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 Post subject: L-1 Advanced (2006)
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:54 am 
Moved from http://foldingkayaks.org/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=2242&p=15228#p15228.

kahunafan wrote:
many (not all) of the things you mentioned have been fixed in the "Advanced" version and the "new" Ladoga converted many a paddler here that had the same issues with the "old" model (including ver positive tests in major national kayak magazines where the L-1 Advanced won over e.g. the Cooper and Fujita PE 500 but not the FC Whisper, if you understand German see http://www.out-trade.de/download/KM_Test_Faltboote.pdf - one can always argue over those tests, but at least ist shows that this is no bad boat by far...).
Be aware that, as far as I know, you will/can still get the "old" model in Russia, so a newly build L-1 initially bought there might be very likely the non-advanced version (take that into account when you look at Russian sites/discussions). And prices over here in Germany are quite different as well (L-1 ~$2000, Cooper ~$2400, Kahuna ~$4500.

Russian stores may sell both old and new L-1, but Russian forums participants will tell which model/year it is, "new" or "old". If this boat is very popular in Russia (which it is not, AFAIK), there will be many reviews, comments and suggestions on the Russian web regarding "new" L-1 (introduced in 2006 or earlier, according to this magazine).

May be I misunderstood tests results in the magazine (couldn't read the whole article). There is a Price/Performance index(i.e. price divided by performance) - the lower is the score, the better (kind of "Bang for the Buck", only inversed). L-1 is relatively cheap in Germany. I wouldn't consider buying it for $US 2000 in Canada, but in Germany other boats cost much more, you're right. So L-1 scores the best "bang for the buck" at 1.9. Cooper costs more, but scores same "bang" at 1.9, which means to me that its performance is better. Wisper is so expensive that despite good performance it scores the worst "Bang for the Buck" mark - 2.9. Well, nobody says that Wisper gives you the best bang for the buck - it does give the best "bang", though.

There is also another mark - Total of all parameters, and again, the lower, the better, right?

Wisper is #1 at 1.9,
Puffin is #2 at 2.1 (I'm confused again - c'mon, this is hardly a folding kayak at all ;-) - just kidding, nice boat if you don't have to paddle longer than 2 days),
L-1 #3,
Cooper #4 (poor Cooper - boat faster than #2, same assembling time as #2, much easier to assemble than #3, capable of longer trips than #1 and #2, but testers sure know better).
Fujita F500 #5.

Regarding 2006 "new" Advanced L-1 - I don't know, honestly. Different shape of rudder blade, carrying handles in bow and stern and anodized ribs are the only new additions that I can see on the photos. I see same frame, with same tricky connectors, same spraydeck with tiny cockpit (I forgot to mention this - yes, it is very small), with lame plastic rim, placed too far aft in the boat. This is what I see and recognize. I have reasonable doubts that with this frame assembling has become much easier since the 1st model, or that it is easier than Cooper or F500.

I assume, nobody in these tests evaluated long-term durability (say, 2 weeks) and repairability. I wonder if anybody has seen those rivets on L-1. They are not "pop rivets" familiar to me. It looks more like a nail going through the frame tube, mushroomed on the other end. Has anybody tried replacing them? Well, you should, then. Doing it in field will be a lot of fun. I did it at home.
Replacing sponsons on L1... Well, you'd better forget about it. They are built-in.


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 Post subject: Re: L-1 Advanced (2006)
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 2:15 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:34 pm
Posts: 1694
Location: Southeast Michigan
For once I find myself completely in agreement with Alm ;-)

I had a Lagoda briefly, and I still recall working on it riverside with a professor of mechanical engineering who happened to be passing by. It took us quite a while to figure it out.

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Michael Edelman
FoldingKayaks.org Webmaster


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 Post subject: Re: L-1 Advanced (2006)
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:57 pm 
mje wrote:
I had a Lagoda briefly, and I still recall working on it riverside with a professor of mechanical engineering who happened to be passing by. It took us quite a while to figure it out.

