Pedal kayaks

Thread starter #1
Im sure this has been covered but, So for the folks who have used or have a pedal kayak.
Do you prefer the fin type (Hobie style) or the propeller type (Perception).
Im wanting one and the propeller type you can reverse pretty easy but it looks like it hags lower so cant go as shallow.
Sounds like the fin type is faster?
Anyone with real world experience?


Senior Member
I have been in several pedal drives with the crank and prop style drive system. They are good for covering water but not terribly maneuverable in close quarters. I previously owned a 2020 Hobie PA 360. This drive was nothing short of spectacular when it comes to maneuverability. Hobie had some reliability issues on the early production units with 360 but my understanding is that has been corrected. I will probably own another at some point. In terms of outright speed, I didn't experience a major difference on either system. All the drives I have piloted have been adequate on top end speed to get from spot to spot. The Hobie is much better at small adjustments because of the motion required to cause movement on the drive. I also have not liked the sitting position on the units equipped with propellers when you were peddling. Fin style (Hobie) all the way for me. I will also say I own several Jackson kayaks. They have been great paddle yaks and very robust. The fit and finish on the Hobie was far superior, albeit at a much higher price point.
I liked my Hobie a lot and it completely changed lake kayak fishing for me. No reverse never really bothered me. You can go in shallow water fine but I would not take it in the river. I think some of the pedal/prop drive designs actually would potentially do well in the river, like the newer Jackson ones, but I didn't like the design over all on those. I sold my Hobies years ago when I got a boat and since then have sold the boat and got back into yaks, where I will stay. I paid 1800 bucks per yak for my outbacks in 2012 but the news ones are pretty high so I didn't go back with them. I was in Kennesaw this past weekend and dropped in at the Vibe store. They came out with a model last year that has copied the Hobie drive and can even accept the Hobie drive, I read. It looks pretty much like a Bonefide other than that. The Shearwater 125. Its 1500 w/o the drive and then 500 or so for the pedal drive. Lots of options for it. Looke neat. Quality looked just ok. I am sure its fine but some of the knobs and stuff looked like they may have to be improved over time. Total speculation from just looking at it. I mostly river fish now so have a diablo amigo and Jackson Coosa HD and love them both, but if I were going out on larger water much I would own another Hobie for sure. I would probably consider that vibe as well but do my research.


Mag dump Dirty Harry
I have Hobie with fins… I like it a lot. I use it mostly on the lake. I have taken it down rivers and through some light white water. When I approach it I just pull it up. Then drop it back in when through rough water. I have been surprised several times and hit rocks, never any damage, I just bounce off or skid to a stop… back paddle and pull up 9BCE310B-DD60-414E-8087-CBC54CD259BE.jpeg F1CD7E6E-DF3D-4805-A3FD-C0E4352751B5.jpeg


Mag dump Dirty Harry
Forgot to mention…w/hobie fins’ if you push one leg full forward and other foot back the fins are as far up as they can go and I make it through water only about four inches deep… in this position you can still propel with little “micro peddling” 1 to 2” foot strokes will still move you forward.(not sure that makes sense) My rudder often hits bottom before my fins do.
also I kayak fish with groups and I am all over the place on rivers. I hit a good spot, go up stream and hit it again… move across the river then back again and run circles around the guys paddling. I can move so much faster then anyone else on the water.
That's cool you can go up stream. Yeah, I remember doing the "micro peddling" thing in shallow water. I had the same style as yours and now I am missing it even more :)
Thread starter #8
I have not looked at the Hobie recently, they were real proud of them last time I looked. I have looked at a few of the Hobie copies and thought they were priced somewhat reasonable.
Don't know of the quality or how well the copies will hold up.
I would be mostly Stone mtn and smaller ponds, probably not much river but maybe.


Senior Member
I bought the Pelican version (Catch 110) with the older Hobie type drive and have been very happy with it. A lot of naysayers were pointing out that it didn't have reverse, but that was never an issue for me. The only reason I wanted a pedal kayak in the first place was to cover water on the bigger watershed lakes. I still use my paddle to maneuver.

After just a few trips I discovered I could put a lightweight trolling motor in the drive opening and that worked even better. The motor weighs about the same as the fin unit and it's not sticking up and cluttering the cockpit like the pedals were. A lightweight lithium battery was the final piece.

I'm surprised one of the Kayak companies doesn't offer a kayak without the drive system and a universal trolling motor mount, similar to the one I cobbled together.

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I personally prefer prop drive. Easily replaced and I fish mostly rocky river so I have to replace my prop or sheer pin in my old town top water a couple times a summer. I don't worry about it getting beat up, and old town provides 5 year warranty.