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 Post subject: Comparing Hobie Mirage drive to Native Propel drive
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:00 pm 
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While attending last nights meeting at Bill Jacksons, I saw for the first time the Native Propel system. I own a new Tandem Hobie with Mirage drive so I look forward to a test ride . Then I can tell you what I really think.
In the mean time this what I found on the net for a comparison between the two systems.

http://www.belhavencanoe.com/hobie.htm
Benefits of the Hobie Mirage Drive
The Mirage Drive is simple and easy to use. Your feet rest naturally on the pedals and you pedal effortlessly similar to a bicycle. The larger muscles in our legs produce more powerful propulsion versus arms using a paddle. In addition, correct paddle usage requires training and practice. You also stay drier as pedaling eliminates drips that you get from using a paddle. The Mirage Drive is quiet and creates no splash. The Hobie Mirage Drive leaves your hands free for fishing, photography or holding a drink.

Let's get technical...

Performance
The Hobie Mirage Drive propels the boat easily and smoothly, and reaches hull speed with minimal effort. It also generates significant static thrust. In a "tug-of-war" between a single Hobie Mirage and a tandem paddled kayak, the Hobie Mirage won hands-down (pun intended). Check out the video below!

Efficiency
Even we were surprised at the efficiency of the Mirage Drive. In a test to compare the efficiency of the Mirage Drive, we measured the heart rates of several kayakers at varying speeds in several paddled kayak models. In every case, the heart rate-or effort expended to maintain a particular speed-was three to ten percent less for pedaling versus paddling. Translation? The Mirage Drive converts the effort of the human body into forward thrust more efficiently than a paddle! Allow us to explain.

The Mirage Drive creates less turbulence in water. This becomes apparent when you compare the wake of a Hobie Mirage to the wake of a paddled kayak. With each stroke of the paddle, you'll see two vortices, or whirlpools, on the surface of the water. These vortices are connected underwater, and there is considerable energy in these rotating masses of water. There are vortices in the wake of the MirageDrive, but since the MirageDrive acts on a much larger volume of water, they are much smaller and therefore contain less energy. To create forward thrust on the water, a boat must move water backward. It can either move a little water quickly, or a lot of water slowly. The key to efficiency is to move a lot of water slowly with the least amount of turbulence. The volume of water that the MirageDrive acts upon is approximately proportionate to the area that the fins sweep in one cycle, or about 226 square inches. The volume of water that a paddle acts upon depends on the type of stroke. A basic stroke would act upon a volume of water proportionate to the area of the paddle, or about 90 square inches. This is just a fraction of the area "swept out" by the MirageDrive, which explains the difference in efficiency.


Why not use a propeller?
>>Human-powered propeller drives are typically smaller and therefore less efficient. We compared the performance of the MirageDrive to a propeller drive, and found the MirageDrive to be faster and more efficient.
>>Studies on tuna and penguins show that oscillating foils such as the MirageDrive are more efficient than propellers. Oscillating foils can make use of vortices that are naturally shed from anything going through the water to offset the vortices that would normally be generated by fins. This equates to less turbulence in the water.
>>The MirageDrive fins "feather" into the flow when not pedaling and create very little drag; a propeller creates significant drag when it is not spinning.
>>The back-and-forth motion of the pedals provides a long, smooth stroke. Pedals that go in circles on a boat have a much different feel than pedals on a bike. On a boat, there are portions of a circular motion that are more difficult, so the cycle is not smooth.
>>The back-and-forth motion allows the pedals to be positioned much lower in the cockpit.
>>The MirageDrive allows any length of stroke desired, and performs well with both short and long strokes.
>>The pedals easily adjust to accommodate different size pedalers.
>>The oscillating motion allows the use of a simple chain and cable system that is unaffected by sand and dirt, without the use of complicated seals.
>>The fins shed seaweed because they do not make a full rotation.
>>The MirageDrive fins fold up next to the hull for beaching and in shallow water by simply putting one foot forward.