Even after you've figured out what part goes where (they are not marked and not connected with bungee cords like FC), and how exactly to put it there without breaking, and done this more than once, time and efforts of assembling exceed the most difficult FC models like K1 or Klondike.

The major difference from FC is
1) With FC boats assembling time and difficulties are predictable - you merely go step by step, there are no big challenges or surprises along the way, while in L-1 something may go wrong at any time, and
2) Dissembling FC is easy, while in L-1 it can be more challenging than assembling, you never know what will go wrong, and time is unpredictable.


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 Post subject: Re: L-1 Advanced (2006)
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:01 pm 
Alm, there is a reason why I (still) like my Kahuna (or other FC models) best :D .
I never said the L1 Advanced is the best folder out there (no, it isnt - by far, at least not for me) and concerning this magazine test, I mentioned as well that one can rightly argue about the result (I was and still am as surprised as you about the result of the Puffin compared to those other boats) but building on these results and from personal feedback of several owners of this boat and seeing this boat perform on several tours, I can say it is not "a piece of junk" (as it was stated in that Blog that spiked me to spin off this discussion).

I personally find the use of velcro in a kayak used for saltwater paddling bad, but the same goes in my opinion for zippers (like in the Cooper, Nautiraids) and several systems used by Klepper and Pouch.
Still people very successfully used / use all these folders in saltwater (yes, I know of people paddling the L1-adv. in the sea without problems).

(Dis)Assembling is definitely easier with the Kahuna or Whisper (although I have seen people having mayor problems doing that as well), probably the FC K-1 is faster to assemble too. But I have seen (normal) people (including a skinny woman) assembling their L-1 faster than doing that with the FC Khatsalano S. I have not yet seen other FC folders like the Klondike over here and no Folboats (those seem to be extremely rare in Germany ) at those smaller or national folder gatherings I have attended, so I can not commend on that.
One thing that L-1 owners I talked to agree is that assembling can be a major pain in the ... if you do it wrong and do not use those "tricks" (marking the tubes, using plastic bags, right order etc.) now floating around - the manual seems to be really terrible and leaves a lot to experimentation and imagination. But I have seen that assembling a L-1 Adv. can be quite easy and without the excess need of muscles.

Concerning durability: Now several L-1 (Adv. and non-Adv) have been around here and in use a couple of years and as far as I know there where no major problems. To the contrary, some people seem to praise the ruggedness and the positive simplicity of design - but only time will tell as this is still a rather new folder (even compared to FC folders, not to mention all those Klepper-ish designs).
I know of one guy that bend one of the tubes during the initial assembly because he did it wrong and tried to use brute force, but then I know a Kahuna where the owner bend the keel tube as well during the first few assemblies (although I think this is much more unlikely to happen with the FC design).

So, yes if you have the money and what a worry free folder that you really can depend your "life" on without have to do or think a lot, in my opinion there just is no alternative to the excellent FC folders.
If you do not need that high standard and you do NOT look for using the boat only for day paddling the L-1 Adv. is in my opinion a good choice (in my personal opinion a better choice even compared to Cooper, Nautiraid Greenlander, Puffins etc.).

Alex


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 Post subject: Re: L-1 Advanced (2006)
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 8:49 pm 
Quote:
If you do not need that high standard and you do NOT look for using the boat only for day paddling the L-1 Adv. is in my opinion a good choice (in my personal opinion a better choice even compared to Cooper, Nautiraid Greenlander, Puffins etc.).

L-1 could work as a boat in permanently assembled condition, - i.e. like we use hardshells or skin-on-frame designs (but see the last paragraph). Assembling it for a day is too much pain, assembling it for a weekend is almost the same - you assemble it Saturday morning and dissemble Sunday afternoon, so again this is not the boat for a weekend. Doable, but too much trouble.

Assembling it for a 7-10 days trip - possible, but I don't feel comfortable with the boat that might "refuse" to dissemble (when you have a bus and airplane leaving in a few hours), or something breaks when you assemble it in the first day. This would ruin my vacation, and I am willing to pay a little more and be totally sure that Kahuna or Longhaul or Cooper or Fujita will not let me down.

