Kayaks are one of the oldest ways to get around on the water. They’re small, lightweight, easy to carry, simple to use, and have an appealing price point. Kayaks are also excellent vessels for fishing or lazing around on a hot summer day.
While most people still use paddle kayaks, new health concerns have prompted kayak manufacturers like Hobie toward alternative methods of propulsion. It is only one of the reasons that pedal kayaks are becoming increasingly popular.
In this article, we’ll offer a thorough review of new Hobie kayaks, focusing mainly on pedal kayaks. We’ll discuss what it is, the benefits it offers, and what you should look for when shopping around for your favorite model.
We’ll also explore some of the more popular Hobie pedal kayak models that you should consider for fishing or other water-based activities.
- What are Pedal Kayaks?
- The Benefits of Pedal Kayaks
- What Makes Hobie Pedal Kayaks So Special?
- Hobie Pedal Kayak Models
- Hobie Mirage Passport 10.5
- Hobie Mirage Passport 12.0
- Hobie Mirage Compass
- Hobie Mirage Revolution 11
- Hobie Mirage Revolution 13
- How to Find the Best Pedal Kayak
What are Pedal Kayaks?
The most common way to power a kayak is through the use of a paddle. Paddling for extended periods can impact your shoulders and joints, though. It can also be difficult for new paddlers to figure out how to steer and control the boat out on the water.
Pedal kayaks use a simple cycling mechanism to propel the kayak instead. There are two ways that pedals can move the craft forward: push pedals and rotational pedals.
Rotational pedals work like bicycle pedals—the mechanism links propellers underneath the kayak, which rotate when you cycle.
Push pedals are unique. The action is an up-and-down motion as opposed to a cycling motion. It moves the fins underneath the hull, which propels the boat either forward or backward.
The Benefits of Pedal Kayaks
Pedal kayaks offer several advantages over traditional paddle-based models, including being far more beginner-friendly than paddle kayaks. Most people are familiar with the cycling motion and don’t need to learn a completely new skill to use a pedal boat. They also spend a lot less energy, so it is ideal for people who don’t want a grueling workout as the gateway to a day on the water.
One of the most appealing features of a pedal kayak is that it is hands-free. Since you’re using your legs to propel the boat forward, you can focus on doing other things with your hands, such as fishing, operating the rudder, or opening up a cold beverage.
Not having to mess around with putting away your paddle and picking up your fishing rod has made new pedal kayaks extremely popular with anglers, for example.
If you’re a speed freak, you’ll love the pace you can generate on a pedal kayak. The pedal drive is more efficient than a paddle, which means that your energy is easily converted to a smoother forward momentum. Your legs have a lot more power than your arms, so you can reach the top speed much faster, and keep it up for longer. At those speeds, you’ll still manage a decent workout without putting your shoulder joints under a lot of unnecessary strain.
What Makes Hobie Pedal Kayaks So Special?
Hobie is one of the best-known names in the kayaking world. The manufacturer has a wide range of kayaks catering to all sorts of niches, from tourists to athletes and everything in between.
When it comes to pedal kayaks, Hobie was the first manufacturer to develop its own proprietary drive, known as the MirageDrive. The drive connects the pedal to the fins underneath the hull. Each movement of the pedal moves the fins sideways, generating forward, sideways, and even reverse propulsion.
The revolutionary drive propelled the Hobie Mirage line of kayaks into the spotlight, where it has stayed for over ten years. Many competitors have also adopted pedal drives, but most manufacturers offer rotational pedals instead of the MirageDrive push and pull system.
The MirageDrive system offers several advantages that beginners and experienced kayakers alike can enjoy. Hobie Mirage kayaks are light, flexible, stable, and hands-free.
Light and flexible
The entire drive is lightweight, which means it does not disrupt the balance of the kayak. The fins are also flexible, entering extremely shallow water without risk of damage to the hull.
Most beginners find that Hobie Mirage kayaks are incredibly stable, especially since the paddler does not need to shift their body weight to master the propulsion. The sideways fins provide exceptional stability in choppy water and an unprecedented degree of control.
