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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:21 am 
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Hi,

Thanks for all the helpful posts and information.

Trying to decide on a recreational kayak for a few hours touring on inland lakes. Age early 60's, no fishing, no standing, want easy to pedal for sustained period of time, easy to move through the water but also stable.

Intuitively, it seems like rotational pedaling might be easier but from what I am reading, people seem to like Mirage Drive push pedal.

I know this is a Hobie Board but what are your thoughts on this? What should I be looking at? Revo 13 or Native Ultimate FX Propel 13 or something else? In your experience, what is best for my application?

Thank you in advance for your help!

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Last edited by NorthMI on Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:24 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:27 am 
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As a man with lower back issues, i have found the reciprocal action of the hobie pedal drive much more forgiving as it seems to involves considerably less pelvic movement. It also has more “bite” (resistance) into the water which I find appreciable.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:03 am 
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Location: Sarasota,Key West FL
My opinion is the the Hobie mirage system is a wonderful invention. Believe it or not the greatest feature is seldom discussed, and few are even aware of the features existence.
Around here the area is vast, the most fun areas are the backwater areas, and miles of mangrove tunnels leading to hidden lake and backwater areas. However at low tide the typical water depth is only 8-12” deep with lots of oyster beds everywhere.
When we first started kayaking we used mostly recreational paddle yaks, we felt pretty safe staying a few hundred feet from shore, (only in protected back waters) and our typical outing was a 2-3 hrs, if I had to guess we would go 2-3 miles total, at the end we were typically very tired. I have a pretty bad back and the twisting motion of paddling was brutal on my back, ( even though I had spent most of my life canoing ever since boy scouts).
We saw quite a few Hobies out there and talked to the people, they all said they loved them.
So we bought a few Hobie mirage kayaks and fell in love with them. We were able to quadruple our range, weren’t afraid anymore to go a few hundred feet from shore, and extended our time out quite a bit without getting tired.
However we were scared to death of the mirage drives in fear we were going to destroy them in shallow water. So in any water less than about 3 ft we pulled the drives out, (the absolute stupidest thing we ever did in our lives). In all the shallows and mangrove areas we had the mirage drives pulled, and laying by our feet, out of fear, and ended up paddling a lot. Whenever we beached the boat we always pulled the mirage drive, out of fear of damage.
I don’t know a lot about the propel system, besides seeing a few, and watching videos. My opinion is you have a rigid frame with a delicate prop. So with that I would think the unit would be of little use in anything less than about 3ft of ‘known’ water, knowing if you come up on an unseen oyster bed the likelyhood of wrecking the unit is very high, same applies with mangrove roots and coral heads.
One feature the propel promotes heavily is it’s ability to reverse, stating Hobie can’t do that, ( the older pre-2015 mirage systems). Well fact of the matter is across 8 different Hobies over ten years, ( going out every weekend year round), we pulled our drive out and flipped the drive around to use reverse twice, ( takes 20 seconds to flip the older drive around to use reverse).
Either boat needs a pretty deep rudder so operation all day on say 8” deep water, your gonna be paddling all day, not even using these expensive units at all.
For the next couple months we went out every weekend paddling our Hobies in the typical 8-12” of water with the mirage drives by our feet laying on the deck, thinking boy did we get ripped, ( lol).

Then I went onto this forum and learned from guys like Roadrunner and others, how to actually use the mirage drives.
Turned out I wasn’t doing anything right, and didn’t understand the first thing about how to use the things effectively. Once we figured the darn things out, we found out we can use them in pretty much any water anytime down to around 6-8” deep. We even use the things in class two rapids, drag the boat over shoals, beach the boat, etc, etc. Actually we seldom remove the mirage drives at all anymore. Sure the mirage drives and the hull both look like they survived WW2, but both are way more durable and repairable than we ever imagined.
All of our Hobies we purchased the big sailing rudder along with the boat, installed, then lopped off with a saw the entire bottom 5-6” of the rudder, so we can use the rudder even in 6” of water, ( no different from stock rudder functionwise).
Next every mirage boat comes with a pedal bungy to force the fins against the hull, learn how to use it...( hint you can still pedal the mirage drives just fine with the bungy on). Next learn how to shallow pedal, ( the fins work like butterfy wings). Once you get good at it you can shallow peddle faster than you can paddle, and consume much less energy), in 8” of water.
Anyone who goes on any of our kayaks get a 5 minute instruction on how to use the mirage drive properly, (lol), if they don’t listen I give them a paddle and put the mirage drive in the car trunk, here ya go, lol, ( they can be totally destroyed in about 5 seconds if used improperly), I’m sure the propel is exactly the same.
Yes you are going to bend the fin rods once in a while, learn how to straighten them, the rods are a consumable item, and need replacing every few yrs. same with the fins, if used properly you will never rip any fins, ( we haven’t ripped any at all in 9 yrs), however they are also a consumable item, they get all stretched out and wavy after a couple yrs, time for new fins, (they are not expensive).
Now lets talk energy consumption, endurance and possible distances. Believe it or not this has much more to do with the boat design itself than anything else. As an example I can pedal our TI kayak with just me pedaling, both me and wife aboard, ( she pedals very little) ten hrs up quiet rivers easily, but the TI is very long and narrow with a length to width ratio of 8 to 1, (really important measure), because the boat glides and tracks better than any kayak we have ever owned. At one time we both had revo 13’s, we couldn’t do half that distance. We can keep up with some high end sea kayaks, but most of the OC-2’s, (and many high end surfski’s) out there blow our doors off every time. But even stating that, the Revo 13 is still our favorite kayak of all time, (we just no longer use single kayaks at all, everything we own is tandem).

