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Pedal drive disadvantages? #13420981 01/30/20 11:51 AM
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Lee Finlay Online Content OP
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For those of us looking to switch from paddle to pedal kayaks, are there any disadvantages to pedal drive?

Personal options aside, what are the better brands and warranties?

Are there any ones to avoid?

I've had a SeaGhost for a few years now, and I'm looking to switch to pedal. I'm looking for something extremely stable with a bulletproof drive system.

Is there anything I need to investigate or invest in before I buy?

Thanks!

Re: Pedal drive disadvantages? [Re: Lee Finlay] #13421000 01/30/20 12:16 PM
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They are heavy. If you have to paddle, they are like barges.


"...to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism."
~George Washington, Sept. 19, 1796
Re: Pedal drive disadvantages? [Re: Lee Finlay] #13421059 01/30/20 01:13 PM
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If your budget allows it, go with the original time tested Hobie brand.
Everyone else is playing catch up, but your top brand names make excellent products while some of the newer econo manufacturers to the scene are producing decent attempts, just not time tested.


Just one more cast!

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Re: Pedal drive disadvantages? [Re: Lee Finlay] #13421107 01/30/20 02:09 PM
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If your knees are bad, watch out. I can pedal a bicycle pain free, but the Mirage drive kills my knees.

Re: Pedal drive disadvantages? [Re: Lee Finlay] #13421124 01/30/20 02:19 PM
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Moving parts = maintenance and failures. Most common failures include bent fins and broken rudder and steering lines; these are easy fixes
Hit a stump at 5mph with the drive could not only damage the drive, but weaken or crack the hull where the drive sits.

Heavy, pricey

Drives, especially propellers don't do well in thick, shallow vegetation.



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Re: Pedal drive disadvantages? [Re: Lee Finlay] #13421144 01/30/20 02:32 PM
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I've got an Old Town Topwater PDL. To me there are three disadvantages. One it ain't light. With the drive it weighs around 95 lbs. It paddles just like you'd expect a 34" wide, 10'6", 95lb kayak to paddle. It can be a wet ride. When the drive is up there's a pretty big hole in the floor. Stuff will find it's way into that hole. Ask me how I know this. Finally, is shallow water. I can can get into water about 18" deep before I have to lift the drive and paddle. Even on a body of water like Lady Bird Lake, there are places I have to lift the drive.

I tested a lot of boats before I plunked down two grand. Hobie Compass, several Natives, Feel Free Lure, and Perception Pilot. All of them were good boats, and I don't think you can go wrong with any. I thought the Old Town had the smoothest of the propeller drives. The Old Town pedal drive is designed by Minkota and has a 5 year warranty on the drive. For me came down to the Hobie and the Old Town. What sold me on the PDL vs. the Hobie Mirage drive is instant reverse. If I'm fighting a fish I keep two hands on the rod and I can back up without yanking on any cords, I just start pedaling backwards. It helps a lot in positioning, I glide up to my spot and pedal backwards to stop.

At the $2K price point the Old Town was the best boat for me. If I had $3K to spend I might have gone with the Hobie Outback or $4K the Pro Angler, but it was pushing my Swamp Yankee frugality to spend $2K.

