 
Sumas, Chilliwack, BC
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If you paddle really aerated water with deeper waves( say 3-4) then the secondary edges really carve thru the gnarly stuff in the Karma and doesn't get pushed around. It goes up and over where sometimes the Zen would 'spear' the next wave and punch thru. Class 2-3 is a different story where the Zen can zip around and is superfun but the Karma is slower and spinny. I paddle 3 with some class 4 features so either boat works for my area. I have found that on flatter water you need to lean a bit with each stroke to engage the secondary edges to go faster in the Karma. It surfs as good or better than then Zen though probably due to the high rocker. I am 6' 225 # so I am at the limit of my Karma MD, I didn't like the L for river running cuz it sits too high in the water for my weight and I don't truly 'creek' yet. I won my Karma at a festival while I was demoing a Zen. If that didn't happen I would have bought a Zen 75.
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Old 04-04-2014   #9
 
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Holding Off For Now

After further pondering and discussion with outside resources, I've decided that I really need to paddle my Karma before knowing if I "need" a Zen or Burn III. I would also like to see some real-world reviews of the Burn III, which should be showing up soon. In my searching, I got some great feedback about these three boats from a very knowledgable representative (they handle product reviews) at a very large and respected company. Both shall go unnamed to avoid any trouble for the company/person, but I've copied some pieces below for those who want to dig in:


Compared to the Zen, the Burn is going to be much more precise. The edges are crisper. That would be the main noticeable difference.
As far as hull speed goes, they are pretty similar boats. The Zen was never a super popular boat for us. It seemed like it was a decent downriver paddler, but was not stellar in any particular category.
All that I can tell you, is that people are EXCITED for the new Burn. You can tell a lot about a boat from looking at it - and it looks awesome. Everything from the hull design, to the cockpit, to the volume looks great.

The new Burn looks like it will excel at high performance river running in the class III and IV realm. I know that Team Pyranha will use it as a creeker as well - but the sweet spot of the boat looks like crushing class III and IV runs - especially big water. It will also surf better than the Zen because it has a flatter hullÖ

Not to harsh on the Zen too much, it was just never a super popular boat. The Liquid Logic Remix takes the cake for boats with that design IMHO.



I think that you may like the Burn III a lot. Typically, Pyranha is known for performance paddling - meaning that their boats are crisp. The Burn, Jed, Nano, etcÖThey all have a very flat hull, and crisp edge..with the exception of the Shiva, every one of their boats has rails. One of the major changes with the Burn III, was leaving the rails, but smoothing them out in places that trip you up, and catch paddlers off guard. They took the bottom of the tail from the Nano, which is more rounded, and less edgy - the sten edge of the hull is where people usually catch their edgeÖThe overall goal of the Burn, is to do EXACTLY what you just mentioned - they want to give you that riding on rails feeling, but at the same time, keep thing predictable, and easy to paddle in tricky water with strange currentsÖit is not quite as edgy as in years past. It is also faster (more narrow and longer).

The other boat, that could be fun for you if you like Jackson, is the Karma - I paddled it a few times and really liked it. The edges are there, but are not grabby at all. They are one step down from the Burn III I would say. I was in the Large Karma, which meant that the rails were almost up in the air (105 gallon boat!!), which may have something to do with it. The Karma is an easy boat to paddle. It is easy to get used too, and easy to maneuverÖItís funny - it is listed as a creek boat, but really feels like more of a river runner to meÖa river runner that can paddle class V any day of the week. Planing hull, mellow edge, loads of volume, and good rocker, but not too much - it is still fast.

TOUGH CHOICES eh? The good news is that you are looking at the best 3 river running creekers on the market. They are all incredible boats.
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Old 04-05-2014   #10
 
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Originally Posted by gdtrfb8 View Post
Thanks Bob. Overlap/repetition is definitely something I'm trying to avoid, so your comments are helpful.
Did I miss something? You have three creeker/ river runners and now you want a fourth one. How is this not overlap? I understand that there are nuances to each ones edge design and rocker profile but I think it is more important to just spend time in one boat to be comfortable in it. People run the NF Payette in "creek" boats all the time just like Big Timber gets run in "river runners". If you want to avoid overlap get a dedicated play boat, or a squirt boat.
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