I usually rig my projects according to the motto less is more, but I did the total opposite with the Savage Gear E-Rider. My little winter fun project during the closed season. The manufacturer calls the E-Rider a kayak, but as described in the catalog, it’s a crossover between an inflatable boat and an inflatable kayak. So definitely more of a small watercraft that can be paddled and clearly shows its advantages with the engine mount. This is exactly what makes it interesting for me!
A bit of a dry theory before we start transforming into the Batmobile: the E-Rider comes in a box and you have to be careful not to cut it open with a knife to avoid damaging it. The boat is 330 cm long, 110 cm wide and 30 cm high. The weight is 23 kg and the maximum load is specified as 190 kg. The package includes the boat (mainframe and drop stitch floor), a three section double paddle in 260 cm length, a slide on fin, a foot pump and repair kit. You cannot read the bar pressure on the foot pump, so you should at least use a pressure gauge. You can order this anywhere and it doesn’t cost much. It only takes a few minutes to set up the E-Rider and it inflates quickly. The supplied paddle can be used, but I appreciate the lower weight of high quality paddles and prefer a Bending Branches double paddle and an Aquabound SUP paddle.
First of all, I thought about which accessories I would like to install and, above all, in which position. The only option is the front bench. I drilled holes and attached two YakAttack Mighty Mounts as gear tracks for a rod holder and a camera mount. Additionally a RAM ball for the fish finder mount. At first I wanted to mount the transducer with a suction cup, but to be honest, these things just don’t hold up. My solution: the Scotty Transducer Arm 140, which I also use with a few of my kayaks. I attached the Scotty Deck Mount 241L to the motor mount, for which I had to drill 4 holes. I removed the slip discs on the transducer arm, as well as the lower 90°adapter piece, so that the transducer is in the correct position. Holds perfectly! When using a motor, be careful that the propeller is far enough in the water and does not touch the transducer when turning!
With this equipment and an E-Thrust 55 lbs motor powered by a Rebelcell li-ion battery, I put the boat on the water for the first time. During the first demo ride, I quickly realized that the seating position is not perfect for steering the electric motor, unless you have rubber bones. From this problem the idea was born to transform the boat into a small inflatable micro skiff and I had to find a way to steer the boat while standing. At this point I threw my motto overboard and started installing the YakAttack Command Stand. Very beneficial if you have all this stuff around somewhere!
Whenever I’m in Florida, I love seeing the shallow water skiffs out on the water. So why not make an inexpensive alternative out of the E-Rider? In theory, the idea was clear: the Command Stand is installed at the front and I can hold on when I steer the small boat while standing. To put this into practice I had to do a few dry runs to see how long a tiller extension needs to be. Without an extension you cannot reach the electric motor. 60 cm could work, in the end I ordered a telescopic version (60 – 100 cm). To attach the Command Stand, I had to drill again 2 holes in the front bench. I used two rings from the boat through which the rope passes for the other two attachments. Another advantage of the Command Stand is that I could now attach a safety light, a paddle holder, a cup holder and another rod holder (for the rod while driving).
First I wanted to put a large crate with 3 rod holders in the back of the boat. But that’s nonsense, because there can be no rods if you want to steer. That’s why I just have a Meiho Versus VS 3070 box in which I have the most important things (tools, repair kit, etc.). The Rebelcell 12V70 li-ion battery is now behind the back seat. The fish finder is powered by a Rebelcell 12V18 li-ion battery.
The last transformation step: the fun only really starts when a two-stroke engine comes into play! My old 1984 Evinrude with 4 hp was brought to life and even after 15 years of deep sleep it started again immediately. The tank has enough space behind the seat and the tiller extension fits both the electric motor and the Evinrude. Due to the perfect weight distribution when standing, the boat goes off like a rocket. It’s really fun!
Attention: It is essential to use a life jacket and an emergency stop switch! Please note: Boats on German inland waterways with over 3 HP must be registered!
Links to the accessories I used:
YakAttack MightyMount Switch: https://www.yakattack.us/mightymount-switch-mmsw/
YakAttack Omega Rod Holder: https://www.yakattack.us/products/rod-holders/
YakAttack CommandStand: https://www.yakattack.us/commandstand-universal-stand-assist-bar-sap-1001/
RAM Fish Finder Mount: https://www.rammount.com/shop-all/kayak/fishfinder-mounts
Scotty Transducer Arm Mount 140: https://scotty.com/product/no-140-kayak-sup-transducer-arm-mount-for-post-mounts/
Rebelcell 12V18: https://www.rebel-cell.com/product/12v18-av-battery/
Rebelcell 12V70: https://www.rebel-cell.com/product/12v70-av-battery/
Bending Branches Angler Pro Plus Paddle: https://bendingbranches.com/products/angler-pro-plus
Railblaza C-Tug Cart: https://www.railblaza.com/c-tug/
Tightline Anchor K5 Kayak Anchor: https://tightlineanchor.com/collections/shop-all/products/k5-kayak-canoe-anchor-3-5lbs
NRS Chinook Fishing PFD: https://www.nrs.com/product/40009.04/nrs-chinook-fishing-pfd