Is Folbot on Hiatus/Out of Business?

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BarryM
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Re: Is Folbot on Hiatus/Out of Business?

Post by BarryM »

Well, I'm not a Folbot owner and haven't been on the Folding Kayak page much these past few years, but I don't understand this thread. Folbot is out of business? Then this website is a bit confusing....


http://folbot.com/

Regardless, if they are really gone, then that's sad news.

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Re: Is Folbot on Hiatus/Out of Business?

Post by mje »

The front end of themain site is up, but the company is not making, servicing, or selling kayaks. If you try to make a purchase you'll get an error that "store.folbot.com" is not responding.
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BarryM
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Re: Is Folbot on Hiatus/Out of Business?

Post by BarryM »

Got it, thanks for clarifying that. Sad news indeed. Looks like people are spending too much time on their cellular devices and on social media to get outside and enjoy the real world in full HD and surround sound.... for free.

Thanks,

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Apathizer
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Re: Is Folbot on Hiatus/Out of Business?

Post by Apathizer »

I just thought I'd check in with this thread to see if there have been any developments. It's been over 6 mos since Folbot suspended operations. The web site status is unchanged. The front page with model descriptions is still up but the store link is still out.

If something doesn't happen within the next few months or so is it likely Folbot will ever return? Has anyone heard anything?
Last edited by Apathizer on Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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flatwater
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Re: Is Folbot on Hiatus/Out of Business?

Post by flatwater »

Nope
No change
Nothing new
Except that Feathercraft has also bit the dust
Sad
2016 - such a bad year in so many ways
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Re: Is Folbot on Hiatus/Out of Business?

Post by Apathizer »

flatwater wrote:Nope
No change
Nothing new
Except that Feathercraft has also bit the dust
Sad
2016 - such a bad year in so many ways

Yeah. I hate to write this but in the next decade or so it seems likely production folders will be all but non-existent. I would guess you'd either have it made by a custom builder or else make it yourself. We'll see...
Last edited by Apathizer on Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is Folbot on Hiatus/Out of Business?

Post by mikewof »

Apologies that I'm late to the thread, I've been hoping against hope that this Folbot thing was temporary. This is my first post to the board, I think, though I may have been here years ago.

I first came into Folbot because of Deiter (I think that was his name) at the old Klepper store in Union Square, NYC. I wanted a Klepper desperately, couldn't afford one, I guess I made something of a nuisance of myself at that store, always looking at the Aerius boats that I couldn't afford. But Dieter seemed to love to talk, and I worked in the neighborhood. One day he let it slip that there were other folding boat companies. This was back before the internet, I had no idea. I started asking around ... FOLBOT! I had heard the name from somewhere deep in my youth. I found their number, days later I had a brochure, nearly half the price of the Klepper models, and without all the wood. I ordered a Greenlander II a few days later, I could afford that.

My life opened up with that Folbot, I paddled the heck out that little gal, it was back in the days in NYC where very few people paddled in the East River and Hudson, the police were called regularly on me, apparently people in the apartment thought I looked like a capsize. I folded and unfolded that Greenlander so much, it eventually needed a refit, which Folbot did nominally.

Eventually I bought the Aleut, that suited me better when I liked to paddle solo, and I gave the tandem to my sister, she still has it, needs to fix the zipper. I still have my Aleut, it does need some repair, but it paddle fine. I lived in Colorado now, took my son out in it.

I assumed that Folbot would always be part of my life, my son's life, I was going to buy him a Citibot. I had no idea the company was sold. In my misery, I had long experiments with my own little folding boats. I was inspired by Oru actually making money with their model, so I did a Kickstarter for Backpack Barge, about 14 people backed it, a little 8 lbs. folding box boat made of corrugated plastic for about $200. I didn't make money on it, but it felt great to do what the folks at Folbot did. It works fine for flat water, but it isn't the open ocean boat like my old Folbot. I used to take that gal into NY Harbor and beyond, that Aleut never failed me.

I'm hoping to gradually improve the Backpack Barge, give it a better shape, make it track better, give it a deck cover, make a sailing rig for it. I had started on it years ago, but when I saw that Oru made some success out of their's I decided to get it going again. It will never be a Folbot. It seems of all them, Nautiraid, Feathercraft, Folbot and Klepper, only Klepper remains, (though it seems it might still be possible to get a Nautiraid.) I guess it helps to sell things at a higher price. And I think that Long Haul's Klepper clone is a good boat.

