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The Riddler

Native Propel Drive Vs. Mirage Drive

51 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Figured it would be great to start a new thread after a member asked a question about the Propel Drive vs. Mirage Drive.

 

 

 

Are hobies Better in skinny water than the propel? (flutter pedal vs fixed prop depth) I'm switching to pedal this season and wanna be as objective as possible in choosing.

 

I own both and my opinion is from using both and I have no ties to either manufacturer. Each has it's own plus and minus.  The Hobie blades can be tucked up quickly and put down quickly as I just got done experiencing going over miles of tidal oyster beds in slow moving current down in Everglades Florida.  The native drive would have to be pulled up by undoing a cover and removing three plastic tabs and you need to line the prop up to lift thru the well.  Hobie also has the advantage when dealing with vegetation in the sea and fresh. Just easier to lift the drive up and clean and pedal on.  I have had to tilt my propel drive up and spin weeds off the prop. A little harder to do, takes some time and you pedal on. When there is a lot of vegetation like Lake Champlain it was very frustrating to constantly lift the propel drive and clean. In fact I just lifted the drive up and paddled. In my opinion the Slayer Propel is easier to paddle than my Revo. 

 

As good as Hobie drives are in shallow water?  Here is my damage score card after a week in the Everglades. Both of the brand new turbo blades got wrecked from tucking. I hit objects as I fished and poked the sailing masts through the soft material of the Turbo Blades. I showed the damage blades to the rental kayak company and offered to pay for the two new turbo blades and thankfully he gave it to me at cost. I'm going on a third season with my Native Slayer Propel and the amount of damage done to my prop?  None. No damage what so ever to propel drive or the prop. Just mere scrape on the front part of the drive housing.  The propel bottom is a tough unit. I've been up against stumps and have hit off rocks and no damage at all. Even the plastic tabs that hold in the propel drive and are designed to snap if you really hit hard, never had to be replaced The risk of impacting a hobie drive against a rock?  You may have a bent mast and that will put you out of commission until your remove the mast and get it to a vise to straighten it out. Over 6 seasons with Turbo Blades on my Revo's I have gone through 4 sets. Breaking out the soldering iron and bike tube patches until there is nothing left to repair and you are forced to shell out just under a 100 bucks for new pair of fins.  Hobie use to give out those cheap plastic fins that most people would toss out  prior to 2014 and we would buy the Turbo Blades ourselves, now the turbo's are standard. If you go to Oyster Bed destinations, fish around stumps, or like to constantly beach land with your turbo blades?  It would be wise to think about getting a pair of old hobie plastic blades along with the old masts that can take the abuse.

 

The shallowest water the propel drive will go into is 14-18" depending on load and if there is chop, swell or boat wakes. For the majority of my trips the propel drive is not a problem in the shallows.  It's just that the hobie drive blades can be tucked up in mere inches. Even when you can tuck up hobie blades or glide into the shallows with the propel drive there are times where the kayak will get grounded and you have to get out and lift both kayaks up and remove both the mirage and propel drives  from the wells. It's part of the business when having a drive on a kayak.

Edited by The Riddler

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How beneficial is reverse on the propel drive on the salt? Do you find yourself using reverse more than you find yourself tucking up the mirage drive fins?

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Thanks for the insight riddler iguess I gotta add the propel to my demo List I'll be fishing mostly around Long Island So shallow water isn't a huge deal but it is something to consider. Looking at the Propel the seat seems higher up than the hobies, how would you compare the propel to an outback stability wise? As far as drives being repaired out on the water which do you think would be easier to Work on? I hear Cables are often the main cause of failure in the mirage drive what would be the propels equivalent? Thanks for Sharing your experience

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How beneficial is reverse on the propel drive on the salt? Do you find yourself using reverse more than you find yourself tucking up the mirage drive fins?

 

Great if the drift is too fast for fluke! IMO

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Posted (edited)

As far as drives being repaired out on the water which do you think would be easier to Work on? I hear Cables are often the main cause of failure in the mirage drive what would be the propels equivalent? Thanks for Sharing your experienc

 

The hobie hands down is the easier drive to work on. No special tools are needed just common cheap tools. You may need to spend roughly 100 bucks in tools to completely maintain a propel drive. A decent spanner tool set will cost 60-90 bucks and the crank arm pulley tool was another 30 bucks for me. I don't think most people have those tools hanging around. Personally, I think Native should have given those uncommon tools in a bag.

