Malecite history

Seems like I have seen this discussed here previously but couldnt find anything in a search. The Mad River Malecite is cataloged about an inch wider and an inch shorter than it was circa 1985. I jigged mine years ago and it was a 31" waterline, 33" beam, 16’-6" boat.

How does the new size paddle compared to the old?

15 reviews have been posted on the Malecite

There are numerous threads related to the Malecite (w/nearly 200 responses) in the archives. Some of those treads note width, and other specs, on both old & newer model Malecites.


I think I’ve read through all…
…the old threads and revues - and I don’t recall ever seeing any explanation of why the current Malecite pictures on the MR website appear to have more rocker than my '97 vintage - or if that’s just an illusion.

Don’t recall any explanation of why they show 1.5" of bow rocker and 2" of stern…other than “must be a typo”. Sure would be nice if we could have someone currently working at MR to clear that up here - or on their website.

New mold for the “Eco” version?
Maybe they made a new mold when they came out with the eco Malecite model?

Like you said, it would be nice if there was some sort of explanation for the spec change. But then again, it would only be to satisfy my curiosity. Still plenty of nice old ones out there.

I wonder if they wanted to give it more
tandem capacity. The original really was a “pocket” tandem, nice to paddle solo but hard-pressed to carry two folks and gear for several nights.

Thanks for your thoughts.
The new dimensions are so close to the Kev Explorer I wonder if the Malecite character was lost in the name of capacity and stability. Was hoping to find someone who has checket them out.

New dimensions…
…aren’t really that different. The length and width dimensions look to be about the same. Also the depth. It’s that rocker figure that seems to be off. I seriously doubt that it’s very different, but I wish someone from MR could speak out about it.

It is very different from the Explorer, regardless. The Malecite as spec’d on the website still has significantly less shear overall (3" or more in the stems), 1" narrower at the waterline, 2" longer, and significantly less rocker. I would hardly call the two “close” in any regard. Any way you look at it, for an average-size couple with a light load, the Malecite will be a noticeably better flat-water boat than the Explorer.

Shape of the hull is just as important
as the dimensions. We have owned both a 1999 Malecite and a newer Kevlar Explorer. The dimensions (overall width and length) are very similar but the hulls are quite different - Malecite has soft chines, tumblehome, and more streamlined ends; Explorer has hard chines, almost straight sides, and a generally boxier shape. Explorer has more initial stability and is more confidence-inspiring in rough conditions but just doesn’t want to go as fast (logically enough). I seem to remember Jim Henry quoted as saying he designed the Explorer to be the pickup truck version of the Malecite and in my opinion he succeeded.

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