Instead of messing around with a paddle, you can simply enjoy your adventure. When it comes to pedal kayaks, Hobie makes boats that are easy to master and ideal for all sorts of water-based pursuits, including travel, photography, fishing, and relaxation.
The original MirageDrive was developed over ten years ago and had several niggles that annoyed some people. A major concern was that you couldn’t reverse, which meant that getting out of tight areas was difficult.
The new MirageDrive 180 is the latest iteration of the drive system, which addresses the issues previous models encountered. With the simple pull of a cord, you can now propel yourself backward, making it easy to reverse.
The new drive also has larger fins that provide more power. Now you can zip along much faster than ever before without the help of a sail.
Another important innovation in the latest Hobie model is the Kick-Up fin, which automatically ‘kicks’ the fins up over an obstacle, preventing damage to the bottom of the boat.
With the latest MirageDrive, you have more flexibility than ever before. Not only do you get more power per pedal stroke, but you also enjoy excellent maneuverability and the ability to handle shallow water and obstacles with ease.
Hobie has an entire range of new MirageDrive kayaks designed for a wide variety of people. No matter how serious you want to be about your kayak, Hobie will have the right model for you.
Hobie Pedal Kayak Models
When it comes to new kayaks, Hobie has an unbeatable range. With over twenty models to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one is the right fit for you.
We’ve taken a look at some of the most popular Mirage models on the market to help you narrow down your choices. Each of these new Hobie Mirage kayaks offers unparalleled quality and artistry, and we guarantee that you will find one that meets your preferences.
We’ve also explored different price points, from entry-level to relatively high-end, to show off the newest specifications.
Hobie Mirage Passport 10.5
The Mirage Passport 10.5 launched in 2019 to wild success. It was aimed at the entry-level market, and this kayak delivered incredible value for the price, even with shipping costs.
Made with thermomolded plastic, the hull of the Passport 10.5 sports even thickness throughout, making it lighter and more affordable than many of its competitors.
As an entry-level product, Hobie has taken great pains to make it as user-friendly as possible. It has a sporty hull with a wide beam for stability. The lowered mesh seat adds extra balance, making it easier to generate plenty of power.
Everything in the boat is labeled and straightforward for beginners to understand. The boat even includes instructions for first-time users, making it one of the most user-friendly kayaks on the market.
• Classic MirageDrive
• Two flush rod mount holders
• Storage area with holders
• Mounting tracks for electronics, fishing rods, and many other accessories
• Fitted with a small paddle for when you don’t feel like pedaling or want more control
• Water-proof “twist-n-seal”
• Sail mount
Even the barebones Passport 10.5 is fully functional as a recreational boat or fishing platform. There are plenty of accessory slots that will allow you to customize your kayak even further, too.
Despite being on the smaller side, the Passport 10.5 still offers an abundance of storage options for necessary items. The unit also has a water-proof seal to keep your belongings are protected on the water.
While the Passport 10.5 offers excellent value for money, there are some drawbacks that potential buyers may want to explore.
Thermoformed plastic is more difficult to repair and less robust than rotomolded polyethylene. We also found that the storage compartment smaller than we expected.
While it’s suitable for keeping small items safe, it’s not enough if you want to use the kayak for fishing, and you may want something with more storage space.
Who is it For?
The Mirage Passport 10.5 is an excellent purchase for first-time buyers or people who want a no-frills, high-quality boat. It comes with a MirageDrive, and various add-ons and design aspects, like adjustable seat and pedals that make it a pleasure to use for most hobbyists.
If you’re looking for something more specialized for a particular hobby, we recommend perusing through the other kayaks Hobie offers.
Hobie Mirage Passport 12.0
Following the success of the Passport 10.5, Hobie released a new kayak in 2020, the Mirage Passport 12.0. The larger fishing-oriented boat has more storage space, accessory mounts, and better stability for stand-up fishing pursuits.
The Mirage Passport 12.0 also retains many of the high-quality aspects of the 10.5, from its thermoformed plastic hull to its MirageDrive pedal and fin system, and sleek, sporty design. It’s added a front-accessory mount for the Hobie Mirage Sail kit and a fully electronics-ready mount on the sides.
