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Hi everyone! This thread is going to serve as a 'build log' for my Sotar Legend outfit, and will hopefully contain information for other people looking to do the same. Much of my research has come from this site, across many different threads, so I hope to compile everything I have learned here.

First off, a little about me- My name is Neill, I'm 26, and am a software engineer by trade. I've lived in Colorado since 2003, and in Fort Collins since 2007 when I moved up here for school. I've been rafting for ~4 years, though have gone on a commercial trip or two prior to that. During the season, we try to raft the Poudre River 2-3 times a week, and have done the San Juan, Desolation Canyon, Gates of Lodore, and Brown's Canyon/ The Numbers. Last year, we competed at the GoPro Mountain Games for R2 Raft Cross, and R2 Raft sprint. This year we only pulled a San Juan permit, so we are using it as an introduction to rafting for many of our friends.

I may have met some of you on the west coast while I was out in Portland in January. I stopped by Andy and Bax, and was invited to the PDX Kayak film festival that night. Seemed like a great community out there!

At this point, our group has a 14' Aire Ocelot, 13.5 Hyside, a Hyside mini-max, and a Hala Hoss BT paddleboard. This year we are adding my 13' Legend, a second paddleboard, and a RMR paddlecat, with plans to take a total of 12 on the San Juan.

Anyway, on to the good stuff. I ordered a set of 13' Sotar Legends through Dusty at DRLRiverGypsies, as he has apparently bought up the rights to the remaining purple material Sotar uses. Both Dusty and Kory at Sotar were very helpful in answering questions, and the only complaint I have is Dusty needs to accept payments other than check. ;) Mailing checks in this day and age seems archaic to me... That being said, the 20% off on raft accessories he offers with purchase of a boat is worth it.

So these are my tubes- Teal with purple and gray. (Photo from Sotar, they are in the mail currently. I think the lighting is a bit off.)



Specs:
13' Long (+6" from standard)
23.5" Diameter (+1" from standard)
Top Chafe.

I added the length and diameter to the tubes as this will be a dual purpose rig, and I wanted the increased load rating for multidays while still remaining small enough to oar on the Poudre (hopefully!). Sotar estimates the tubes will be able to handle ~750 lbs at 1/3 submergence (up from 564 on the stock dimensions).

I also ordered:
3- 9' Sawyer Squaretops
3- ProLok Next-gen
3- ProLok oar sleves
NRS Lowback Seat
NRS Pro throwbag
5mm accessory cord for oar leashes

Still need to order:
K2 Summit 70 Cooler
Southco K3-1735-52 Rotary Draw Latches + other piece. (Think drybox latches)
Tube to frame straps 16- 1" or 1.5"?
Oarlock retaining hardware
Aluminum tube/pipe
Aluminum sheet .80" for drybox.

Tools still needed:
1" SCH 40 pipe (1.315 OD) bender die
1" .120 wall tube bender die
Bandsaw?


After much debate and research, I plan to build two frames- one for play, one for multidays with gear. I've been collecting all the images of cat frames I can, and compiling them here (have probably 50 more photos to add, but they are on my other computer):
Cat Frames - Album on Imgur

Note that these photos are not mine, they belong to the people who took them- I simply pulled them from many different threads, websites, etc. and hope people don't mind me compiling an album for reference and inspiration.

I haven't identified final dimensions yet, as I'm waiting on my tubes to arrive Monday. I plan to CAD everything up in Solidworks, and play with the designs a bit before finalizing them.

Initial ideas on the play frame- 34" between tubes, ~60" wide over the tubes, length tbd, rower in front, passenger seat off the back. Made with 1" SCH 40 6063 pipe (1.315 OD), and 1" .120 wall 6063 tube.

Gear frame- 36" between tubes, ~62" wide over the tubes, rear gear bay, rower in back sitting on top of a custom kitchen drybox, rower's leg bay, cooler bay, then a beavertail/footrest for the passenger in front sitting on the cooler. Made with 1.25" SCH40 6063 pipe (1.66 OD) and 1" SCH 40 6063 pipe (1.315 OD).