Now that you read all this ,what do you think ? I think both are awesome kayaks and have pros and cons. Maybe we can help others make a tough decision if looking to buy soon.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 6:30 pm 
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Both my wife and I have the Hobie's with the pedal system and we love it. The Native Propel system seems that it would be nice in deeper water but, in the shallows... won't the prop "dig in" alot sooner? I've been in water a couple of inches deep with the dirve "fins" all the way up and had no problems. Also, the fins tend to give a little when they hit a log or rock. I wonder how the prop would handle something like that?

I too would like to see the comparison and try the native myself.

Good post.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 8:06 pm 
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I had the same concerns as well ...I asked the sales guy the same question about hitting rocks or oyster beds.The Hobie can move in very skinny water by fluttering the drive. You can't go very fast this way but you can still move without pulling out the oars. To get into skinny water with the propel drive you have to remove the drive cover and lift it up. Nothing has to be done with the mirage drive,but spread the peddles. His answer was the craft is not traveling fast enough to cause any damage to the drive ....on the other hand he said you can travel faster than the Hobie mirage drive. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to run into anything with that very expensive drive . The propel drive runs around 1000.00 and I believe and the Hobie drive is around 400.00. Good point made !



FlaPaddleFish wrote:
Both my wife and I have the Hobie's with the pedal system and we love it. The Native Propel system seems that it would be nice in deeper water but, in the shallows... won't the prop "dig in" alot sooner? I've been in water a couple of inches deep with the dirve "fins" all the way up and had no problems. Also, the fins tend to give a little when they hit a log or rock. I wonder how the prop would handle something like that?

I too would like to see the comparison and try the native myself.

Good post.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 8:24 pm 
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The native system pivots on a forward bar so if it hits something, it flips up.
That's what I've been told anyways.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:16 pm 
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Isnt the native drive between the gunwales? I thought the propeller wouldnt hit as you would drag first.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:55 pm 
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EricS wrote:
Isnt the native drive between the gunwales? I thought the propeller wouldnt hit as you would drag first.


The front of the drive would hit first or the skeg just like a boat motor ...it is also made of the same material as boat motors. Marine grade anodized aluminum /polyurethane
housing; tough and rust-proof. The salesman said any skeg repairman for regular boats could repair it.That's a plus. Here is the website to learn more http://www.nativewatercraft.com/ads/Pedal_Drive_Ad.pdf


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:04 pm 
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newyaker wrote:
The salesman said any skeg repairman for regular boats could repair it.That's a plus.


You could not pedal this boat fast enough to sustain skeg damage. I have run into many things, unfortuantely, in my boat over the many years I have had one and have never had to have a skeg repaired.

And I would take the original posting from Newkayaker with a grain of salt, no offense intended toward Newkayker, but that info is posted from a hobie dealer, not very objective in my opinion.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 2:45 pm 
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I am a Hobie owner, so i m going to side with Hobie.
Pros/Cons:
I do like the fact that you can go in reverse with the native.
Also i like the stability of the native.
I do not like the fact that it draws 18" to be able to use the prop.
Hobie its about 6 " would by my guess. Love the storage of the Hobie.
Native is wide open.
Seat i would say goes to the native, although the stock seat of the Hobie is much better then average.
I do not like the fact that you have to flip the drive up to get into shallow water or beach the native, with the Hobie you push one pedal all that forward to bring the fins up against the hull.

Its a toss up in my opinion. I would suggest someone ( maybe Bill Jacksons) do a tug or war with the Hobie and the Native prop. :lol:
http://www.hobiecat.com/kayaking/miragedrive.html

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:21 pm 
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An acquaintance of mine from a different message board is a long-time Mirage Drive user. He has tried the new Native and offered this comparison. I hope to try the Native soon.


Quote:
The propulsion unit is by Shimano and appears to be of high quality. It looks like an expensive piece, understandably necessitating the higher price for this boat. Weighing perhaps twice that of Hobie's Mirage Drive, it runs smoothly and quietly. Additionally, reverse is nice to have for those few times you need it. I can see the potential for other applications for the drive unit. Heritage has done a very nice job on this.

Cruising along at about 3 MPH is a breeze. The seat is comfortable and the boat has a good stand up stability. The cockpit is spacious and roomy.