If you like the look and price of the Mirage Passport 10.5, but wanted something more fishing-centric, this is the perfect boat for you.
• Forward accessory mount for the Hobie Mirage Sail kit
• Comes with a two-piece aluminum paddle and convenient carry handles at the bow and stern
• MirageDrive for speed and maneuverability
• Longer length for improved stability
• Sail mount
With expanded storage and additional mounts, the Passport 12.0 represents an evolution of the previous model. Despite these extras, the kayak is still lightweight, easy to transport, and user-friendly enough for beginners.
The Passport 12.0 comes with two main cargo areas, one in the bow and one in the stern. It also offers below-deck access via a central water-proof hatch, providing more than enough space for gear, items, lunch, and any fish you catch during the day.
The Hobie Passport 12.0 addresses many of the concerns we had with the 10.5. It offers more stability and storage space. It also provides a better fishing-centric experience.
The main drawback of the Passport 12.0 is that it still uses the older MirageDrive, which doesn’t have the reverse capability. If you find yourself stuck or having to navigate a tight space, you’ll need to resort to the provided paddle and arm power to get yourself out.
Who is it For?
The Mirage Passport 12.0 is for all people, though many of its new accessories are aimed at anglers. Thanks to its adjustable seat and pedals, it’s the perfect addition to any kayak fleet, or an excellent starter buy.
Hobie Mirage Compass
The Hobie Mirage Compass aims to be the all-round crowd-pleaser of the range. It has plenty of high-end specs and boasts an affordable price point that is bound to impress.
The Mirage Compass has a 12-foot waterline, with an aggressively pointed bow for power and speed, and wide stern for stability. The pontooned hull provides a rock-solid base for anglers while the mesh seat is adjustable for people of all shapes and sizes.
Hobie has been smart about where they saved money to keep the price of the Mirage Compass affordable. The boat has a gear well, and a mesh cover for small items instead of a hatch, and the chair is less adjustable than the traditional Vantage CT seat.
The Compass also has its rudder under the stern to keep it away from fishing lines and a simplified control system to make it more appealing to novice paddlers. It uses the older MirageDrive without reverse functionality, so you’ll have to rely on the provided paddle instead.
• Kick-up fins for damage reduction
• Classic MirageDrive
• Sail mount
• Plenty of storage space
• H-track accessory mount, compatible with most popular track mounts
The Mirage Compass excels at closed water fishing situations, particularly in estuaries and freshwater dams, rivers, and streams. It has a lowered seating position, ideal for fishing, and comes with plenty of accessory mounts.
The 12-foot kayak takes all the best aspects from other Hobie lines and combines them into a comprehensive package with an appealing price tag.
The Mirage Compass has a mesh-covered bow storage area, a cockpit hatch, and another storage area in the stern. Anglers will appreciate the meshed gear well as it provides better access to all your gear when you need it.
In taking the best of several kayaks, the Mirage Compass has had to compromise on some aspects. The main drawback is the aging MirageDrive, which lacks the capability we expect from a modern pedal kayak.
However, if you get the 2020 Camo edition, which costs slightly more than the base model, you can get the MirageDrive 180 with significantly better maneuverability and speed.
Who is it For?
The Hobie Mirage Compass is an excellent option for anglers on a budget. It offers the stability of the ProAngler series and the speed and maneuverability of the Revolution series at an appealing price range. While Hobie has had to compromise, we found that the design of the Compass minimizes the effect and takes on the strengths of higher-end kayaks.
Hobie Mirage Revolution 11
The Hobie Mirage Revolution series is all about speed. Made from lightweight materials and featuring the new MirageDrive 180 system, these kayaks excel at converting power into propulsion.
The Mirage Revolution 11 has a torpedo-shaped design, which decreases the drag on the hull. Despite its focus on speed, the Revolution 11 also offers a comfortable ride with a mesh-based Vantage CT seat. The twist-and-stow rudder makes precision navigation relatively easy, and the reversible MirageDrive system ensures you’ll never get stuck in a tight spot.
