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Mirage 580 review

29 Mar

 Eco Bezhig & Mirages

Today I packed up the kit and met fellow NSW Seakayak Club member, David Gibbins, at Croudace Bay. Apart from doing our Grade 2 training together, David and I have paddled together before. We had to do a 15km paddle at a cruise rate of 5kph. Pretty routine stuff but we both needed to have someone witness the trip and sign off the log book which would then signal the completion of Grade 2 and acceptance from the club of such.

I won’t bore you with the trip details because nothing happened other than completion of the trip in exactly the allotted time. The weather was calm with a slight SE breeze and mild summery conditions (I know it’s Autumn). There was little boat traffic and nothing untoward happened. Except David suggested we swap boats for the return leg. Now he has a Mirage and I have Eco and we both wanted to do some distance in another boat. My experience with Mirages has been minimal and putting 8kms into one seemed interesting as I had the Mirage on the short-list for my next buy.

What a disappointment! I’m about the same height as David but much heavier all round and the low deck height and narrow beam made the fit uncomfortable. I couldn’t get the angle of my knees right and worse, my legs started to go numb quickly. Since we already had set out and I didn’t fancy switching boats in the middle of the lake I resolved to complete the trip in the Mirage. By the time we reached Valentine I could take no more and we swapped back. ”It’s like getting into your own bed” quipped David. It sure is. The Eco Bezhig is far more comfortable with loads of room to stretch your legs. It’s deck height just fore of the cockpit is well situated for blokes my size and the extra 2″ of beam is a good compromise of comfort and performance. As I watched Davis paddle Eco, I admired her beautiful lines thinking she is just like my Volvo 850, heavy, tough but surprisingly nimble.

So I have to scratch the 580 off my short-list. A shame because I greatly admire this boat and felt that if it could be made comfortable for me I think I’d enjoy paddling it. It felt snug around the hips and rock solid in the water. I like the rudder setup a lot. The pedals are far superior to Eco’s and the Mirage is a lot cooler to sit in, though Winter might change my preference there. I think after all my previous posts about it, the Mirage is a bit quicker and there also seemed to be less drag even though both boats have a similar hull profile. Eco’s holds and hatches are superior but the foam bulwarks in Eco are a weakness. One thing for sure, Eco is vastly superior in paddler comfort. Maybe I just need Mirage to fit me properly to their boats. I’ll try at Rock n Roll to paddle some others to make sure it wasn’t just a poorly fitting setup because I’d still like to think the 580 is still in with a chance.

Eco Bezhig

Mirage 580

26kg

24kg

Weight

540cm

580cm

Length

59cm

55.5cm

Beam

Plastic. Tupperware finish

Composite. Gel coat. Sleek

Build Quality

Virtually indestructible. UV risk, shape deforms with heat.

Typical composite. Susceptible to gel coat damage. Rigid.

Toughness

Like Tupperware

Gloss gel coat.

Finish

Good at bow end. Very poor aft. Plenty of deck bungy

Adequate fore and aft. Not a lot of bungy

Deck Rigging

Foam and neoprene buckledown.

Rubber 10” covers.

Hatch Covers

Very large fore & aft. Day hatch and glove box

Good size. Less volume than Eco. Day Hatch no glovebox.

Cargo Holds

No tow points. Self rescue system, security cable point

No dedicated tow points.

Attach Points

Very Large, egg shaped

Medium tear shaped

Cockpit Size

Strong but uncomfortable.

Large and comfortable

Foot Rests

Pull cords at front to raise/lower. Interior rudder lines attach at top of pedal. Bad.

Integrated rudder with internal lines attach at back of pedal. Good.

Rudder Control

Molded foam. Non adjustable. Ultra comfort. Liable to UV degradation.

Standard seat with back rest. Basic.

Seat

Molded into cockpit. No adjustment. Comfortable.

None. Optional.

Thigh Braces

Conventional retractable attachment

Integrated into stern.

Rudder

Weathercocks a little. OK tracking

Good tracking.

Tracking

Needs strength. Less responsive than Mirage. Tricky edging with round hull and soft chines

Nimble. Good edging.

Agility

Good Primary. Secondary OK. Hard to edge.

Similar to Eco but better secondary stability and better edge control.

Stability

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Posted by on March 29, 2008 in About Kayaks

 

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