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Old    Michael W. Gwin (mwgwin)      Join Date: Oct 2002       05-31-2005, 10:16 AM Reply   
I didnt want it to have to come to this but Ive finally had it with this bimini top. I want to share my story so that others will know what they are getting into.

I have a 2001 MC X-Star and last summer I was in the market for a bimini top and finally came down to a decision between Johnson Bimini and Tower biminis. Every post I read about both were very good so I decided to go Johnson since they were a little cheaper. So I shelled out the $600, got my bimini in the mail, and was excited to put it on. Opened the box, got out all the pieces and pulled out the only instructions in the box (a picture of the bimini attached to a Mastercraft boat. Okay, I thought, must be easy to put together. I started my mission. 4 hours later I just could not get the thing together. The location of one of the clamps on the picture was on a spot on the tower where (on my boat), the clamp just could not fit. Discouraged, I called Johnson Bimini for help. I explained the situation and they assured me that it was an 01 X-Star in the picture and that the tower on my boat must not be from the factory since the clamp would not fit... I argued and argued and finally said, okay, I will send you pictures. Sent the pictures and they said it would be fine just up a little higher on the tower. Okay, so I wedged, and crammed and jimmied and got the bimini put together and it just didnt look right. I knew I didnt have the right bimini, so I took pictures of it and mailed them to Johnson (this is more than a week later). They agreed the stanchions didnt look correct and offered to replace it. I thought, okay, accidents happen, no problem. Then they told me it would be $85 for shipping. I couldnt believe they expected me to pay the shipping on this but they still insisted I did something wrong. I finally lost my breath and agreed to pay half the shipping cost. Small price to pay to be done with this situation in my opinion....

So, I get the new parts and set it up and it looks slick. Im stoked now. One week later I tear my ACL (different story entirely....) So, the boat sits at my house for the rest of the season and into this year.

So now, I have the top folded upright where it sits just under my tower speakers. Im out on a relatively windy day and and driving down the river when I hear a slam. Look back and the bimini fell backwards and broke the clamps that were attaching it to the tower. Bummer...

I call Johnson Bimini and say, hey, what gives, this thing blew down in just the wind, do you have a better way to attach it to the tower or what? Am I doing something wrong? They tell me on windy days you should have it folded down to avoid this situation. I say okay, whatever, lesson learned, I need two clamps and some extra wingnuts. Total comes to $52! What, for some plastic clamps? Yup, they are $20 each, and with the extra wingnuts and shipping, $52. This is becoming the worst investment I have made for my boat... Okay, fine, heres my VISA, just send me the parts...

So I get the parts, set up the bimini over the weekend, again, I love the way it looks with its out, very slick! I get done for the weekend and start to look at how it should fold down for the road.... folded it back so it is just connected by the rearmost clamps and it is not tall enough to rest on the rear cushions of my V-Drive. It is also not wide enoug to rest on the sides of the boat, so after I put my cover on, it just weights down the cover putting stress on my straps. Frustrated, I took the damn thing down and am now faced with either risking a tear in my cover or completely taking the bimini off every time I need to drive on the highway....

Those of you with Johnson bimini tops, please post if you have similar experiences or with pictures of how you are managing your top without breaking it...

Ill try to post some pictures of what Im talking about tomorrow. Im just real frustrated after spending over $700 for something that is less than manageable.

Comments welcome.
Old    Stewart McLean (gizel)      Join Date: Dec 2002       05-31-2005, 12:08 PM Reply   
Mike , I have an 02 x-star so same set up. Sorry to hear that you have had som many problems. The cover I have with mine had straps to strap it to the tower when I was driving but after a 4 hour trip I went to put the Bimini up and the straps had torn the cover and the bimini. My dealer got me a new one at no cost but recommended that I take it down when driving. I noticied after the fact the on the label for the bimini it says to take it down at speeds over 30 MPH. Well I have not had a problem with it open over those speeds but I take it completely down when I tow. I figure better safe then sorry. Its a little bit of a pain but I just deal with it.
Old    Michael W. Gwin (mwgwin)      Join Date: Oct 2002       05-31-2005, 1:47 PM Reply   
Thanks for the post Stewart! I was also told not to have it up at high speeds because it will cause friction in the fabric which will cause holes. I guess I wont have this problem when I get a new boat next year and the bimini actually folds up level with the tower.

Thanks again,
Old    Randy Peacock (peacock)      Join Date: Jan 2005       05-31-2005, 3:44 PM Reply   
Stewart, You have to take your bimini down if your boat is going more than 30? How fast does your boat go?
Old    Matthew Bird (ldr)      Join Date: Nov 2002       05-31-2005, 8:53 PM Reply   
we used to have a johnson bimini on our 2001 and we had no problems. we were able to strap it to the top of the tower when doing freeway driving. However a friend of mine has a 2001 with a johnson bimini and his is completely different from the one we had. his sits lower and isn't quite as nice looking.
This really doesn't answer your question but i just thought it was weird that they made two different biminis for the same boat
Old    Stewart McLean (gizel)      Join Date: Dec 2002       06-01-2005, 6:55 AM Reply   
Randy, its not that I have to take it down when I am on the water and going above 30. It states on the label on the Bimini that it is not recomended at speeds above 30. Stupid I know since I never take mine down while I am on the water , but I do when I traler the boat since I hit speeds over 65. The boat goes about 50 by the way.
Old    Michael W. Gwin (mwgwin)      Join Date: Oct 2002       06-01-2005, 6:59 AM Reply   
I think the speed limit warning is for when its folded up and I think it is to prevent the holes in the fabric. (and also probably from it blowing down) When it is folded out, I dont think its a problem. I am taking your advice Stewart and am taking it down every time I trailer....what a pain...not to mention its not that easy to do by it irritates not one but two people ;)
Old    Michael W. Gwin (mwgwin)      Join Date: Oct 2002       06-01-2005, 7:01 AM Reply   
Matthew, I dont suppose you have any pictures of your 2001 with the bimini? I have thought since I bought mine, it could have been designed to sit almost a foot higher. Id love to see that.


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