MR Explorer Royalex Vs Composite

I’m just curious.

The Composite Explorer is listed at 16’4" while the Royalex boat is 16’ even. So where is the extra 4" and how does it affect the performance of the boat?

Anybody paddled both and care to compare?

I’ve beat my royalex Explorer almost to death but never tried a composite one.


MR Explorer experience
I like(d) the composite version (friends of mine have one), I really disliked the Royalex version.

Then I would much prefer the Dagger/MR Legend 16 (owned one myself) or even the MR Freedom.

Personnaly I find the composite Explorer outdated now, with canoes like the Bell NorthStar and Swift Kipawa/Dumoine. But that is just my Bias…

the Royalex boats

– Last Updated: Apr-22-08 9:40 AM EST –

shrink coming out of the mold, I've been told. Old Town (I think) had something similar happen with their polylink/superlink/royalex boats, hence the disco 17'4"/16'9".

Owned a royalex
One and did not really care for it. Paddled a composite one on more then one occasion and it is a totaly different boat IMHO. Both faster ( better glide) and more responsive. Of course I prefer composite over royalex even in my WW boats so I may not be qualified to compare the two.

Just to Reinforce
I owned a Royalex Explorer and liked it for RIVER paddling. I thought it was a bit of a “Dog” on flatwater. I’ve rented a Kevlar Explorer on 2 different BWCAW trips and found it to be faster and more efficient than the royalex version. Also, Mad River’s kevlar was as “Beefy” as it’s royalex; it was VERY tough. All in all, a good tripping boat IMHO. WW

Shorter Royalex version
In Mad River’s case, the reason the Royalex version is shorter is because the material can’t be molded into tight stems…its to thick and soft, thus, it looses some inches. Therefore, the composite version maintains the original specs of the original design because of the materials ability to get into tight ends. That was the short answer).

I’ve never experienced having Royalex shink.

here’s something on the shrinkage

– Last Updated: Apr-22-08 1:57 PM EST –

after a quick search
I would think that since we all know it shrinks from summer to winter temps (loosening wood gunwales etc...) that it would shrink from a heated state to room temp....assuming it's heated to form to a mold.
I believe the issue with Old Towns was the difference in coefficients of shrinkage between royalex vs. polylink or superlink.
Please correct me if I'm mis-led.

MRE Royalex
The shrinkage due to temperature change is small, nothing like the 4" mentioned. This issue is as was stated previously, the inability to mold the Royalex true to the original design. This issue is common almost all Royalex and similar material boats. If the original design had sharp stems, the “rubber” version of the boat will be relatively blunt. The performance will be diminished as a result.

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe Works

Custom canoe paddles and cedar strip boats

must’ve been thinking the rotomolded/royalex difference with the Old Towns and transposing it to composite/royalex.(oh the adventures of aging!)

Found an interesting article here, more geared toward sailboats, but including Old Town, Royalex, Super and Poly links.

Royalex vs rotomolding
Molding Royalex and similar producs is vastly different from rotomolding.

Rotomolding involves melted plastic being spread on the inside of a female mold as described in the previously posted article. Royalex and similar processes involve vacuum forming a premade rubber/plastic sheet over a male mold. Modern rotomolding allows greater detail than Vacuum forming. Unfortunately it is not practical to get the necessary stiffness in an open boat without additional reinforcement such at the aluminum frame used in Coleman’s and similar canoes.

Royalex and similar sandwich sheets can be made relatively stiff. Unfortunately vacuum forming the “stiff” sheets is limited to certain minimum radii. It is generally not possible to mold sharp stems and hard edges.

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe and Woodworks

Custom cedar strip canoes and custom canoe paddles