Freedom solo VS Odyssey

In a moment of stupidity, I sold my Freedom solo a while back, and now have tandems and a kayak that I am about to sell. I was wondering how the Mohawk Odyssey compares to the Freedom solo for mild, not float bag type rivers)rivers? Is the Mohawk build quality what it used to be before it was sold to the group in Tenn? Is there another solo that fits the above bill that isn’t crazy expensive? Thanks


I own a Guide Solo, but have only
examined the Odyssey while it sat inverted on someone’s car. The Odyssey looked to have less rocker and might cruise faster. It looked deep enough to handle haystacks on easier rivers, but probably wouldn’t maneuver as well as the Guide Solo.

I think the guys at the new Mohawk are serious about quality, but I can’t say whether they are doing as well as the predecessors. General opinion is that MR in NC is not as good as MR in NH, but improving.

You might want to look through the Wenonah solo offerings, especially those that are offered in Tufweave. You would get a stiffer, lighter boat than the equivalent in Royalex, and a durable boat as well. Tufweave wears smooth and is very repairable.

A warning, though. Once a river paddler gets used to good handling, it can be hard to go back to less. On most rivers, I prefer cruising in a ww tandem set up for solo (MR Synergy, the real canoe, not the fishing tank) rather than in my Guide Solo.

Depends on your preferences

– Last Updated: Jun-02-13 11:32 AM EST –

I use an Odyssey 14 a lot, and just last weekend took it through a series of the biggest haystacks I've yet been in, and it rode really well. It seems I'm almost always with a group who's sole ambition is to hurry downriver, but because a few people portaged this rapid I had some time to play around with ferrying and surfing too (each side of the rapid had an amazing eddy that acted like a ski lift to ride most of the way back to the initial drop, so I got a lot of various kinds of runs in). I would have been happier with a more-rounded bottom to make crossing misaligned, steep waves a lot smoother (I usually take my Supernova on rivers having bigger rapids, but the Odyssey gets me through any of the kind of water I've been on so far). Still, I can definitely say those waves would have swamped any of Wenonah's general-purpose solo canoes I've seen so far (they would have "speared" the waves rather than ride over them), so yes, the Odyssey 14 is a decent choice in rough water, if as you say, it's not a "float-bag" situation.

As to maneuverability, I'd expect the Freedom Solo to be more maneuverable. It has more rocker, but interestingly, the rocker is located almost entirely within three feet of each end, while that of the Odyssey is spread over the full length of the keel line. I'm not suggesting that putting most of the rocker at the ends is a bad thing, only that it's unusual.

The part that will depend on you, is how you paddle. In what you call "non-float bag" whitewater, I've never felt handicapped in the Odyssey if I just need to find my way through the rapids, but I do like my Supernova better as things get rougher. I find that if there's an eddy to hit, I can hit it with either boat, but more rocker in the Odyssey would improve its handling in "grabby" turbulence, especially for someone substantially heavier than I (and the average guy my age has at least an extra 80 pounds on me). If you don't go out of your way to "play" or pick a more-complicated route instead of a simple one, the advantage of a little more rocker in the Freedom Solo probably won't matter much, but I'm pretty sure you'd like the Freedom Solo better if you like to "see what this boat can do" in bigger rapids or drops with tricky cross-currents.

Mohawk Odyssey

– Last Updated: Jun-02-13 11:28 PM EST –

I own both the Odyssey, and a Mad River Guide, and am not likely to sell either any time soon.

Before I knew better, and had less mad money, I bought a Mohawk Odyssey to use as my first whitewater solo. It worked for a beginner, doing nothing higher than class 2 rivers.
As I progressed into more difficult water, it began to show it's limitations. Especially noticeable was it's tendency to nose dive(lack of rocker)at the base of low class 3 falls, and take on water in big wave trains, even when I back paddled, and quartered the waves. The result was taking on lots of water, balancing to get to an eddy, wallowing into the eddy, and doing a lot of bailing/pumping. Did 2 solo runs on the Nantahala, only dumped once. Got overly aggressive & submarined at the base of the falls; couln't get to eddy with boat full of water.
I love the Odyssey for day floating, or doing a couple of overnights on a class 2 or lower river. Build quality is good; the people at Mohawk have always been very helpful to me. The Odyssey is not a back breaker as far as weight, and is a decent tracking boat with a decent paddler aboard. Not overly affected by the wind, and has good initial & secondary stability. Fairly priced; especially if you can somehow workout pickup of boat in Tennessee, and not have to have it shipped.