I have a few ideas that I haven't seen before, but not sure I will incorporate them into either of these frames, as I don't have the machining capabilities yet, and want to make sure I can get out on the water this season :eek:

The 6063 tube/pipe is proving harder to find than expected- I have a quote for 100 ft of 1" SCH 40 6063 pipe (1.315 OD) at 3.65/ft, but haven't been able to find a supplier for 1" 6063 tube (or 3/4" 6063 sch40 pipe- 1.05 OD).

I do not claim to be the most knowledgeable person when it comes to fabrication, rafting, or anything else, but am open to input, and hope this thread is helpful to the community and others looking to do similar. Anyone from/visiting Ft. Collins, let me know- lets grab a beer or paddle once the weather gets nice.
 

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I also have a new Sotar, a custom design at 12'x21".
My priority is light weight. Lots of the rivers I plan on running have poor access and portages.
One chamber per tube, smaller D-rings, no handles, 3/4" Schedule 40 @ .39 lbs per ft.

One thought on your two frame plan. Why not one day frame plus a trailer frame for gear that can go either front or back?

Alreco Aluminum Products in Brighton (303-287-7210) has Schedule 40 in both 6061 & 6063 for a lot better pricing.

When I have more time, I will check out your photo collection.
Good luck with your project, keep us posted with updates.
 

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i too have a brand new sotar legend. standard 12-6".

my frame is currently in progress, 1.5" .056 steel tube. bent with a hossfeld bender with 4" radius dies. i only have oar towers to build and it is done. 58" wide with 36" between the tubes. it is a big water day run frame only. there is nothing hanging down between the tubes, no cross bars except on top of the tubes. overall it will be a very minimalist frame, designed to keep weight to a minimum and upside down profile small.
the design is my own, and it may prove to be no good. if i like it, it will get powder coated. if i do not like it, it will be modified until i do like it and then powder coated. if i really like it, i will duplicate it in aluminum.


i would be concerned about strength with a frame made from 1" aluminum tube. not a problem if the spans are kept short. i made a small frame for my 11x19 jacks tubes out of 1" .063 chromoly DOM tubing. even that material flexes quite a bit, and it has only 28" between the tubes.
 

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Straps

Best of luck with your build. I just wanted to comment on your straps. I would suggest waiting until you have your frame before ordering straps. I ended up using twos and fours to secure my standard 12'6" Legend. This allows some play with the frame depending on play or multiday and leaves enough to grab to tighten.
 

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Neill,

You have quite the project going on!

You had mentioned building a frame.....a great idea. I deal with the guys at Downriver Equipment (Phil, Matt, and Zack) in Denver a lot. They are very knowledgeable if you need advice.

As for the K2 cooler....let me know when you are ready. I can bring you one from Durango.

I'm excited to follow what you have going on with the build!

Troy
 

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Custom loop straps from tuff river stuff~ 1 1/2" polyester

Sent from my SM-N900V using Mountain Buzz mobile app
 

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I'll be interested in how you like those tubes. A while back I asked for feedback on the the Maravia 14x24 tubes for exactly the same mix you mentioned. I was treated like a leper because 24 inch tubes were WAAAAAY too big. Keep us posted. Thanks
 

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I have a set of 14' 24" sotar legend tubes. They are great and I say go big or go home. Good luck on your project. Looks like you guys have put together a few boats already.
 

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Hi everyone! This thread is going to serve as a 'build log' for my Sotar Legend outfit, and will hopefully contain information for other people looking to do the same. Much of my research has come from this site, across many different threads, so I hope to compile everything I have learned here.

First off, a little about me- My name is Neill, I'm 26, and am a software engineer by trade. I've lived in Colorado since 2003, and in Fort Collins since 2007 when I moved up here for school. I've been rafting for ~4 years, though have gone on a commercial trip or two prior to that. During the season, we try to raft the Poudre River 2-3 times a week, and have done the San Juan, Desolation Canyon, Gates of Lodore, and Brown's Canyon/ The Numbers. Last year, we competed at the GoPro Mountain Games for R2 Raft Cross, and R2 Raft sprint. This year we only pulled a San Juan permit, so we are using it as an introduction to rafting for many of our friends.