Re: Pedal drive disadvantages? [Re: Lee Finlay] #13421189 01/30/20 02:57 PM
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I am kind of in the same boat, no pun intended, but I have been researching and demo-ing as many boats as I can before I eventually make a decision. My biggest hurdles are weight, & cost. I car-top my kayaks and fish by myself more than 75% of the time when kayaking and don't see myself wanting to pull a kayak trailer with my car. I can tell you at the top of my list are the 2020 Hobie Outback (85lbs or so empty weight), & the 2020 Native Slayer Propel 10 (62 lbs or so empty weight) , Hobie is obviously at the top of the game and has been for a long time, time tested & proven, great designs, stability is top notch, arguably the most comfortable chairs, the guardian retractable transducer shield, and with the new kickup fins less worry about damaging your fins/drive with underwater hazards. The Native kayaks are also one of the top manufacturers and have been making big advancements with a newly upgraded drive system, integrated weed guard, bmx style flat pedals, stremlined crank, prop indexer, larger rudder, etc.. One big advantage I see that a lot of people like is the Native and other bicycle style drives have the instant reverse which the Hobie drive does not. And at 23 lbs lighter the Slayer seems like the perfect choice for a car topper. But at only 10' long versus the Outback at 12'-9" I do wonder if it would feel a lot smaller to me (6' tall around 185 lbs, both my kayaks now are in the 12'-6" range) I have two Jackson Kayaks that I love but both of the pedal drives they make that I would be interested in (Coosa FD & Bite FD) are at or over 100 lbs empty weight which is more than I would want to try to solo load after a full day on the water fishing. Cost is a huge factor as well. The Slayer comes in around $2,100.00 before tax, if I bought the outback it would be the camo color which comes in around $3,150.00 before tax. $1,000.00 pre-tax difference is a big deal for me. The biggest advantages I see with wanting a pedal drive kayak? Covering more water, getting to and from places quicker possibly, and maintaining better control in the wind, & hands free fishing. Biggest disadvantages I see are weight, cost, more pieces & moving parts (more stuff that can break or fail), definitely harder to paddle if needed, and possibly being limited to certain types of water, some of the places i fish i wouldn't dream of trying to launch a pedal drive, very shallow stump fields for one, narrow shallow creeks, etc... Maybe I am off base in thinking that.

Let me reiterate, I am not an expert, I do not own a pedal drive, I have demoed some and pedaled some friends yaks over the last couple years. I am simply giving my thoughts on what i am looking for in a pedal drive kayak that I plan on adding to my humble fleet of kayaks hopefully sometime this year when the time is right. If anyone has experience car topping these or any pedal drives, or wants to add or correct anything I said about these boats please feel free to add comment or opinion, the majority of the people on this site have many more years on the water than me and I have received excellent advice in the past on here.Good luck in your search OP and hopefully everyone is ready for another awesome year of kayaking, fishing, & enjoying the outdoors.


Ray
Re: Pedal drive disadvantages? [Re: Lee Finlay] #13421254 01/30/20 03:30 PM
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I have switched from paddle to peddle. I also currently have both and have had several of each. It depends on what type of fishing you do, what waters you fish, of course budget and transportation abilities among other things.

I've had a Pescador Pilot pedal kayak and I have a Hobie Pro Angler and a 2020 Hobie Outback. The Pescador Pilot is not a good pedal drive kayak. The rudder steering design is horrible and after a short time will become hard to steer and their design on raising and lowering the pedal drive into place is a bad design.

There are 2 types of pedal drives- the Hobie or flipper style and the propeller style. The propeller style will give you instant reverse but will give you fits if you fish in any weeded areas or areas with grass. With Hobies you don't have the weed problem. Another advantage with Hobie's is you can also just flip the drive up against the bottom of the hull when you go into shallow areas. The downside with Hobie's is there is no instant reverse. There are Hobies that do have the 180 drive and honestly it's not a bid deal to reach down and pull a cord to go in reverse. Kayak fishing is all about give and take. Once you get used to using the Hobie reverse it's second nature.

As far as bullet proof these things are just like vehicles, all of them can have issues at times. As far as solid either the Hobie drive or the Old Town propeller drive. Native has a quality drive as well. I personally would not look beyond these.

One thing to keep in mind is weight. If you are not willing or don't want to go the trailer route plan on getting BoonDox groovy landing gear. Yes the landing gear is expensive but it will save your back and is night and day easier to load and unload your kayak. I have a trailer and still have BoonDox on my Hobies. I can't recommend this enough. Also keep in mind if you will fish in water less than 12" you will have to paddle your kayak. Keep that in mind if you are looking at a Predator PDL or a Pro Angler. Heavy wide stable kayaks don't paddle well at all.

