Is your fusion reliable?

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Is your fusion reliable?

Post by martyrdumb » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:35 am

Hi all, first post here. Thanks to all of you for sharing your Airfusion experiences; they played a big part in my decision to buy one. It arrived a couple of weeks ago, and I was very happy with it out of the box, setup in a spare room (it's still very much frozen here in Northern Canada).

Sadly, after 2 assemblies (with no problems), I found that a #5 (side) pole is split at the shock-cord joint. It's a 1" split along the length, starting at the joint. Large enough that I won't reassemble it until it's replaced. It wasn't there on first assembly. Next, after the second assembly I left it inflated for a few hours, only to find that the front thwart had deflated to an unusable level. To be clear: I was very gentle, followed the instructions precisely, and didn't have to force anything. This was done indoors, in a very large empty room.

I have emailed Advanced Elements, and from what I've read on this forum, I have no doubt they will make things right. My concern is how can I feel comfortable taking this boat out for overnight trips if it's this fragile? I realize this isn't an expensive boat by any means, but it was a large purchase for me; one that I justified by promising myself at least a few years of outdoor fun. If I'm having these problems before it even gets wet, is it going to last more than a season?

I love the idea of this boat, and I really want to keep it, but I can't afford to (and don't want to) be doing repairs and buying replacement parts all the time. I also don't want to spend my time on the water paranoid about leaks and broken poles. Given the small storage space on the boat, I was even hoping it would be reliable enough to go overnight without bringing the pump.

Please, talk me into keeping it! I'd love to hear stories about people using their Fusion's for more than a season or two, and how they held up, or didn't. How often do you get an air leak? A ripped hull from normal uses? A broken or bent pole? How about those plastic valve bodies and valve connections?

Thanks in advance for your comments :)


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Post by rsimpson » Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:45 pm


I am sorry to hear about your pole and thwart issue. We will replace the parts you need and get you back on the water in no time. We did have few thwarts that had a small defect on the seam and unfortunately, it sounds like you received one of them. The pole may have been damaged from sliding around in the bag, which might have caused the shock cord to fray. The Fusions have been around since 2010 and are bit more complex than say the Advanced Frame line, so they take a bit of getting use to. But, I think after we get the parts you need you won't have any further issues. Here is a good detailed review on the Fusion. ... view_2.pdf

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Just to clarify

Post by martyrdumb » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:43 am

I wanted to clarify that my intention with this post was not to "call out" AE or publicize my disappointment. As I said initially, I had no doubt that AE would make it right (indeed, they have already shipped the new parts, all the way to Northern Canada!).

I really just want to hear from people that have owned their fusion for longer than a season, and how it holds up, to get an idea about how reliable it is. Also, I'm very curious if any of you overnighters travel without your pump (I really don't want to bring this huge hand pump).


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Post by NaturalPath » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:59 am

Hey Rob;

A lot of people suggest using the clamshell/foot pump instead of the larger hand pump, but I still find that one a bit of a pain. Instead, I used the extra screw on plastic hose adapter, that they supply in the repair kit, to make a small bicycle pump work for adding air, in case I had to let some out due to heat expansion. I know it wouldn't work well for pumping up the entire kayak, but I think that I would manage somehow, if that unlikely situation were ever necessary.

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Owner of One of First AirFusions Reassures the Multitudes

Post by lee johnson » Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:32 am

I tested a prototype of the AirFusion (for AirKayaks) in January of 2010 and bought my own in March of that year. It must be one of the original AirFusions out there. In autumn of 2010, I had a split hose on one of the high-pressure side chambers - probably because I had the seat too far back, pressing against the hose. JCOOLEY fixed me up with a trade of my damaged model for a new one: Advanced Elements wanted to inspect the original unit to see why the problem had occurred. All this was at no cost and virtually no inconvenience to me. The unit sent to me then is still with me now, having been out on the water over a hundred times in the past two and a half years. BTW, moving the seat forward, away from those hoses, has made the entire kayak better balanced: it moves through the water with all of its keel and hull making up a longer waterline.
My problem, now, is not whether the AirFusion is a reliable and successful design - but whether I should try the slightly wider "Elite" model (28" beam compared to the original 25") with its apparently even faster set-up time because of the elimination of side poles (not that I find twenty minutes on the original to be objectionable). So, someone out there - make me an offer on a safe, seasoned, original AirFusion - and I will proceed to the "Elite" model and provide a further update.
Note: for use at sea or on lakes with wild weather, use a spray skirt and the nifty new skeg. This kayak rocks with a RapidUp sail in such conditions.

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Post by martyrdumb » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:32 pm

Thanks very much for the responses :)

Alan: I'll definitely look into modifying a little bike pump, that's a great idea.

Lee: So you've used the Airfusion for 3 seasons I guess... and you haven't had to do anymore repairs after that split hose the first year? I will try moving the seat forward more, but I find that I pretty much have to put the seat as far back as possible to fit my legs in. I'm only 6'0, but with long legs (not freakishly long, 34" inseam), and I find I have to put the front thwart as far ahead as I can (without distorting the deck/sides at full inflation) and even then I have the seat back only a few inches from the coaming.

Love this forum... hate this weather! Still frozen solid and cold up here ;(

Edit update: I received my replacement pole and front thwart today! Quick question... my new thwart has some strapping on the sides that look like guides for the side poles (my old thwart does not have these). These side sleeves seem to be closed at the end of the thwart (that points toward the bow). What are these for? Do I use them with the AIrfusion or are they for the new Elite model? They seem like a good idea, but not when the end of them is closed... ?

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Post by Louis_1 » Tue Dec 03, 2013 4:21 am

Thanks for sharing information.

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