Likes/ Dislikes and Suggestions

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Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2007 1:25 pm
Location: United Kingdom

Likes/ Dislikes and Suggestions

Post by slurch » Sat Dec 27, 2008 7:24 am

I have been the proud owner of an AE Convertible for nearly 2 years now and like so many of the forum members I absolutely love it. I live in the UK and am 6ft and weigh about 240lbs

My first venture into inflatables was about 4 years ago when I bought a 10ft open canoe, a Sevylor Rio. This was a good starter boat but after 1 season I realised that I needed something bigger and better, more suited to touring. So I went onto Ebay and found another Sevlyor their Eskimo model. It was described as “secondsâ€￾ but the price was right and I thought there couldn’t be much wrong with it, who would be stupid enough to sell a dodgy boat. When it arrived the only fault I could find was some poor stitching on one of the fabric seams. Having used it a few times my problems begun, the bladders kept splitting along the seams (I am sure this was not a known fault when sold) and my faith in it went as rapidly as the air. I then did some research on the net and found AE and all the reviews were brilliant. I new the convertible would be a good touring boat at 15ft. I managed to track down a UK retailer who offered a fair price and included both optional decks. Having got it, I was straight down to the river to try it out. It was so much better than the 2 earlier boats, it went in a straight line and once up to speed it took very little effort to keep moving.

Since that first enjoyable outing I have had many more problem free trips (up to 5hrs/ 14 miles), in such diverse places as southern Cornwall, the Shetland Islands the Scottish Western Isles and the Norfolk Broads as well as on the local river and canal. Each outing just increases my joy at owning such a fine craft which always attracts attention and questions from passers by and fellow canoeists.

Reading through the forum I can clearly see that everyone has similar feelings about their AE products and I thought it would be nice to start a thread about members likes/ dislikes and ideas for improvements (yes I know there is scope for improvement at a small cost).

Well here goes:

• The overall design and general construction quality is fantastic especially at the price.
• Performance can’t be faulted, especially with the optional backbone.
• The interest it generates from non owners.
• Ease of assembly and packing
• AE’s support and after sales care

• The main military style spring valves always feel vulnerable and are hard to operate with cold fingers. Very soon after I first had the boat I found that I could not close one of the valves despite using the correct technique, a quick email to AE and a solution was reached. This may be a personal thing but I would far prefer to see the tried and tested Boston Valves which can be operated with gloved hands. The screw valves on the minor chambers also feel very flimsy and have a tendency to leak, especially on the smaller chambers.
• The main chambers, are there really 2 independent chambers? Why does it completely deflate when either valve is opened? It has done this since new.
• The floor. In a product of this value, surely a better quality, secured floor with a covering could be provided, possibly with a channel for the backbone to sit in. After just 2 trips one of the channel divide seams split (not due to over inflation), replaced on the warranty but should not have been required.
• The combing for the spray skirt is an absolute joke, even with the chambers fully blown up it is limp. Some form of foam would work much better.
• The seat back tends to slip down and the pad is hard to keep in its rightful place, I am sure a simple frame and or additional straps could solve this problem.
• A proper adjustable footrest is needed on a serious touring boat.

Despite this list of dislikes I would not be without my convertible, it handles so well and as I said above the overall design is fantastic.

What do other members of the forum like/ dislike about their AE products, and what improvements/ additional features would you like to see?

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