Added later: This "let me down" requires more explanation. This goes to repairability. If you look at FC, Folbot, Klepper/Longhaul - smaller parts on frame and ribs are either very simple, or made of very hard materials. They are difficult to break, and are easy to make in field or at home, or tighten the parts together with shoelace or thin wire. (The only exception is this big plastic screw of Cooper - you can't make it at home, and I don't know what can replace it at a pinch in field - may be there is a temporary solution, I don't know. But it is not easy to break). Unfortunately, this isn't the case with L-1. Plastic locks and hinges on tubes and ribs of L-1 are complicated, you can't make them at home, not to mention in field. Rivets that they are attached with, are difficult to remove. On the 1st L-1 plastic parts were made of soft and fragile material. I've heard that material is better now, but they are still complicated - you can't make them. And you can't use a shoelace or wire, because L-1 frame is under tremendous tension. Consequently, under this tension, even with better plastic these parts will fail, it's just a matter of time - one wrong move in assembling, one not absolutely correct positioning of the part or one forgotten "trick", - and it fails. You can't maintain maximum level of alertness at all times, this is impossible and unnatural, and defeats the very purpose of vacation trip for me.

Re: aluminum tubes. Breaking aluminum tubes of L-1 is hardly possible, bending them is difficult, but there are many other parts in L-1 that can (and do) break.

Re: use of Velcro on deck (spraydeck).
It is not same Velcro closure as on Cooper. The difference is that on Cooper it works, while on L-1 it doesn't. Cooper has zipper and deck stringer along this Velcro, so if you press it inwards or outwards, nothing happens. In L-1 when you load the gear and some drybag is slightly bigger than it should be (as it often happens), you shove the bag in, it's pressing outwards against the spraydeck and Velcro opens. Same easily it will open when pressure is from the outside, - for example under heavy waves.

On Klepper/Longhaul or Puffin Velcro closure has a different role - it is either short strip on sprayskirt funnel (Longahul), or the closure is vertical, i.e. shear stress, and it is in contact with hard coaming (Klepper and Puffin), very difficult to open by inward or outward pressure against the deck.

Re: assembling time. I believe that somebody can assemble L-1 same fast as Khatsalano. Khats is the slowest FC single kayak to assemble (I forgot about it when wrote that K1 takes the longest), and assembling takes longer than K-1. But I don't believe that an average person can do it with L-1 repeatedly that fast, and I am sure that with L-1 frame there often will be something that will make assembling and dissembling much longer. Marking parts - I've done this - it doesn't help much, there are too many of them. And it's difficult to follow same order, as you have to keep too much in memory (and you're right, the Manual doesn't suggest any certain order, and I can tell even more - there is no certain order, many steps can be done differently by different people). Tricks like grocery bags on the ends of the frame - OK, I will not be laughing, will just say that you might forget this bag at home some time (or forget to put it on). When so much is left to user's skills, attention and creativity, it becomes tiresome (and I can't stop asking myself why I paid these money at all when I have to re-invent so much in this boat).

I don't think that Puffin belongs to this lineup. We shouldn't compare it to multiday singles, because it is not one of them. it is good in other situations, but it is not the boat in same class with Cooper, F500, Kahuna or L-1. I am surprised that the above review/rating included Puffin - this doesn't make sense.

re: "high standards". I am not sure what you mean by that. Aluminum tubes of L-1 are thick, skin is tough. It is not that I'm worrying about the seat not soft enough or the deck lacking tie-downs for soda bottle or a fishing rod holder. Yes, it is a little upsetting when footrest is sliding back and forth, so you can't have any support when paddling. Or when you lose spare paddle or pump or whatever you've put under the deck bungees because the deck is loose (no deck stringer) and bungees don't work. This is alright, I can live with it. It is just that L-1 has so many deficiencies in practically any area, that together it amounts to very limited options of use, reliability and enjoyment.


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 Post subject: Re: L-1 Advanced
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 4:51 pm 
Alex,

this old L-1 you owned must have annoyed you a lot - mighty bad feelings even to this day :mrgreen: ...

