Aleut, Kodiak, and Edisto have been Discontinued.

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Apathizer
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Aleut, Kodiak, and Edisto have been Discontinued.

Post by Apathizer »

Yesterday I received an email from Folbot (posted below) stating that 3 models have been discontinued: Aleut, Kodiak, and Edisto. Supposedly this is part of an effort to "streamline" the manufacturing process, but when a company does this there's almost always another underlining financial motive: Though this is pure speculation, it's oft an indication of financial troubles.

There was also a change of management/ownership at Folbot a few months ago; something the company hasn't exactly publicized. Change of management/ownership + streamlining usually = financial issues. We'll see...


Dear friends of Folbot,

You may have noticed the Folbot website has an updated and reduced lineup of kayak models. In an effort to streamline our manufacturing operations we have decided to discontinue the Aleut, Kodiak and Edisto models. We will continue to offer the Cooper, Greenland II, Gremlin, Citibot, Kiawah and Yukon on our website.

If you always wanted one of the discontinued models but were waiting on purchasing yours we will work with you to get you on the water. Call us at (800) 533-5099 to order discontinued models but we will not guarantee delivery before March 2013.

As always, thank you for your business and support and...



... happy paddling!

Jake
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Re: Aleut, Kodiak, and Edisto have been Discontinued.

Post by Jake »

Hard to know if Folbot is in fiscal trouble. Could be that the models they are dropping just don't have enough of a market to bother with the parts and patterns and such that are needed to produce just a few each year. Former Folbot prez, David AvRutick, has left for some new challenge somewhere. I talked with David last year about modifying the short, very beamy Citibot by simply stretching it to 12 feet and slimming It down to 26 inches or a little less and keeping the weight under 30#. The boat that came out of this is the Gremlin, 12foot long but still has the same fat beam as the Citibot.. I'm surprised that they didn't drop the Citibot in favor of the longer Gremlin. Still, Folbot has a reputation for customer service that is without peer, even better than Feathercraft and that's saying something.

mje
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Re: Aleut, Kodiak, and Edisto have been Discontinued.

Post by mje »

Given the strength of Folbot overall, I suspect this is more a matter of converting the line over to the new style of construction seen in the Citibot, Gremlin, Kiawah and Cooper. It does have a lot of advantages in speed of assembly, strength/weight ratio, and probably cost of production as well. The screw tensioning system probably also allows slightly looser tolerances in sewing up the skin, and in the dimensional stability of the material.
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Jake
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Re: Aleut, Kodiak, and Edisto have been Discontinued.

Post by Jake »

Folbot probably offers more value for price than any bag boat manufacturer anywhere. They are made in this country which makes shipping very easy and, the best thing, you can use your boat for 30 days and, if it's not to your liking, you can put it back in it's box and send it back to Folbot for a full refund. If they had made the Gremlin with a reasonable beam rather than 34 inches, I would own one right now. As it is I bought an older K-Light just to see how I like folders and even a second hand K-Light is a pretty nice little boat (or will be once the skin stretches and I can put it together without using so much salty language). And,from what I hear, Folbots are easier to assemble and require almost no cursing to get the job done.

berniem
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Re: Aleut, Kodiak, and Edisto have been Discontinued.

Post by berniem »

The Kiawah is only a little more than 1 foot longer than Gremlin with 24 inch beam so that a narrow Gremlin might have been too similar.
BernieM
Folbot Cooper, Pakboat Sport, Innova Sunny, Epic GPX, Oru Kayak, Wike Bicycle Trailer

CanvasClipper

Re: Aleut, Kodiak, and Edisto have been Discontinued.

Post by CanvasClipper »

Jake wrote:even a second hand K-Light is a pretty nice little boat (or will be once the skin stretches and I can put it together without using so much salty language).
:lol:
Jake wrote:And,from what I hear, Folbots are easier to assemble and require almost no cursing to get the job done.
Yeerrrrrsss .... Well. Maybe. Not the first couple of times. Add points when the inevitable crowd of slack-jawed onlookers has gathered to watch you fail. Nothing like an old timer pointing out that "That tab over there has come out of the key-hole thingy" as you are busy slotting the crosspieces into the longerons. Oh, yeah, love that moment ....

Or when you zip up the hull and the zip doesn't run along the top longeron deck piece like it should. Which means the frame is sitting skew in the hull. Which means unzipping, and reseating the two halves in the hull. :oops: Add 20 minutes and sundry muttered comments from the onlookers that "this guy doesn't know what he's doing".

Meanwhile a hundred hardshell paddlers have launched, done a lap of the lake and are popping the tabs on their Cokes as they watch you from the water ...

But when it comes time to take it apart and put it in the back of my two-door hatchback while nearby grown men wimper as they boost their boats onto roofracks and dither around with tiedowns ... Ja. Gotacha!

Apathizer
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Re: Aleut, Kodiak, and Edisto have been Discontinued.

Post by Apathizer »

I'm on Folbot's email list, and have received a few emails lately that make me even more dubious of the companies future. The latest one stated that the company had a few demo boats they were selling for 15-20% off: Instead of listing the kayaks directly on the web-site, you had to call the company. Basically, it seemed like they were trying to pressure-sell their boats. The second offered a $40 or $50 (can't remember which) tour of the factory; the tour fee can be applied to buying a new kayak. This seems a bit desperate to me - I mean how many people are actually going to travel all the way to S Carolina and spend $40 or $50 just to tour the facility?

