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 Post subject: Re: Posting a review
PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:52 am 
Perhaps it would be worth creating a new thread for Traks in the "kayaks" section?

[deleted]

Re the bag - I thought it was a silly idea, but in fact it's great. Very well made, with lots of pockets and stripes, it weights 2, maaaybe 3 kgs, can be rolled and put into the boat. The wheels are bigger than I expected. I'm sure I will be using it regularly. Yes, it the set can be carried if necessary, the boat, the bag and all accessories shouldn't wait more than 25kgs max.
I won't comment comparing a 5m Trak to a 3m Citibot.

Just a short review (perhaps to be copied later to the dedicated thread) for any potential customers (good luck Sailor!)

I have tried both, Trak and Wisper.
I know how inflatables and hardshells behave but the above were the first folders I had a chance to sit in, touch and compare.
I thought the Trak would be more flimsy, but it actually exceeded my expectations. I think I know where the main difference in weight between these two is. Trak has thicker frame tubes, thicker ribs and the same material on the deck as it has on the hull. It doesn’t try to achieve the feather weight and its use of materials is perhaps even excessive, but I don't mind at all because you can really tell that durability is the priority here (maybe it is so in K1 too, which weights approximately the same, 1.5kg more, but with the rudder installed). I also imagine that the very comfy, padded plastic seat must be slightly heavier, also the rear “zipper” (although this is not the most appropriate word to call it) is made of a piece of aluminium (I had read about leaking and braking zippers and was a bit prejudiced, but this design is sturdy as hell and certainly watertight). Also the metal pistons probably will make the balance.


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 Post subject: Re: Posting a review
PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:53 am 
Wisper was lovely. The fabric seems to be soft, and rubbery with no visible texture. Trak’s shell is smooth, but somewhat different, more shiny, it feels very tough. I didn’t try to stab it with scissors or drag on broken glass (and Mary wouldn’t be too happy if I tried to do it with her boat I’m sure) so I don’t know which hull would give up first in very extreme conditions, but both seem to be durable enough for me.
Trak seems to be very very responsive on water. The initial stability is not exaggerated and reacts very well to all hip reactions. The hull is not flat, more v-shape (you can’t really put it straight on the ground, it’s always resting on its left or right side) and has no sponsons. I wouldn’t say it’s wobbly, but this is my personal opinion. I have a more tippy boat at the moment. It accelerates fast, reacts to the stroke instantly and after initiating the lean the secondary stability makes it feel very secure. I didn’t have the spray skirt, so managed to lean it up to the cockpit point, but it felt it could do more. Sculling must be easy. The resistance grows gradually. Thigh braces work very well. It turns MUCH better with the rocker up. I wasn’t sure about the levers (very similar to constructions used in sailing in masts for instance), but I honestly had to “rethink” my opinion. Combined with thick tubes they provide excellent stiffness and are easy to use. Lifting it to the full up position takes 5-6 short pumps (2-3 seconds) and it changes the characteristics a lot. It will be helpful not only while surfing but also on narrow rivers and canals where manoeuvrability is important. I didn’t test the side pistons, it was pointless on a narrow canal, but again, changing the boat into a banana takes 2-3 seconds and I am sure it will be brilliant in open water and constant wind conditions. On the river it didn’t seem to need any tracking devices, it glides very straight.
The characteristics of two boats are different. Wisper is very stable and feels secure. Trak is more responsive and quick. Wisper always says “steady, take it easy”. If it was my first time on the water I would feel more secure in Wisper.
In terms of quality and attention to details it would be hard for me to find the winner. They both seemed to be excellent, couldn’t find any imperfections. After all what I’d read about Feathercrafts I thought the Wisper would be a class or two better than anything else on the river and would glow at least but it didn’t and I couldn’t find out where it would be any superior. I preferred some Traks solutions though. The ribs are flatter and they do not enter the cockpit, as they do in Wisper. The coaming is made of thick and hard plastic and has adjustable braces screwed into it, so again there are no bracing bars limiting the cockpit. There are no sponsons (but the tush doesn’t slide from left to right either) and it really feels surprisingly close to a hardshell kayak, very swift and emptier in the cockpit. Although the beam and the cockpit are narrower on paper, it also seems to be roomier. Once I managed to get in it felt very cosy in the Wisper, with the inflatable sponsons, thigh bars, and the cockpit with the high ribs inside, it was like a soft armchair. I fitted in very well. Both designs have their pros and cons of course, but I liked the Wisper’s comfort. Not as soft in the Trak but one thing was particularly outstanding – padded and stiff, not inflatable, back rest. In Wisper it leans against the back rib and I found I wanted to sit more straight. In Trak the back rest can be leaned against the back rib, but also has two ropes which slide into stoppers (brilliantly easy to use and effective) in the cockpit rim and it’s fully adjustable, can be tilted back and forward and gives great support. Perhaps in Wisper it’s possible to move the seat bottom backwards a bit and this way increase the angle, I’m not sure.
From the girly point of view they both look brilliant.
I have contacted both customer supports and asked them fussy questions. Both excellent, are very responsive and helpful.


