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 Post subject: FOLBOTS IN CANADA
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 9:36 am 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle

Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 3:40 pm
Posts: 1146
Location: isles of scilly UK
kero inc have announced that they have taken over the dealership in CANADA at richmond hill in TORONTO, this is good news for foldups and I hope it,s a great success.


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 Post subject: Re: FOLBOTS IN CANADA
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 6:36 pm 
john allsop wrote:
kero inc have announced that they have taken over the dealership in CANADA at richmond hill in TORONTO, this is good news for foldups and I hope it,s a great success.


No longer any mention of Folbot on Kero website. Yet another short-lived Canadian presence.


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 Post subject: FOLBOTS IN CANADA
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 7:17 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle

Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 3:40 pm
Posts: 1146
Location: isles of scilly UK
Kero no longer sell Folbots, apparently Folbot decided to sell direct and not have a dealer, if you call in Kero,s place you might hear the story. To me it was a mistake on Folbots part as Kero would have given Folbot a lot of exposure at the Toronto shows, if the non-kayaking general public don,t see it, they don,t buy it.I live in Northern Ontario and last week i had a small boat show showing Kleppers, Folbot Yukon, Klepper sails ,Pacific Action , Spring creek outriggers etc, many people were interested, particularly in the Folbot, it had a PA sail, no one in this small town had ever seen a fold-up kayak before. Will it lead to some orders for Folbot or Klepper, i don,t know, but it would be nice if it did. Folbot and the Klepper dealer in Calgary sent me brochures to display and hand out.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 8:18 pm 
Hey John,

Have you got any photos from your boat show posted someplace?


