Zebec raft quality? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 03-16-2013   #1
 
New Meadows, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2010
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Zebec raft quality?

So I've read on a few posts that Star and many other brands are actually made in South Korea by a company called Zebec. My question is are Zebec rafts the same or better quality than say Maxxon, Saturn, NRS? I'm thinking about buying one directly from the manufacturer. Here is the link:
::::: WOOSUNG I.B. :::::

Come standard with 1,000 denier tubes 0.9mm thick, bottom is 4,000 denier 1.8mm thick. You also can also upgrade the floor.

"Our River Rafts are hand crafted and built tough with quadruple reinforced seams. We make the main tubes with 1000 denier 0.9mm thick, high quality fabric. They can also be made with 2000 denier 1.2mm thick special fabric. The bottoms are made from heavy - duty 1.8mm thick material using the double strength, full Panama method."

After doing some quick googling, it looks like at first glance these actually have a high grade denier but I can't find anything out about the thickness.

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Old 03-17-2013   #2
Jared
 
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Dundee, Oregon
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The fabric quality is probably close to what a big name brand boat like a, Aire, Sotar, Maravia, etc would be. The big issue that I find is the way they are put together. Aire, Sotar, and Maravia boats are thermowelded together, and of course Aire uses a bladder system. Those seams will last as long as the material that they are made of.
Save for Rocky Mountain rafts, The other off shore PVC boats are chemically bonded together. This is a much more inexpensive process, opening up a new price point to the raft industry. However, the chemicals used to bond the material together, as I understand it, will leave behind tiny molecules that will slowly break down the bond over a protracted amount of time. The common thinking is that those boats will start to have failed seams anywhere from 5 to 15 years after they are made.
Some people just don't like that they are off shore made boats, and I can respect that. My Dad has a Japanese Riken, and I've had a Riken before, it doesn't bother me. I have a Sotar now, I bought it used. I found a great deal on a used boat, only a 2008. If I were to buy a new budget minded boat, I'd get the Rock Mountain raft. They are a mid price/ lower priced thermo welded boat, quickly making a name for itself here in the US. I'm happy to have what I got, but I certainly don't look down on anybody else's choice of boat.
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Old 03-17-2013   #3
 
New Meadows, Idaho
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Thanks for your insight. It sounds like they are pretty much on par with Riken, Odyssey, and dare I mention it Saturn. Unfortunately I'm really trying to stretch my budget which is about $1,700. If I can get the same boat but for much less ill be much happier when I have the fishing frame and counter balanced oars I want. My alternative is $1,600 Lavro drift boat which won't get me down all of my local rivers or a beat up sun faded NRS Otter about 15+ years old with a pack frame and Carlisle oars for $800.
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Old 03-17-2013   #4
 
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Kalispell, Montana
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What are you planning to spend and for what size raft?

Good value in used US-made boats, but if you can't find one, you can't find one.

If you get a $1,000 raft and it falls apart in 10 years and you buy another, are you out anything vs a $4,000 raft that is worth only $3,000 in 10 years when you didn't have the extra $3,000 to invest initially?
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Old 03-17-2013   #5
Jared
 
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Dundee, Oregon
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Rikens are top of the class for reliable boats. They no longer are available, and that is too bad. The first Riken I rode in was when I was 10 years old on the Upper Clackamas river. That was back in 1989. My Dad's buddy just sold that 26 year old raft, and it will be on the water once again. That raft has been down everything in Oregon, Washington, some Idaho rivers, and even 2 rivers in Canada. My Dad bought his Riken 13 foot pioneer with the best fabric they ever used. (Grey) He got that boat when I was 17, I just turned 34. It's never had a leak, it has been stone cold reliable. In my area, it's not too hard to wait for a deal on one to pop up on CL. They stopped production about 10 years ago, but I would buy a Riken used in a heartbeat. I was on the Deschuttes last summer, and they are still in the raft rental fleets after that long. I saw a lot of rented Vanguards over there, and I bet they won't have that kind of service life.
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Old 03-17-2013   #6
 
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vancouver, Washington
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Except riken used hypalon and the cheaper boat he is looking at is probably glued PVC. So riken should not be included with the same category as Saturn since its more akin to hyside or Avon
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Old 03-17-2013   #7
 
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So far so good.........

We've got 11 years on old Pinky so far and she's still going strong. No signs of any glue weakness or failures yet! I wouldn't hesitate to buy another Woosung boat if the price was right.












Time to hit the spring time ice canyons!






Have a good time on the river whatever you choose!
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Old 03-22-2013   #8
 
New Meadows, Idaho
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Thanks everyone, I ended up with a really really old NRS 12' 6" 15 maybe 20 years old. Kind of starting to wonder if I made the right choice as its looking pretty worn out and has some exposed fabric on the stern. Could use some Gaco paint and Flex Seal. But for a whole raft setup, frame, oars, etc. for $700 seemed ok.

I did get an email back from Zebec of South Korea and they referred me to Star Inflatable customer sale rep. I wrote them back explaining I wanted to purchase directly from them but haven't heard back and its been a week. I'm trying through alibaba.com hopefully I hear something.
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Old 03-22-2013   #9
Jared
 
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Dundee, Oregon
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I'd be looking heavily at a RMR fully welded PVC raft in that price range. They are worth every penny in that price range IMHO. How much are you looking to spend? 2 grand? 3 grand?
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Old 03-23-2013   #10
 
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Kalispell, Montana
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NRS frames start in the $500 range,
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