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 Post subject: Re: Posting a review
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:30 am 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 9:02 pm
Posts: 1035
Location: Astoria, OR
adi,

Your summary of your experiences in the Wisper and the Trak is useful. Perhaps others might also want to check out the thread "Trak 1600," which was posted here a while back, for added information.

Earlier I asked if Trak was still in business and I don't think that has been answered, although sailtotrail is apparently a sales rep.

Anybody know? If they are in business, how does one contact them directly?

_________________
Dave Kruger
Astoria, OR
--
Folbot Kodiak, Cooper, and Edisto; three hardshells; Mothership: Surf Scoter the Bartender; dinghy Little Blue Duck.


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 Post subject: Re: Posting a review
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:35 am 
They have a contact page with phone number and mailing address.

Why are we speculating as to whether they're in business or not? What reason have we for suspecting they are not? Assuming they are still in business, it seems unfair to suggest otherwise.


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 Post subject: Re: Posting a review
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:47 pm 
faltbootemeister

Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2006 3:00 pm
Posts: 139
Nohoval
You are correct of course. However, the sudden price reduction and additional sales outlets may have led some to question whether this is a sell of the existing inventory.

_________________
BernieM
Folbot Cooper, Pakboat Sport, Innova Sunny, Epic GPX, Oru Kayak, Wike Bicycle Trailer


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 Post subject: Re: Posting a review
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:00 pm 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 9:02 pm
Posts: 1035
Location: Astoria, OR
Nohoval,

The concern is not for you or me, but for newcomers to the folding boat scene, who aare considering investing in a boat. A new boat with no warranty or manufacturer to back up the boat is a compromised entity, and if the company is indeed on the rocks, as second hand information suggests, a newbie could get burned.

Other manufacturers with a long history and a good track record deserve support if they continue that support.

If a critical part quits for a boat no longer manufactured, whose manufacturer is not to be found, you are really out of luck.

It is relevant to question a company's existence.

_________________
Dave Kruger
Astoria, OR
--
Folbot Kodiak, Cooper, and Edisto; three hardshells; Mothership: Surf Scoter the Bartender; dinghy Little Blue Duck.


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 Post subject: Re: Posting a review
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:36 pm 
Quote:
...and if the company is indeed on the rocks, as second hand information suggests...

I had a look back through the thread and it looks to me like we started questioning the company's existence with this (perfectly reasonable) post by Tsunamichuck:
Quote:
Please post a review. Is the company even still viable?

While it's reasonable to ask if such a new company can prosper with a luxury product in these times, unless you have "second hand information" other than what's in this thread, we're just speculating. I don't mean to sound snarky. If I was thinking of getting a Trak, I would be asking myself the same question. And shaving $2000 off the price while moving away from direct sales does look strange. But the company's reputation is worth something too.


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 Post subject: Re: Posting a review
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:47 pm 
Nothing indicates that Trak is closing down the business. They have just entered the UK market and it seems they are doing pretty all right here and have a dedicated dealer. I read posts on their twitter and facebook sites and they announced the above less than two months ago. So far they have sold 8 boats in the UK (I talked to the sales person). Also nothing indicates that they sell out the current stock. I admit, I bought one and I was told it will take approximately 3 weeks for Trak to manufacture and deliver it to me. They have also made modifications to the existing gear (the bag for instance).
I think the reduction in price is just reasonable and necessary, especially when they are new and building up a market and don't have multi year reputation as their main competitor from the western coast who was selling comparable/better boats for less. It's an amazing kayak, seriously, but would I the initial $5500 or more for it? Never ever.


