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River Runner R-5 Excel

by Dimension

Reviews

I love this hybrid! I've used it in the 3 to 4…

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I love this hybrid! I've used it in the 3 to 4 rating whitewater, and float the alleghany river with my girlfriend in her typhoon. It does everthing I want in every situation. Just wish it was 10 in. shorter.

Earlier this spring, I was looking to buy a boat for the…

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Earlier this spring, I was looking to buy a boat for the kids, I opted for the R5 River Runner, for the simple reason; affordable price, it's level-entry, it came with it's own spray skirt, paddle and skeg. As oppose to not buying a kayak that came fully equipped! Upon reading the catalogue the Excel caught my eye, a little bit more from the price (but not by much), the Excel is a foot longer than the R5 River Runner and comes with a rear deck hatch. The only reason why I bought the Excel, it looked like a boat to grow into (I have one teen and one pre-teen), the rear deck hatch was very appealing and it came fully equipped.

I found the paddle to be very heavy, so I already had a standard un-feathered paddle by dimension, it works very well. The spray skirt is no problem to put on and off, and keeps the water from getting in. Although the Excel did not come with a bulkhead, I'm sure it's possible to make one with the right cocking and foam (I was able to make my own kayak sail, a bulkhead shouldn't be that difficult); The Deluxe version did come with it's own bulkhead.

The bungees on the front deck are conveniently placed; I can put enough gear to go day tripping. With bigger items I can fit just about anything in the rear deck hatch. It's good to know from past reviewers that the Excel can sustain enough gear to go on 2-3 week excursions! The rear deck hatch is no problem to open and close, the gasket covering the hatch is also easy to put on and off. The foot rest can be easily adjusted, the cockpit is roomy with plenty of leg room. The bumper on the front of the kayak looks fine, along with a matching skeg.

Tracking. The polyethylene hull allows the Excel to track well in calm and extreme waters! I do notice whenever the wind picks up a few knots the kayak tends to veer rightward, meaning; for every left stroke I have to paddle 2 or 3 strokes on the right ward side to keep the kayak straight. This only applies to strong wind conditions. The Excel paddles well in very extreme waters! For example, the husband and I took the kayaks into the breakers (4 foot waves converging from all sides). Even though I was scared, I was surprise how well the Excel handle the waves; my husband said the kayak look like it was surfing the waves. My only complaint is, there's a dent where the left bungee hooks up and I had to replace the standard paddle because it was too heavy.

Overall, I've grown very attach to the Excel in contrast to my Nomad, I found the Nomad to be very heavy and bulky to paddle when compare to the lighter Excel.

R5 Excel is my first kayak; I've tried it for my first…

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R5 Excel is my first kayak; I've tried it for my first withwater experience: hard class IV in the Gatineau withewater Festival (yes!). I like it, it's perfect for long trips in both rivers and lakes, it's easy to go one or two weeks, stable, straight. For those who want to travel instead playing.

The R5 Excel Deluxe has a rubber seal on the hatch so…

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The R5 Excel Deluxe has a rubber seal on the hatch so you would think it's water tight- it's not. Also no pads come with it to brace your legs for rolling- no problem I made my own. In all fairness to Dimension, it’s a good economy boat and you get what you pay for: a decent kayak with a cruddy paddle and skirt. Don’t forget to buy air bags for the bulkheads or you don’t sink like a stone if you capsize.

Great for touring but a little difficult in high winds. It…

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Great for touring but a little difficult in high winds. It also tows well behind a canoe!

Make sure your R5 Excel comes with knee braces otherwize its hard…

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Make sure your R5 Excel comes with knee braces otherwize its hard to roll.

Great Kayak for touring flat water, long distance, I can carry gear…

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Great Kayak for touring flat water, long distance, I can carry gear for at least 2 to three weeks. It is a good craft for playing in the ocean but not recommended for trips far from shore. You can roll it with ease and thus use it in rapids. Not really a hot dog boat but it will get you down the river if traveling rather than playing is your goal. It has one of the most comfortable seats I have ever sat in. It's cargo hatch is roomy and easy to pack. The foot pegs are easily adjusted and allow you to pack tapered dry sacks up front with ease. I love this kayak. If you are looking for an inexpensive and fun kayak for touring, running rapids, and playing at the seaside, this one is for you.