With their recent change of management/ownership, reduction of models, and these seemingly pleading emails, I'm skeptical about Folbot's future. I hope I'm wrong, but I think Folbot will fold it's tent in about two years or so.
Pakboats Quest 155.

'I actually read the Bible quite frequently. Can I tell you why? I stay in a lot of hotels. And I like to scare my kids before bed.' Jon Stewart

paddlesheep
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Re: Aleut, Kodiak, and Edisto have been Discontinued.

Post by paddlesheep »

I've seen those emails too, and was curious as to why their demo/seconds boats aren't on the website. I don't see anything nefarious about their factory tours though. I'm not going to drive across the country to demo a boat, but for people in the area I think it's a decent option.

I do think they are trying to cut costs/corners whereever they can. For example, the wilderness repair kit I just got, they've stopped including the speedy stitcher and just throw in a needle and waxed thread. And the roll of duct tape included is dollar store quality. I replaced it immediately.

Wondering though if I made the right choice in selecting their new elvaloy hull material instead of the tried and true hypalon for my new Cooper. Time will tell I guess.

Apathizer
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Re: Aleut, Kodiak, and Edisto have been Discontinued.

Post by Apathizer »

paddlesheep wrote:I do think they are trying to cut costs/corners whereever they can. For example, the wilderness repair kit I just got, they've stopped including the speedy stitcher and just throw in a needle and waxed thread. And the roll of duct tape included is dollar store quality. I replaced it immediately.
That's the kind of thing I'm talking about. I want to be clear that I don't have any special info/insight of Folbot's finances. It just seems to me that there are several indicators that the company might be in trouble.

Discontinuing 3 models is especially dubious: The only financial incentives I can think of to do this would be if they were making little or no profit, or even losing money on these models. Even if these models were only generating a modest profit, it would still be worthwhile for them to keep manufacturing them.

The unpublicized change of management/ownership is also a bad sign, but it's a little more ambiguous: Often when a company changes owners/management, new management makes changes. Who knows if the previous owners left just because they wanted to do something else, or because the business was having difficulty.

Collectively, these are signs that Folbot might be in some fiancial trouble. If I were looking for a new yak, and, I hate to say this, I'd be hesistant to buy from Folbot for that reason.

berniem
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Re: Aleut, Kodiak, and Edisto have been Discontinued.

Post by berniem »

Although Folbot discontinued three models recently, they introduced two new models in the past few years - the Citibot and the Gremlin. Now they have two models in each of the categories: recreational, day touring and expedition. Sounds reasonable to me.
BernieM
Folbot Cooper, Pakboat Sport, Innova Sunny, Epic GPX, Oru Kayak, Wike Bicycle Trailer

john allsop
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Re: Aleut, Kodiak, and Edisto have been Discontinued.

Post by john allsop »

FOLBOT make good kayaks which will give good service to buyers. There is no reason not to buy one, even if a model gets discontinued it will serve well for many, many years and us folder people have the ability to repair or make any part that is required if it were not available and how often are replacement parts needed if a little care is exercised. The boats made by FOLBOT could be the best value for money available.

mje
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Re: Aleut, Kodiak, and Edisto have been Discontinued.

Post by mje »

Folbot has been shifting all its models over to a new design that is lighter, packs easier, and is less costly. The elimination of the older designs has been expected for a long time.
Michael Edelman
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Apathizer
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Re: Aleut, Kodiak, and Edisto have been Discontinued.

Post by Apathizer »

berniem wrote:Although Folbot discontinued three models recently, they introduced two new models in the past few years - the Citibot and the Gremlin. Now they have two models in each of the categories: recreational, day touring and expedition. Sounds reasonable to me.
I'd really like to see Folbot develop a boat that's sort of a cross between the Cooper and the Kodiak: Something similar to the Cooper, but with a bit more storage capacity. You wouldn't guess this from the length, but the Cooper is a pretty low-volume boat. With the float bags, there's not really enough space for much more than a weekend trip.

If they developed a yak similar to the Cooper, but with a little more volume I'd consider getting one. As it is, I'm keeping my eye out for a used Trak T-1600: They typically sell for about the same price as a new Cooper, and a much better yak.

I agree, Folbot provides great value, but with yaks, like so many other things, you get what you pay for. [Although I think most Feathercraft models are ridiculously expensive :shock: )

Jake
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Re: Aleut, Kodiak, and Edisto have been Discontinued.

Post by Jake »

Trak, Pakboat and Folbot all seem to have switched over to polyurethane for their skin material. Trak calls their stuff polyTRAK, Folbot calls it Elvaloy while Pakboat simply refers to it as polyurethane or PU. Claims are that, for a given weight, its tougher than hypalon and skins are easier to fold up for packing and transport. Also of interest, Trak has hinted that it might add a smaller kayak to its rather limited line of one single boat but, then, Pakboat has already done that with the introduction of its new Quest 135 and 155. It appears that the world of folding kayaks may actually be expanding especially since rumors of the demise of Folbot seem unfounded.

paddlesheep
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Re: Aleut, Kodiak, and Edisto have been Discontinued.

Post by paddlesheep »

Dupont doesn't make Hypalon any more, so I'm not sure most manufacturers really have a choice in switching boat hull fabric.

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