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 Post subject: Re: Posting a review
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:54 pm 
Sorry, I don't seem to be able to edit the posts.
Would I PAY is the missing word in the last line.
And you can contact them directly via their website. In fact I have contacted Nolin (Trak's CEO) on several occasions and he's always been very helpful and responsive, highly recommendable. He's also very open to new suggestions in terms of construction and design and willing to discuss and explain.
In terms of buying one they will probably send you to one of their dealers.
I hope this helps.
If the new thread arises (and my kayak arrives, late March I think), I am more than happy to provide good quality photographs and answer more questions, if there are any.


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 Post subject: Re: Posting a review
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:02 pm 
faltbootemeister

Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2006 3:00 pm
Posts: 139
Did you find it awkward to reach under and adjust the pistons while in the water? When you set up the kayak, are the pistons automatically adjusted for straight tracking or do you have to adjust them on the water?

Also - what modifications have been made to the bag and are there any other mods that you know about?

Nice to have someone who actually paddled one to ask.

Bernie

_________________
BernieM
Folbot Cooper, Pakboat Sport, Innova Sunny, Epic GPX, Oru Kayak, Wike Bicycle Trailer


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 Post subject: Re: Posting a review
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:01 am 
adi2410355 wrote:
Perhaps it would be worth creating a new thread for Traks in the "kayaks" section?

Perhaps, if it grows out of "Other kayaks" section. This is up to Moderator, anyway. I mean, if usage of Trak grows - not the particular topic :-) . Sometimes some topics on forums grow for no reason.

Quote:
Alex, you haven't seen the boat, but seem to know everything about it already in a very conservative way.

No, I haven't seen it.
No, I don't know much about it, except for the specs and that little info that has become available. This is why I'm asking questions and trying to think (my apologies).

I do, however, know a few other kayaks.
I know how 60 lbs long bag feels on shoulders.
I know how 50 lbs 17 ft long assembled kayak feels and how to deal with this in different situations.
I know how much time and work it takes for apartment dweller (flat in UK) from the bag in closet to open trunk near water to dipping paddles in water, on top of assembling time and not including post-trip chores.
I know what it means to load and unload a folder for an overnight trip or multiday trip, and what features are important for that.
I know what kind of wear and damage I can expect from non-metal or non-composite hulls in different situations, and how to deal with this and what features of the boat might be useful in this regards.
Again, my apologies if all this has nothing to do with Trak.

Quote:
Let me paraphrase: "K1 is for DIY amateurs who indulge themselves in long setting it up". Do you know what I mean?

No, I don't, and I wonder whether you do. Paraphrasing won't do much good, so let me explain: "K1 is a for amateurs or professionals who need a high-volume rugged boat for paddling or sailing with relatively small packed size and weight for either multiday trips or when one can keep it assembled for daytrips through the season". Here in North America people often keep their folders assembled,- not to say that I see much sense in doing so when hardsehll can be used, but this is a fact of life.

Quote:
It all looks like going to a forum for Land Rover users and posting "so what, my Toyota Land Cruiser is better".

Without "so what", K1 is just a better expedition boat than Trak, IMO, based on my experience with K1 and everything I've heard so far about Trak. Don't know about Land Rovers.

Quote:
Re the bag - I thought it was a silly idea, but in fact it's great. Very well made, with lots of pockets and stripes, it weights 2, maaaybe 3 kgs,

From Trak specs and owners reports: packed weight 63 lbs, boat weight 48 lbs. 63-48=15 lbs or 6.8 kg.

Quote:
I won't comment comparing a 5m Trak to a 3m Citibot.

The reason I mentioned Citibot earlier was - small, light, compact, easily assembled boat for sheltered rivers or lakes. In this application it can be compared to Trak, though I probably shouldn't have. I do recall that I mentioned inferior performance of Citibot - may be this somehow escaped your attention.

Quote:
I have tried both, Trak and Wisper...

Finally, we're getting somewhere. Close size, close applications, daytrip or short touring boats.