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 Post subject: Re: FOLBOTS IN CANADA
PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:46 pm 
I took up kayaking in an attempt to retrain the brain after a stroke that affected my sense of balance. It did help, but
advancing age, and arthritis made it difficult to exit from my plastic sit-in kayak after a long paddling session, and
so I looked for a kayak with a large cockpit that would allow me to stretch and flex my legs and knee joints. The
Folbot Greenland II caught my eye, with its huge cockpit, and the advantages of a folder. No longer needing roof racks,
I could drive to any of the many local Provincial parks, quickly assemble my Folbot, enjoy a day's paddling, disassemble
it, and drive home. If only that were true!
I purchased my GII through a Canadian agent of Folbot, which proved to be a short-lived relationship (I wonder why?) as
did a subsequent, and equally short-lived relationship with another Canadian kayak dealer (I wonder why?).
On arrival, there was obvious damage to the packaging of my GII. The Courier driver refused to allow me to open the
packaging to inspect for damage. I phoned the (then) Canadian reps who were very helpful, and I signed for the shipment "in good
condition." Immediate opening of the cartons revealed no damage to the contents, thanks to the incredibly sturdy "cardboard"
utilized by Folbot. I suspect (it appears?) some of the carton damage was done by Customs to allow drug sniffing dogs
to do their thing.
That worry out of the way, we looked forward to first assembly of the GII. All went well, until one of the frames near the bow,
the one that supports the sail mast, I simply could not get it to engage the clip at the port side. I'm not a 75 pound weakling,
but at the same time, I'm not about to take a hammer to aluminum tubing (like some owners I've read about!) and after a couple
of hours of struggle, and bleeding fingers, I I decided to give up, and see if leaving things overnight would allow some "settling"
and easier assembly the next day. It was still a struggle, but I did manage to get it together the next day.
It seems that the riveting of longerons to the hinge plate was not properly aligned. Reading other accounts of Folbot woes,
it appears that quality control is not a strong point. Folbot seem to think that a promise to make it right overcomes any
quality control shortcomings, but, in reality, it just results in disappointed and disillusioned customers, especially if
the remedy entails cross border issues. Wouldn't it be far easier, and much better customer relations, to make sure it's
right BEFORE it's shipped?
At this point, I realized the claimed 30 minute assembly time was just "puffing", like those HUGE hamburger patties bulging
out from the bun in the ads, unlike the real thing you can barely find under the tomato slice. Gone was the foldup dream, and
I bought another roof rack so I could haul the GII assembled.
My first time out, I was delighted with the sailing performance (I had bought the upwind sail kit). I had read how the folding
kayak handles rough conditions well because of its flexibility, and indeed, I marveled at just how much flexing was going on.
It didn't take long to realize that was because the aluminum clips in the cross frames where I was sitting (single seating position)
had come out of the keyholes in the keel brackets. Later examination revealed that the tips of the clips had actually bent. You
know what aluminum is like, once it's bent, if you straighten it, it just causes more stress cracks and weakening, and it just
bends more easily. Complaining on the Folbot forum garnered responses that this was a well known problem, and the solution
was to wrap Velcros straps around the keel/frame to hold them together!
My solution was to use cable ties, which did the job, although this would have meant replacing them every assembly, but I wasn't
assembling it anyway because of the difficulty.
Other posters agreed there was a problem with the aluminum clips. Photos were posted, showing the tiny area of the clip that
actually engaged with the keyhole bracket. Phil Cotton accused me of stressing the clips by entering the kayak from a dock,
but promised to redesign the clip. I had NEVER entered the GII from a dock, only launching it from beaches, and being very
careful on entry/exit, having padded the interior with closed cell foam padding.
One other complaint I had was the rudder - the mechanism to raise/lower it was god awful, and often tangled around the other
rudder cords, necessitating a return to shore (without rudder) to sort the mess out.
A year later, as promised, a redesign came out. The aluminum clips were replaced by stainless steel, and the keyhole brackets
now had half a keyhole. My personal opinion is that the half moon tips on the brackets should have been changed to square,
allowing much more contact area, but the new design seems to do the job.
Given the supposed lifetime warranty, I contacted Folbot and asked for parts to fix my disengaging clip problem at the single
seating position. I'm not greedy - I didn't expect them to replace all the clips/keyhole brackets - should I?
I also, at the same time, ordered some accessories - a paddle, paddle float, paddle retainer, thinking I was being nice, since
the shipping charges I would pay would cover the warranty items.
Ha. What I got was some stainless clips, some rivets to install them, one keyhole bracket for the correct cross frame, and another
keyhole bracket for the wrong cross frame! As well, I was charged $30 customs duty, even though all of this should have been exempt
under NAFTA. Contacting the courier, I was told Folbot hadn't provided the required documents for NAFTA exemption.
Might I add that the dozen or so "regulars" of the forum wax eloquent about Wanda. I thought maybe it was just me, but
I've read comments on other forums about "Wanda's" phone manner.
I sent an email to Phil Cotton, detailing my lovely Folbot experience. Phil offered to fix everything, pay for shipping of my GII, and return.
I thought about it, and decided, no. After all the screwups so far, I can only imagine the further nightmares that could happen
crossborder.
By now rather disillusioned with my Folbot, I disassembled it. The frame went to the basement, the rest resides in a bedroom.
I bought a Hobie Outback. Now, there's a company that knows how to respond to, and how to treat customers! AND, they have a local
dealer - I don't have to worry about cross border issues. I bought their sail kit , (compare THEIR price to Folbot's!) but they didn't yet have
their ama kit available, so I adapted the amas from my Folbot upwind sail kit to fit the Hobie. I must have the most expensive amas in
history - the Folbot cost me almost $5k Canadian!
If you're thinking of a Folbot, I'd suggest you check out the pre-owned market.
I see lots of "never used" or "only used a few times" sales. Why pay factory new price? Just make sure you check it out - with
some horror stories of improperly stitched hulls that can't be installed on the frames - you don't want one of those - but other
flaws, if you're handy, can be remedied. Some folks have fabricated their own keyhole brackets, and I'm sure the rivets are available
elsewhere.
In Ontario, the Ministry of Consumer affairs reiterates that time worn warning - if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
The "lifetime warranty" sounds good (too good?) but it seems only the same half dozen of faithful supporters on the forum crow
about it's wonders. I have yet to hear a fresh voice extolling its benefits.
Of course, there are plenty of ways of discouraging attempts to actually benefit from a "lifetime" warranty.
Send the wrong parts. Charge "duty" on them.


