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Old 02-11-2020, 12:09 PM   #1
SoCalEDC
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Drive type info, Mirage vs PDL, etc. and Passport vs 2015-2018 Outback

Last weekend I sold my Trident 13.

I am now looking for a pedal driven kayak. I have been looking at all kinds of them and its a bit overwhelming to keep up with all the specs etc. The only one I have pedaled is the 2019 Hobie Outback. I wasn't in love with the way it felt but it was also at a demo day so its possible that I just didn't have enough time to get it set up to my proportions.

Now, what I am asking for today is just some input from guys who have used (extensively, i.e. not in the show room or just for 5 minutes at a demo, but actually launched, fished, etc.) multiple kinds of drives (mirage vs PDL, etc.).

Here are some of the Pros/Cons I can find others discussing online and from the mfg's websites for the two I have looked into, if you guys can help to confirm these I would appreciate it:

Mirage Drive:
Pros: Small and compact, easy to transport, simple to use, usable in shallow water, where grass and other vegetation is present, do not have to remove the drive to get the fins out of the way, easy to carry a spare.

Cons: Mechanically there are many parts. There are also multiple versions, not all of them have reverse, and even so, it requires a cable-pull to manually "shift" from forward to reverse, the drive sinks, potential drive durability. Cost (a similar kayak with the mirage is about $500 more than one with the other drives) Warranty??

Old Town PDL:
Pros: Instant reverse (probably the biggest pro for me), design is simple and familiar to me, the drive unit floats, 5 year warranty on drive from the MFG. As long as the pedals are moving the propeller never stops turning and therefore creates constant thrust, as opposed to the mirage where each top of the stroke you have to reverse direction, causing a brief period of no power transmission.

Cons: Looks like the positioning will be awkward and unadjustable, heavy, not sure if it can be 100% removed from the kayak (I.e. if I want to car top this thing), Propellers due to their rotational nature have a tendency to get tangled in strings (line, weeds, tethers, etc.), perhaps not as much thrust per revolution as the mirage drive.

Can any one lend any more to this or offer input from experience?

As a secondary question for any of you guys who have tried both, Hobie passport (new) vs 2015-2018 Outback (used) how do the decks compare. I like the "tray" style gunwales on the previous gen Outback, but as I understand it there are some gear tracks and accessories that can help to simulate this utility on the passport.

Thanks guys,
Ant
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Old 02-11-2020, 12:36 PM   #2
cris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCalEDC View Post
Last weekend I sold my Trident 13.

I am now looking for a pedal driven kayak. I have been looking at all kinds of them and its a bit overwhelming to keep up with all the specs etc. The only one I have pedaled is the 2019 Hobie Outback. I wasn't in love with the way it felt but it was also at a demo day so its possible that I just didn't have enough time to get it set up to my proportions.

Now, what I am asking for today is just some input from guys who have used (extensively, i.e. not in the show room or just for 5 minutes at a demo, but actually launched, fished, etc.) multiple kinds of drives (mirage vs PDL, etc.).

Here are some of the Pros/Cons I can find others discussing online and from the mfg's websites for the two I have looked into, if you guys can help to confirm these I would appreciate it:

Mirage Drive:
Pros: Small and compact, easy to transport, simple to use, usable in shallow water, where grass and other vegetation is present, do not have to remove the drive to get the fins out of the way, easy to carry a spare.

Cons: Mechanically there are many parts. There are also multiple versions, not all of them have reverse, and even so, it requires a cable-pull to manually "shift" from forward to reverse, the drive sinks, potential drive durability. Cost (a similar kayak with the mirage is about $500 more than one with the other drives) Warranty??

Old Town PDL:
Pros: Instant reverse (probably the biggest pro for me), design is simple and familiar to me, the drive unit floats, 5 year warranty on drive from the MFG. As long as the pedals are moving the propeller never stops turning and therefore creates constant thrust, as opposed to the mirage where each top of the stroke you have to reverse direction, causing a brief period of no power transmission.

Cons: Looks like the positioning will be awkward and unadjustable, heavy, not sure if it can be 100% removed from the kayak (I.e. if I want to car top this thing), Propellers due to their rotational nature have a tendency to get tangled in strings (line, weeds, tethers, etc.), perhaps not as much thrust per revolution as the mirage drive.

Can any one lend any more to this or offer input from experience?

As a secondary question for any of you guys who have tried both, Hobie passport (new) vs 2015-2018 Outback (used) how do the decks compare. I like the "tray" style gunwales on the previous gen Outback, but as I understand it there are some gear tracks and accessories that can help to simulate this utility on the passport.

Thanks guys,
Ant
I've had my mirage 180 pedals for almost 4 years now but have no experience with the PDL. I'll address your points below

Mirage Drive:
Small and compact, easy to transport ---- It weighs a couple of pounds and is awkwardly shaped but can be carried in one car.

Simple to use --- agreed

Usable in shallow water --- agreed, have not bent fins yet.