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 Post subject: Re: Posting a review
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:24 am 
Bernie:
I only played with the bottom piston. It’s easy to reach and doesn’t require too much pumps. Adjustments don’t cause any strange/worrying reactions, nothing awkward there (the only strange thing is that you can see how the bow rises - by the way what I like is the fact the the first two pumps raise the bow only, all the rest raises both ends), I’m not sure if that explains. The pistons (it’s some kind of oil they pump) have a little ball valve, so you can close it if you want to pump up pressure or open it to release tension. Therefore if you set up the kayak I presume you normally close the valve, pump up to make sure the construction is stiff and the piston-tubes sit in the way they should and you can open all valves full to “reset” them all (to level both sides). Then adjusting is simple because one pump gives the same amount of pressure. Releasing is non-gradual, so it might be tricky to level the sides this way, but because it's fluent it's very precise.
Modifications have been made to the bag. I had heard it weighted 6-7 kilograms and it occurred it was 2-3 the most. It's much more flyable this way (it would still exceed 20kgs, so I think I will be carrying the pistons and cross ribs in the second bag/hand luggage). There top is all soft and there are two stiffening (lightweight and rather elastic) plates in the back. You can remove them, but even with them it’s possible to roll the bag and fit it inside the boat. I’ve tried. Only the bottom part is stiff. The wheels are bigger than I thought and I found the bag quite capable, nice surprise. It’s well made and designed, even the handle is covered with neoprene.
I think they're planning to release a new colour (black) next year.
Nolin, Trak's CEO says that basing on their tester kayakers' and customers' comments they had no intention of making a skeg available, but it's possible if there is demand.
These are the only modifications I'm aware of.


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 Post subject: Re: Posting a review
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:36 am 
Alex, please accept my apologies. My caustic analogy was to show that your thesis about Traks being suitable only for people who want to play with the rocker is as true as the one about K1 being good for DIY hobbyists only. If you look above you will see I have never doubted in expedition capabilities of K1 and of course thanks to the front hatch and higher volume (and perhaps some other specifications, I don’t know) it is superior in this area. I have always thought that Wisper is the most similar and comparable boat to Trak in the FC fleet, although, as it occurred (special thanks to Mary in Oxford), different in character. If I knew I would be paddling multi day voyages very often, I would have bought more specialised kayak (K1), but as I said, I must assembly and dismantle the kayak often and for daily paddling and weekend trips Traks are superb and what’s important they don’t require making compromises on speed, handling, sea worthiness etc. and are very versatile thanks to the adjustable rocker. They are also capable of 7-10 expeditions too, I am sure. They’re sturdy, fast, handle well and the only con I can see is the lack of the front hatch. However, its price to quality and versatility ratio is so attractive that I am happy to use a long, tapered drybag with a rope attached when I have to. Carrying one shouldn’t be a problem either. Ready to go Trak weights 22kgs and is comparable or even lighter than 16’ composite boats and I know I’ll be all right with a few hundred yards of portage if necessary. I also know I won’t have to carry it on my shoulders because I can use the lightweight (perhaps their website needs updating) bag with reasonably large wheels. Nevertheless, in a very demanding terrain I’ll manage to carry these 25kgs too with no complaints because if I could choose between a lighter boat, but made of thinner, more flimsy materials and the current one, I wouldn’t hesitate.
I’m glad we’re getting there and understand each other better. Never too many discussions in a successful relationship :wink:
Just to summarise how I see that: Feathercraft Kahuna/Wisper is better if you have to carry it for longer distances (because for some reasons you can’t use the wheels which come with Trak), Trak is better if you are not so fussed with saving 5-6kg and are more fussed with saving £900 (in the UK). K1 is much better if you want to travel long expeditions often, Trak is better if you are not fussed with no front hatch and are not planning to circumnavigate Iceland, but fussed with saving £2000 and 20-25 minutes on every assembly time.
In terms of quality and design it has nothing to be ashamed of, quite contrary, honestly.


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 Post subject: Re: Posting a review
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:46 pm 
adi2410355 wrote:
I’m glad we’re getting there and understand each other better. Never too many discussions...

We shouldn't be here at all, to begin with. Did anybody notice that discussion took place in Suggestions section of the forum? It was meant for suggestions to moderators of the forum.

Moved to http://foldingkayaks.org/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=3195&p=19934#p19934


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 Post subject: Re: Posting a review
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:12 am 
I, too, would like very much to read your review and have some photos to look at showing the boat in various stages of assembly, showing the pistons, showing wear to the hull after use, and so forth.


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