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Discussion Starter #1
Hello and thanks in advance for any advice.
I just bought a 15' Maravia, and would like some advice as to what frames have been used and what the pros and cons are.

Im down to a Clavey:
Rowing Frames - Clavey Expedition Whitewater Raft Frame

A Cambridge:
http://www.maravia.com/frames/main.cfm?page=casraft

or the NRS:
NRS Compact Outfitter Raft Frame

I really do like the Cambridge because it comes with everything Id like to do for outfitting, ie.. half dry-boxes in the cockpit is a huge plus, but that could also be finagled in with any other frame. Im trying to avoid a drop deck, and know nothing about steel vs- aluminum when it comes to raft frames. The Clavey seems OK, but I think the NRS is comperable and thier "u-bolt" system seems tuffer than the speed rail allen nuts.
If anyone has had good or bad experiences with these frames or knows of other frames out there that may work for 500-700$ Id really like to know.

Thanks again in advance!
 

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U-bolts are certainly not tougher than the speed rail, they are much weaker. Where do you live? You should try a local shop to put your package together, not one of the big box websites.
 

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For that price you can have your frame made by Ron at River Boat Works in Salida. Compared to what he makes the frames above are pure garbage.
 

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I'll second that.
 

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I can only speak to NRS, and then only cat frames. I suppose they are OK, but totally generic. I found that they are made for the least common denominator. I think you would be much better off getting something custom made for your specific needs. I did after 1 season.
 

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Drop Floors are pretty sweet. I really like having something solid to stand on, and a place to put stuff on either side of the footwell.
 

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For that price you can have your frame made by Ron at River Boat Works in Salida. Compared to what he makes the frames above are pure garbage.
What separates Ron's frames from the Clavey or NRS frames? I've gone and looked at AAA and DRE in Denver and their frames seemed quite similar to the NRS and Clavey ones. The only real difference was that they were quite willing to customize the exact sizing of the frame and build it to whatever spec's I asked for (number of bays, breakdown options, bends, etc). I bet that Clavey and possibly NRS would do the same for a nominal fee.

It seems like most people are using either 6061 or 6063 Aluminum tubing in either 1.25" or 1.5" IPS. Most people use speed rail joints, NRS uses their own design, the LoPro. From what I have heard the NRS joints are much easier to move to accommodate different sized coolers or boxes and for completely breaking down and building up the frame. I have heard that the speed rail joints can be a pain in the rear.

I will second the comment about drop floors, they make rigging extra boxes, stoves, water jugs, etc. easy and standing on them is nice.

U-bolts are certainly not tougher than the speed rail, they are much weaker.
Have you seen or heard about the NRS LoPro fittings failing or breaking? I agree that the speed rail joints look, and probably are, much stronger - I'm just wondering if the NRS stuff actually breaks.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ill probably contact Ron in Salida.
Im very interested in having nicely mounted dry boxes in the cockpit.
Does that mean you need a drop floor?

Thanks for all the tips.
 

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Tiggy, Down River frames are great. I'm buying one this month. I was going with River Boat Works, but I get a DR pro purchase and it's a little cheaper. I bet he's cheaper than DR on retail, but you should buy from him to restore balance to the universe.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So whats the deal with the "extruded" oar tower vs the "rainbow" oar tower?
(Yes, this will be my first raft) lol
 

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So whats the deal with the "extruded" oar tower vs the "rainbow" oar tower?
(Yes, this will be my first raft) lol
The extruded (NRS) oar towers are more adjustable than the rainbow, which is static for height and fore/aft location. Others can talk more about the rainbows, I don't actually have them so I am no expert. I used NRS extruded for a while and they are good and adjustable. I have now moved to DRE towers since I need more height than even the tall NRS since I sit on my cooler.

The NRS attachments are bomber, and so are the frames, you can't go wrong, and they will customize. My frame is a combo of NRS and speedrail fittings. speedrail are more customizable for those putting their own frame together, and they are cheaper. My personal opinion is I use NRS fittings in the main structural members, a couple of set screws on the speedrail just don't make me comfortable. however, a lot of folks use those and everyone has their own personal preference.

