Inflatable boats have many flaws, as a rule, yet for those with limited space to keep a tender ashore, or on board, they serve their purpose. However the F-RIB range of folding RIBs allows the space-saving owner to enjoy the portability of an inflatable with much better performance on the water.
The F-RIB 360 packs down to a metre square, half a metre deep, and weighs in at 48kg, which is not an easy load to carry single-handed, but compares very favourably with similar one-piece RIBs. The hull is held together with two finger-tightened bolts and with a 15hp on the stern, speeds of up to 24 knots singlehanded should be possible.
Set-up should only take five minutes and there is a full-length video on the F-RIB website to demonstrate. The F-RIB 360 costs £2,500, which is more than double the price of a comparable single-piece SIB, however the benefits are plain to see: easier storage, extra speed, reduced weight and a four-year warranty.
Alex Smith, Boats.com
Their common design feature is that they fold into three parts to produce a compact, portable mass that can be bundled into a lazarette or the back of a car.
For example, the 275 folds down to a boot-sized 900mm x 850mm x 400mm.
Compared with a simple inflatable, their prize-winning feature is their hard bottom, because even the very best inflatables cannot compete with their rigid-hulled counterparts when it comes to handling, performance and practicality.
Several things impressed me when I got my hands on one. F-RIB’s build quality is remarkably good when you consider their price – as little as £2,216 for the 275, and only rising to £3,274 for the 4.60m long 460RF.
Simple bolts, hefty locating lugs, plus the pressure in the tubes lock the three sections firmly into place.
Yet despite their obvious strength and rigidity they are remarkably light, ranging from 36kg for the 275 to 72kg for the 460RF, so even the biggest could be manhandled by a strong individual, or two punier types.
Their rigidity gives them the speed that most floppy inflatables would struggle to match, e.g. 15 knots with a 5hp outboard on the 330, and 21 knots with a 15hp on the 460.
They are also impressively deep, between 450mm (18in) and 550mm (22in) from the floor to the top of the tubes, which will make them feel safe under way.
If your lazarette has a 1,400mm x 1,100mm x 450mm space to spare, the 460is a gem; you get a highly versatile tender that can whizz along at 24 knots with a 20hp outboard.David Marsh, Motorboat & Yachting
From being caught in the bay with un-forecasted 2-3 ft windwaves in 26 kt winds to crossing to islands with camping gear to carrying scubadiving gear to fishing or spearfishing with friends.
Nothing beats the ability to put this RIB in my trunk and engine in the middle seat, and have a boat capable of carrying 1-3 people in rough conditions.
The lightness of the boat makes it able to be powered by incredibly small engines with high fuel economy. My seat snapped and it was replaced under warranty no questions asked.
If anything ever happened to my RIB, I would re-order from Steve in a heartbeat. Thank you for selling such a fantastic boat and making it available in the United States so that those who live here are able to enjoy it.A. Meruelo, November 2019
The other members at our club are astonished and envious when we unpack it, inflate and are on the water in minutes.
When we say we have a tender on board people search up and down before saying “where?” We point to the bag on the command bridge, they don’t believe it and they want us to deploy the FRIB to prove it.
We are getting quite fast at the routine of deploying it LOL.John Brewer, July 2018
The folk at F-Rib could not have been more helpful with them giving up their time to help me with set up. I had a problem with my Parsun 15 two stroke with water coming over the transom which was solved by putting an inch high piece of wood on top of the transom. The boat now jumps up onto the plane with no spray coming into the boat.
As Phil says the boat is easy for one person to handle and is so much better than an inflatable both in performance and getting onto the water. Thanks again.
Neil, August 2015
The Suzuki 15 started first pull and ran perfectly.
We got the boat on the plane once at the end of the day just to try it. 5 up and no problem.
Delighted with the whole package. It really tracks dead straight and is so much better than the typical inflatable. Many ThanksPaul Abson, October 2015
Well not quite, the floor has to be exactly to pressure or performance is greatly affected along with a wet ride at times to say nothing of being a bit of a handful for me to handle into the car……………enter the F-Rib.
I saw an article regarding these craft which seemed to offer me everything I wanted in an inflatable boat. Very quick to get ready, lighter than my SIB, fit into the car perfectly, a true rigid floor and a small footprint in the garage. Needless to say a 330 was bought and along with it came a whole new experience for me. The 330 is just the right size for both family use and for my fishing.
I have to say performance on the water is superb with the 15hp outboard strapped to the transom, the boat is on the plane effortlessly and extremely quickly.
The GRP hull locks up tight so you would never know that it is in 3 sections, in fact you have to look very closely to even see the joins between the sections. The hull shape produces a good turning circle with no slide unlike my SIBs producing a very predictable ride.
I also use a 2.5hp outboard for some of my fishing and whilst I have never checked the speed, it potters along much faster than an air floor boat due to the efficiency of the hull.
Off the water, the F-Rib is easy to handle and with the 15hp fitted along with launch wheels, I have just over 4.5kgs nose weight so walking the boat to the water
is very easy which this aging old geezer is rather pleased about.
I am very happy with the F-Rib 330 and doubt very much that I will be looking to change boats again after all it answers all my needs.
Happy Fribbing !!Phil Roberts, August 2015