Liquid Logic CR 80-125 and 250 Whitewater Kayak Review

After being paddled during a big water year in Colorado last summer, as well as a few employee test drives down the Grand Canyon, The Liquid Logic CR Series (80,125 and 250) has proven itself as a great river running playboat. It is able to comfortably tackle class IV big water style rapids, as well as hang tough at the play park. If you are paddling a Jackson Fun Series and want to try something different you ought to read this review, because the CR series gives the Fun’s some good competition.

The CR's crisp edges and flat bottom make it a great ocean surfer too.

Specs:

Length

Width

Weight

Cockpit

Volume

Paddler Weight

Length

Width

CR 80

6’5”

24”

27lbs

32”

20”

56 GAL

90-160 lbs

CR 125

6’7”

25”

35 lbs

33”

19”

60 GAL

140-210

CR 250

6’9”

26”

36 lbs

33”

20”

65 GAL

180-250 lbs

Pros:

  • The volume distribution of the Liquid Logic CR series makes this boat a true “river running” playboat. Last season, we had the chance to paddle it on some big water class IV and IV+. The boat seems to have the volume where you need it, a stern that does not catch in squirelly water, and great edges for carving your way down big bouncy rapids.The CR’s fall a little more into the river running category than the playboat category. It will give you confidence downriver.If you are paddling a WaveSport Fuse and want more stability and volume for harder whitewater, try the CR125.
  • One feature to note is the “bulb” of volume directly behind the cockpit area (see photo above). Creek boats have a similar style mold. This gives additional stability downriver. This boat will not get squirted in big holes as easily as others (WS Fuse, JK Fun)
  • The wide, flat bottom gives the CR’s good primary stability, which is another benefit for class III/IV boating.
  • The “spin-Disc” hull is a raised platform on the bottom of the boat. This gets the edges out of the water, and makes a flat plane for the boat to spin on. It works very well. The CR series was easy to spin in the hole, especially the 250 which is the widest of the series. On a good foam pile or green wave, just turning your head to the left or right seemed to be enough initiation to get the boat spinning.

  • The Liquid Logic “Bad Ass Outfitting” is plush. The seat cushions, Hip pads and back band are all coated with a soft, durable synthetic material that dries quickly. The backband can fold down, and create a space to insert things in the stern of the boat (dry bag, break down paddle).
  • The “Cone of Comfort” is as good as it gets. Basically it is a foam block scored into multiple sizes that sits inside of a thin, cylindrical foam cushion. The great thing about the cushion is that it surrounds the entire bow of the boat. This thing is really comfortable…Cadillac style. No more bunions on your heels and toes.
  • All 3 of the CR boats in the series are “cartwheelable”, even in flat water(the 80 and 125 are easier than the CR 250. The 250 requires a lot of edging and a huge double pump. Being Heavy helps too).
  • The Liquid Logic CR Series has been around for a few seasons. On one hand, this is not the newest “latetst and greatest” river toy to check out. On the other hand, the reason that this boat is still selling is because it does lots of things very well. It runs beginner rapids, hard whitewater and throws down. Similar to the WaveSport Project, this boat is a classic, especially for people that want to have one boat in their quiver.
  • Having 3 sizes (80, 125 and 250) makes it possible for kids, average sized adults and large paddlers to have fun in the CR’s.
  • The Liquid Logic CR Series has all of the makings of a great ocean surfing boat too. It is fast, loose,has great edges for carving on big wave faces, and enough volume to be able to paddle out through some big wave sets.

Check out the CR 125 on river right.Small boat.Big Rapid. If you are floating the Grand Canyon soon and are looking for a solid boat that can handle the rapids, play and has enough room inside for some big mileage paddle sessions....the CR is a great choice.

Cons:

  • The volume behind the cockpit and flat bottom can make the CR Series harder to roll than some boats that were designed specifically to be “easy to roll”(Fun Series). If you have a relatively decent roll(and proper form), you should have no problem.
  • The primary function of the CR series is to be able to give confidence to the class III/IV paddler (and class IV/IV+ big water boater), as well as allow them to play. This is not a great boat for the absolute beginner. It is a bit harder to roll and has edges. The edges are great if you know how to use them, but can be tricky if not.
  • The CR is still a flat bottomed river runner. It does not have the hull speed of a long, rounded hull boat like the Liquid Logic Remix. If you are used to long, fast boats(RPM), it may take a little while to get used being in a flat bottomed kayak. The good news is that flat bottomed boats are stable and turn easily.
  • The CR is a few seasons old. It is a proven winner, but it’s not a new boat by any means. If you want a new toy for the summer look at the 2009 Liquid Logic Biscuits.

Flatwater cartwheels, squrits and stalls are all fun and easy for the right sized paddle in the right sized CR.

The Verdict:

The “free running” boat category is loaded with some great options. From WaveSport Fuse’s to Jackson Fun’s; there are plenty of options to choose from. What separates the Liquid Logic CR series from many other free running boats is it’s ability to run intermediate and advanced rivers (Pine Creek and the Numbers on The Arkansas at very high water, The Grand Canyon, ocean surfing, etc). It has a bit more volume than other “free running” boats behind the cockpit, and in the leg and knee area. This will help keep you upright, and lessen your chances of getting squirted in every hole and eddy boil in big water. The edges also give it a crisp, high performance feel. This is great for intermediate and advanced paddlers, but may make it a bit tougher for beginners to use as a learning boat.

The CKS test crew having another tough day at the office.

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