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Old 15 May 2016, 13:50   #1
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Excel vs Zodiac, Bombard etc

I am helping a friend select a new inflatable and we are wondering if there is a big difference between the Excel range of inflatables and the more expensive Zodiacs, Bombards etc? The Zodiac and Bombard boats are certainly more expensive but what are you really getting for the money, other than the known brand?

Any thoughts on the durability and performance of the Excel solid deck boats? They seem to be competively priced.
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Old 15 May 2016, 17:23   #2
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When considered for typical UK leisure use my personal opinion backed by experience is that the Honwave/Excel brands hold up very well compared to the Zodiac leisure (i.e. not military or commercial types) SIBs.

There is often a decent cost saving and sometimes useful extra features on the non-Zodiac boats.
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Old 16 May 2016, 01:06   #3
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Excel vs Zodiac, Bombard etc

Is (s)he new to the SIB world? Purpose and experience might dictate/rule-out certain boats/styles of boats before cost/brand/reputation does?

(I've only experienced Honwave and am happy with it - T38)
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Old 16 May 2016, 01:56   #4
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They are all very well made now - as with cars though depreciation is always a factor and one often overlooked as the biggest 'cost'. A big name will always hold it's value, is much easier to move on and you will lose much less come re-sale. If he is new to boats then remember very few get it right first time...
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Old 16 May 2016, 02:19   #5
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They are all very well made now - as with cars though depreciation is always a factor and one often overlooked as the biggest 'cost'. A big name will always hold it's value, is much easier to move on and you will lose much less come re-sale. If he is new to boats then remember very few get it right first time...
No sure I agree with that Max, a zodiac/premium brand will loose a hell of a lot in the first year
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Old 16 May 2016, 02:24   #6
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Yes, I think you're right Nick thinking about this more but specifically when buying new. The initial hit is pretty huge (hence the general advice on here to always buy a second-hand big name outfit that someone else has found is not for them or was seduced by at a glossy boat show) and let them take the hit. Certainly once past that *initial* huge loss the big name is always easy to sell and tends to settle at a certain value and stay there. I'd never buy a brand new Zodiac at the prices they ask.

I'd point the OP to the 'SIB's spotted on eBay' topic, especially lately, for the incredible bargains you can find.
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Old 16 May 2016, 07:16   #7
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It all depends what you're trying to do with the boat.
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Old 16 May 2016, 07:49   #8
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I have looked at Excel Sibs in the past and been very impressed at them for quality and value for money!
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Old 16 May 2016, 08:02   #9
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I have an Excel SD290 for 8 years and its perfect. Holds air for weeks and performs great in rivers and up to a mile off coast.
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Old 16 May 2016, 12:25   #10
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I have a Mercury HD (quicksilver) great boat well happy
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Old 17 May 2016, 09:44   #11
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Having dealt with excel direct in an effort to buy parts I wouldn't consider buying one simply for their appalling customer service.

Having spoken to a couple of their agents this doesn't appear to be a one off !!

I have a Honwave and it's excellent both in build quality and handling on the water.
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Old 17 May 2016, 09:44   #12
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Thanks for the replies, I have passed on the info. They intend to use it for coastal hopping with the family and possibly some inshore diving, just off the coast.

I did mention the Quicksilver boats to him although they appear to be rebranded as Mercury now. Not sure if the quality has changed. I heard the Quicksilver boats were well made and used to be available in both PVC or Hypalon.

The Excel boats are really well priced though the bad customer service doesn't sound good.
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Old 17 May 2016, 13:02   #13
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Sixty your right about the Mercury roughly about £1000 difference in price between the two fabrics they are well made and designed for divers.

Cheers
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Old 17 May 2016, 13:30   #14
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Plus one for Honwave.
I've got a 2010 aluminium floored 3.5m.
It's lived outdoors under its cover and 4 layers of folded builder's tarp for the last 4 years.
The layers shield it from the elements and UV.
Still like new - no glue failures.
Very sturdy and capable Sib.
Got a Seago Eco slat floor for throwing in the caravan no issues with either of these cheap and cheerful Chinese sibs.
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Old 17 May 2016, 14:28   #15
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Thanks for the replies, I have passed on the info. They intend to use it for coastal hopping with the family and possibly some inshore diving, just off the coast.

I did mention the Quicksilver boats to him although they appear to be rebranded as Mercury now. Not sure if the quality has changed. I heard the Quicksilver boats were well made and used to be available in both PVC or Hypalon.

The Excel boats are really well priced though the bad customer service doesn't sound good.
Mercury/Quicksilver originate from China. They use the same parts supplier for the transom holders, valves, and such as Honwave/Excel, although I suspect they utilize a different origin glue.

Mercury/QS PVC = Mehler , CSM = Achilles
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Old 17 May 2016, 16:59   #16
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Richard, you have some great background info on this stuff, what's your history/involvement with boats?
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Old 17 May 2016, 17:27   #17
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Richard, you have some great background info on this stuff, what's your history/involvement with boats?
Quite short actually, I started fixing inflatables before I knew bow from stern... I started out of highschool with an industrial lamination job. Eventually, I got a job working for a dive shop fixing inflatable boats/drysuits/rebuilding regulators/etc. I took a special interest in the inflatable engineering once I realize how LITTLE information there is on the market about them.

To be honest : Most of this information is cleverly hidden in the back of brochures!

I've just spent a few years paying attention to it and compiling it. I realized the "generic parts from Asia" thing when I had a Zoom by Zodiac, Mercury 310 Air Deck, and a Newport Vessels Baja sitting next to each other, realizing the transom holders were exactly the same mold. Then I did some poking around alibaba.com and came to that conclusion.

Basically, Bravo-Scoprega out of italy produces upwards 90% of the parts & accessories for the inflatables industry. It really is amazing!
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Old 17 May 2016, 17:37   #18
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Great stuff, you need to start a 'Manufacturing SIBs - things you didn't know' topic. I know Fenlander and me at least would love it.
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Old 17 May 2016, 18:21   #19
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I've owned around 30 boats over the last 40 years, each choice has been through some sort of high ranking or award winning status. Over here in Australia boating is huge for such a small populated country, however my state alone has over 250,000 registered boat owners.

A boat I had never considered due to how I use them was a rib. Harsh sunlight, rocks covered in oysters, sea urchins etc and the fact I often head off into crocodile and big shark areas put me completely off.

For some crazy moment I decided I was going to give a rib a try, infact a rib I couldn't even find any overly great reviews on. So I bought a zodiac 550 pro tour latest model, with the idea I would just sell it after a month or so playing with it and keep my other highly awarded Haines signature for my seriouse offshore stuff.

Well the zodiac has been such fun and able to handle all that comes its way that the Haines has gone instead. I've since been in a few other ribs which I found to be extremely wet and would of put me off owning any rib if I hadn't tried the zodiac first. They are so easy to tow behind my 4x4 I often forget it's there and driving on and off the trailer at boat ramps is dead easy even for my kids.

I bought the boat at a very good price at 11 months old from a guy who had been in a car crash (half the original new price) and have put 300 hrs on the engine in the last 12 months. It certainly ticks all the boxes for me😃😃😃

Jon
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Old 18 May 2016, 10:05   #20
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Interesting replies, cheers.

They have decided to buy a Zodiac Classic, partly due to the fact they prefer the traditional look and grey tubes.

Is there any benefit to having the wooden interlocking floor instead of the aluminium floor? When buying new, the wooden floor option is a bit cheaper but my initial suggestion was that they try to find a boat with the aluminium floor as, in my experience, they are very hard wearing. Or are the wooden boards just as good?
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