 

I have submerged my hobie drive over night, lost on a night time surf crash in the mud and sand. Came back at first light at low tide and there she was with just the peddle showing. Both fins were ripped and I patched with the soldering iron. Doused with a hose and off I was fishing again later that afternoon. The Native Slayer propel drive, is not 100% resistant to salt water and I have the older drive in the 301 from 2014 now has been updated. The bearings although sealed on the bottom fully with an oring are not stainless quality in the quality. My crank on my 301 is not sealed. So what I am saying is, in the event you flip over coming in on the surf around long island beaches and submerged that propel drive?  You will have to dismantle that drive and clean it up from top to bottom and while you are in there you might as well replace all bearings to stainless steel.

 

Even with the newly designed drive and the old drive Native does not use stainless steel bearings in all the vital areas.  Even if you are stainless steel on the bearings you will still have to clean it. Now, my propel drive is a 301, the older style, even with drips of water off my boots I toasted my bearings and had to be swapped, cost 60 bucks. Going on a 3rd season, with no issues.  Native did make changes to shield or water proof after some of the community, not all, had rusted bearings but they are still using non-stainless bearings in the housing. They now claim that their drives are water proof, and the designer, now gone, John Kiffenmyer I believe,  assured me the drive was solid and waterproof after testing in some ocean in another part of the world.  In my opinion I would still use caution if the drive is submerged in the crank area and taking it apart would be the way to go as soon as possible for inspection. Also propel drives are not easy to work on and you may not find a dealer who is savvy and up to date on how to take a drive apart and put it back together. Hobie is established and if you can't work on the drive you can bet in your area you can bring the hobie drive for a full make over without issue and most importantly, have parts on hand because you will need it as down the road hobie mirage drives break too. Chains, cams, drum wear, post breakage. Hobie drives are far from perfect and never need maintenance. Just like a motor, drives of any sort will need some money thrown into it eventually.

 

Disclaimer:  My opinion above is my experience, telling it like it happened. I am not the ultimate authority,  I have no ties nor give two **** about who buys what. :shaky:

Edited by The Riddler

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Posted (edited)

 Looking at the Propel the seat seems higher up than the hobies, how would you compare the propel to an outback stability wise?

 

The Slayer Propel imo falls into the same class as the Outback. I had the 2015 Outback in the backwaters and open waters of the Everglades and Chokoloskee Bay for a few days in some chop, moving water, and flat water. To stand on flat water in the Native Slayer Propel is the same as the Hobie Outback for me. If you are not careful you will fall in either one. Now standing does not talk about stability but just pointing out, I have stood in both the propel and outback and sight casted and landed fish in the flat calm without issue but do not rival the Pro Angler as for me it way easier to stand and be a little clumsy and still not wobble in the pro angler.

 

Both platforms have a ton of free board and the sides will catch wind and you will constantly be making rudder adjustments to track straight. Ask any hobie guy who pedal side by side and they struggle to not bang into each other.  Both of these hulls have soft chines, so wind will not help these track at all. That's a drawback of any pedal kayak platform I have been in and I have been all.  All have soft chines but that's needed to help turn as quickly as possible. Speaking of turning the Native Slayer Propel and the Outback benefit with aftermarket rudders. It's a necessity, especially the factory rudder on the Slayer Propel. It must be changed.  Out of the box the Hobie Outback has the better rudder turning ability then that of the Slayer Propel. Even when doing the aftermarket Boonedox Rudder on the Slayer Propel, the Outback Sailing Rudder will turn faster. But again, a sneaky slayer propel owner will use reverse to help in tight quarters kinda like a M1A1 tank driver making a close quarters turn.

 

Getting back to stability. If I was in choppy conditions, I want my 2014 Hobie Revolution or any low to the water paddle kayak.  I'm lower to the water with great initial stability in my Revo and have some forgiveness factor in the secondary stability. Both the Native Slayer Propel and the Outback are built on initial or primary stability. When you make a mistake on each of these platforms there is no forgiveness and you flip over. It's a lot of surface area to turn over, get back in and go. Neither are tippy at all, but if I was forced to go out in choppy conditions I would choose the outback only because I can adjust the seat all the way to the bottom and not be as high like the Slayer Propel. There is no height adjustment in the slayer propel. There is no safety issue with either of these kayaks in big water as long as you are careful, it's about making better head way in unfarovable conditions and that's why I choose a kayak with less free board and lower center of gravity, less volumes in the hull.

 

Outback vs. Slayer which is the easiest to do a long term trip?  Hands down the slayer propel!  The seat is way more comfortable for me. No rubbing my legs on the sides of that vantage seat and causing wounds that are still healing! It sucked. I did a sun up till sun down trip up in Lake Champlain in June in the Slayer Propel and could have done a 24 hour trip or longer. There is no fatigue in the propel motion. After long duration trips in the Hobie Mirage drive, I want out. With the new vantage seat it just makes it worse for me, because I have a 38" waste to boot and I believe now a little too hefty for that vantage seat. Less robust anglers will feel different there.