I may have met some of you on the west coast while I was out in Portland in January. I stopped by Andy and Bax, and was invited to the PDX Kayak film festival that night. Seemed like a great community out there!

At this point, our group has a 14' Aire Ocelot, 13.5 Hyside, a Hyside mini-max, and a Hala Hoss BT paddleboard. This year we are adding my 13' Legend, a second paddleboard, and a RMR paddlecat, with plans to take a total of 12 on the San Juan.

Anyway, on to the good stuff. I ordered a set of 13' Sotar Legends through Dusty at DRLRiverGypsies, as he has apparently bought up the rights to the remaining purple material Sotar uses. Both Dusty and Kory at Sotar were very helpful in answering questions, and the only complaint I have is Dusty needs to accept payments other than check. ;) Mailing checks in this day and age seems archaic to me... That being said, the 20% off on raft accessories he offers with purchase of a boat is worth it.

So these are my tubes- Teal with purple and gray. (Photo from Sotar, they are in the mail currently. I think the lighting is a bit off.)



Specs:
13' Long (+6" from standard)
23.5" Diameter (+1" from standard)
Top Chafe.

I added the length and diameter to the tubes as this will be a dual purpose rig, and I wanted the increased load rating for multidays while still remaining small enough to oar on the Poudre (hopefully!). Sotar estimates the tubes will be able to handle ~750 lbs at 1/3 submergence (up from 564 on the stock dimensions).

I also ordered:
3- 9' Sawyer Squaretops
3- ProLok Next-gen
3- ProLok oar sleves
NRS Lowback Seat
NRS Pro throwbag
5mm accessory cord for oar leashes

Still need to order:
K2 Summit 70 Cooler
Southco K3-1735-52 Rotary Draw Latches + other piece. (Think drybox latches)
Tube to frame straps 16- 1" or 1.5"?
Oarlock retaining hardware
Aluminum tube/pipe
Aluminum sheet .80" for drybox.

Tools still needed:
1" SCH 40 pipe (1.315 OD) bender die
1" .120 wall tube bender die
Bandsaw?


After much debate and research, I plan to build two frames- one for play, one for multidays with gear. I've been collecting all the images of cat frames I can, and compiling them here (have probably 50 more photos to add, but they are on my other computer):
Cat Frames - Album on Imgur

Note that these photos are not mine, they belong to the people who took them- I simply pulled them from many different threads, websites, etc. and hope people don't mind me compiling an album for reference and inspiration.

I haven't identified final dimensions yet, as I'm waiting on my tubes to arrive Monday. I plan to CAD everything up in Solidworks, and play with the designs a bit before finalizing them.

Initial ideas on the play frame- 34" between tubes, ~60" wide over the tubes, length tbd, rower in front, passenger seat off the back. Made with 1" SCH 40 6063 pipe (1.315 OD), and 1" .120 wall 6063 tube.

Gear frame- 36" between tubes, ~62" wide over the tubes, rear gear bay, rower in back sitting on top of a custom kitchen drybox, rower's leg bay, cooler bay, then a beavertail/footrest for the passenger in front sitting on the cooler. Made with 1.25" SCH40 6063 pipe (1.66 OD) and 1" SCH 40 6063 pipe (1.315 OD).

I have a few ideas that I haven't seen before, but not sure I will incorporate them into either of these frames, as I don't have the machining capabilities yet, and want to make sure I can get out on the water this season :eek:

The 6063 tube/pipe is proving harder to find than expected- I have a quote for 100 ft of 1" SCH 40 6063 pipe (1.315 OD) at 3.65/ft, but haven't been able to find a supplier for 1" 6063 tube (or 3/4" 6063 sch40 pipe- 1.05 OD).

I do not claim to be the most knowledgeable person when it comes to fabrication, rafting, or anything else, but am open to input, and hope this thread is helpful to the community and others looking to do similar. Anyone from/visiting Ft. Collins, let me know- lets grab a beer or paddle once the weather gets nice.
HOLLY CRAP! Are you telling me that you did your homework, searched and read past posts, made your decision, then posted for all of us to see?!?!

Dude your never going to fit in here.

