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Discussion Starter #1
I'm pretty sure there are a lot of opinions out there on this one! I'm looking to buy my first raft and have been scouring for used set ups. I've done a few trips including an 18 day private on the Grand and I'm hooked. Ideally I would like a 14' capable of the Grand.... There are a few manufactures on Alibaba claiming thermo welded 2000 denier PVC or hypalon options (which I doubt). My questions are:
Has anyone ordered (or know someone) a boat from Alibaba?
Who did you order from?
And
What's your experience with it.... Quality/performance?

I am sure I will find a rig if I keep looking but the thought of a new, as long as its quality, boat sure seems tempting. Go ahead let the harassment begin!
 

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Never heard of them. On the subject of more affordable new rafts, RMR has been sounding like a good product at a great price. Heavy duty welded pvc. Though some folks don't like them as they are made in china.
Love my used NRS e series 14', that boat has been with me through thick and thin
( 225cfs browns canyon- 30,000cfs cataract).
 

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Nice, 14' can be a really versatile boat, especially if it's packed well. I've got 7' over all width, and 20" tubes, I would look for something wide like that for a 14' that can handle the Grand and other big rivers. Think the only reason a 16' nrs is wider then mine, is the increased tube diameter.
 

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I've never used Alibaba, but your description sounds a lot like a guy on Facebook, Victor Fang. I've talked a bit with him, he seems to say yeah they have everything you want (urethane, nice rocker, ect) but I've never seen any pictures besides some boring pvc rafts. His quote on shipping made a $600 raft about $1200, so why even bother.
 

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Discussion Starter #7

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Kinda sketches me out.
Look at how crooked there d-ring is on the last picture for the horus, on what they say is hand crafted, valves look pretty cheap to me, straps instead of foot cups and thwarts, the interesting gusset system where floor connects to tubes, and bleeder valves on the main tubes is kinda odd.

Part of the reason for buying a new raft is the warranty, it could be hard to get results out of some guy on the other side of the planet.
At least for the foreign boats sold through vendor's in the same country, it's a lot easier to get something taken care of. Many name brand boats actually are foreign made.

My 2 cents after looking at pics.
 

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This site reminds me of Aladdin and the lamp. You wish for a million bucks and end up with a million deer in your front yard.

I didn't see a single boat on that site I would want in my fleet. If you loaded any of them down for a multi day trip......there is a good chance of the river gods keeping all your stuff. My advice is......don't do it.
 

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I like their claimed production of a thousand boats a month. Maybe possible with slave labor working 24hours a day in your giant factory. I know i'm comparing a new Tacoma to a busted tenspeed but don't think Sotar or Maravia even can build a hundred boats a month.
 

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As Jdebo mentions above, these "ads" are both pretty clearly from factories looking to sell quantity rather than individual boats. Generally that means a cargo container or close to it. Whether they could actually produce more than 12 rafts a month is another matter.
Most of them are willing to sell sample boats, so you might be able to procure one on that basis, but I would be wary. We, and probably every other retailer that advertises here, get many emails each month from mainland China factories. Most are for boats, a few are for drybags, pumps, and watertoys. Even with some of the slightly more reputable Korean factories, we have gotten samples where the I-beams of the floors were each constructed of multiple little scraps of material (giving a rather odd dotted line effect on the outside of the floor!) and D-rings rusted within a year. A couple of these sample boats were actually amazingly good in the handling department, but then they fell apart at the seams in 2-1/2 years.
The folks who are successful with importing boats, lifevests, drybags, etc from China all have one thing in common - they spend time flying back and forth sitting on the factory to make sure things are done right. Those who don't never get consistent quality.
 

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The Boat people nailed it.

I have a coworker that really researched this hard for a year. He wanted to buy kayaks for his whole family but didn't want to spend the money on new ones or the time on finding used ones. He contacted many asian manufacturers through Alibaba and developed some relationships.

It boiled down to having to fill a cargo container, so he was going to buy a bunch of factory rip-offs and he wanted me to go in with him as the "boat expert" and then we'd sell kayaks and rafts....it was clear that sourcing a well made raft was going to be problematic...the kayaks seemed a little bit of a better bet, but I never was going to get comfortable going in on his business plan. I heard alot of stories of poor/inconsistent quality.

Ultimately, these sweatshop factories are responsible for all the cheap and crappy recreational kayaks that started popping up in every corner store the past few years.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the input everyone - I appreciate the time. It seems my suspicions have been confirmed! Working on a used deal here now...
 

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Hey K2andcanolli
There's a ton of Chinese and Korean boats but here's an example (I really doubt it is the same quality as an expedition series!)

IDK, china has been building NRS boats for a while now. I would not be surprised if the boats are from the same manufacturer. Wouldn't be supersized if they are every bit the same boat. China kind a has a reputation for making a few extra products and selling them as they can to who ever will buy.

I do see a couple issues that you might want to clear up.

280 to 600 to ship to nearest harbor does not seem like much of a deal when you still need to pay the cost of the boat and transportation from port to home?

Who is shipping this, what happens if the boat sinks? Or salt water damage. It happens.

You will have zero warranty.

What are you going to do if the wrong or damaged product shows at your door?

NRS has a strong business relationship w/ over seas manufacturers and a path to clean up the above list. They know every step of the way and know how to hold $$ hostage to get the desired products.

As we have seen here on the buzz, china will sell you anything! but who knows you might get lucky right? Not, If its seems too good to be ture.... It is.
 

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IDK, china has been building NRS boats for a while now. I would not be surprised if the boats are from the same manufacturer. Wouldn't be supersized if they are every bit the same boat. China kind a has a reputation for making a few extra products and selling them as they can to who ever will buy.

...

NRS has a strong business relationship w/ over seas manufacturers and a path to clean up the above list. They know every step of the way and know how to hold $$ hostage to get the desired products.
IIRC, a few years ago a guy was thinking just like that, came up with an adventurous sounding name for the brand, took pre-orders and deposits, bought a container full of rafts, and sold a bunch. They all fell apart within a year.

There are dozens of factories in Asia that will make anything you want out of PVC or Hypalon, but like 2kanzam & the The Boat People said above, the quality can be really inconsistent. I got to float a prototype boat from a manufacturer a few years back. Shortly after we'd had the boat on the water on the Ark in March the boat was sitting out in the sun inflated, nothing too bad that you wouldn't expect of a regular boat. Half the seams failed catastrophically due to the heat and increased air pressure. Fortunately they didn't fail while we were floating that ice water!

-AH
 
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The surface has been scratched. If you really get into it, the Overseas haters might become upset to learn that nothing is made in America, only assembled in America. I will say there is a difference between a communist country and a democratic country overseas when it come to sourcing materials. Keep digging, it's quite a tangled web.
 
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