 

Outback vs. Slayer and comfort-ability on a long term trip?  I'll take the Slayer Propel. 

 

 

Disclaimer:  My opinion above is my experience, telling it like it happened. I am not the ultimate authority,  I have no ties nor give two **** about who buys what. :shaky:

Edited by The Riddler

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How beneficial is reverse on the propel drive on the salt? Do you find yourself using reverse more than you find yourself tucking up the mirage drive fins?

 

Depends where you fish. If you are around dead ended areas like  a creek, against a pier, having wind push you at your back and you are trying to slow down and make a cast on that last log or boulder that could hold the next personal best fish?  The reverse feature comes in handy. You want to stop jig and go back over that mark on the fish finder and get that jig back over to that hump?  Reverse may be important to you. It is for me.  Having reverse is just one of those tools in the fishbag where you may not need it at all times, but it's nice to have when you are trying to cover as much water as you can before you move on.

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Thanks...very interesting analysis. I have been always wondering what if....if I had a chance I would love to try propel drive to see myself....

My problem with propel drive was that what if 18" long stiff prop sticking under the kayak hits a hard  rocky bottom...compared with a shallower and more flexible fins on mirage...something would have to break  if you are moving 2-3 mph ...I had the same problem while considering a Torqeedo Ultralight which fits in the Hobie hole..I was afraid of hitting something and damage it.....the one in the back  can absorb a hit better by rotating upward...

If I could go backwards I would probably use it here and there but honestly I do not remember the situation that occurred where reverse would make a huge deal...if need arises  you could always grab a paddle and move backward.

As far as mirage goes so far I have never had any mechanical issue with it ...maybe I was just lucky...( with exception when I flipped and lost it once...grrrrr )...I do not land kayak in the surf with it in the hole because I feel that sand and those gears do not like each other...

By the way, the fact you mentioned regarding propel drive and salt water is very surprising to me...that would make me worry...there isn't one serious kayaker that did not flip in the surf at least once a season...

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Posted (edited)

 

My problem with propel drive was that what if 18" long stiff prop sticking under the kayak hits a hard  rocky bottom...compared with a shallower and more flexible fins on mirage...

 

I addressed that. As far as measurements go, the Slayer13 and I assume the 10, Propel Drive sticks below 14" at the approximate waterline.  Now you take in account weight and if it's choppy swelly etc. so 14-18" is approximately a good depth for minimum. 2' is the max where I pull it to glide into the beach for landing or to put the drive down under power.

 

 

I'm going on a third season with my Native Slayer Propel and the amount of damage done to my prop?  None. No damage what so ever to propel drive or the prop. Just mere scrape on the front part of the drive housing.  The propel bottom is a tough unit. I've been up against stumps and have hit off rocks and no damage at all. Even the plastic tabs that hold in the propel drive and are designed to snap if you really hit hard, never had to be replaced

 

Edited by The Riddler

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Posted (edited)

This was interesting especially the first half

Edited by _fig

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There's a lot of variables with tests like that. Most importantly weights of anglers, physical fitness level, experience in pedal kayaks, etc. All hulls shown in the video are not built for speed that's for sure.

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 I saw a propel on display at the tournament I was in Saturday and the cylindrical  casting was cracked all the way across where it attaches to the tube that's mounted across the kayak. I was surprised the dealer had it on display like that as Im sure that would have been warrantied. By the way out of 82 entrants in the tournament not a single propel about 40 Hobies in the tournament.  

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Posted (edited)

Looks like both Native and Hobie kayaks have crack issues, but so far I have not found a cracked native hull. Myself and 1000's of others have cracked hobie hulls. It was rampant in the earlier to mid 2000's and still exists today but seems like a less degree than before.  I cracked two revo hulls, both warrantied by hobie. A search on google does show native drives with stress cracks on the drive at the thwart tube. It doesn't appear to be rampant, but it's out there.

 

You made the claim Barrel, and we don't doubt you, but you should have taken a picture Barrel to at least back up. On a display?  Definitely would have liked to see that.  Since you are a hobie deal Barrel, maybe you can tell us why do Hobie hulls still crack?

 

 

Picture below of a crack in a native propel drive and typical cracks of hobie hulls. For anyone who wishes to buy a pedal kayak, these are the problems that do happen. Stress has to go somewhere, for the hobie it's the risk of cracking your hull and taking on water, rendering it useless. For the native it's a crack in the housing tube, rendering the drive useless.

 

 

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Edited by The Riddler

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Instruction manual for propel drive and setting up the thwart tube. My 2014 did not include the tourqe wrench. Just an allan key, with a different set of directions. Not sure if these instructions are for 2015 and newer. Can any propel owners confirm? 

 

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post-12713-0-28601800-1453823982.jpg

 

 

 

 

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