So if you have a fat short boat like a PA 14, your gonna expend a lot of energy whether you paddle, pedal with mirage, or pedal with a propel system, but then again the PA is the ultimate fish killer, definately worthwhile, but a different animal. In otherwords if your into distance pleasure stuff, (not talking about racing or too much about fishing here), a revo16, a TI kayak, or anything longer and more slender will do better than say a revo 11, outback, or PA. I would place the revo 13 right in the middle.

I know very little about Natives stuff, but would assume the same would apply, (skinnier/longer is usually better for touring, roughly speaking).

So in conclusion, on the surface the three systems seem comparable, ( paddle, mirage, propel). However once you understand all the ins and outs of everything, that mirage system is darn good, the high end sea kayaks in expert hands are darn good, you need to figure out for yourself where the propel system fits in.

Don’t do like we did, without knowing what we were doing, we thought we got pooped on with the mirage drive because we are mostly in very shallow water, but once we figured it all out, the mirage system ended up being superior to everything, ( who the heck knew, lol).
My opinion is if your mostly lake fishing in fishing specialty kayaks in mostly deeper freshwater lakes, all three options will do the job, but that’s just my opinion.

We are also avid kayak sailers, and are mostly salt water and ocean folks, (keys and S Fl), Hobie is king of the hill here for anything and everything you can possibly imagine, ( and boy do we imagine a lot).
Hope this helps
FE

Edit: don’t get pooped on, ( lol)


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 2:03 pm 
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All you have to do is go try both types. I have a pretty good idea which one you'll choose...


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 3:37 pm 
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Thanks guys! FusionEng, I was going to PM you based on your previous posts, so pleased to hear from you.

So there's obviously the Revo 13 for the push pedal but for the rotational pedal, given my needs, what would you say would be the best rotational pedal?

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:17 pm 
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NorthMI wrote:
Age early 60's, no fishing, no standing, want easy to pedal for sustained period of time, easy to move through the water but also stable.

If I were using that criteria for myself and wanted to change to a rigid hull, I would skip the Revo as too narrow. Done that in my youth, now let's get civilized for my much degraded sense of balance. I would look longingly at the affordable Compass, but it lacks a mast base.

Since sailing is the champagne of life on the water, I would get an Outback with sail kit. Possibly it has been called a sluggish sailor, but at least doesn't need outriggers. The fins double as sailing keels, which is one of several advantages over pedal-propellers.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:49 pm 
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NorthMI wrote:
I know this is a Hobie Board but what are your thoughts on this? What should I be looking at? Revo 13 or Native Ultimate FX Propel 13 or something else? In your experience, what is best for my application?
I've had a Native Slayer 13 and obviously several Hobie Mirage Drives. Here's why I prefer the Mirage Drives.
1. Hobies are more durable, and adjustment is comparatively easy. You don't have to buy any spanner wrenches to access the internals.
2. Propel units make a noise at all times, like a whirring sound. When the bevel gears are out of adjustment, this can get annoying if you like the quiet of nature. Hobies are quiet.
3. Hobies require less stress on the knees because the cranking distance is shorter. My knees ached when I cruised at speed for over 1/2 hour with the Propel (gliding along is no big deal). With 2 meniscus operations, I have no issues with Hobies for extended periods of time.
4. Unlike bicycles, all rotational drives have a dead spot every 180 degrees that you have to push through, so your prop is always changing speed. This makes the drive less efficient than the Mirage Drive which has no dead spot. My fastest one hour speed with the Slayer was 3.9 whereas I did 4.4 with both the Revo 11 and Outback within the same time frame and conditions (with Turbofins). The Revo 13 is faster than any of those.
5. Most pedaling prop drives are weed magnets, including the Propel. This fouls your prop and you have to pull it out to clear it. Mirage Drives pick up weeds as well, but they slough off.
5. I like Hobie's warranty and customer support much better in case there is a problem (have used both warranties).