I much prefer the Mohawk Odyssey, or the Mad River to the Wenonah Vagabond, Prism, Rendezvous or Argosy; all of which I've owned, and SOLD.

I would LOVE to have an Odyssey with an additional inch of rocker, and a kevlar Guide.

In my opinion, the Guide/Freedom Solo is a little dryer in bigger water, and is a little bit more manueverable; especially when empty. On the downside; it does not track as well as an Odyssey, and is more susceptible to wind. Great boat for multi overnights on class 2 rives, and can effectively handle a mound of gear. New paddlers seem to have some issues with it's stabiltiy(it spits a lot of them out), when compared to the Odyssey. Decent paddlers seem to have little issue with it's initial or secondary stability. I personally like a somewhat lively boat. Am happy I can afford to own both the Odyssey & Guide. If I had to give one up it would have to be the Odyssey; only because my Guide is an original, wood trimmed Guide, NOT a Freedom Solo copy. Odysseys are easy to replace; original wood trimmed Guides are not. I was NOT impressed with the build quality of the Freedom Solo I owned for a short while, and think their add on accoutrement system (forgot what they call it?) is bogus.

I had a vinyl trimmed Guide I sold to a good friend. Tried to get it back when he offered it for sale after owning it for quite a few years.
Some crumb snatching, female, kayak paddler (yikes!)from St Louis beat me to it! She is also a Wenonah Argosy canoe paddler. I think her Argosy might get sold; I don't think the Guide will...........


Sounds like a winner
Well, I think I might give the Odyssey a try. I bought a Wilderness Systems Commander 140 kayak fishing edition with rudder, and it is great for fishing etc, but I am more of a paddler who loves to float the river, play on the water and fish, than a fisherman who likes to paddle. My main fishing canoes now are tandems, but I use to fish out of the freedom solo and it worked fine. What the tandems don’t do as well is play on the water. That’s what I miss. Will sell the kayak and buy an Odyssey. Thanks for the informed posts. Dan

On rocker confined to the ends,
John Winter calls it “dead wood”, by which he means removing “wood” from the bottom of the ends that isn’t doing much for speed, in order to gain maneuverability.

Paddled solo, my 220# aboard, the MR Guide Solo sits light on the water and spins easily.

The surprise for me is that, with its flattish, slightly V-bottomed hull, the Guide Solo will “fly” across a fast current at a very steep angle as well as my Dagger Zealot slalom c-1, and better than my MR Synergy, similar to the ME. It is the flatness that does it. With the Synergy, I usually have to keep the ferry angle small or I will be blown downstream. With the Guide Solo, I charge out of the eddy at a steeper angle, and soon the boat is flying across the water, almost at right angles to the current direction.

Now, I wouldn’t want to say that the Guide Solo has no rocker through the center of the boat. Just not very much.

Mohawk Odyssey 14 great choice
I have sold all my solo canoes (Argosy, Rendezvous, MR Guide, Outrage, Rampage, ME, Solo 13, Fantasy, etc.etc.) because I am so happy with the Mohawk Odyssey 14. It had just enough whitewater capability that I need to run any class 2 and select class 3 but retains good enough speed and capacity for all other solo paddling. I really think if you only have room for one solo,…the Odyssey can’t be beat. Note,…the Odyssey 15 is a little different being a tandem and even lower ends for less rocker. Its more of a flatwater boat.

I have a trip in western NC planned for next month, so if I can get the funds together by then I will swing by Mohawk and pick up an Odyssey. (providing it works for the Mohawk folks!) Thanks again for all the help.


Email me about an odyssey for sale
I know of one for a very good price