This combination has got its limitations though. In addition to a fair weather requirement, it's not a fast boat (limited range), its turn radius is a lot larger than the Revo, and, at least in its present form, it can't be pushed very hard. I see it as more as a specialty boat than a jack of all trades. Mostly you have to be careful not to find yourself caught out in conditions like this:

Overall, it's innovative, fun and easy to operate. Whether that's enough to justify the price probably depends on the size of your fleet and the depth of your pockets.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 6:23 pm 
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Todd wrote:
newyaker wrote:
The salesman said any skeg repairman for regular boats could repair it.That's a plus.


You could not pedal this boat fast enough to sustain skeg damage. I have run into many things, unfortuantely, in my boat over the many years I have had one and have never had to have a skeg repaired.

And I would take the original posting from Newkayaker with a grain of salt, no offense intended toward Newkayker, but that info is posted from a hobie dealer, not very objective in my opinion.


I agree with you totally. I think the salesman was just trying to assure us how tough it is and if ever needed it could be repaired. Great post .


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:37 pm 
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Here is another comparison.....

LINK


Quote:


Hobie Mirage Drive vs Native Watercraft Propeller Drive

Let me preface this by saying that I own a Hobie Outback with Mirage Drive and have fished from it for about 4 years now. I personally know and admire Andy Zimmerman at Native Watercraft. I pedaled his new boat and drive for about 30 minutes this morning.


EASE OF SET UP: A wash. Both units have to be dropped into place inside their respective hulls. There is virtually no time nor difficulty difference. If you can do one, you can do the other, in about the same time and with about the same effort.

SPEED AND ACCELERATION: A Wash. The comparison here is between the Hobie Outback (not Hobie’s fastest hull) and the single Native model. Surprisingly, the foot powered, propeller driven Native would seem to be the equal of the standard Hobie Outback and Mirage Drive with standard fins, in both speed and acceleration. I would not have thought this to be the case, but I found the Native was quick to get up to speed and could maintain a pace at least equal to the Hobie. In other words, the Native will “move” and move quite well. However...

EFFORT: This is where the two craft and drive systems part company. No contest - knot for knot, the Native requires much more effort than does the Hobie for the same speed and distance. The Native feels like you’re pedaling a bicycle in a high gear up a hill, while the Hobie gives you the same speed with a feel comparable to pedaling that same bicycle on level ground, if not slightly downhill. In a race, the two boats might match each other for a while, but eventually the pilot of the Native is going to give out while the Hobie pilot remains fresh for a long, long time. It is my opinion that the fin system on the Mirage Drive Unit is much more efficient than the propeller system on the Native.

REVERSE: The Hobie will not motivate in reverse unless you want to remove the drive unit and turn it around. Otherwise, you must put the rudder hard over and spin the boat in its length to go the other direction. The Native can be “back pedaled” and it will motivate in reverse as far as you care to go or can keep it straight.

SHALLOW WATER PERFORMANCE: The Hobie wins, hand down. You can feather the fins on the Mirage Drive unit up against the hull and float in very shallow water or... use partial strokes to continue to motivate. Once the Native reaches water that is less deep than the length of the drive unit, you will need to pull/lift the unit up and out of the way. You cannot operate the propeller in anything less than full extension or the prop will hit the hull of the boat. If you run either both completely aground, both will have to backed slightly to allow the drive units to free themselves from soft bottoms.

UNDERWATER OBSTRUCTIONS: Neither likes them. The Native will "dig in" on soft bottoms and it's tough to get it free. The drive unit does not "kick up" when it hits something - the angle of the attachment doesn't allow it to do that very easily and this is something I did not expect. Thankfully the drive unit is very solid and should take quite a beating before you'd be out of action. If you hit something with the Mirage Drive, you'll most likely bend a mast. If you're carrying a spare, you can fix it in minutes. I'd at odds as to which wins this category. The sudden stop and high impact jolt of the Native, or the bent but easily fixed mast of the Hobie. I'll let you decide.

STEERING: A wash. Both boats react quickly and surely to all rudder commands. Maintaining course in a headwind is no harder in one than the other. Both boats will come around quickly and surely when the rudder is put hard over at speed.

