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oxfordethan
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Discussion Starter #1
I picked up this 12 foot Riken yesterday as an early Father’s Day present. It was for sale by the original owner here locally. I felt it was too good of a deal to pass up. I think the serial number put said that being a 91 model. As y’all know there’s not a whole lot of information on the web about these boats. Will be used mainly as a paddle boat for me and the family on some pretty chill floats. Will be used mainly as a paddle boat for me and the family on some pretty chill floats. Probably nothing much over a class II. Anyhow, here’s a few pics. I picked up the boat, six paddles, hand pump, and bail bucket (lol) for $250. How did I do?
 

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Great! Looks pristine for a boat approaching 3 decades old... I wouldn't hesitate to use for Deso, RHT, etc. Keep it inflated, if possible, and make sure holds air before going anywhere overnight. Pick up an extra - or three - of those nylon valves, they can fail without warning as the nylon gets brittle over time (with or without UV exposure). (Make sure valve screw pattern matches, and pick up SS replacement screws if valve doesn't come with 'em).
Riken was successor to Campways, moved production from Japan to Korea in late 80's/early 90's. I don't remember how the Souix and the Pioneer are related, but they're similar models. Pick up a couple of smaller (2 gallon) bail buckets for the family, maybe take a 2 liter container of bleach or detergent with a handle and cut it off to make a scoop, that will enable getting the last bit of water out...
I'd also run the chicken line all the way around the stern, "just in case." And go paddle that thing!
 

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Oh wow. I would say you did good on that one.

I would get that perimeter line tightened up before taking it out, since its an entrapment hazard when it’s loose like that, and really hard to get yourself back in, when it’s that loose ( the rope just pushes straight down, and ya go no where).

That boat is hypalon, by the way. Those old Rikens tend to be really well made. Old company that is no longer in business.

Hey you been boating for a while, or just getting into it?

Good deal on a bucket boat, Congratulations!
 

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That is a high quality boat, the paddles and pump are valued at 250$ in today's market. Nice grab! Happy Father's Day.
 

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oxfordethan
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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the info and pointers. I’ll tighten the rope for sure. “Chicken line”? Are you just saying run the rope all the way around the boat? Are the valves referred to as Military Valves? I already planned on ordering more. Carry a couple of spares in a dry bag.

Original owner is 70. Said he’d had it on the river about 10 times. Had it aired up for 5 days before I came to look at it. Held air great.

This is my first raft. I started whitewater kayaking about 3 years ago. Very novice. My goal is to stay upright and get through the rapids. Lol. Keep in mind I’m in Mississippi. Better WW the further east I go. We hit the Nolichucky and and French Broad annually in our kayaks. Most of the time we float the Bear Creek in North Alabama. Couple of easy Class II rapids. I think this raft will be great for floating it. Planning on taking it the 4th.

Would love to do an overnight with my wife and girls (8&11). It’s been 15 years since my wife (then gf)and I went on an overnight river trip.
 

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Man those were good boats. But I’m a little partial to them. They were the first boats I guided when I started in ‘95. We use to run them down the Upper Gauley on private trips, which never went well.

I think Riken eventually got bought by Avon, but I’m not a 100% sure.
 

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I think Riken eventually got bought by Avon, but I’m not a 100% sure.
NRS bought them out and then let it mostly die. They still have a couple of the old Riken designs and names with the NRS spin and materials on it though.

Nice boat,BTW. My first raft was a 11’ Riken bucket boat very briefly. As others have said, if it holds air for a few days then you win at that price.

You should be able to do overnighters in it going light and backpack style. I’ve seen it done with 4 paddlers, gear piled in the center in the even smaller Hyside Mini Me. Just keep it simple.
 

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oxfordethan
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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks. I want to keep it light as you said. Going to build a simple single bay frame to hold a cooler...In an effort to protect the floor. Only question...can you go too short (bow to stern)? Could/Will is cause buckling of the sides? Is there a certain length recommended as a minimum on a 12 ft boat? TIA.
 

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Thanks for the info and pointers. I’ll tighten the rope for sure. “Chicken line”? Are you just saying run the rope all the way around the boat? Are the valves referred to as Military Valves? I already planned on ordering more. Carry a couple of spares in a dry bag.

Original owner is 70. Said he’d had it on the river about 10 times. Had it aired up for 5 days before I came to look at it. Held air great.

This is my first raft. I started whitewater kayaking about 3 years ago. Very novice. My goal is to stay upright and get through the rapids. Lol. Keep in mind I’m in Mississippi. Better WW the further east I go. We hit the Nolichucky and and French Broad annually in our kayaks. Most of the time we float the Bear Creek in North Alabama. Couple of easy Class II rapids. I think this raft will be great for floating it. Planning on taking it the 4th.

Would love to do an overnight with my wife and girls (8&11). It’s been 15 years since my wife (then gf)and I went on an overnight river trip.
Ethan, are you going to Week of Rivers? It's the entire week of the 4th. Even if you don't plan to attend WOR you should at least hook up with them for Pirates on the Tuck. Your girls will LOVE it and your new bucket boat will be the perfect vessel for the job.
 

