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I've got a 14'2" Vanguard SB with an NRS Bighorn 1 frame. I'm looking to do some mods to the frame or get a new frame altogether and add a little spice to the frame.I'm looking maxout frame size for the for use on multiday trips but be able to convert easily for day trips. My current frame is 60"w & 66" L . Center 2 center measures 59" and I"ve read on MB that its ok to go a little wider than the center 2 center measurement. My question is how much wider do most of you think is acceptable. I would like to get 66" if possible so I can add some planks for walking on and what not. That would put my frame 3" wider on each side from where it is now. Any thoughts on problems, ie:no way don't do it, yes its possible or just more of a personal preference thing.... Thanks for any thoughts and input.
 

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I have the same boat and have a 66" wide frame, no problems, no issues. The side rails run a hair off the boat but that actually makes it nice for running straps without having to jam them. Can't remember if my side rails are 78 or 88' but the full length of the flat. My end bars are a few inches in though. I run table/drop bag, cooler, rower, and either dry box or seat. For daytrips I just drop the seat bar in-between the two rear bars that would frame the dry box for multi's and the rest stays the same. Lean bar and rear seat if I'm fishing.

Biggest issue with maximizing the frame on that boat is compromising storage in the rear. Being shallow it's already an issue so going four bays I think getting the rowers comp as short as can be is good. I can get 5 buckets in the rear, then gear over that and a king sling works well. Having a table up front is a good seat and lower than a cooler will be and although again cuts down in room up front, provides two good decks (table and cooler), plus fitting the drop bag there is great for storage on those weird items. It's not the greatest gear hauler but can get the job done.
 

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Not sure that you gain much, if anything by making your frame wider and going past the center line of the tube. You still only have x amount of inches between the tubes to work with--with mine, ii have 40". I guess if you were adding another rail for a deck?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Agreed osprey, it's not the best gear hauler if I did it again I would have got a 16' boat instead.
To wild, that's pretty much the main reason why I want make it wider is to add some deck rails.
 

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Not sure that you gain much, if anything by making your frame wider and going past the center line of the tube. You still only have x amount of inches between the tubes to work with--with mine, ii have 40". I guess if you were adding another rail for a deck?
Right. Increasing the frame width doesn't in itself gain anything, except possibly putting more space between the oarlocks, setting you up for longer oars. The relationship between frame width and raft width is determined strictly by where you get the best contact between frame and raft. In general, that would mean the load should rest on the centerline of the tubes. If your raft dimension is 60" from tube centerline to tube centerline, then that should be the width of your frame--UNLESS you have double side rails.

There are good reasons for having double side rails on a raft frame. It doubles the lengthwise rigidity of the frame, and that allows the frame to accommodate heavier loads without bending. It gives greater resistance to the raft's natural tendency to flex in the middle in extreme conditions. It gives two attachment locations for your oarlock towers, lending a much greater strength to the setup. And it allows you to attach step plates to make it easier to get in and out of the raft (something very important to us old guys).

As for easy conversion from expedition frame to day-trip frame, why not just do your day-trips with paddles and a simple cooler frame? That's a lot easier than setting up to row--unless you do your day-trips by yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ok, thanks guys, I'm going to do some measuring and take a look @ my options for side rail planking. My inital thought for widening the frame was to add the boards that NRS pre fabs and attach those, and I was thinking they were going to be too wide. Specs say they are 8" boards plus it looks like a little more to attach lopro to the frame. I was thinking (2) 3' boards running down each side for step plates and gear attachment. So far it looks like its not worth cash to expand the frame for what I might gain. Thanks again.
 

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I've thought about adding those nrs side boards too but haven't pulled the trigger. I've seen some nice ones where guys have taken plywood, cut to spec, notched for the lo-pros, etc, and strapped them on. Then you could make the width you want.

When I got mine I didn't have any idea so went with what the package came with. I seem to change it every year though. if you want to add more bays for longer trips buying two longer side rails and some new cross beams would be the cheaper way to go. you could even take the two side rails you already have and cut them down to make new crosses. Then at least you could use what you have and buying a few new bars doesn't set you back too much.

I was thinking about what Mogur said last night too...if you widen it then you end up with another problem on if your current oar setup works for you, then maybe new oars. Some tweaks just lead to more issues. Another good point, I kept things a lot more simple and light before I got a trailer and had to setup and tear down for every day trip.
 

