Mohawk Odyssey 14 vs. Mad River Freedom

These two boats have been compared before on solo boat threads, but I want to ask about three specific comparisons. It is hard for me to find an opportunity to paddle either one of these boats much less both at once. And I may try to jump on a deal for one before I can get the opportunity to paddle them.

I’m interested in how they compare on initial stability, glide and tracking, Thanks.

FWIW, I had a roylex wildfire that I liked very much, but want a little more volume.

I have both Odyssey 14/MR Guide/Freedom

– Last Updated: Apr-26-04 2:55 PM EST –

If bought new, you can get an Odyssey 14 cheaper, but not by enough to make that much of a difference.
If I were looking for a boat for multi-purpose paddling; on different rivers, from class 1 to class 3, day float, overnight, multi-night....... I'd choose the MR Guide/Freedom over the Odyssey 14, without question.
I believe the Guide to be more manuverable than the Odyssey 14.
Either one is no problem as far as the stabiltiy issue goes; especially for an experienced paddler. I believe a novice would find the Odyssey 14 a little more stable at first, but even they should adapt to a Guide quickly, if they have any idea what they're doing. Neither boat is going to give you a long glide on the straights, and both will be affected by strong winds on long, slow, flatwater sections of a river, and particularly on a lake where the terrain offers little protection. The Odyssey is a few pounds lighter, but wouldn't want to do any long portages with either. I don't view either as being made for that type of tripping to begin with. Both feel at home on moving water.
If you like to "play" on the river; get the Guide! Both of mine are Royalex; both will take a lot of abuse. Don't remember, but think the Odyssey is available in R-84. I'd avoid that, and think you will come to regret it if you choose R-84! I was satisfied with the fit & finish on both & would rate them as near equal, with MR having a little lead . I didn't & still don't like the decking on the Mohawk; too flimsy for my taste.
If you do get a chance to paddle both before you buy, I'd be interested to hear your opinion of where you think I may have erred in my opinion.
My Guide will be sold when I no longer paddle in all probability.


I own the Mohawk in R-84, I paddled a guide once. I did not find much differance. buy the first one you can get and enjoy it!

We like our Odysseys
We were able to buy them outfitted for less than the Freedom. I needed something that was stable for sitting, but still could maneuver. So far, we like them. I paddled a Guide in our pool class and it handled well but was less stable for me. I have physical limitations, so you may get along with it.

R-84 is not going to hold up long term like Royalex on the shallow, narrow, twist & turn, rock filled rivers where I typically paddle. I have a Mohawk Solo 14 in R-84; it will “not” take the abuse that any of my Royalex boats will. The good things about the R-84 is the light weight, and the cheaper than Royalex cost for the same boat.

You paddled a Guide once? Not much paddling time to form a real solid appraisal of a boat is it?

I’ve been paddling one for about 5 years, have about a thousand river miles or more under it, and think I may have it just about figured out. Only have about 300 miles on the Odyssey so far; so I’m still appraising it, but “no way” will it outmanuever a Guide in my opinion. Yes, the Odyssey probably does have a little more initial stability, and it might track a little better. On the other hand; a good paddler will not feel unstable in either boat, or have any trouble making either boat track.

Going to North Carolina in August to play around on some low grade (class 2 & 3) whitewater on the Nantahala river. If you have a Mohawk Odyssey; I could meet you there with my Guide, and we’ll check them both out for stability, and manueverability. If you have a Mohawk in the R-84 layup, we could also check out it’s ability to withstand abuse, in comparison to Royalex.


Sorry to make it more difficult…but…
You may want to look at the Nova Craft Supernova… it falls in that same category. I think you may be impressed. No initial stability… but the secondary stability is bomb proof.

Nova Craft is out of New London Ontario.

Lightweight Royalex
I agree with Bob on the R-84

I had a Wenonah Solo Plus (traded it in on a Guide/Freedom Solo) in the light royalex. One good bump with the bow on those sharp Buffalo River rocks put a good crack clean through the outer vinyl layer. Patched it with Marine Goop well enough. In my opinion if you are going to paddle rocky rivers stick with the heavier Royalex.

Help was asked for. I have only a little to give, and I gave it. I own boats in royalex and r-84, and am familiar with how they are being damaged by some of my poor choices. Yes I paddled the guide for only 20 min. in class 1-2 river. I paddled it hard, eddyed in and out, and surfed it. Handeled like the Odyssey as far as I could tell. I was thinking that I should upgrade from my Odyssey (not the newest sexiest boat on the water,) to a guide, or a wildfire, or a hemlock SRT. Sorry, I paid $300?? for my boat used. I could not find hundereds of dollers worth of better boat in any I tried. When finally ruin my Mohawk, I will pick up the phone and order a new one. I find it perfect for me and the type of paddling I do. (500+ miles an year, much of it on my head.)

Kevlar Skid Plates
have become a norm out here in the western rivers… we seem to paddle more rocks than water at times. They also make pretty good patches of the deep royalex gouges on the bows :slight_smile:

Like you …

– Last Updated: Apr-27-04 11:26 PM EST –

I got the R-84 Mohawk Solo 14 in brand new condition for 4 hundred dollars. The guy selling it threw in a bent shaft paddle, and already had foot pegs & the nylon portage strap installed by the factory.
Couldn't pass up that deal. I paddled it twice, my wife tried it, and then all of a sudden it became my wife's boat. She loves it!
I then bought a new Mohawk Odyssey 14 to use as my jack of all trades, beater boat. That's how I use it; it's ok for that. Still have my Guide & still think it's a better boat; it is more expensive, but it should last me for many years.
My first Guide is on it's 2nd owner/paddler, and still in good shape & going strong.
I have nothing against Mohawk canoes, but I did learn a lesson with the Mohawk Odyssey 15 I had a few years ago. It is not a good boat to do twisting, turning, rock dodging, class 3 whitewater. Dives like a submarine going over steep drops, and I got rid of it fast!


Whatever you paddle; keep on paddling! That's what it's all about in the final analysis.

I paid only $400 for my Guide, used,
and fully outfitted. Though I bought it as a flatwater replacement for my old 13’ Mad River Compatriot, I was shocked and delighted to find how well the Guide behaved in whitewater. Although not as agile as my MR Synergy (a WW tandem/solo boat) the Guide can do some things better, especially ferrying. If I were short on money and had to pay full price, I would consider the Mohawk line, though I would be more likely to get a Viper 12, a Probe 12, or a Shaman than an Odyssey. But for a dual-purpose boat, the Guide seems close to ideal.


– Last Updated: Apr-28-04 10:36 PM EST –

for the input folks. Its sounds like both boats would work well for my uses. It doesn't sound like either one is much superior to the other in glide and tracking for flat sections.

Hopefully I'll have a chance to paddle both at some point and get a feel for how they compare for me. Maybe I can shake loose for one of the rendezvous. But this much info. will help in case a bargain surfaces beforehand.

The initial stability is mostly an issue for family or friends who are new to solos or would only paddle the boat occasionally.

Novices …
Many novice paddlers will find the Guide hard to paddle in a straight line, and many novice paddlers will call it “tippy”. The Odyssey 14 will make them feel a little more comfortable.

Good luck,