Anyway, the point of my long post ... Folbot is apparently gone for good, but it was a lifestyle that launched a thousand projects, and improved tens of thousands of lives. While I'm sad that the legend became a victim of typical short-term profit taking, I'm also proud and happy to have been a part of it when it was great.

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Re: Is Folbot on Hiatus/Out of Business?

Post by HoosierPaddler »

Appears as though the Folbot website has finally gone away as well. Nautiraid is still making kayaks in France. I believe Chesapeake Light Craft is importing Nautiraid's with the wooden frames. I do not want a wooden framed kayak at this point. Trak is still around as well.

I am very interested in Nautiraid at this point, but no examples nearby.

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Re: Is Folbot on Hiatus/Out of Business?

Post by siravingmon »

If you look at the Nautiraid website, you'll see that the Narak 460 and 550 singles are also made with Aluminium/ HDPE frames for those who prefer that
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Re: Is Folbot on Hiatus/Out of Business?

Post by flatwater »

Yes, Eric has let the folbot.com registration lapse.
So the website is gone as well.
If he ever tries to resurrect Folbot he'll have to start from scratch, website and all.
The facebook page is still there but activity is down to nothing as well.
RIP Folbot - and Feathercraft. :(
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Re: Is Folbot on Hiatus/Out of Business?

Post by HoosierPaddler »

Anyone in the Charleston area hear any more details concerning Folbot's "folding" last year? Someone was asking me about buying and restarting Folbot. We had been talking again about all the things truly necessary to resuming production (patterns, forms, jigs) that did not appear in the auction.

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Re: Is Folbot on Hiatus/Out of Business?

Post by RangerTim »

If your contact is truly interested in resurrecting Folbot, try contacting Phil Cotton in Charleston.
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Re: Is Folbot on Hiatus/Out of Business?

Post by flatwater »

Actually you should contact Eric Thome. He's the last owner and I'll bet he still has the patterns and most of the other specialty items.
When I looked through all the pictures from the auction I saw no patterns or jigs. No air powered tools. No sewing machines. And much more not visible.
He still holds the patents so he could restart the company any time there was money to do so.
If somebody wants to buy it, I'll bet he'd sell.
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Re: Is Folbot on Hiatus/Out of Business?

Post by BillTexHoyt »

With just a little research I see (in my opinion) a number of reasons for closing,. More diffcult travelling with bagged boats, but I think that's a minor excuse. A slow economy turning into a depression, a close second to the 1930s. A very difficult situation keeping manufacturing in this country, high taxes here and costly labor. But the biggest thing I see for Folbot was in the catalog, far too many products. Henry Ford had it right with the Model T.
- one model and one color. I'd stick with the GII (not knowing what the big seller was), one version, one color, no factory options, built on an assembly line where productively can be measured and innovations introduced. I found, correct or not, they were building less then 300 toward the end. I said no options, but I would licence others to provide accessories, sort of like Ford did. And of course a dealer network and or big box sports retailers would help, but there the price leaving the factory would have to allow for their mark up - meaning volume

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Re: Is Folbot on Hiatus/Out of Business?

Post by Apathizer »

BillTexHoyt wrote:With just a little research I see (in my opinion) a number of reasons for closing,. More diffcult travelling with bagged boats, but I think that's a minor excuse. A slow economy turning into a depression, a close second to the 1930s. A very difficult situation keeping manufacturing in this country, high taxes here and costly labor. But the biggest thing I see for Folbot was in the catalog, far too many products. Henry Ford had it right with the Model T.

Since they were made to order I doubt 'far too many products' was the issue. Your other points seem relevant though. If you read through this thread these factors were discussed as well.

As is usually the case there were probably a variety of factors. Production costs were probably one of them. Perhaps diminished interest kayaking is another, esp since folders are a small portion of the overall kayak market. Considering Feathercraft also recently went under shortly after Folbot the market for folders is probably very tight. Many of us also speculate Eric Thome might not have been an astute owner.

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