You make a strong point of repairability:
At least I can not repair my Kahuna (other than doing temporary field repairs with duct tape), I am not even able to get a replacement rivet of the same quality FC uses or HDPE (I am sure there are sources somewhere here but those things are not readily available) and neither do I have the right tools, machines, room or skill. So I can not comment on one boat being more complicated to repair than the other.
And keep in mind, I am not talking about "expedition" boats (one of the things that I meant with "high standards") either.
As well you claim that L-1 (even the advanced version with "better plastic parts") "will fail, its just a matter of time" - might be (the case with all boats), but as I mentioned I know of people owning & using their L-1s quite some time now without problems, so this is a better indicator of sturdiness for me than just assuming this will/might happen...

Strange as well that you claim the velcro on L-1 does not work, strange because I now several people and it works well enough for them (no Velcro opening due to to big drybags or when typical waves hit etc. as you state).

Assembling/disassembling: You make it sound that assembling the L-1 is a mixture of rocket science & forced labor... I know enough people owning the L-1 who say this is not the case (and remember I do not claim this is an easy boat to assemble/disassemble - definitely not a boat you want to assemble just for a day). But I will take a closer look at our next big folder meeting end of September at some of those people when they assemble and disassemble their L-1 Advanced.

Cheers,
Alex

P.S.: As I already stated, I neither own a L-1 or have any special interest in advocating this boat. As well I feel no "need" to change you personal feelings about this. My intention was/is solely to help others by giving people another option looking at an increasingly popular boat here in Europe (must have some reasons why this is so). But if we two are the only ones that are involved / interested in this thread we can stop or continue with private messages - otherwise it is just wasted energy.


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 Post subject: Re: L-1 Advanced (2006)
PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 10:02 pm 
faltbootemeister

Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:37 am
Posts: 145
Location: Vancouver BC
I for one have really enjoyed reading all your thoughts and opinions on the L-1, so thanks very much guys. I now know all the secrets of my mystery boat :D

One thing is for certain, if it inspires that much frustration in its owners I'll bet I could find one super cheap used!


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 Post subject: Re: L-1 Advanced (2006)
PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2008 5:29 am 
paddlesheep wrote:
I for one have really enjoyed reading all your thoughts and opinions on the L-1, so thanks very much guys. I now know all the secrets of my mystery boat

Oh, I'm sure this is not the end of its "secrets". I wouldn't be surprised, for example, to find that tubes (in addition to hardware) are also metric. Which means - you would have to order them from Russia when you damage or loose some (there are 4 or 6 small pieces, few inches long, as I recall - easy to lose, and there is always a possibility to bend longer tubes). Finding metric tubes in Vancouver metal shops - I doubt.

Quote:
if it inspires that much frustration in its owners I'll bet I could find one super cheap used!

Well, it inspires frustration mostly in North American owners, - and they are few and far between, for some reason. I guess, because most of kayakers here are "financial masochists" - they love spending $4000 on something like FC, but spending several times less on a good boat like L-1 isn't their kind of fun :-). $450 in Craigs was perhaps as low as you could find here. Chances are, this one was either "old" model bought new for the same $450 few years ago, and/or with so many original flaws or damages acquired over 1-2 seasons of use, that you'd get something close to what I had before I fixed everything for re-sale; such a find wouldn't be worth buying. Due to weird economical and political climate they have incredible inflation rate in Russia, and new L-1 costs $800-900, so even in Russia nobody would sell a used one for, say, $100.

Kahunafan - I thought that true wilderness was to be found here in "colonies", but looks like it's shifted to Europe now. HDPE or Lexan pieces can be bought in woodworking and hardware stores here in Vancouver. Even exotics like Delrin wasn't a problem to buy, though I needed unusually big size and had to mail-order it from another city (not for boat repair - Delrin parts on Feathercrafts are small, such pieces are easy to find or replace with HDPE, and none of them failed yet, but I had to make some Balogh sail parts). Stainless rivets - don't remember, I think they are not sold in regular hardware stores, but can be mail-ordered. Only once I had to replace rivet on Feathercraft, and used a cheap aluminum one. Removing failed rivet on FC in field is easy (temporary replacing with screw or wire, as nobody carries rivet tool in wilderness trip) . On L-1 it is not easy even at home. What "right tools, machines, room"? You're scaring me :-) ... I don't have anything more sophisticated than electrical drill and few manual tools in my condo, or as they call it in UK, "flat".

