Okay so the dodgy Kolibri has been inflated for over 48hrs now with no discernible pressure loss so perhaps time for some initial thoughts.
After Easedalenovice highlighted these on eBay, a quick trawl on the Kolibri website got me thinking on paper these sound ok and perhaps worth a punt.
Probably worth mentioning at this point observations are based upon this being a sub £1000 purchase.
Perhaps also relevant we’ve owned many sibs over the years including premium Zodiacs and Bombards, mid range Zooms, Honwaves, and an Elling (Ukrainian) plus a super budget Wetline and Aqua Marina.
Have also helmed a few Takacats, extensively tested the Boatworld KATsport 330 earlier this summer and our current Elling KB350 sib is essentially a catamaran.
So on paper the Kolibri ticked most of the boxes to potentially perform well…available in the longer 3.8 and 4.2 lengths, large 49cm dia. tubes, decent 175cm beam, rated up to 20hp,
all welded main seams/baffles, prv’s, 4 + 1 air chambers, full length keel protection, a good few grab handles etc. etc. I also quite liked the grey/orange livery, (apart from a black floor!) vain or what.
All the above plus;
It actually arrived and was all as ordered!
Everything appears well glued/welded and structurally sound.
Feels like 1100g/m2 density pvc as spec. and the claimed 51 kg weight would also support this.
Decent quality valise and zipped accessories bag.
High pressure stirrup and low pressure foot pumps included.
Bravo inflation/deflation valves.
Kolibri branded in house transom mount mouldings, lifeline mounts, quick release oar mounts and D-rings etc.
Inflation pressures embossed into pvc around all inflation valves/prv’s.
Kolibri branded alloy transom inner motor plate on slotted fixings allowing for small vertical adjustment and large top lip projection to minimise motor loss.
Not such good points;
Didn’t arrived boxed…this will always bug me!
Virtually no chance of manufacturers 3yr warranty if going down a similar purchase route.
Average quality of assembly and finish in line with price point…this in no way infers any compromise of structural integrity.
Ply transom not overly engineered at 20mm thick.
No indicated max. motor weight on transom….lardy 20 horse motors beware.
Woefully inadequate generic sliding transom drain (easily sorted).
Raised deck only 100mm above u/s sponsons (gut feel closer to 150mm would give a better/sportier ride). This may be a biggy.
No fixing point on alloy transom pad for motor safety leash.
No grab handles on inside of cones for lifting…easily added though.
PVC prone to lightened stretch marks where folded…probably not helped by dark to mid grey colour…structural integrity not compromised but aesthetically displeasing nonetheless.
A few minor crinkles and creases in tubes which, in all fairness, will probably disappear in warmer weather and when fully inflated to working pressures.
Plastic not metal rings to D-ring fittings.
No valve tool in repair kit or pressure gauge.
General quality and weight of materials, fittings and construction perhaps not up there with the Zodiacs and Bombards of yesteryear but certainly on par with many current Chinese made big name brands. I’d also hazard it’s not far behind our Ukrainian Elling KB350 in terms of quality of materials/fittings, and nothing’s fallen off or failed after three seasons (around 300hrs) spirited use on the North Sea.
Test fitted our 9.8hp motor today and gut feel it won’t be far off as is just sitting straight on the transom. Only a sea trial will confirm but AV plate about 20 mm above virtual keel line (u/s toobs) is a good starting point. Of course the risk of excessive ventilation and splashing issues may need to be addressed in common with most cats straight out the box. Hope to run this boat with 9.8, 15 and 20 horse motors.
Might be a good few weeks before we get this little beggar wet, and then sadly only on the river. Mildly optimistic at the moment, it may of course handle like dog and we’ll hate it, but in the meantime here are a few more pics.