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Careful of water in the tubes. With miltary valves it's easy to let some in, and the old Riken's don't have as burly a material on the inside of the tube as they do on the outside.

This is one of the reasons the old avons were so bomber -- just as tough both inside and out.

Suction the air out and close the valves when you deflate to store. Should have lots of life left! Great score for that price, congrats on the boat!
 

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I had a 31 year old one I just parted with after upgrading and holding on to it for no good reason. It had some pin hole leaks, but was a great boat. Yours looks to be in way better shape than the one I had.
 

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Here is some history..... In 2000, NRS purchased the assets of B & A Distributing, Portland, Oregon. Part of this acquisition included the distribution rights to the Riken brand of whitewater inflatables.

Over the next two years we worked with Riken, based in Japan, to change construction methods and standardize the manufacturing process. After considerable effort, and with the agreement of the Okamoto parent company, we moved the manufacturing of Riken rafts to our factory in Tecate, Mexico.

By that time, we’d recognized that the Riken patterns needed some changes to better blend with our work flow; so we rebuilt the patterns to computer-aided design (CAD) specifications. We also made adjustments in shape, angles and sizes to match our efficient manufacturing procedures. We introduced Pennel Orca® materials, Clifton Hypalon adhesives and new assembly processes to integrate the boats into the exacting NRS boat manufacturing standards.

The end result is that all Riken patterns are now quite literally NRS patterns, built off the original Riken products.
 

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There's someone near me selling what I think is the same boat but they want $1000 Canadian (about $750 US). The one near me is overpriced, I think but yours is a nice deal.
 

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I think you did great!

I was lucky enough to get a 1989 “Riken River Rider 15 White Water Professional” two seasons ago. It pretty much looks identical to the current NRS Otter 15. The otter is a bit stiffer, I think, but other differences are harder to find (different shade of blue?). My boat had one owner before me and it was kept in great condition. Used seldomly. It’s dang near museum quality.

I’ve rowed it on a few stretches now. The verdict: we love it. It does have its downsides. I’m sure some of you remember the nick name of “blue noodle”. That’s a real thing. The old hypalon just keeps stretching. You gotta stop inflating at some reasonable point, but the boat will still buckle in a big wave. The tube diameter could be a bit bigger. It has a self bailing floor (I beam), so that’s good. But I don’t like the old military valves. Also, the row frame is an old steel conduit custom job (professionally done, but still ...). And I don’t like pin and clip oars.

However, all in all, it’s a solid boat. Row it. Paddle crew it. It’s great. Holds air and starts conversations. What more do you want 🙂.

My father in law has an early 2000’s maravia. It’s a great boat. Bigger tubes. Very stiff when inflated. Drop stitch floor. Extremely well planted...... And that’s the problem with the Maravia vs the Riken. The maravia is heavy and sluggish, by comparison. It doesn’t roll up (the Riken can be turned into a cinnamon bun, a pretzel or a folded pancake). the maravia will punch through about any hole, however, and is very sure footed. Can hold a ton and float a ton.

So...trade offs. But the old Rikens are top notch in my book if they are still in good condition. If the price was right, I could see myself in a new NRS otter (which is basically the same boat 30 year newer).
 

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oxfordethan
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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for all of the info and encouragement.

I DIY’d a single bay frame to hold a cooler for our 4th of July float...an easy float in NW Alabama to try out the the raft. There is a portage, so that will be fun. It’ll be nice not having to pop my skirt every time I need to grab a beverage. Lol.

Made the frame to fit the larger cooler. Still playing with ideas of securing/suspending the coolers. Bought the brackets from FrontierPlay. Lashing straps came in yesterday to secure it to the boat. Used some old firehouse in an attempt to protect the boat.
 

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Yeah, cut out that entrapment hazard rat’s nest you got there and get some looped end nrs cam straps to suspend the cooler off the floor. Run another set over top. Then some loose 3-4fters through the handles if you might flip or get into more serious whitewater. Those cheap handles will probably break but worth a shot. Tighten up the width too.

https://www.nrs.com/product/1444/nr...RW6u4tNAhdoWOklvkpMfvhlu9soAc9zIaAptJEALw_wcB

With a cooler like that and looks like glued in thwarts(?), gonna have a tough time on multi days trips. If they are removable then better but rethink that cooler set up.

Good luck with it.
 

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Simple wooden frame...

Love your enthusiasm, but take that frame and throw it away in your neighbor's yard before someone gets seriously hurt or hang it in you garage on how not to build a river rafting frame. Use 2x4 or 2x6 lumber and build a simple square frame, however big you want it, paddle boat or rowing platform. Than suspend a wooden floor of plywood, matching your frame size, with straps and eye bolt's, for coolers, ammo cans etc. This frame is off Mountain Bzz, from "ofrogg" a member here.
 

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