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I use the NRS side rail racks on my Cat & they work great. I like that I can move them around on my frame to suit my needs (long trip/day trip/fishing). I even used one across the rear yoke on my Cat once as an extension deck in the back. They work best for walking on if supported by two crossbars. I mainly use mine for strapping on extra gear. They are more expensive than side boards you could make yourself, but I'm not handy that way or patient enough to try to make some on my own.
KJ
 

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Here's a better pic of the NRS side rail racks on my old Cat. I don't think they take up too much room at 8 inches wide.
KJ
 

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Frame Questions Continued...

I too, am in the research phase of deciding my frame width and length. Ultimately I'll most likely take my boat over to Mark at AAA in Denver, blow it up, and take the measurements.

But for shits 'en grins, what do y'all think?

Center to center tube width is 64". Chafer strips go out to 76". I'll probably go with a single rail frame/4 bay.

I'm thinking around 72" max width. With the AAA oar towers (which only kick the oar locks out about an inch one either side), my lock to lock distance will be around 74".- This would allow me to keep my nearly new 9.5' cataracts and still work for the 1/3rd in/2/3rds out oar theory.

Thoughts?...
 

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9.5 seems perfect with my 66" nrs frame run on 20 or 22" tubes. Its too short for my 72" frame on 26.5" tubes. I run 10's there but would prefer 11' if i had them Fwiw
 

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how about this one, what if the drop rails on a cat frame sit below the D-rings? when I tighten down the straps (tube to frame) it wants to roll the tube out of the position it supposed to sit in. I new to the cataraft world...if you can't tell.
 

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how about this one, what if the drop rails on a cat frame sit below the D-rings? when I tighten down the straps (tube to frame) it wants to roll the tube out of the position it supposed to sit in. I new to the cataraft world...if you can't tell.
aire cat and nrs frame?
 

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how about this one, what if the drop rails on a cat frame sit below the D-rings? when I tighten down the straps (tube to frame) it wants to roll the tube out of the position it supposed to sit in. I new to the cataraft world...if you can't tell.
What size are your tubes & what brand? My NRS frame fits my 24 inch Cat tubes better than it fit my 22 inch tubes. It worked OK on the 22, but it's better on the 24. There is some variation is where different makers put their lower D-rings. If you are using NRS, you may want to switch to the universal drop rails. They aren't as deep as the regular bottom rails with the yoke.
KJ
 

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I still think these fittings are the coolest! you could add rails easy, just bolt them on. I don't think they would cost much more then if you had a frame built at AAA or DRE
http://wildgooseengineering.com/home/?page_id=64
I know that Alexis isn't making oar towers at this time. Not sure if he's still making the frame fittings. His stuff is super cool, but he told me he was losing money on it. I was really excited about his oar tower design, and was bummed when I couldn't get them. I hope he starts making them again in the future.
KJ
 

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Nrs yokes are not designed for tubes under 24". This includes depth as well as width. Their std drops are not really either - if the frame extends below the drings its probably going to mean any gear in the frame has little or no clearance when the tube is loaded

For ~ same price nrs will make custom drops that are shallower. The question then is are you comfortable with your gear sitting a few inches higher or do you really want larger tubes?
 

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I know that Alexis isn't making oar towers at this time. Not sure if he's still making the frame fittings. His stuff is super cool, but he told me he was losing money on it. I was really excited about his oar tower design, and was bummed when I couldn't get them. I hope he starts making them again in the future.
KJ
Ya, I just noticed that at the site. He said there that he is hoping to start again before the next boating season. Lets hope. There are 8 standered double rail fittings in the store left.
 

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well thats a lot feedback I havent even read it all yet but, The tubes are the new Rocky Mountain rafts cat tubes 14' long x 22'' diameter, and I'm making the drop rails myself so...
The d-rings sit about mid tube on the inside and the same on the outside.
 

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Nrs will make custom drop rails. I think they can do 1" less drop from std, and if you need more they will do less than a 90 bend. My 14' boat is a ocelot which i think is the same dims roughly. I use a 66" wide with an inch shorter drops and i can squeeze a 120 qt cooler in there
 
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