Quote:
you claim that L-1 (even the advanced version with "better plastic parts") "will fail, its just a matter of time" - might be (the case with all boats)

No, not the case with all boats. Look at those plastic parts on L-1. They are thin-walled, with small pieces that have to carry high stresses. Feathercraft or Folbot don't have anything similar. In Klepper small/thin fixtures are made of aluminum (stainless steel in Longhaul), and wooden frames have so much redundancy and so little tension that importance of a given single part is minimal.


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 Post subject: Re: L-1 Advanced (2006)
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2008 4:37 am 
Quote:
Kahunafan - I thought that true wilderness was to be found here in "colonies", but looks like it's shifted to Europe now.

Yeah I felt that way a couple of times, especially as I have a weakness for NA products (why is it that you always crave for things that are hard to get by :wink: ). Strangely everyone is talking about global markets but in some areas it is still a long way to go (like trying to "free" my ordered Hennessy Hammock from German customs :|).
But I guess you guys experience the same as well with boats / gear from Europe...
And some things seem to be very different, like the things you can get in hardware stores in North America and here in Germany - e.g. good look over here in trying to find a good piece of wood (and I am not even talking about the price of wood) - I am still looking in vain since almost 2 years for that red cedar or redwood two-by-for. You could get most things here as well, but you usually need to now a craftsman and convince him to sell you a single piece...

Quote:
What "right tools, machines, room"? You're scaring me :-) ... I don't have anything more sophisticated than electrical drill and few manual tools in my condo, or as they call it in UK, "flat".

I live in a condo as well and my family will tell me something if I "occupy" the living room with the boat parts and start drilling out loose rivets of my Kahuna (but then at least one rivet definitely has to be replaced or I will loose that connected Delrin piece). And I would like to add some holes in the tubing of my kayak cart, but doing it straight and right just with the drill in my hands is just not working.

The next weekend I will look at the plastic parts and rivets that they use now with that current version of the L-1 Advanced, just because nothing happened with those L-1 owners I know of does not mean that something wont fail systematically in a couple of years. Even the L-1 costs enough that it should be usable in normal routine for at least, lets say, 10 years.

Alex


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 Post subject: Re: L-1 Advanced (2006)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:02 am 
Follow up:
Last weekend I had the chance to take a look again in detail at a L-1 Advanced.
This was not a new one but is already in use since 4 years, so it was good to see whether and where things might have been troublesome.
The only mild complaint the user had with his L-1 Adv. was that in his model the Velcro strip was sewn onto the skin without sealing the seam on the inside, but as far as he knew newer models do not have that problem anymore (but I have no confirmation on this), so if he is paddling with waves constantly washing over the boat he is getting some water into his boat, but nothing serious, as he claims.
I looked at the different plastic pieces, tubes and rivets and they looked to be still in nearly perfect condition, no corrosion etc. that I could see. As well the plastic coaming is quite sturdy and the custom spray skirt used had a good grip, extreme edging (water-level came up / over the skirt) was working well enough (We did not try to roll though, as those channels where quite shallow). I made some pictures using the macro mode of my camera, but will only be able to retrieve and post them next weekend.

Btw. right next to the L-1 Adv. a Pakboat Puffin was build and although, yes, this was an easier and faster assembly (however that owner had quite some trouble with the ends of the bow and gunwales popping out of the skin while assembling) the used materials (Velcro, plastic, tubes etc.) of the L-1 Adv. seemed at least equal. Of course the L-1 Adv. is a much longer, sleeker and stiffer boat - much more serious looking in my personal opinion.

Alex


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