Hope this review might help anyone making an inflatable choice. I bought the Honwave to replace a Zodiac 3.6m Fastroller. First thing I noticed taking delivery was its boxed weight. 160lbs after the Fastroller’s 97lbs, a Zodiac Cadet 340S hard floor is only 115lbs. Thankfully the floor sections go in a separate bag… floor, stringers and seat weigh around 80lbs.
We now use transom wheels so weight isn’t a problem once set up. There’s obviously more effort getting the alloy floor assembled compared with an air one. I’ll be honest… initially it took a 15min struggle to fit the stringers and I wondered if I’d made a mistake getting this model. Now with practice they take 2mins.
The Honda transom is 1.5x thicker than the Cadet range and far better finished in GRP. Seat is 2x the thickness of the Zodiac and strong GRP. It has two positions and I’ll get a second seat soon but this is £90 compared with £55 for the Fastroller. On the Honda you have to deflate the boat to change seat position, with strong fingers the Zodiac’s could be done fully inflated.
Due to the chunky transom it isn’t possible to pack down to fit in my estate car without dropping one side of the split folding seat. The Fastroller made a neat package and fitted the loadspace perfectly. This will need thought for holidays as the boat bundle plus lifejackets will probably have to go in a roof box with the floor, outboard etc in the car.
I like the Honwave all round grab rope, I’d added an extra section on my Zodiac as it had nothing near the bow. The Honda has handy lift straps inside the rear tubes so you can stand behind the transom between the tubes and lift the rear single handed. There are also outer lift handles front and rear plus a pair of chunky handholds inside near the bow. Glad the bow handle on the Honwave is metal. The plastic one on the Fastroller felt close to breaking when pulling the loaded boat up a slip on its transom wheels.
I think the weight of tube material is supposed to be the same as the Zodiac but its texture makes it feel a fraction less robust. Overall though the provision of fittings and transom/seat strength make the Honwave seem equal or better quality than the Zodiac… with one exception. It has plastic outboard pads which feel flimsy, I’ll change these soon.
I like the Halkey valves. Sometimes the Zodiac push in connector would pop off during inflation, twist and lock is better. The Zodiac gauge was designed to be used during inflation but not really suited to checking mid voyage. The Honda gauge can’t be fitted at the same time as the pump but is perfect for checking on the water.
There’s a stopper for the transom baler which is a step back from the neat lever of the Fastroller. After an air floor the alloy one seems uncomfortable to sit or kneel on so I’ll probably get a rubber mat cut to shape. The Honwave has a very practical protection buffer the full length of the keel area and underneath its cone ends, this was absent on the Zodiac.
The fitted cover is good quality and has a Velcro section so it will fit round an outboard. The seat bag is OK but I probably won’t use the bow bag/dodger as it takes up too much space. I’ve fitted my Zodiac transom wheels and the existing lift-eye holes were the right place for the leg top bolt so just had to drill bottom bracket holes.
Only been on the river so far but it’s looking good in terms of room and stability. Called at our local riverside eatery to see a 360S Yamaha already on the pontoon, I’d seriously considered a used one of these before deciding on the Honwave. Never met the owner but it looked good with 25hp and steering/remotes.
Overall this Honwave has more user friendly features than a Zodiac Cadet, a stronger transom and no real negatives. I don’t know how they do them for the money as a package of boat, bow bag, seat bag and fitted cover cost £600 less than a similarly packaged Zodiac Cadet 340S.
Roll on the Scottish sea lochs.