• Multiple hatches for storage
• 300 lbs carrying capacity
• MirageDrive 180 with reversible propulsion
• Rotomolded polyethylene hull for extra durability
• Adjustable foot braces and seat
• Two rod holders
Every aspect of the Mirage Revolution 11 is about using power efficiently and effectively. The lightweight, durable materials ensure you won’t have to buy another boat for years if you take care of it properly.
While the focus is on speed, the Revolution also comes with a surprising amount of storage space, making it useful for anglers as well as thrill-seekers.
Surprisingly, the Mirage Revolution provides plenty of storage space for the avid angler. In addition to two twist-seal hatches in the cockpit and stern, there’s also a substantial flat cargo area in the cockpit for your larger items. The boat also has two flush-mount rod holders and space for a few accessories.
The biggest issue we had with the Revolution 11 is its relatively low carrying capacity of 300 pounds. If you’re an angler with a ton of equipment, you may find yourself leaving some items onshore.
The other drawback of the Revolution 11 is that it’s small and can be unsuitable for larger frames. If you’re taller than six feet, you may find the kayak too cramped, even with the adjustable seats.
Who is it For?
The Revolution 11 is an excellent choice for people who want a high-performance kayak at a reasonable price. The storage space makes it an appealing option for anglers, but it shines as a small, speedy kayak for hours of fun, especially in rougher waters.
Hobie Mirage Revolution 13
The Hobie Mirage Revolution 13 is the perfect compromise for people who want to fish but also crave adventure. The boat has sleek lines with an eye for speed and stability.
The MirageDrive 180 feature and sensitive rudder make it one of the most maneuverable kayaks in the price range—ideal for both ocean and rough water use.
• Built-in tackle box
• Adjustable pedal drive and seat
• Rotomolded polyethylene hull
• Sail mount
• Optional livewell
• MirageDrive 180 with forward and reverse propulsion
The Hobie Mirage Revolution 13 is an excellent all-rounder and cruiser. The Vantage CT seat ensures you’re comfortable against an ergonomic design and built-in lumbar support. The kayak is also versatile enough for fishing, pedaling, and paddling use, with plenty of storage options for your items.
The extra power provided by the pedals allows you to take the Mirage Revolution into the ocean or choppy water with ease. The optional second rudder ensures you stay on course.
There is also a Kick-Up system so you can go into shallow water without worrying about potential damage to the fins or hull.
The Revolution 13 has plenty of storage space, with two sealed hatches, a cupholder, and a bow hatch for larger items. The boat also comes with two mesh storage pouches on the deck for smaller items, while you can stow your rod in the dedicated rod holders.
The main drawback we found was that the Revolution 13 comes in at just under 81 pounds, which makes it slightly more difficult to handle than its lightweight counterparts. While it may not pose a huge struggle for a fit angler, most people will find the 81 pounds heavy enough to need a second person to help carry it to and from the water.
Who is it For?
The Revolution 13 is an excellent option for anybody who wants to explore the waterways of the world. It handles well enough to go through currents, choppy water, and wind with ease.
At the same time, the MirageDrive 180 provides the power and maneuverability you need to navigate open waters and tight spaces.
If you’re looking for the best all-round cruiser, this is the boat for you.
How to Find the Best Pedal Kayak
When you start shopping around for kayaks, you may quickly find yourself lost and confused. Even if you stick to one manufacturer, the sheer amount of choice can be intimidating.
What makes a choice even scarier is the fact that most kayaks sell at a steep price, and nobody wants to spend money on something that isn’t a perfect fit.
The selection also means that there is a kayak at the right price that’s perfect for you, though. All you need to do is figure out what you need, what you want, and the price you’re willing to pay.
Here are some of the most important considerations to keep in mind when doing your research on how to find the best pedal kayak on the market.
Your first consideration should be to find a boat for your body shape and weight. While most new kayaks have adjustable seats and pedal heights, you still do need to keep the maximum carrying capacity of the kayak in mind.
Many taller individuals will also find that no matter how adjustable the seats or pedals, they need extra space. Try to upsize your kayak if possible to avoid discomfort during long trips on the water.
The shape of the kayak has a huge impact on the use of the boat. Long, narrow kayaks are better at long distances with increased power and speed, but these aren’t easily maneuverable. Shorter, wider kayaks are better at cornering but don’t do well over longer trips.