As to which Hobie, I would recommend the Revolution series based on your comments. They are faster and quieter for cruising. The 16 is the fastest and most sea worthy, but is too long for some. If you like to explore, the shorter boats get in more places. The Revolution 13 is the best all around boat -- good cruiser, decent sailer, etc. The Revo 11 is more like a little pocket rocket. Very maneuverable in tight spots with the large rudder, quiet cruiser for such a short boat, and fits in my trunk as well as pick-up bed for easy transport. IMO, they are all stable and seaworthy boats (just keep your seat adjusted down on sudden tight turns!).

The Outback has many virtues, but doesn't cruise well in chop and wind -- it can pound and spit water out. The Sport is light and easy to transport, but has a shorter cockpit that works better for smaller to average size folks. It also exhibits some to the limitations of the Outback IMO. BTW, I do or have had all of these boats, so my opinion is first hand.

Back to the larger question -- I like to go fast on the water and get in and out easily and quickly, so I'm pretty open to whatever works best. I've owned or demonstrated several other rotary pedaling boats as well. For me there is no comparison. If i am biased, Hobie has earned it.

On the other hand, there are some people who prefer the Propel (mostly fishermen I think). Tom Kirkman made an excellent suggestion -- try the boats yourself and see what works best for you. 8)


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:58 pm 
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Thanks RoadRunner….excellent information. And thanks Tom and Daft for the excellent suggestions...just needed some input as to what the best of the rotationals are.


RoadRunner, what causes the dead spot that you referred to?

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:30 pm 
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I don't presume to speak for RoadRunner, but I assume he means that at 'top dead center', ie when one pedal is directly up top and the other is directly below the person (for a bicycle that pedals would be near vertical, I presume for a pedal kayak, the pedals would be near horizontal) that there is no power being applied to the crank (unless you were to be cleated in as a cyclist or use straps to pull your bottom pedal up).

The pulling action is somewhat unnatural for me, but if you cycled with cleats or straps, you may be used to it.

Also cleating/strapping sounds somewhat dangerous if you were to be flipped over. Not something I would entertain.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:01 pm 
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NorthMI wrote:
RoadRunner, what causes the dead spot that you referred to?
As Sangorei pointed out, there is essentially a dead spot when the leg is extended fully. Also, the best mechanical advantage is when the crank is about 1/2 way to the end of the stroke. The following chart illustrates the relationship between power and crank angle.
Image

On the Mirage Drive, the stroke is variable (unlike cycle drives) up to about 45 degrees of rotation vs. 180. Depending on what pedal position (1 through 7) you use, the overlay illustrated available Mirage Drive stroke locations on the cycle stroke. You can see that the entire Mirage stroke is located in the higher power levels of the cycle stroke. The point here is the Mirage stroke is mechanically more efficient than the cyclical stroke. If you're pedaling in the #4, #5, or #6 position this is optimal.

There is an other important element -- leg position. This next chart shows how leg strength increases as your knees straighten up to about 160 degrees (180 degrees is straight on this chart).
Image

The Propel stroke length is about 13" (although there is an option for shorter cranks); on the Mirage Drive it is only 12"maximum, or you can have shorter strokes. With properly adjusted pedal positioning, this chart shows that your stroke can be in a more efficient leg position with the Mirage Drive. That also makes it easier on the joints.

That's probably a longer explanation than you asked for or wanted, but this hopefully answers your question. It also shows that proper pedal adjustment is very important in optimizing your Drive! 8)


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:08 pm 
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Talking about all these human propulsion methods is interesting.
I’ve been working on this kind of stuff for years.
This conservation got me thinking about another possible approach.
What if instead of a mechanical direct drive running a propeller. Instead use your feet to pedal a generator with a flywheel, ( the flywheel evens out the powercycle), and once you get it up to speed, maintaining that speed requires much less energy, especially when gear reduction is used.
The generator should be able to power a Torqeedo 403 to 3-4 mph even without a battery in line. If you add a battery, the generator ( actually an alternator) would charge the battery, having the battery in line you can go faster in short bursts if needed.
I’m out there for the exercise anyway so I pedal 100 % of the time anyway. Maintaining a constant power/load generator can likely be maintained better than either a prop or mirage fins. Plus you can always throw a couple solar panels into the mix.
You could be out all day.
Just somethin to think about.
FE


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:45 pm 
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Flywheels are heavy. Any electrical connection is subject to failure


