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Picture Of The Month



SD2OR with a trophy fall walleye

Topic: Wilderness Systems Helix PD review  (Read 1831 times)

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Saltycutt

  • Herring
  • **
  • Location: Tacoma, WA
  • Date Registered: Aug 2019
  • Posts: 23
In 2019 I decided to invest in a pedal drive fishing kayak. I researched a bunch, and since it was a first pedal drive I looked for used. Wilderness seemed to have good reviews and their drive system looked great.

I found a boat used for one trip by a magazine reviewer on the John Day river. I'm sure it was a pro deal, and they made their money back selling the boat to me at $2k. It was basically brand new when I got it in summer 2019,  but no warranty. I saved about $700. I wasn't too worried about it, figured I'd just pay for repairs, and I saved some money. 

20 trips later the drive auto return spring snapped. This makes it way more difficult to pull up drive. I called Wilderness to purchase a replacement and was told they don't sell parts, and I'd have to contact their parent company, Confluence but with covid repairs were really delayed, so send it in after season. 10 trips after that I start getting grinding in the gears and slippage. I take drive apart, all gears look good, I grease it up. Still slipping. Figured I'd bite the bullet and get it rebuilt before bass season.

I just spoke with Confluence who told me they don't sell parts, and they don't repair drives. My options are to buy a refurbished drive, or a brand new drive. This is extremely disappointing, especially for a DIY kind of guy.

I'm writing this for guys like me, go with the reputable companies that can and will repair their systems. I have looked into new boats and specifically repairs and of course Hobie, Old Town, Nucanoe, Native all have great reputations for customer service.

Also, used boats are great, but understand that Helix PDs are a throw away drive that costs $1150. Too bad.


snopro

  • Sturgeon
  • *******
  • Location: HR
  • Date Registered: Jun 2008
  • Posts: 1088
That really sucks.  Thanks for letting everyone here know.  The inability to purchase parts for a pedal drive would definitely be of interest to me if I was considering purchasing a new (or used) boat.  Honestly, it would take the brand out of consideration.

With Hobie, I think you can buy almost any part you need to repair the drive.  The parts would be expensive, and might be a little hard to come by currently, but pre covid they were available.

I wonder if this is unique to Confluence.  Does anyone know how Old Town and Native are with selling drive parts?


YakHunter

  • Lingcod
  • *****
  • Almost retired (soon)........
  • Location: Wyoming
  • Date Registered: Jun 2020
  • Posts: 489
Their decision not to sell parts or repair drives seems pretty short sighted to me.   ???  Kayakers are pretty loyal to their brand when treated right and often upgrade their units.  Having a $1,100 throw away drive would be a non-starter for most of us.
Hobie PA14 - Va'a project yak
Hobie Outback
Hobie Adventure Island
Hobie Tandem Island
Jackson CudaHD
BlueSky 360 Angler


Tinker

  • Sturgeon
  • *******
  • Kevin
  • Location: 42.74N 124.5W
  • Date Registered: May 2013
  • Posts: 3278
Did you try asking a dealer?  It's not at all unusual for a company to not sell parts directly to retail customers, but the parts you need may be available through an authorized dealer.
I expected the worst, but it was worse than I expected...


Saltycutt

  • Herring
  • **
  • Location: Tacoma, WA
  • Date Registered: Aug 2019
  • Posts: 23
I'll ask around Tinker, but rep I was talking to directed me to dealers with the specific part number for a rebuilt drive after I asked for a new return spring part.


 

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