Another thing on weight. A lot of manufactures seem to post weight ratings that are really not close. IMO Native Slayer is one of those. I've picked up a couple of Slayers and they're not much less than my 150 lb. Hobie Pro Angler 14.

Narrow down your selection to 2 or 3 then go test them out. Spend at least a couple of hours in each one.

Then buy one and go fish!



Last edited by Jerry713; 01/30/20 03:34 PM.

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Re: Pedal drive disadvantages? [Re: Lee Finlay] #13421297 01/30/20 03:53 PM
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Re: Pedal drive disadvantages? [Re: Lee Finlay] #13421403 01/30/20 05:02 PM
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Thank you all for the advice.

I currently cartop my Vibe, and I hate it. I'm purchasing a trailer before getting the new yak. I'm on the fence with keeping the old yak, since storage space is limited.

Are there any places that let you demo, or rent, different yaks for a day?
I've only experienced demo days where you don't get a lot of time with a yak.

Re: Pedal drive disadvantages? [Re: Lee Finlay] #13421441 01/30/20 05:34 PM
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Get a Malone trailer with the collapsible tongue, easy to load and unload a kayak and it does not take up much space.

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Re: Pedal drive disadvantages? [Re: Lee Finlay] #13421475 01/30/20 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Lee Finlay
Thank you all for the advice.

I currently cartop my Vibe, and I hate it. I'm purchasing a trailer before getting the new yak. I'm on the fence with keeping the old yak, since storage space is limited.

Are there any places that let you demo, or rent, different yaks for a day?
I've only experienced demo days where you don't get a lot of time with a yak.


If you walked into Mariner Sails and told them you have narrowed down your kayak list to x,y,z and told them once you decided you were ready to buy I'm almost positive they would arrange for you to demo those kayaks. Most kayak dealers understand you need to test them out first. You just need to assure them you're serious about buying and not just kicking tires.


You get out of it what you put into it!
Re: Pedal drive disadvantages? [Re: Lee Finlay] #13423064 02/01/20 03:18 AM
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I have a Slayer Propel and my biggest complaint is the weight. I’m tempted to get a second paddle kayak for ponds or short trips. I have the factory rudder and it wants to pull left if I take my hand off the rudder. Also, I have to grease the drive up after every use and that required buying a special tool called a spanner wrench.

But it’s super stable and it paddles okay over a short distance. One big advantage of the bicycle type of drive is being able to stand and use my hands to make slight adjustments back and forth. I go upwind on a bank, line up so I’m pointed at the bank, and let the wind push me along as I fish standing up. If I get too close or too far from the bank, I just lean over and give the pedals a crank or two.

Re: Pedal drive disadvantages? [Re: Lee Finlay] #13423224 02/01/20 01:38 PM
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I’ve fished with folks that had various Hobies with the Mirage Drive. One advantage was when going on long paddles in water deep enough to fully engage the drive. Most people have stronger legs than upper bodies and the Mirage Drive takes advantage of that fact. Trolling lures can be done using the Mirage drive and the rod can be in full hands on control the entire time. I’ve trolled while paddling, but the rod is in the rod holder. It still works that way, but there’s a little gap in time between setting the paddle down and getting the rod in hand. With the Mirage drive, one can sort of hover in place in current and still fish. That’s just not really possible when one had to paddle to stay up with the current.

But the Mirage drive was a liability in the shallow marsh. My once in a while marsh fishing buddy had to always address that issue and often pulled the drive out, then had to find a spot to stash it out of the way and securely. It wasn’t all that easy to satisfy those requirements. More than once he bent a fin striking hard reef. For a fly fisherman like myself, the mirage drive is perfectly suited for grabbing any loose fly line that might be near. There’s always loose fly line so there’s always a headache with anything that has straps and angles in the general range of stripped line. The foot pedals are just in the way and there’s no good work around for that other than getting out to wade.

Re: Pedal drive disadvantages? [Re: Lee Finlay] #13423241 02/01/20 01:55 PM
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