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:45 am 
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I’m not thinking just regular kayaking here, I’m big into tri-power/ human propulsion systems on big trimirans like the TI, (highly modified), with a giant jointed wingsail that cruises like 15 mph (in any conditions, even really light 3-5mph winds, (like thru the night, or down the intercoastal), and a 300 mile plus nonstop range, (maybe even unlimited range). The type of flywheel would be more like a spoked bike wheel spinning at say 2000 plus rpm once wound up, with a bunch of small rare earth magnets on the perifery. (Haven’t invented it yet, but I’ll get right on it, lol).
The boat is designed to traverse the entire Mississippi (on my bucket list), or Sarasota to Key West, (lol but there is no way I’m goin thru the backwaters of the everglades). Obviously all depends on my back getting better of course.

Nothin crazy, I’m no athlete and have nothing to prove to anyone, I have no plans to ever sleep in a tent, or on the boat, the family would follow with the RV, and I sleep in comfy AC at night in a real bed. Or stop at seaside resorts. If storms or rough weather dust up, I’ll just wait them out.
The boat will be ocean rated ( within reason, more like a ‘C’ rating) so we can hopefully make the run out to the dry Tortuga's and back from key west.
As scuba divers we also want to be able to go dive all the coral reefs, and popular dive spots, (most are at least 5 miles from land in open ocean), I flat refuse to go out there and back at 2-3mph.
Another thing I really want to do is outfit the boat with a really good sidescan sonar, and do some treasure hunting in the keys, ( would be an absolute blast). Lets face reality here if it takes me longer than about 5 hrs to sail the 70 miles out to the dry tortuga’s, I’m not goin, and no way I’m goin if it’s windy and wavy, ( can’t dive in that stuff anyway).
Hey I’m just out there having fun, how do you know what can be done if you don’t try it.
Not talkin about anything new here, I’ve had most of the same capabilities for a long time now, ( just not as fast), just thinkin about takin it to the next level that’s all. Still a lot to work out electronics wise, but things are advancing nicely, this new human powered generator idea has some merit.
The pedal system would be similar to the grinders on an AC72, generating and storing electricity instead of hydraulic fluid/ nitrogen. I’ll also have solar panels.
The final design will be 24ft long, and at least 12ft wide, with a big furlable jointed wing sail, actually a very similar design to Randy Smyth’s new rig, but rigged not so much for sailing, more on the human tripower side, I’m not into sailing at all. But if there is real wind, might as well use it.
The hull mod will be a drop in slipper, so I can always pull the kayak part out and still use as a kayak. The AMA’s will still fold in. Capacity will be 1000 lbs, 4 adults plus gear. All still car toppable. And rigging time from a trailer to water will still be 15 minutes.
I just like doin this kind of stuff that’s all, don’t really give a hoot how anyone else uses their TI, this is mine, and I’ll use the heck out of it, (lol).
FE

This is the Randy's boat in the recent Everglades Challenge, my wing will be darn similar, (just imagine a Hobie furlable sail on the back side, (with a few minor tweeks to turn it into a parafoil wing when full open, (about 5"-6" thick)), all still furlable. Also the leading wing member will be assymetric, (the front wing portion in the video is symmetric), (maybe furlable, not sure about that one yet), but would be easily dropped and raised from the halyard and laid down in the boat, similar to my current wing setup. Think of Island AMA's on it, but the boat will be much wider than stock, (though the AMA's will still fold in just fine). He has a giant screacher/spinnaker, I'll have one too, (love those spinnakers, lol).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qGRDgcEq2k


oops sorry, got kind of off subject, my mind goes wild sometimes, just got me thinkin about pedaling


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:42 am 
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Wow! You guys are amazing! Thank you!

RoadRunner, this is really impressive and informative. Where did you get this? Did you do this yourself??? Amazing. Thank you!

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:01 am 
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NorthMI wrote:
Where did you get this? Did you do this yourself???
I like to race and getting the maximum result out of my limited output has been very helpful. I ran across this first chart on the internet several years ago. It was part of a study about efficiency with elite cyclists. I should have listed the source, but forgot at the time. I did the Mirage Drive overlays by simply measuring the pedal dimensions and angles. The second chart came from a "Human Performance Capabilities" study from NASA. That's just a start. We haven't even discussed Turbofin vs. fixed prop dynamics or Mirage Drive tuning! :D

BTW, I've raced against custom props that were dramatically more refined than the commercial offerings. Here's one of the best rigs I've seen -- the Mirage Drive was still faster. (I took this pic from a Hobie Adventure (Revolution 16 while we were preparing to do a glide comparison).
Image


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