If you’re looking for a boat for fishing or relaxing on a majestic lake, a long, narrow vessel is an excellent option. If you’re going into narrow rivers, you’ll appreciate the cornering and maneuverability of a shorter, wider model.
Number of Passengers
Some kayaks, Hobie models included, offer passenger seats. If you have a partner that you want to share your hobbies with, consider a two-person model.
However, you may find it better to buy two separate kayaks for the freedom to go on the water whenever you desire.
If you’re looking for a small boat for a particular hobby, such as fishing, find one with accessories and features aimed at the pastime. Since fishing is one of the most popular hobbies, kayak options abound, especially with new models at appealing price points.
Accessories range from simple features, like a dry bag with safety trim, to high-tech options, such as sonar and GPS fish finders. Many fishers also like a hopper for their gear and a rod holder for hands-free fishing.
If you feel like harnessing the power of nature, you’ll appreciate a boat with a sail attachment as well.
One of the best things about kayaks is the feeling of relaxing on the water. If you want to spend several hours in your Hobie Mirage, you’ll need storage space for food and other essential items. If you fish, you’ll want enough space to store and protect your gear when you’re on the water.
Larger kayaks tend to have more extensive storage areas, but even smaller models sport convenient storage cubbies. Storage doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker when you’re looking at kayaks; Hobie makes sure that even their small models have adequate storage space or mounts.
A kayak’s stability depends on many factors, including size, weight distribution, and rudder.
A stable boat is essential regardless of your skill level. The best kayaks can handle rough water without much effort, but you also need to account for the craft’s performance during windy conditions as well.
Hobie designs their kayaks with balance in mind. All the models have a retractable rudder and skeg that you can deploy as needed. No matter the conditions, you can count on being in complete control.
Even if you want to use your new kayak for short bursts, comfort is a vital consideration. Opt for kayaks with adjustable seats, which allow you to adapt your sitting position depending on your activities.
Also, make sure that you’ve sized your kayak correctly for your height and weight.
Kayak design may seem unimportant, but it affects every aspect of the experience. The kayak’s design affects transport, how many items you can take, how much power you need to use to move forward, and how maneuverable the craft is in the water (as well as its price).
When it comes to ergonomic kayaks, Hobie leads the way. Not only are their kayaks lightweight, but they are also high-performance machines.
The new MirageDrive design ensures maximum propulsion for the power you deliver, giving you the best on-water experience possible.
These kayaks also have ample storage and are easy to transport to and from the water. The retractable rudder and skeg ensure that these delicate parts are safe during transit, while the robust materials ensure you have a product that will last for years to come.
Kayaking isn’t the most affordable sport in the world. The initial outlay can be considerable compared to other pastimes. However, after you’ve spent the initial money, you’ll have a tool that you can enjoy for decades.
When calculating the cost of a new kayak, it’s important to look past the price on the page. You also need to factor in shipping fees, transport costs, and the maintenance of your new craft.
Larger kayaks require specialized trailers to move, and if you’re using your kayak for unique purposes, you’ll also need to buy all the relevant accessories.
When you start budgeting, it’s a good idea to have a price limit in mind. Work within that price by prioritizing what you need versus what you want. Start shopping around for kayaks online for a better idea of your price range and options.
It is also best to stick to reliable brands of kayaks, Hobie, in particular.
As with most other items, if the price is too good to be true, avoid committing to the purchase. Steer clear of budget kayaks, even if you’re a novice or dipping your toe into the sport—a high-quality, new kayak will help you enjoy your time on the water more. You also won’t have to deal with the frustrations that come from a poorly-designed product.
Finding the best kayak for your needs can be tricky, but Hobie has you covered. Different kayaks work best under various uses, with some more suitable for fishing than others.
Take the time to consider your needs, including the price of add-on items, and find the boat that best caters to your preferences within your price range.
If you’re an avid fisher, we strongly recommend the Hobie Mirage Compass as a great compromise between price and performance with plenty of space for essential items.
For cruising, you can’t beat the price value on the new Hobie Revolution 13 with the MirageDrive 180 system.
See you on the water!