Mad River Serenade?

Hey guys I’m looking for a little advice on the new production Mad River line. I have an opportunity to purchase a new Mad River canoe at a very good price, and the market for quality used boats is non existent in my area. So I thought I should take the opportunity to buy a new one.

I’m considering either the Serenade solo or a Malecite with 3 seats. I will be solo and travelling light most of the time but occasionally I will have a sub 150 pound passenger and light gear. I weigh also 145 pounds.

Should I buy the Serenade to use most of the time, and find a cheap poly tandem for the occasional two up trip, or get the Malecite and have a decent boat that could (hopefully) do good as both? Either will be used on flatwater creeks and lakes, with the most serious being a rock bottomed Creek with enough current to just move along. No rapids.

And what are the opinions on the new Mad Rivers? Are they a decent boat? I’d probably consider the fiberglass layup for the Serenade since it would still be fairly light and could get it in a color finish. Probably consider the KX kevlar in the Malecite route.

Any and all opinions welcome. I’m all ears!

would be my choice according to your specs. One of the best designed MR made IMHO. Reasonable to solo. The lighter the boat the more you will use it.

probably the Malecite
The Malecite works very well for a light tandem team. A thirteen foot canoe is a bit on the small side for a solo tripper, but would probably work since you are light and plan to travel light.

However if you are also on the physically small side you might find the Malecite too wide (nearly 35 inches amidships) to comfortably solo.

For use on lakes, I’d go smaller

– Last Updated: Jul-25-15 7:27 PM EST –

I know the Malecite has a tremendous following, and I'm sure it's every bit as fine a canoe as most people say. However, you are a small person, and the Malecite is fairly wide, and 16.5 feet long. That's a big solo for anyone, especially someone your size. I don't care how fine a boat it is, it won't take a huge amount of wind to create paddling conditions that can only be handled by a large, strong person and/or a very skilled solo paddler. I agree with the earlier comment that 13 feet is a tad small for a solo canoe that needs to carry gear, but again, you weigh a lot less than many of the solo canoers I know, and they are comfortable in 14-foot boats. You'll put less weight in your boat when on a camping trip than they do with no gear at all. I see no reason you can't do well in a 13-footer if you go easy on the gear load.

I remarked about lakes (and therefore wind) in the title, but the more I think about it, the more I think you'd be happier as a solo paddler in the smaller boat when on small creeks too.

Thanks to everybody
Appreciate all the replies guys. I think since most of my trips will be day long trips alone, I would be better off going with a Serenade and then buying a beater tandem for the times when the girlfriend or buddies want to tag along. The Malecite would be perfect if I was going solo with a ton of gear, but my schedule would allow a trip like that MAYBE once a year. The Malecite still seems like a great boat though. I’d love to have both! But that’s just not in the cards for now…

That being said, there isn’t much out there on the Serenade. Just two reviews here, but both were favorable. I prefer to use a single blade whenever possible, so I would opt for the “TR” configuration with the hung web seat.

Do any of you have any advice on the Mad River fiberglass layups? Is it much more durable than the ultralite, or at least enough to justify the weight difference? I’ve never seen any of the newer Mad River line in person. Are they pretty well made?

I believe Dan Cooke
Does BWCA trips in a 13 foot Flashfire

Provided you have the higher seat and thwarts are not interfering with your gear there is no reason not to trip in it

Given your dimensions with a typical gear load of 70 lbs you should have plenty of room

I do two week trips in 14 foot boats and there is still room for more

Wish I could help with the new MR’s
But I haven’t seen any of the newer ones.

I just thought I’d point out that you are probably more likely to find a used Malicite than any nice used high performance solo. For that reason alone, I’d go with the solo for now. I have a kevlar Malicite and it’s not a bad solo boat (sans wind), but I almost always pass it up for solo paddling in favor of my dedicated solo.

Good point
Thats a very good point, and I had not considered that. I believe I will go with the Serenade. Nobody seems to have tried one so I reckon I’ll be the guinea pig!