Do you think you'll get into customizing your frame down the road? If so, speedrail will be more adjustable for you. If you like to tinker and play with stuff, you'll likely customize your frame. If you like to use things as-is, you probably won't.

NRS seats aren't as space efficient for big gear hauling since they are welded onto a bar. You can work around that, but for gear hauling many folks end up sitting on top of a dry box or cooler, or platform over a storage bay.

My first boat, I had NRS because that's what I found used. Aluminum is lighter, but some folks say the strong steel requires less metal and so the same size frame ends up weighing about the same. I'm not sure about that.

So if you want to haul gear, you might look elsewhere than NRS, but for simple day trips their frames work well. And NRS will bend over backwards to help you, some people don't like them as being too big, but they've helped me a lot with rigging ideas, even those that don't result in a sale for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
My buddy drilled a seat right into his dry box. The flip seat seems to be more friendly.
I need this frame for multi-day trips, mostly the Grand.
I have slightly over one year to get her dialed.
Great advice on rigging and greatly appreciated.
This is my first raft so I want to get it mostly right the first time :)

I am thinking double rails, need tall oar locks/mounts, flip seat over a drybox.

So from stern to bow, bay 1=drybox, bay2= cockpit//2 small dryboxes, bay 3= cooler, bay 4=drop bag//or extra cooler for really hot trips.
 

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned the DRE captain's chair. I've rowed with a tractor seat (like a NRS) and a padded cooler, and the mesh flip seat by DRE is the most comfortable hands down. Plus your rowing position is higher and gives you better visibility, IMO. I have the Colorado Diamondplate & love it. I can either put my cooler up front and dry box under my seat (overnights), or put the cooler under the seat and have the whole front as platform for daytrips.



Since they basically use speedrail, the flexibility of your layout is pretty limitless. And as long as you check your fittings periodically suring the season, I don't think you'll have problems. You can always have them tack-weld the ones you know you'll never move. And fellas- walk-rails are the the only way to fly.....

And Tiggy, if you're getting double rails anyway, I think the diamond plate is worth the upgrade costs. The first time you load a 120qt cooler full of beer into its bay, you're going to really appreciate the firm footing. But you can always finish them in plywood, of course.
 

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Yeah, whatever you do get the captain's chair like they make at DRE. Once you try this you will never want to sit on a cooler again, believe me.
 

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I second the diamond decking. It's really nice for walking around on the boat, and being able to rig to. I rig my ammo cans with the stuff I always use on the decking so they are easily accessible whenever I need them.
 

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oar frame

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the DRE captain's chair. I've rowed with a tractor seat (like a NRS) and a padded cooler, and the mesh flip seat by DRE is the most comfortable hands down. Plus your rowing position is higher and gives you better visibility, IMO. I have the Colorado Diamondplate & love it. I can either put my cooler up front and dry box under my seat (overnights), or put the cooler under the seat and have the whole front as platform for daytrips.

Since they basically use speedrail, the flexibility of your layout is pretty limitless. And as long as you check your fittings periodically suring the season, I don't think you'll have problems. You can always have them tack-weld the ones you know you'll never move. And fellas- walk-rails are the the only way to fly.....

And Tiggy, if you're getting double rails anyway, I think the diamond plate is worth the upgrade costs. The first time you load a 120qt cooler full of beer into its bay, you're going to really appreciate the firm footing. But you can always finish them in plywood, of course.
Very nice, I use the same set up on all four of my boats. But I use the Rainbow Oar pins.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Christ, you guys are talking me INTO a 1500$ frame! lol

Also, I do not think it pays to build your own, metal alone is going to run into arond 700$ after the slide rails are purchased..
then you need a good seat, and bam, you are at the 1000$ range anyway. Glad that this frame has such a following it makes for a confident buyer :)
 

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Tiggy, you have a nice boat but a nice frame on it, you will be happy. You would not buy 600$ pair of skies and put 20$ bindings on it.
 
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