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  #11  
Old 05-11-2021, 04:08 PM
jewbacca jewbacca is offline
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But that's my assumption as well. The X1 had the narrowest beam among the X boats, so I'm not sure any of his biminis will work unless they're specific to the X1.
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  #12  
Old 05-11-2021, 04:35 PM
JohnWilly JohnWilly is offline
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I wonder if they just curved the feet back in a little more for the X1 model but kept the mounting points the same for the bimini?
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  #13  
Old 05-11-2021, 04:47 PM
jewbacca jewbacca is offline
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Ha, we're thinking the same thing. Looks to me like the front tubes bow out a little, so the width could also vary based on the mount point. Mine has the attachment points already on the front legs. I should probably raise the tower and get a measurement.
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  #14  
Old 05-11-2021, 05:03 PM
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Footin Footin is offline
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When it comes to the ZFT3 tower; Iím pretty sure that the X2/X14/X25/X30 and X45 all share the same bimini. Not sure about the X1. If you find a frame, I have an extra bimini (for 08-2011) canvas and boot I would be willing to sell; itís pretty used but still works.
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  #15  
Old 05-13-2021, 08:46 PM
jewbacca jewbacca is offline
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After measuring, it was clear Pete's biminis won't work for the X1. I pulled the trigger on this one from Big Air:

http://bigairwaketowers.com/bimini/supershadowbimini/

I'll post pics and a review after it comes in.
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  #16  
Old 05-13-2021, 08:50 PM
JohnWilly JohnWilly is offline
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Thanks for the update. I'm looking forward to your review of your chosen Bimini.

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  #17  
Old 05-27-2021, 10:55 AM
jewbacca jewbacca is offline
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Here's the initial review following installation. I still need to cut out the hole for the tow knob, but otherwise it's in place.

First, some pics: https://imgur.com/a/liqd88r

Overall, I like it for the price. One dealer quoted me $1600 + $200 freight for an OEM bimini, and a local upholstery shop quoted $1200 and wanted the boat for 3 weeks for a custom job. This was $710 out the door. I lose the convenience of how easily the OEM folds, but gain a little shade from the larger footprint (a BIG selling point for getting my wife on the boat with the baby). And save a little cash for other upgrades.

First, customer service from Big Air has been top notch. Their website said a 3-4 week lead time, but when I contacted them they said they had a ton of the Onyx material in stock. I bought that and it was on my doorstep in a week or so. I've also had a couple of questions during the install, and they responded to my emails within a couple hours each time.

Next, the install. It's pretty straightforward, but it is time consuming. I've had to work in spurts across 2 evenings, and it's been 3-4 hrs total. The frame is a tube-in-tube design, meaning you thread an inner tube through the outer frame and screw it in place. I imagine this is common, but it's my first time with it. There are pilot holes in the outer frame, and you drill into the inner tube. Not hard. The inner tube is beefy and the assembled frame feels sturdy.

The frame attaches to the tower by 6 contact points. Two clamps to the cross members and 4 struts to the outer frame. You might be able to tell from the pics, I mounted the front struts vertical and went horizontal on the rear. I wish the rear could have more of an angle to it, but it's just not feasible. The frame can move quite a bit with this configuration, so I'm a little anxious to see how it performs towing to the lake.

Mounting the canvas is really easy. Has a pocket that goes over the front of the frame, and then buckles on the rest of the way. If the excess strap gets too flappy, the manual says to cut them shorter and melt the ends. I may do this as it will make things cleaner. You also have to cut out the hole for the tow knob, so everything has to be aligned exactly how you want it beforehand. No going back at after it's cut.

I bought the Onyx material because it was available in time. I wanted, and Big Air will sell you for only ~$70 more, Sunbrella. But my #1 priority was having this in place for Lake Powell, so.... it's definitely a tradeoff. The Onyx feels and looks nice, but we'll see how it holds up over time.

Finally, the biggest negative. The tower won't collapse fully with the frame in place. The bimini is designed to rock back to allow for folding towers, but it doesn't rock back enough. It would end up putting the weigh of the rear legs on the frame, and that's not gonna work. For me it's not a huge deal. I was hoping it would collapse in place, but I would still choose this over the other options. It's not difficult to mount once the install is complete, and I won't use it on every outing. But I can see that being a deal breaker for someone else.

I'm expecting to hit the water this weekend, so I'll update after I get some real world use.
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  #18  
Old 05-27-2021, 12:29 PM
JohnWilly JohnWilly is offline
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Great review and it looks good on the boat. I am also interested to see how it performs on the road and the lake. How long does it take to fully remove the whole unit?
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  #19  
Old 05-27-2021, 02:24 PM
jewbacca jewbacca is offline
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I'd say 5 minutes to remove, and probably 10 to install. All the clamps use wingnuts which makes it pretty easy. And the struts and clamps can all stay on the tower, so you just remove the attachment to the frame. I marked the tower attachment point on the frame with electrical tape so I can put it up quickly next time.

I forgot to mention, the tower has 2.4" diameter tubes, and this gave me one issue with the clamps. The kit comes with 2.5" clamps with inserts to adapt to 2.25". I found the 2.25" adapters are a better fit, and this worked fine for attaching the struts. But the carriage bolts weren't quite long enough for the tower/frame mount with the inserts, so I had to mount it without them. It doesn't look right. The clamp ears almost touch when fully tightened and it puts a lot of angle on where the bolt passes through. I'm going to hit up a hardware store and find a longer carriage bolt.
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  #20  
Old 06-01-2021, 10:33 AM
jewbacca jewbacca is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jewbacca View Post
I still need to cut out the hole for the tow knob,
Installing the grommet was a bigger PITA than I expected, but I think I got it together without hurting anything. Overall, the instruction manual is pretty easy to follow, but this section needs work. The idea is you cut a hole in the fabric, put super glue on both sides of the grommet and then smash it together with a piece of plywood and sledge hammer. The instructions tell you to cut a slightly smaller diameter than the grommet. I cut, dry fit, and figured the fabric would stretch the rest of the way over the hole when smashed together. It wouldn't. I had to trim away extra material while the super glue was drying in the open air before it all finally went together. Talk about stressful.

In any case, the bimini performed flawlessly on the lake yesterday. Towed it 35 miles each way at freeway speeds. The frame had some wiggle to it on bumpy roads, but it stayed put. Fabric was easy to install/remove. And the 6'x6' frame shaded the entire seating area on my X1. Having it over the tower is nice for moving around--no need to duck. So far I'm pretty happy with the purchase.
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