Last edited by Egbert on Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: FOLBOTS IN CANADA
PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 4:16 pm 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 9:02 pm
Posts: 1035
Location: Astoria, OR
I recall this situation. I am not going to comment further.

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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: FOLBOTS IN CANADA
PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 5:47 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:34 pm
Posts: 1819
Location: Southeast Michigan
Let me see if I understand: Phil offered to fix everything for free- and you turned him down? And you're complaining?

I'm missing something here.

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Michael Edelman
FoldingKayaks.org Webmaster


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 Post subject: Re: FOLBOTS IN CANADA
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 2:53 am 
mje wrote:
I'm missing something here.

Yep... Dealing with cross-border shipping. Not only DHL to Canada costs 2 or 3 times of what it costs within 48 states (OK, Phil agreed to pay shippping), but there are also "customs brokerage fees", applicable to any courier parcel, NAFTA or not - and this is in addition to 13% of Canadian sales tax imposed on mail-orders. Getting wrong parts once and paying for that while still under warranty - it must've been already painful enough. (As to the actual problems with GII frame - I don't know this frame, and can't comment, sorry).

PS: buying a folder bigger than Aleut, hoping to avoid roofrack loading by assembling it every time has never worked. There were some people trying this, and they were all disappointed. Manufacturers' times are always under-stated, and assembling is always unhealthy positions like kneeling and croaching, in any folder. With mobilty problems I would've rather look for some plastic kayak with large cockpit - there are some. Pungo is first that comes to mind - its cockpit is 57" long; with 40 lbs weight (which must be close to its true weight, unlike in folders) it is not too heavy to cartop; and with 12' length it can be transported in a small van with rear hatch open. There is 14' version as well - and there must be other boats like this.


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 Post subject: Re: FOLBOTS IN CANADA
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 12:01 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle

Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2005 3:40 pm
Posts: 1146
Location: isles of scilly UK
I have had a klepper aerius 2 for many years (i now have two) and last year i bought a Folbot Yukon, I can recommend the Yukon, i have never seen a Greenland 2, I assemble it every time i use the Yukon as i do the Klepper,s to me a fold-up shouldn,t HAVE to be car topped, only by regular assembly will an owner become so used to it that it becomes easy. I soon saw that for the Yukon i needed an assembly aid in the form of a support to hold up what folbot call the side frames, these have "keyhole slots" in a metal bracket that two screws in the bow piece go through, so that the other side can be put on, it makes it easy if the side you have put on is held up so that there is space for the other side in front of the top screw, (this may only be clear to Yukon owners) the "key hole" slots in the plastic parts in the side frames and on the bottom are a bit "fiddly" and the part that holds the frames might need pushing down with a "tool", a screw driver or similar or wearing work gloves might help , but the most important asset is time, if it won,t go or appears that way leave it, think about it and come back, if you need help try and get some, when the bow and stern sections are assembled pushing them into the skin is not easy, ( seem to have read that a squirt of 303 helps but i have never tried it, of course it,s not in this town) when the front and back assemblies are in the floor and sides have to be locked together, the floor will pop up untill the sides are locked, the yukon assembly is not hard and i can,t see the Greenland 2 being harder, as i have said for it,s price the Yukon is a good boat, but having said that the Klepper aerius 2 is easier to assemble. I also made an assembly aid for the klepper it can be seen on other "klepper web site". If anyone wants to contact me i am in Northern Onrario.


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 Post subject: Re: FOLBOTS IN CANADA
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 2:35 pm 
It's all about individual level of tolerance. Some people can take more, and some (majority, I think) - way less. Wooden frames are easier to assemble than same size aluminum frames of Folbots, but even those wooden frames are still some pain. Heavy skin and parts to carry to and from tha car and shove around, some thinking or at least concentration required for half hour or so, some drying and cleaning afterwards.

