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Zodiac type hulls with jets

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Re: Zodiac type hulls with jets

Postby Susitna907 » Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:10 pm

darush wrote:
Susitna907 wrote:
wannaplay wrote:No, that was for the Solar.
I do like how they have incorporated the tunnel design into the inflatable floor, not to sure how tuff it would be.


They've caught on like no ones business up here in Alaska.
Last April my buddy and I both bought (2) identical Solar 420's (13') with a Mercury 4stroke 35/25 factory jet. Both had the poly coated bottom put on, trim tabs, and transom supports. The whole package with a full 6 gal tank of gas is right around 360#. Folded up in its bag, the boat weighs around 125#. It's easy to load and unload in a pickup box. I can run it in 2-3" of water around 20-23mph with 2 people, ALL DAY. Of the 6 people that I've sent to the distributor, they've ALL bought boats..
By myself, it'll hit 25mph and I've literally ran it in 1-1 1/2" of water WITHOUT touching bottom. I even ran it 3 times just too make sure it wasn't a fluke. That little jet tunnel is the bomb!!
The payload for it is right around 1200# +/-... It'll run with 2 guys and an entire quartered up bull moose in it.
The tubes take around 3.5 psi and the floor takes about 5.5psi. The floor is very stable and made of some seriously tough material.
Several weeks ago we did several comparison runs between (4) 13footers and (3) 15footers, 2 strokes vs 4 strokes, loaded vs light loads, semi-v-bottom vs flat bottom, etc...
Performance-wise, the 420 (13') semi-v with the 4stroke 35/25 shined the best..
The poly bottom is slicker than oyster shit on a glass table covered in vaseline... Once scraping across gravel and rocks, it just slides. It won't grab like raw rubber/pvc or aluminum.
It's impressive and takes a FRIGGIN" beating!!!
The only US distributor (that I know of) is Jim Bracker, and fortunately for me, he's right here in Wasilla where I live. He also has a Facebook page (Jettech LLC) with LOTS of videos. Check 'em out. You'll be glad you did!!


Thanks for the information! Can you share anymore specifics on what boat/motor combos were tested and the results. Was the Evinrude Etec 30/20 one of your 2 strokes tested? Also I would be interested if any info on the new Yamaha F25. Thanks


Mine and my buddy's were the only 4-strokes there and both were identical setups (13.5" Solar Arrow with the Mercury 25 factory jet power). The F25 Yammy was talked about but was a no-show, so no dirt for ya on that one.
There were some 30hp and a 35hp 2 strokes there as well. In the Arrow sized boat, out of all who had them there, the 4stroke Merc shined the best overall regarding performance, noise, and fuel consumption.
In the 15' arena, the Tohatsu 50 was the hands down winner...
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Re: Zodiac type hulls with jets

Postby troy sharp » Mon Sep 02, 2019 2:59 pm

Get a solar 420 from jetech inflatables
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Re: Zodiac type hulls with jets

Postby troy sharp » Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:10 pm

handyandy wrote:I like these inflatable jets and love the idea of something two guys could carry down to a bank and set up. The only problem is here in the states no produces or sells a little outboard jet that can easily be taken off a boat and carried. Gone for us are the days of a 25hp two stroke omc that wieghed around 130lbs. Sure the tohatsu 35hp jet is a good option for them but they weigh in around 200lbs. Any motor that heavy is getting bolted on the transom and left on which then equates to towing the craft for the most part taking away much of the advantage. Still pretty awesome what they can go through, and how much load they can handle with lower hp engines. Just wish we could get the little 25-30hp two strokes still. I don't need one but I still want one. Different note I took a chance other day ebay had a deal for 20% off anything so I threw some parts in my cart along with the jet wolf large series rubber intake 20% off made it a little over 200 bucks. Will take a while to get here, hopefully it's not a waste said screw it took a chance.


Yamaha f25 4 stroke with a pump is 135lbs and suzuki 20 4 stroke with a pump is 110lbs, both run the small series pump and would work well with the solar 380 and 420 arrow as well as the 420 vega for a lightweight fuel sipping jet boat option.
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Re: Zodiac type hulls with jets

Postby troy sharp » Mon Sep 02, 2019 4:00 pm

Heres a 420 strela "arrow" with a 1984 30hp johnson

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Re: Zodiac type hulls with jets

Postby riverbent » Sat Jan 18, 2020 2:50 pm

How is the Solar line standing up to rubs and scrapes? Interested in a 420 model and curious what you all are experiencing with the material and seams? Any internal tank leaks?
18' Valco- 115/80 (sold)
20' Alicraft- 5.7 with 773 Hami (sold)
245 Sea Ray- 5.7 Bravo 2
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Re: Zodiac type hulls with jets

Postby wannaplay » Sun Jan 19, 2020 5:24 pm

so, I ordered up the 500 strela model.
Now to find a motor, not much available right now on the used market. ( Winter )
Winter duldrems has me dreaming about all the smaller rivers/creeks to access
Thinking the 60/40 Merc.
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Re: Zodiac type hulls with jets

Postby riverbent » Tue Jan 21, 2020 8:21 pm

wannaplay wrote:so, I ordered up the 500 strela model.
Now to find a motor, not much available right now on the used market. ( Winter )
Winter duldrems has me dreaming about all the smaller rivers/creeks to access
Thinking the 60/40 Merc.

