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Author Topic: Finally had a chance to type up a review  (Read 187 times)

Offline EricBriggs

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Re: Finally had a chance to type up a review
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2017, 09:59:52 PM »
One of the challenges faced by many kayak anglers is how to control your kayak in wind and current while fishing.  If you are just out for a leisurely paddle, this isnít an issue.   However, combine that with jigging over a drop off or casting to a dock and you have an issue.  The easiest way to solve this issue is by using an alternate form of propulsion.  Now this isnít a new solution, Hobie and Native have been playing in this field for years with their pedal drives, Wilderness has their Helix Motor Drive and then there are aftermarket motor systems that can be outfitted for most kayaks and In 2017 there was no shortage of companies joining the pedal drive party.

One of the fisheries I enjoy chasing tails in, the Detroit River, gets a phenomenal run of spawning walleye every spring but due to the brisk current you are forced to maintain forward motion while jigging to keep your line vertical.  This fishery is a gold mine I have had my eye on for years but vertical jigging with a conventional paddle kayak has proven to be a real challenge.  This year, I decided I was going to order a Radar 135 from Wilderness Systems along with the new Helix Pedal Drive.

 

Both of these products from Confluence Outdoors are new to the market and as such, I was expecting the odd hiccup here and there.  I received the Radar a month or so before the pedal drive and I am glad I did.  It gave me a chance to take it out a few times and really get a feel for how the kayak paddles and handles without the drive.

One of the first things I noticed, having an older ride135 and a commander 140 was how comfortable the AirPro Max seat was.  Keep in mind, the Air Pro seats in the ride, commander and tarpon series kayaks are no slouch in the comfort department but the air pro max really kicks it up a notch.  Second thing I noticed was how much more stable the Radar felt than my 2013 Ride 135.  Both the primary and secondary stability had been kicked up a notch.  Going from standing to sitting and vice versa was a walk in the park, credit going to the higher seat, a more open floor plan and extra stability.  When I got past all that, I figured that it would paddle a little slower than the Ride 135(speed is a common trade-off for stability).  I measured the paddling speed with my phones GPS on both kayaks and was surprised to find that I averaged 1.5kph faster in the Radar.

The overall layout of the Radar 135 works well for fishing.  The rear tank well is easy to reach and there is a slot that fits a plano case beautifully right behind your seat, which I found to be super convenient for my terminal tackle saving me from digging around in my crate every time I needed a new hook, bobber, bobber stop, sinker or anything else I needed often.  On the side of the standing area, there are two molded in handles/junk storage areas.  I found these were about perfect for jig heads, lures I had just taken off or was switching between often or my pliers and the one on my anchor trolley side was a just the right size to hold my folding anchor.   The floor plan of the Radar 135 is much more flat and open than that of the Ride 135 which makes standing and shifting around much easier.  Add a bunch of slide trax to those features and you have a winning combo.

A couple months later, I received a call from my local kayak shop that my Helix PD had arrived.  A 10 min drive, 2 hours of easy installation and it was installed.   I took my time and double checked everything as I went along.  After helping install a couple drives for the kayak shop and I got it down to around an hour.  The install was straight forward but be warned, there were no printed instructions and you have to follow along with a video online to install.  Nothing was very technical and if you can operate a couple wrenches, screwdrivers and a tape measure, you can install the pedal drive.  There were also a couple things which I felt could have been installed at the factory which would have saved me some fiddling (dang drive latches).  Once everything was installed, I tested the drive and rudder controls on land and found the cables to raise and lower the rudder were very stiff, a blast of silicone lube and everything was working mint so I headed down to the lake.  In hindsight, it may not have been the best day to test the pedal drive.  It was pretty wavy; I mean 2-3ft rollers and the recommended position for the Airpro max seat while using the PD is the high position (which raises your center of gravity).  I got out on the water and deployed the drive and found myself very comfy and aside from a couple rouge waves, didnít feel uneasy at all.  I pedaled around a few minutes and found the pedal controls felt very intuitive.  They aligned just right for my body.  The steering handle on the other hand felt very backward to how I felt it should be.  This may be just a Canadian thing as other Canadian Radar owners I spoke with felt the same way.  Our American counter-parts on the other hand seemed to like it.  Not a huge deal and by the fourth or fifth trip out, I had gotten used to it.

After having the radar a few months now, it has become my favorite kayak and I canít wait until the spring to put some Great Lakes gold on a stringer from its seat.  With all that said, perhaps you remember the statement I made at the start about expecting the odd Hick-up.  Well they were there.  The biggest issue was anytime I had water wash over the hull, or it rained, I would end up with a fair bit of water in the hull.  After talking to other Radar owners, it seemed this was a common problem and caused by a lack of sealant between the mid hatch and hull.  Confluence was quick to repair this issue by sealing the hatches of the kayaks in their inventory, and sending replacement hatches and sealant to everyone who called customer service with the problem.  I just pulled my hatch and with a dollar worth of silicone and 5 minutes work it was fixed.    Aside from the rudder issue I addressed earlier, the only other thing I have found that I am not super wild about is there is a little more flex in the floor than my ride 135 and other similar big kayaks.  However, it seems plenty strong enough and is more than a willing trade-off for only having to lift 80 some odd pounds on my roof.

Yakfisher

Re: Finally had a chance to type up a review
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2017, 09:59:52 PM »
yakfishing

Offline Unchained

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Re: Finally had a chance to type up a review
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2017, 10:11:11 AM »
Finally got around to putting my thoughts on the Radar 135 in writing!  Check it out!

kayakingoutdoorsman.wordpress.com/2017/09/20/radar-135-review/


why not post the text here?

Offline EricBriggs

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Finally had a chance to type up a review
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2017, 07:26:23 PM »
Finally got around to putting my thoughts on the Radar 135 in writing!  Check it out!

kayakingoutdoorsman.wordpress.com/2017/09/20/radar-135-review/

 

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