Few minutes ago I was considering either alternative - take FC Kahuna (assembling/disselbing) to a nice cove for half a day, or paddle fiberglass kayak along crowded and boring beach (this is where it is stored, and driving takes few minutes longer and more traffic). Almost decided to fo for a fiberglass, but then realized that the first option (with Kahuna) had a Superstore en route, the one where I usually do my weekly grocery purchase. So the folder won, this time, for reasons far from the ease of assembling. It would've been same hesitations (and it were) for a day paddle with a wooden single MK1 that I owned 2 years ago - it is easier to assemble than Kahuna, but a hardshell needs no assembling at all, no drying, and almost no cleaning (of separate parts, anyway).


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 Post subject: Re: FOLBOTS IN CANADA
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 1:37 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:34 pm
Posts: 1819
Location: Southeast Michigan
Why am I always disagreeing with Alm about boat assembly? ;-)

I don't think wooden boats are in general easier to assemble than Folbot's aluminum framed boats. The newer Folbots are some of the fastest and easiest to assemble yet. The G-II took me about the same time to assemble as a Klepper AE-II, ince I got the pattern down. Some wooden boats assemble very quickly- the Long Haul Ute, and the smaller single Nautiraids. Some take a lot longer- an old Klepper with bent fittings ;-)

John has it exactly right: The key is practice. The boats I assemble most often I can do in 15 minutes or less. When I was regularly paddling a Feathercraft K-1, I got the assembly time down from 45 minutes to 20 or less with the help of a few tricks. I can now do the Citibot in 10-12 minutes if there's no crowd watching ;-)

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Michael Edelman
FoldingKayaks.org Webmaster


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 Post subject: Re: FOLBOTS IN CANADA
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:28 pm 
mje wrote:
I don't think wooden boats are in general easier to assemble than Folbot's aluminum framed boats. The newer Folbots are some of the fastest and easiest to assemble yet. The G-II took me about the same time to assemble as a Klepper AE-II, ince I got the pattern down. Some wooden boats assemble very quickly- the Long Haul Ute, and the smaller single Nautiraids.


Mostly, I meant that any big or even a medium-size folder, say, 15 ft or longer, is more pain than any hardshell.

It sounds from your post like GII, if anything, isn't quicker to assemble than AEII, provided both frames are in a good shape, withotu bent or broken connectors. (And the guy that was so upset, had a GII). Don't know if it's any easier - both boats don't require much force in assembling, just many small steps. Newer smaller Folbots are easier to assemble, and so is wooden Ute, you say - and this is normal with very short frames. Besides, these 2 models - Citibot and Cooper - are very different from older Folbot frames, they are using a different frame tensioning method, perhaps I shouldn't have generalized it to all "aliminum frames" of Folbots. I personally didn't like wooden assembling with the only wooden frame that I had - MK1. Too many separate parts, too many easy, yet numerous, connectors/brackets/pins.


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 Post subject: Re: FOLBOTS IN CANADA
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 4:59 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:34 pm
Posts: 1819
Location: Southeast Michigan
I have found that smaller boats are sometimes the ones that require a little muscle- the sharper curves require more bending. This was true of the smallest Klepper (name escapes me) and a few other boats I've ecountered.

The GII and AEII are both straightforward, and if anything, a GII can be easier. Klepper seems to have a bit looser tolerances in how they attached the aluminum frame fittings, so sometimes you need to do a bit more bending to get a frame fitting to engage a gunwhale tongue. (This is where the Long Haul has an advantage, with the large slotted stainless steel connectors.) The GIIs- particularly the ones made since they redesigned the ribs- are easier to assemble, as there's never any forcing or bending. The earliest GIIs were a bit sloppier in how frames and longerons and gunwhales fit together and could pop apart during assembly.

The Long Haul MK-I requires a slightly different assembly method from the Klepper AE-I, which caused problems for some people (like me ;-) used to the Klepper AE-I, who tried to assemble things in Klepper order. But if you follow Mark's directions it goes together very quickly, and there's no forcing. As for the number of parts- it's about the same as you'd find in a similarly sized boat from Klepper.

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