Nice. Where did you order it from?
18' Valco- 115/80 (sold)
20' Alicraft- 5.7 with 773 Hami (sold)
245 Sea Ray- 5.7 Bravo 2
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Re: Zodiac type hulls with jets

Postby wannaplay » Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:59 pm

Bought it from jetech inflatables
Through John Korzenoski, he is the Canadian distributor now
Johns email is
greengoat2019@gmail.com
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Re: Zodiac type hulls with jets

Postby Susitna907 » Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:00 pm

riverbent wrote:How is the Solar line standing up to rubs and scrapes? Interested in a 420 model and curious what you all are experiencing with the material and seams? Any internal tank leaks?


After 2yrs, my 420 is still in great shape. It's hit gravel bars, logs, rocks, a bridge support (don't ask), etc... I've come too a screeching halt and stuck it about 6 times. Still solid and looks good.
That poly-coated bottom is some really tough stuff. Hardly a scratch on it anywhere..
When it's not in the water, I ALWAYS keep it covered with the boat cover that came with it. Mainly for sun fade, but it also helps keep debris out of it when I trailer it around as well.
During the winter I remove the motor and then deflate it flat with my pump in "suck" mode. I'll suck the air out of it and roll it up, and slide it outta the way in my shop. Sucking it flat for storage helps to minimize any type of internal condensation which is a huge enemy for inflatables and internal tube integrity...
So far, so good...
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Re: Zodiac type hulls with jets

Postby riverbent » Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:44 pm

Thanks for the feedback guys. Have had several inflatables over the years from 8-12'. They all have had bottom repairs from rubs, scrapes and even a black bear twice. Could see the poly-coating making a big difference with the rubs and scrapes. Going to sell the Valco this spring and leaning toward setting up a 420. It should be a little more friendly to the f/g ocean boat while in tow. Itching to check out some of the smaller wild rivers along the coast.
18' Valco- 115/80 (sold)
20' Alicraft- 5.7 with 773 Hami (sold)
245 Sea Ray- 5.7 Bravo 2
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Re: Zodiac type hulls with jets

Postby AKTroy » Sat Feb 20, 2021 10:54 am

Looks like the last post to this tread was back in 2014, so would be nice to upgrade this and get owners feedback now that were in 2021.

I have the Alaska jet Ranger, and have also spoken with Jim at JetTech, and then the folks at SibRiver. Comments and impressions follow...

The Alaska jet Ranger is a nice boat, but ridiculously expensive. ($6000) I really don't see anything about it that justifies the extreme cost. It's still an inflatable PVC boat that tends to last about 10 years before seams start to leak. The bottom of that particular boat is very robust, and I think it would take a heck of a lot to puncture it. The inflatable floor is below the transom, so you will never bottom out and actually hit the transom. This is very different than a zodiac style or the "jet ranger" made by the same folks as Alaska jet Ranger. These are the aluminum floor style inflatable's with inflatable keels. The biggest problem here is the transom is the lowest part of the boat, and there is no inflatable floor below the transom. Very easy if you hit bottom a few times to do some serious damage to the transom. With more of a semi V to the bottom, they do track better and take waves better, and are faster. I still think would be a good option if you're not running shallower than say 8 inches or so. Saturn, Stryker, Bris and Zodiac are examples of this style of boat. Jet ranger pic attached.
00g0g_2cetFygIBdp_0CI0t2_1200x900.jpg
alaska jet ranger


The jet Ranger can run down to 3 inches or so, particularly on plane. Then we have the Solar boat, that seem to be very popular in Russia. These have a tunnel hull, and what they call armor coating on the bottom. Essentially a urethane coating that is 1.2mm thick. I can say it can be difficult to figure out actual thickness as some companies use the term denier, which is something you see a lot with fabric manufacturers. A .9mm is equal to 1100 denier. 1100 denier is what the sides and top of most of the tubes are with these inflatable's. Some are 900. The Alaska jet Ranger is said to be 4000 denier on the bottom. Not sure about the solar, but guessing in the 2.5 to 3 mm thickness or 3500 denier. The trade-off is the thicker the bottom the heavier the boat is to transport and bigger it is to roll up.
624512793.jpg
Alaska jet ranger bottom


Here in Alaska we have JetTech as the distributor for the Solar boats, but I'm sure you'll hear more than one person complain about Jim the owner. My understanding is Jim has a job up on the slope, and makes pretty decent money so selling inflatable's is a side gig for him. The attitude I got was he really didn't care one way or another if I bought a boat, and didn't volunteer a lot of information. If you want something special you can count on 3+ months to get something out of Russia. I can also say I was a little put off last fall. He had a couple of boats coming in I was interested in looking at, and sold them before they even got here. I never even got an opportunity to look, and there was no mention he was could potentially sell them before they even arrived. Overall not a real warm and fuzzy experience with Jet Tech for me. I've also read the 380's are not the same build quality as the larger 420's and 470's.