Hey, Really quickly post a question as to whether Sotar or Aire is best so that we will all have some reconing of what is going on here. :eek::D:p;)

I like the frame folder you created BTW
 

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Great build. Check out the frames from Whitewater Machine Works too. In my opinion, you are running narrow at the outside dimension. With the 60 inch sport frame, you have at most 30" of oar to the inside, unless you incorporate a feature to extend the oarlocks well beyond the outer rail. Running 66" between oarlocks and 9 foot oars, some people think they feel heavy, but are necessary to reach the water and have full sweep on 22" tubes. This also tends to put the handles in a high rowing position, so unless you are real tall... All this comes from experience on narrow frames and moving up to oversize tubes. Look forward to seeing more.
 

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Neill....this is very important as it can create issues!!! Make sure that your Sawyer Square-Tops do NOT have rope wrap on them and that you have them done with DYNEL SLEEVING in lieu of the rope!!!! Rope wrapped oars will NOT work with Pro-Lok systems. Give Dusty a call to make sure he has them ordered this way for you. He is more of a oarlock guy and may not be aware of this.

Personally I have not seen the Pro-loks used in a whitewater situation, but do know a few fishing guys with driftboats who use them and love them.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Wow, this blew up! Thanks for the support, and I'll try to respond to all in one big post.

Rich said:
One thought on your two frame plan. Why not one day frame plus a trailer frame for gear that can go either front or back?

Alreco Aluminum Products in Brighton (303-287-7210) has Schedule 40 in both 6061 & 6063 for a lot better pricing.
I have considered a day frame plus a trailer frame, but I think I would be making too many compromises on the play frame to fit everything I want on a multiday... specifically, I don't think I can fit both a cooler and drybox with this configuration, because sitting on the either would put my oaring position too high for the play frame.

Thanks for the tip on Alreco- I called today, and they have everything I need. Looks like I'll be making a trip down there Saturday.

SpencerHenry said:
my frame is currently in progress, 1.5" .056 steel tube. bent with a hossfeld bender with 4" radius dies. i only have oar towers to build and it is done. 58" wide with 36" between the tubes. it is a big water day run frame only. there is nothing hanging down between the tubes, no cross bars except on top of the tubes. overall it will be a very minimalist frame, designed to keep weight to a minimum and upside down profile small.
Sounds like you have put some thought into your rig. Any photos? Other people in this thread have expressed concerns over distance between oar towers, have you had a chance to feel this out yet?

SpencerHenry said:
i would be concerned about strength with a frame made from 1" aluminum tube. not a problem if the spans are kept short. i made a small frame for my 11x19 jacks tubes out of 1" .063 chromoly DOM tubing. even that material flexes quite a bit, and it has only 28" between the tubes.
These seem to be the standard dimmension tubes/pipes that are used in my research. Note the 1" will not be the main structure, mainly scout bars, footrests, bracing, etc.
cxfire said:
Best of luck with your build. I just wanted to comment on your straps. I would suggest waiting until you have your frame before ordering straps. I ended up using twos and fours to secure my standard 12'6" Legend. This allows some play with the frame depending on play or multiday and leaves enough to grab to tighten.
Thanks, and yeah- I haven't ordered yet because I'm not sure how long they'll need to be. Also, the drop bar distance hasn't been set yet, so I figure I need to get that sorted first.

Southwest Raft and Jeep said:
You had mentioned building a frame.....a great idea. I deal with the guys at Downriver Equipment (Phil, Matt, and Zack) in Denver a lot. They are very knowledgeable if you need advice.

As for the K2 cooler....let me know when you are ready. I can bring you one from Durango.
Thanks, PM me a price on the K2 70 Liter in gray to 80525 when you have a chance!
osseous said:
Custom loop straps from tuff river stuff~ 1 1/2" polyester
What are the tradeoffs between loop straps and separate straps? Is there more strap to tube contact with the loop straps? I want to minimize strap wear from rubbing.
mattchu said:
I'll try to sell you something too when I can think of something.
Hahaha
duct tape said:
Nothing wrong w fat tubes here either. Both my 12' and 15' set are oversized.36-38" b/w the tubes for my two frames (day frame and multiday)
Good to hear, and thanks for the info on your frame. Ever wish it was narrower? What length oars are you running? What is your distance between oar towers?

ob1coby said:
HOLLY CRAP! Are you telling me that you did your homework, searched and read past posts, made your decision, then posted for all of us to see?!?!

