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Old 14 September 2014, 07:44   #1
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Zodiac in the UK?

After way too much internet research, I was just gravitating towards a Zodiac Fastroller 325 which is big enough for the use I want and comfortably takes the engine I have in mind. I have just about convinced myself that my scepticism about air floors is only because they are "new fangled". (I bought my first SIB 2nd hand in the late 1980s).

So, conveniently, the nearest Zodiac dealer is about 6 miles away and I popped over to see if they had a Fastroller for me to poke and prod. They had nothing on display, so I asked at the counter and got a tirade of criticism of Zodiac "since they moved their operations to France" - apparently they hardly communicate with their dealer network, products are slow to arrive, and spares and accessories can only be bought in by the dealer in bulk rather than individually on demand.

Is this essentially true, or have I just got a local dealer with an axe to grind?
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Old 14 September 2014, 08:00   #2
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There were some at the Boat show - I'd ring other UK dealers to see what they say.

If its going to be a new boat Id want good, local dealer support - just incase there are issues.
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Old 14 September 2014, 08:09   #3
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>>> Id want good, local dealer support - just in case there are issues.

Yes very important. A couple of years ago I bought a brand new 3.6 version of that boat. First one had splits on a major seam when I inflated it and the replacement suffered delamination of the transom after 3 days of use and I got it fully refunded due to a good dealer.

>>> I have just about convinced myself that my scepticism about air floors is only because they are "new fangled".


I'd be very wary of buying a brand new air floor at Zodiac prices if you've never tried one... second hand makes more sense as you could sell it on after a couple of trips if it didn't suit... and you'd get your money back.
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Old 14 September 2014, 08:27   #4
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As suggested, find another dealer. Zodiac is a huge operation so there's bound to one or two disgruntled agents in their network. Products speak for themselves.

Never tried an air-floor, but still have a MKIIC GT with aluminium floor and it's tough as old boots.
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Old 14 September 2014, 10:55   #5
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I had a zodiac 3.8 fastroller with airfloor and it was a very well built sib almost ten years old and was in fantastic condition with no signs of glue coming apart . but it was too heavy for one person to carry about so I sold it and bought a new honwave 3.2 airfloor that is a lot lighter. it is a fantastic little sib especially at 850 for brand new but imho it is not in the same league quality wise as the zodiac .it works great with a 15hp 2 stroke but does feel cheaper ( you get what you pay for ). both airfloors are pumped up to quite high pressure and if kept at the correct pressure feel reassuringly solid with only slight impression of movement under you in choppy waters while going quickly
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Old 14 September 2014, 12:40   #6
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>>>it is not in the same league quality wise as the zodiac

Hmm.. not so sure about that if you make fair comparisons of the new boats.

If your air floor Zodiac was too heavy and 3.8m long I guess it was a Futura air floor? These are a totally different beast to the current Fastroller that Mike will be looking at and far stronger construction. That model Futura you had would be about 3200 now compared to the same length air floor Honwave at around 1000 so you might expect Zodiac to make them feel better for that 2000+ difference.

We owned a new 3.6m Fastroller and new 3.5m Honwave within the same time period and now have neither so no axe to grind and I can honestly say there were many areas where the Honwave was better built.

The Zodiac transom is a thin and potentially weak bit of wood that frankly looks tacky beside the lovely chunky glassfibre one on the Honwave. Similarly the seats on the Zodiac were thin poorly painted ply compared with the Honwave ones about twice as thick in glassfibre. Honwave thought out the fitments better too... there is an all round grab rope whereas the Zodiac's doesn't continue round the bow and I'm not the only one to have made a crafty alternative on a Zodiac to give folks something to hang onto. Also the bow handle that you lift the boat by when using transom wheels was plastic on the Zodiac and would flex alarmingly in your hand as if it would snap before long... the Honwaves was stainless steel. The Zodiac only has grab/lift handles at the rear but Honwave have both front and rear which is a huge advantage when handling the boat on a slipway. The Honwave fabric feels as robust as the Zodiac's and in our ownership it was the Zodiac that suffered three serious construction failures (a cracking seam day 1, delaminating transom day 3 & HP keel attachments to floor ripping off day 7)... the Honwave was fault free.

This is not supposed to be anti-Zodiac but just an objective description of the current Fastroller which has been built down in price and weight making it a very different craft to the strong and expensive old Zodiacs of years gone by.

If I wanted a current Fastroller over a Honwave 3.2 for its design I would happily buy one but I would not do so just for the "Zodiac quality".
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Old 14 September 2014, 13:18   #7
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yes mine was a futura. and I am in no way knocking the honwave I am over the moon with it its perfect for my needs. and for the price I think its well worth the money . I wasent aware that the smaller zodiac was made down to a price (maybe I should have kept my thoughts to myself) when I said the quality was not as good between the future and the honwave I was mainly referring to the weight and apparent stronger construction of the fabric of the tubes ect . I did also say that the honwave was a lot cheaper so was in no way comparing like for like ( I sold the zodiac for almost the price of the honwave). what I was saying tho is to maybe consider a honwave as they are very good value
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Old 14 September 2014, 13:43   #8
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>>>maybe I should have kept my thoughts to myself)


No don't do that... it's a forum!

I must admit after returning the second Zodiac for refund I was worried about ordering the Honwave in case it did feel super cheap so was very pleased when it was OK... well actually much better than OK.

I like your 3.2m air floor Honwave... a very neat useable great value inflatable.
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Old 14 September 2014, 15:47   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
They had nothing on display, so I asked at the counter and got a tirade of criticism of Zodiac "since they moved their operations to France"
What, in 1896?

Hasn't Zodiac always been based in France?

jky
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Old 14 September 2014, 16:16   #10
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Originally Posted by jyasaki View Post
What, in 1896?

Hasn't Zodiac always been based in France?

jky
They have but they had a UK office in the past IIRC they bought Avon (1998) and used the avon site in Dafen, Llanelli for a while i think. The dafeb site is now virtually derelict and for sale, possibly about to be redeveloped as more activity around it the last couple weeks.
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