What new Hobie kayak has strong styling cues from the Oasis, a fine bow like the Adventure, the amazing turning of the Pro Angler and the name of the Revolution? That's right, it's the new Revolution 11! At first glance, Hobie's newest offering may appear to be just a smaller, lighter copy of the Revolution (now renamed Revolution 13), but this boat is a keel-up new design 3 years in the making, reflecting the latest thinking of the Hobie design wizards.Specifications and general layout:
Length over all: 11' 6" -- with rudder down and deployed (measured). That is 24" shorter than the Revo 13.
Width: 29" -- 1/4" narrower than the Revo 13 (measured)
Weight: 47 lb. (published) -- 57.5 lb. on my scale (net with hatches, rudder system, etc, but no seat, paddle or Drive) -- about 16 lb. lighter than the Revo 13.
Rated load capacity 300 lbs, or 50 lb. less than the Revo 13.
Here's a R11 sitting directly in front of a R13. You can see the similarities and some of the differences in profiles:
The cockpit appears to be about one inch shorter than that of the Revo 13 / Outback. Width is about the same in the seat area and about one inch WIDER than the Revo 13 in the foot well. The cockpit is cozy and comfortable in most respects, the one exception being the rudder control handle poking the leg on hard right turns. Although the Revo 11 is a smaller, lighter boat, it should still be able to easily accommodate most 6 footers and anyone with an inseam length of up to about 32".Features:
Grab handles are well placed for pedaling and balance on the water if desired (I use them frequently). They're also useful for handling the boat out of the water.
Notice the new scupper inserts in the cargo well that now protect scupper tubes from the effects of rough handling.
Remember the up-down rudder lines whose labels seemed to last about a week? They have been replaced with more durable plastic inserts. The usual (small) rudder comes standard with the Twist N Stow rudder system, but large rudder is available and recommended for sailing and very low speed enhanced directional control.
There are new seat pegs this year that twist and lock. One of the pegs on the test boat was a little stiff to install (probably because it's new). Once locked in though, they worked great, holding the seat very securely until released.
Drive alignment shaft (mounted on the Drive) and slots (molded in the boat) now make it very easy to put the Drive in correctly -- almost fail-safe!Styling cues and design elements:
Like the Revo 13, the R11 has a generous sized cargo well and a smaller but equally accessible bow hatch.
Bow length has been shortened by about 8" and the stern section bobbed by approximately 15". Most of this came from the elimination of the Revo 13 rear deck.
The Adventure contributes a fine bow angle that allows the Revo 11 to slip along more quietly than the R13 -- almost as quiet as the Big A itself.
Efficient use of deck space came right out of the book written by the newest Oasis. Can you tell which is which?
The R11 has lots of rocker for its length to produce superb turning qualities and responsive bow action in choppy waters.
Hobie's trademark tri-lobed hull has been re-tuned to add buoyancy in the narrow bow section and excellent secondary stability abeam with a very predictable tipping point.
The combined result is attractive, nicely proportioned, highly functional and very efficient. This boat handles like a nautical equivalent to a sports car -- lively and responsive.
Speaking of handling, lets take a look.
The R11 rides through the water unlike any of the other Hobies -- quiet yet responsive, the bow dances over most swells and chop. Not a lot of slapping, pounding, cleaving, no excessive spray kicked up. Freeboard (height above the waterline) is sufficient to keep the occupant relatively dry in most conditions, Turning ability
is much like the Pro Angler -- sensitive but stable. This boat can be lean steered (example -- lean the boat a couple of degrees left to nudge the bow a couple of degrees right) for minor corrections without having to reach for the rudder control. The R11 turns on a dime with either the standard or optional (large) rudder. I still like the larger rudder as an option because it minimizes rudder input over distance and gives improved low speed (1/2 MPH or less) control as it does with all other models.Stability:
In terms of rolling stability, the R11 is probably closer to the Adventure than the Revo 13. As you can see, the boat is actually stable enough to stand on (not recommended though). Also notice how easy it is to move freely about the cockpit. The mild initial stability gives very good control handling swells encountered from the beam. Secondary stability is excellent, giving plenty of warning prior to reaching the tipping point. Performance:
With Turbofins (and a well tuned Drive), calm water and no tides or currents, I averaged about 4.9 MPH for 2.5 miles, 4.75 miles in an hour and covered 9.1 miles in two hours. The boat is very efficient in the low to mid 4's and just seems to want to keep on going. Sprint speed is about 5.75 to 5.9 MPH. Wind and chop:
I didn't find any place that the boat didn't feel comfortable -- lake, bay or ocean. Fishing:
Compact length doesn't leave it short in the fishing department. As you can see here, the R11 can haul in a boatload! Paddling:
Like all Mirage Drive boats, the R11 was designed for pedaling. Nevertheless, the boat tracks reasonably well with rudder and fins down, with minor corrections again being handled by lean-steering and/or paddling technique Flip the fins up (rudder down) and the bow starts hunting, but control is easily maintained. The rudder also acts as a skeg; so if paddling with the rudder up, the boat becomes directionally promiscuous, requiring good focus to maintain heading.
With the Drive pulled, be sure to have the drivewell plug (standard equipment) installed or there will be sloshing water from the drivewell and potentially into the seat area.Sailing:
As with all the other Hobie Mirage Drive kayaks, using a sail adds a fun versatile dimension to the boat. With the recommended large rudder, the R11 has good sailing manners -- excellent directional control (no excessive weather helm) and easy to tack (cross into the wind) without pedaling assistance. I was able to get up to 5.0 MPH on a broad reach and 4.7 on a close reach with a moderate breeze and flat seas. Side slip while beating (sailing at a maximum angle upwind) is about 10 to 15 degrees, as one would expect using the Turbofins as a daggerboard.
Not surprisingly, the Revo 11 is a bit tender under sail when the breeze stiffens. The Sidekick (outrigger kit) is an excellent option for added stability if desired.
Sailing while pedaling is a great hybrid feature unique to Hobies. You're never left stranded if the wind dies, you can head in any direction (unlike sailing) and of course, you can go most places faster with less effort (or get a workout while sailing) as you like. With a little practice the sail can be put up, taken down and stowed while on the water.Transport:
The Revo 11's relatively light weight and short length make it a breeze to transport in the back of any pick-up and many vans. Just roll it up, set the bow down on the open tail gate, and shove. It's light enough to ride upside down on most car racks if somehow you can't stuff it in the trunk or back window. Summary:
The Revolution 13 is a hard boat to beat -- it's still probably the best all-around single seat Hobie. But the Revo 11 gives it a big run for the money without trying to emulate it. It's easier to handle, load and transport. It's more nimble and lively and runs a little quieter on the water. It utilizes its space better. The only limitations I see are a slightly slower cruising speed, and mildly reduced user size and height limitations. It fits me great though with lots of room still to grow (hope not) and IMO, it is the most fun Hobie kayak to date!
Excuse me while I go back out and play some more before they make me return the boat!