COMFORT: This a very subjective category. I find both boats to be very comfortable. My Hobie has never bothered my back even after long hours in it. The Native has a truly exceptional seat that is adjustable in a variety of directions. It’s almost like sitting in a lawn chair.
Due to the rotational needs of the Native propeller drive pedal system, the seat must be adjusted to sit you back at more of an angle than is required in the Hobie. Some may find that fishing and casting in this more laid back angle will be more difficult than the slightly more upright position allowed by the Hobie’s straight back and forth motion pedal system.

THE BETTER BOAT? For what I do, the Hobie is more suitable. But the Native is a great boat with more speed and capabilities than I would have thought. Depending on what your needs are, it could, in fact, be the better boat for you. My recommendation would be to try both, on the water, for at least 30 minutes to an hour each. Put them through your fishing routine as much as possible and determine which will serve you better.

Two great boats, the choice is yours. My feeling is that the future of kayak fishing, lies in foot powered, rather than paddled, craft.

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Last edited by TerryW on Sun Jul 20, 2008 1:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:39 pm 
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I don't think anyone can make any determination without using them for themselves.

I am sponsored by Native Watercraft so I'll leave this to everyone else to debate.
Todd's already touched on it: Biases exist in all kinds of ways, hence the need to really scrutinize what you read.

From the people I've talked to who have tried both, their conclusions are very much different than what I'm reading here.

People who are comparing the two of these boats who haven't seen the two boats in person may have no idea that these are two very different options for a boat no matter what you're going to use it for. (This makes the "my boat's better than yours" game impossible to play.)
Get the boat that's best for you, enjoy it and speak highly of it.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 1:22 pm 
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Neil - Yes, they are totally different boats with very different pedaling mechanisms, each appropriate for different people and different settings.

I think that comparing kayaks is only natural, especially when this is the first serious pedaling competition for the Hobie Mirage boats. Plus, there is no doubt that most of the companies like the feedback from users. It's been my experience on another forum that Hobie pays close attention to what we've all written about the Mirage drives and made some changes based on that. Heck, the "Revolution" was designed and even named by just regular Hobie users on that forum.

Bring on the discussion, but don't buy a one kayak over another until you've tried them yourself.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 1:36 pm 
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Everytime I look at these pedal boats, I quickly remember that I spend most of my time in shallow water that would, I assume, prevent using the pedal mechanisms.

For those with Hobies, how shallow can you actually pedal the kayak? How sturdy are the flippers? How many times can you run aground at 4 knots before you get damage?

Would love to get the same info for the native but I think it is just too new to market for any meaningful input.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 2:16 pm 
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Rik -- I fish skinny waters all of the time in my Hobies. I really need to do some serious measuring in my Adventure before I can give you real measurements and I'll try to do that for you tomorrow.

The one thing that some people may not realize regarding the Hobies is that when in really skinny water, you have two options: a) you can push either pedal all the way forward, which flattens the Mirage fins against the hull, or b), you can pull the Mirage unit out and stow it. At that point, my guess is that the Adventure isn't much different that the Tarpon 160s, but I haven't put that to a test.

Per running aground --- I do it all of the time. The Mirage unit itself is an incredibly sturdy and well built mechanism that takes a good amount of abuse. Hitting sand or muddy bottom is not an issue at all. Running into structure is where you can get problems. However, I have yet to bend a mast (the rubber "fins" slip onto the ss mast). I still have my original standard fins after 3.5 years of use. However, I have caused a tear on my longer fins ("Turbo fins") from running into oyster bars multiple times.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 9:24 pm 
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The Native does draft about 12 to 14 inches of water. The Propultion system does swing up out of the way easy. We had them out on teh lake. The 12 with 3 differrent peddlers had a top speed of 4.8 MPH. The 14.5 was just a little faster. the 10 to 1 ratio makes it very easy to pedel. One nice thing about it is you can stop easy by peddeling backwards. As for pulling, the hi-pitch prop that comes with it is not made for that. They are going to offer different props in the future.

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