Where grass and other vegetation is present, do not have to remove the drive to get the fins out of the way --- you do have to pull it out if you get caught in kelp or ride over kelp.

Easy to carry a spare --- agreed, spares are fairly pricey though.

Mechanically there are many parts. --- Absolutely true, and complexity is high. I have yet to have a part break on me and corrosion is low. The only maintenance I've done is a freshwater rinse after use and the occasional lubrication.

There are also multiple versions --- very confusing, Andy @ Oex is always helpful identifying the parts needed.
Not all of them have reverse -- true
It requires a cable-pull to manually "shift" from forward to reverse -- true, not a huge inconvenience since you can activate it with one hand.
The drive sinks -- yup. It has a convenient location to attach a leash to, highly recommend doing that.
Potential drive durability -- no issues with either of mine, and you see plenty of well used, older ones around.
Cost (a similar kayak with the mirage is about $500 more than one with the other drives) -- yup.
Warranty -- 1 year.


All in all, I'm very happy with my Hobie and the mirage drive is awesome. I wish the rudder handle on mine were a little tighter so it would track straight hands off better. Probably just an issue with mine.

C
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Old 02-11-2020, 02:07 PM   #3
Saba Slayer
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Try em...!!!

The only way to be sure of the kayak that will work for you you is to try them and make YOUR OWN DECISION...
You need to find a kayak that you can transport...store at your home...that fits your launch and fishing style...and that you can afford...and you are the only one that can make that choice.
Find a kayak dealer near you that is on the water and has demos available... ...Hopefully it's OEX...
Andy has Hobie's and a lot of other brands and he's right there on the water...
OEX Sunset has a Demo Day coming up before the Hall show and it would be a great way for you to try the different brands and compare the rides and talk to the reps or team members...Hobie will also have some demos available at the lagoon in Long Beach at the Fred Hall show for trial rides...I'll be at both the OEX demo day and at the Long Beach Fred Hall Show with the Hobie boats if you have some more questions.
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Old 02-12-2020, 10:48 AM   #4
Salty
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Recently purchased a new Passport 12 and have been using it extensively ever since. I have not used a PDL or an Outback (for longer than a short demo) so I don't have much input on a real comparison. But here's are some of my thoughts on the Passport 12:

Pros:
Price- It's a lot cheaper than an Outback and offers much of the same functionality.
Mirage Drive- It doesn't come with the 180 Drive, but there have been very few times I wish I had reverse capability so far. Maybe if I had it an used it more, I would miss it if it was gone... but otherwise, I'm doing fine without it. I fish in a lot of kelp and have only been caught up a handful of times. The nice thing though is that it's easy to free up. Its as easy as *Lean over, unclip, lift, drift away a second, drop back in, done* Occasionally I'll pull a little eelgrass from it if I see it. Every once in a while I'll spray it down with some lube when it's free of saltwater.
Weight- It's easy to lift in and out of my tuck by myself
Stability- Very stable and cuts through heavy chop pretty well (not sure how it compares to an outback in this aspect though). I usually return to the harbor nice and dry.
Customization- I assume most kayaks are like this, but with the T-rail, there are lots of places to add rod-holders, a FF, cup holders, whatever. There are even places where you can add even more T-rails for additional customization if you want.
FF-ready: Going to be installing my FF this weekend most likely, but from the looks of it, it seems like Hobie has made it very easy to install.
Seat- It's pretty comfortable for 6-8 hour days


Cons:
Storage- The standard Passport 12 comes with only one 8" center hatch and some straps on the bow and stern to tie things down. I really wish this kayak came with more in-hull storage. Fortunately, you can always purchase and install additional hatches. I purchased the Rectangular Vertical hatch for the center and moved the 8" circular hatch to the bow. This more than doubled my hull storage and was surprisingly easy to install. Just wish it came like this from the factory.
Shallow Water- Even though technically you can use the Mirage drive in shallow water, it still makes me nervous and I pull it out just to be safe. Haven't beach launched it yet, but I would for sure pull it out and secure it before doing so.
Awkward to paddle- The Mirage Drive is awesome, but it's a little awkward to use the paddles in this kayak. With the Drive removed, there really isn't anywhere to put your feet against when paddling. Not much of a problem, but I assume it might be more important when surf-launching. Also, haven't tried it yet, so I don't know how well this kayak tracks when landing through the surf.

Hope this gives you some insight! If you're near Newport, I recommend going to Southwind Kayak Center and renting each for a day to try them both out for longer than a ride around the harbor. I know they rent outbacks for $40 or $45 per day. I think they rent Passports too, but not sure. I also talked with them at their Irvine shop and they mentioned they often have minimally used rentals for sale. They keep their fleet up to date with the most current models from what I understand so their rentals aren't too beat up.

Let me know if you have any more Passport-specific questions and I'd be happy to offer any insight I can. If I could chose the Passport again, I would!
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