Dude your never going to fit in here.

Hey, Really quickly post a question as to whether Sotar or Aire is best so that we will all have some reconing of what is going on here.

I like the frame folder you created BTW
Haha, I've been lurking on here for a few years, and have spent way too much time on here in the past few months. Definitely some shenanigans around.

I still need to figure out where I put the other frame pics...

nnikirk said:
Great build. Check out the frames from Whitewater Machine Works too.
Thanks, I have looked at those, but I'm not a huge fan of all the couplers. I feel that they will create too many wear points on the tubes, and add unnecessary weight. I do see the benefit if you plan to fly with your tubes/frame though.

nnikirk said:
In my opinion, you are running narrow at the outside dimension. With the 60 inch sport frame, you have at most 30" of oar to the inside, unless you incorporate a feature to extend the oarlocks well beyond the outer rail. Running 66" between oarlocks and 9 foot oars, some people think they feel heavy, but are necessary to reach the water and have full sweep on 22" tubes. This also tends to put the handles in a high rowing position, so unless you are real tall... All this comes from experience on narrow frames and moving up to oversize tubes. Look forward to seeing more.
Thanks for the insight. I have definitely seen the mention of 66" between locks mentioned before, but haven't really drawn anything up yet, and was going on the guideline from Sotar that the rails should be 1" past center of the tubes. So with 34" between tubes + two half tubes (which equal one tube) = 23.5 + 2" I came up with 59.5, and rounded up to 60. Definitely need to mock up the rower position, and oar towers before I burn some metal.

riverman4utoday said:
Neill....this is very important as it can create issues!!! Make sure that your Sawyer Square-Tops do NOT have rope wrap on them and that you have them done with DYNEL SLEEVING in lieu of the rope!!!! Rope wrapped oars will NOT work with Pro-Lok systems. Give Dusty a call to make sure he has them ordered this way for you. He is more of a oarlock guy and may not be aware of this.

Personally I have not seen the Pro-loks used in a whitewater situation, but do know a few fishing guys with driftboats who use them and love them.
Thanks riverman, I received the oars friday, and they have rope wrap. I didn't realize they could be ordered without them, and was planning on following this tutorial https://youtu.be/nqTSQ4_IafA to remove the rope and install the heatshrink sleeve.

I'm hoping the Pro-Loks are everything that people have talked them up. There are some people on here who use them and haven't had any complaints... we shall see.

I still haven't heard anything from Pro-Lok... I've called and left voicemail 3 weeks in a row now to follow up with my order, and haven't heard anything yet. Not too impressed with the service of the company so far...:confused:

Anyway, my tubes showed up today, and they look great! :D No photos yet, still need to inflate the second tube. Had to rebuild this 4" DRE shorty barrel pump I found wedged underwater in the river last summer so I had something to blow air in with. That thing really is too small to be worth using every time. Decent size for to take as a top up pump, but I think we need a better inflation pump. We had a bigger barrel pump (I think that was a NRS) but it was a POS, so we left it next to the dumpsters at the Lodore takeout last summer. One man's trash is another's treasure- hopefully someone got some use out of it.
 

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Neill.....seems like an ok aftermarket fix, but use a spray spar varnish to touch up, not the stuff he was using. This is what Sawyer uses and is made for this use since it has UV inhibitors in it. Use the spar varnish to touch up your oars as needed, especially if you get into the carbon or see wear on the finish. Light sanding and clean with acetone then spray over the area.

Also, not sure that I would call it Pro-sleeve, it is heat shrink tubing. He should put instructions/disclaimer on his website advising people when they buy oars(from Sawyer) that they need to ask for dynel sleeving vs rope, then it would be done right without going through all that. Hope he calls you back, seen other posts that he is not very good at returning calls.....maybe leave a message that you want to buy something will prompt a quick call back?
 

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You can spiral the loop straps to keep them away from your tubes- And there are 1/2 as many to deal with.

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