Achilles Raft Thoughts? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 03-21-2009   #1
 
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Posts: 332
Achilles Raft Thoughts?

I'm purchasing a new raft and looking at the Achilles and NRS Expedition. Commercially (work), I've only used NRS exclusively over the last couple of decades. I have no concerns about the quality of the NRS and have seen many that are 20 years old and still being used commercially.

I'm also taking a look at the 2009 Achilles boats. They've now gone to Leafield valves with two on the bow/stearn just like NRS. Overall the Achilles is slightly a heavier boat than NRS.

Achilles:
ACHILLES 14' S/B RAFT

NRS EXP:
NRS E-SERIES 140 S/B RAFT

I know, I won't wear out an NRS Expedition with personal use over the next couple of decades plus. I can also get the Achilles for about 25% less than NRS. Simply, I don't want to throw an extra grand into a boat if it's not needed, but I also don't want to be in a situation years down the road wishing I had paid more. I do feel that the Achilles are better made than the Otter Series line!

Please share your thoughts if you've used an Achilles (models from this decade):
  1. What are your thought on the design and how it handles on the water?
  2. Quality?
  3. Have you had any warranties and what was your experience working with the company?
Thanks!

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Old 04-10-2009   #2
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1
Achilles are great boats

I have a 15 1/2 SB that is now about 10 years old and looks and performs as good as it did new. A good friend has a 15 1/2 foot boat that is over 20 years old and no problems or issues at all. His boat is a little sun faded, but the color returns with a good cleaning.

I would have to say that Achilles are one of the toughest boats made. The hypalon construction makes them a bit heavy, but they are still very responsive on the water. They have fully wrapped floors which increases their durability.

My boat has served my family and I very well on day trips, week long Middle Fork trips, and a two week trip on the Grand.

Hope this helps you out,
Greg
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Old 04-10-2009   #3
 
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Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 188
The NRS E series may be the most durable boat on the market. I was in a couple 2007 models and was very impressed. Plus it was much stiffer than I had expected from a Hypalon boat.

That would be the one thing to inquire about the Achilles, are they as responsive on the water?
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Old 04-10-2009   #4
 
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Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 191
The Achilles are very well built commercial quality rafts and so are the NRS. I rowed the Achilles 14, 15 and 16 footers here in Durango for 4 or 5 years as a raft guide. They are fine if a little but outdated. They are heavy, but stand up to lots of rookie raft guide abuse. The NRS E-160 is practically the same boat as my Hyside 16' and I love my big boat. The achilles is pretty slow and their hypalon is a bit mushier than Hyside's version. It's probably got something to do with the heavier denier Hyside used on my boat. The red color of the achilles does get sun-weathered pretty fast other than that they were well made Japanese rafts.
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Old 04-10-2009   #5
 
niwot, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by riverdoghenry View Post
I'm purchasing a new raft and looking at the Achilles and NRS Expedition. Commercially (work), I've only used NRS exclusively over the last couple of decades. I have no concerns about the quality of the NRS and have seen many that are 20 years old and still being used commercially.

I'm also taking a look at the 2009 Achilles boats. They've now gone to Leafield valves with two on the bow/stearn just like NRS. Overall the Achilles is slightly a heavier boat than NRS.

Achilles:
ACHILLES 14' S/B RAFT

NRS EXP:
NRS E-SERIES 140 S/B RAFT

I know, I won't wear out an NRS Expedition with personal use over the next couple of decades plus. I can also get the Achilles for about 25% less than NRS. Simply, I don't want to throw an extra grand into a boat if it's not needed, but I also don't want to be in a situation years down the road wishing I had paid more. I do feel that the Achilles are better made than the Otter Series line!

Please share your thoughts if you've used an Achilles (models from this decade):
  1. What are your thought on the design and how it handles on the water?
  2. Quality?
  3. Have you had any warranties and what was your experience working with the company?
Thanks!
1- standard older design - a little mushy for paddle crews- poly boats blow up much stiffer if you are looking to run as paddle boat- as far as the whole tracking question- it's what you think a boat should do- the newer rigs I've seen have SB floors that are slightly raised off the water- for better 'tracking' I think. I'm not much for the whole tracking thing- I'd rather be able to move the move and spin it when I need to. I'm usually more concerned if it can haul big gear.
2- Absolutely bomber unless they've changed something. Mine is 23 years old and is still in excellent shape. I had a choice between a new Achilles and a new Avon when I bought it. The price was around 33% less than the Avon. I had a friend with an Achilles that was around 8 years old at that time and it looked brand new. I bought the Achilles and it freed up cash for more safety gear. At the time the (light) weight of the Avon was a big selling point- comparable size was around 100#(?). I must admit-my boat is a pig- around 200# with the SB floor I put in later. This is due to the material- hypalon outer and neoprene inner. Seams and everything with the exception of the D-rings (rubber not hypalon) have held up extremely. I have one small side D-ring I wouldn't trust with a lot of weight. But as for the investment I made going with this brand 23 years ago- I wouldn't have done it any other way. Of course, the poly boats (Hyside) were still in the works back then. The material and the design of the NRS looks suspiciously like the Achilles I might add. Made in the same place?????
3- Have never needed to worry about the warranty.
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Old 04-11-2009   #6
 
Moab, Utah
Paddling Since: 1979
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 63
Been rowing Achilles commercially for years. The ones we use at Moab Rafting are almost 25 years old, and with excellent care (verging on anal), look brand new. We've always razzed the owner that he has the only bullet-proof boats out there. They are heavy, but very manageable and move well on the water. Absolutely no complaints - actually considered one myself, before I splurged on a new Avon, but won't ever regret that choice! Still feel Achilles is good quality and an economical choice.
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Old 04-12-2009   #7
 
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Bought Achilles

I came across an Achilles (last years model) for a little less than I could get a Tributary, shortly after starting this thread. I couldnít justify spending $600 more on the 09 model that I was looking at on sale at AAA. I ran to the bank and bought it.

The Achilles base fabric is 1680 denier nylon with 50oz floors and 38oz upper tubes (Dupont Hypalon). With a laced in, fully wrap floor. Yes, the red upper tubes are slightly softer than what Iím use too (this is because of the nylon core, the rubber part is thick), but below the strake the tubes are very stiff. The repair material (black) that came with it for the floor appears to me to be a nylon/polyester blend and the top fabric (red) nylon. With the floor being double wrapped 50oz material and the bottom of the tubes is 3-layers; Iíll probably be buried in it.

My impression is that it is a very well made boat. Itís a better made boat than the NRS Otter as far as durability. Again, knowing from experience that the NRS E-Series would probably be more boat than I could ever wear out, and with the deal, I couldnít justify spending the extra mortgage payment on the E-Series.

Before I came across my deal, a buddy put me in touch with a friend who owned an Achilles and I was able to go over and look at it. He shared with me that his first S/B floor (black) failed after it was off warranty, but Achilles replaced it for free, because they knew they had a bad batch of black floors in his production run. His experience really sold me on Achilles. Iíve known some other companies who did not do the same in a similar situation years ago.

I had always heard good things about Achilles, but only saw a few here and there on the river. Iím putting the frame together and will be out in a couple weeks. Unfortunately, my old boxes were 2Ē too wide, so Iím having to get those as well.
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Old 05-05-2009   #8
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1
anyone tried a Capacity Sports raft?

has anyone tried a Capacity Sports raft? any comments on them?
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