I've spent hours on YouTube translating Russian videos, and there were a number of them pointing to problems with the 380 leaking. Lots of seams around the transom area that are prone to leaking. There is also something called the 420 vega. This is similar to the Alaska jet Ranger in that it has a flat bottom, but still has a tunnel hull. Fairly lightweight as well. Overall, they have a good following. No personal experience. Alaska Jet Ranger has no tunnel btw, but not an issues. Will still run in 3" of water.
image_84272.jpg
Solar Vega flat bottom tunnel hull


And one thing worth mentioning is if you go with a completely flat bottom, as opposed to a semi V design, you will cut down on performance, and the boat becomes harder to steer, and is rougher in waves and such. I think the solar is a little bit better than the jet Ranger in this regard as there's more pronounce longitudinal tubes that act more as a keel. Most of the solar's actually have semi V bottoms. There's a few websites that point out the difference between the standard jet versus the extreme jet. Something worth checking out if you're interested in the Solar. Most of their boats fall into the "universal" category.

Last on the list is the offerings from Sib River. Sib River is a fairly large company, and response was very good from these folks. As of 2021 they now have a boat that is very similar to the Solar. If you use Google Chrome, you can translate the Russian site into English. I believe it's http://www.sibriver.ru

The HatangaJet series is the latest version. All of these are available with armor coating, and you can buy accessory transoms, and even things like consoles if you want to run a remote set up. I believe they start at about 3.9 m long and go up to about 5 m. Weights were in the 60 to 70 kg range, without coating. The coating adds an extra 15kgs. Same thing with the Solars, and typically not listed on the websites. Something to keep in mind when you're checking specs. Moving around a 200+ pound boat by yourself is not easy. The Alaska jet Ranger is in the 135 pound range, so very manageable. Sib River has a few varieties that would be around 150 pounds. See the AbakanJet, Allaskaboat series on their site. See attached pic.
hatanga_425_jet-4.jpg
Sib river hatanga boat
allaska_drive-360_ser-7-1000x600_0_0.jpg
BOAT PVC ALLASKA-390 DRIVE


Prices are typically under $1000 for the SibRiver, but shipping is a killer from Russia. Import duties are about $300 alone, and you can expect somewhere between 1600 and $2000 to ship a boat. More than that for lower 48, but may be similar for West Coast. Still cheaper than the Solar, and DHL will deliver within about seven days. Overall very good customer service from Sib River, and I'm looking closer at their boats. You could figure on about $3500 for one of the cheaper 390 models. If you want extended tubes, or any extras easily over four grand.

If anybody has anything to add to this that would be great. The only other thing I can add is I have one of the heavy-duty fishing series Saturn boats. I think I paid $1300, and I can say for the money it's a very robust boat, particularly if you're just running a prop. Over 3 mm of material on the bottom, and they had an extra 1.5 mm on the top. Trolling motor mounts, aluminum floor, over inflation valves, etc. it's a really good deal for what you get. I would not hesitate to recommend the inexpensive Saturn boats, and they have some heat welded seam options too. Very good value and quality control out of South Korea is quite good. Distributed by boats to go and Saturn rafts out of Idaho. Just be aware of the limitations of the transom, and possible damage if you're going shallow. I don't think combining these with a jet outboard is ideal, but it's possible if you build your own extended transom.
saturn heavy duty series.jpg
Saturn heavy duty series, good value
450473.JPG
Saturn with extended transom and jet installed
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Re: Zodiac type hulls with jets

Postby Fishnbc » Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:56 am

I have run a Solar 420 for a year and they are amazing. Very light as two guys can carry one easily around logjams or gravels bars. I run a Merc 20 jet with 2-3 guys or a Yamaha 2 stroke 30 hp with upto 4 guys. With the Jet Tunnel I almost never hit bottom with it. I had the Merc 20 on a quiksilver inflatable ( no tunnel )prior and it would go places but I was always hitting the jet.

Here is a video of some of the runs I did last summer.
https://youtu.be/2c9IHkufBYQ
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Re: Zodiac type hulls with jets

Postby Bigbentley » Sat Apr 03, 2021 6:07 pm

Interesting post. Those sibriver boats look great if the shipping/imports worked out.
I ran a Solar 420 last year with a 4s merc 25hp and a jetwolf intake.
Can say from experience that you won't win any races, but they go some mind blowing places even with a heavier motor. Had the upgraded bottom on mine, super durable stuff.
Sold it last November to upgrade to a 470 superjet with a 60/40 after a real long trip home with a boat full of moose.
Would say if you're on the edge for size, go a little bigger. Unless you want to do lots of trips lol.
Planning on some video edits when the new boat is setup and the rivers flow here.
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